The Blog of John Walford, British-born, but long resident in The United States. I am an art historian, currently studying satire in Netherlandish art, an amateur photographer, and occasional writer, who writes here about art, photography, and the human condition--some of it ekphratic poetry, responding to works of art. This is to be a site for words and images, interacting on one another, as vehicles of human expression.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hate Has No Friends and No Rest, March 2012

Hate Has No Friends and No Rest, March 2012

Having so recently posted a couple of visual responses to the slaying in Florida of Trayvon Martin, now the news breaks from California of another premediated, deliberate hate crime against Shaima Al Awadhi, aged 32, a Muslim mother of five, who had immigrated from Iraq in 1993, in search of peace and freedom for her family (see the news clip here: youtu.be/RrnMYg62boM, which thanks to dou_ble_you [ www.flickr.com/photos/dou_ble_you/ ], for drawing this to my attention, this morning).

This is appalling, and unacceptable in a country that prides itself in protecting its citizens, respecting civil rights, and the freedom and liberty - also of religion - for all! Cancer may be the major killer in America, but hate seems at times not far behind - even here in the USA.

We all do well to remember that hate possesses but one living room and command center - the human heart. Until we cut it out of our hearts - individually and collectively - hate will always spring from our hearts into our words and actions.
Governments, schools, and religious institutions - of all stripes - can only do so much, by way of setting examples, defining and policing respect for the rule of law, teaching and inspiring, by example, but no institution can rule the human heart and will. What lies within will always find ways to break out on the street. Institutions can but restrain and discipline.

It is thus for each of us - individually and collectively - to examine our hearts and minds - and to root out all bigotry, hatred, and blindness to the nature of human flourishing, and to individually and collectively set our hearts, minds, and wills to pursue "shalom," until the bitter end, and the last breath.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Your Child's (Your Sibling's) Face Here - In Memoriam- Trayvon Martin, killed Feb 26 2012

PUT YOUR CHILD'S FACE UNDER THIS HOODIE, AND PLEASE - IN GOD'S NAME - PLEASE ACT ACCORDINGLY! America's conscience is still too calloused, and racism yet simmers close to the surface. It must be torn from all our hearts - every last shred of it - otherwise we all deserve to be humiliated to the same degree that whites have humiliated blacks these past two hundred years, and more. IT'S MORE THAN ENOUGH! It's a shame on our claim to humanity, to dignity, to the innate value of each individual. And we talk of a free country! For many, yes! For black youth... ?

The Jewish holocaust is quickly and easily condemned, by almost unanimous consent. But what of the daily humiliation and personal insecurity of young blacks in America, and what of the suffering of all American families of color, who sense that they have to watch their backs wherever they walk, in whatever store they enter, and always watch whites watching them warily. And the justice system, what does it do? By default, it lets this shameful state of affairs go on, for, assuredly, there is too much else on their hands......

So look hard in this now-deceased boy's eyes, see the face and eyes of your child, or your sibling, under that hoodie instead, and in the name of God, Creator of us all, live a life of love, compassion, and mercy towards all! After all, that is how humanity is called to act, and it is not beyond us, if we summon the will and the resolve.

Calling All People: Time to Cut Racial Biases from Our Hearts



[My photo of the thoughtful, child ring-bearer, gratefully published with his parents permission].



WHOSE AT GROSSLY UNFAIR ADVANTAGE UNDER FLORIDA's "STAND YOUR GROUND LAW"? And what racial biases still have a lethal hold on our hearts?

Some reflections on the Florida slaying of Trayvon Martin:

I am departing from my usual practice at this blog in order to address a far more serious topic, touching the day-to-day well-being of a huge section of the US population, instanced by the dangerous, and likely biased application of a poorly defined law, the right to 'stand your ground' and to kill a person who you allege was a threat to your safety, with no witnesses to corroborate your claim.

If Trayvon Martin had been white, and George Zimmerman black, would the Florida police have been as reluctant to press charges? If either of them - Martin or Zimmerman - had walked into my classroom, I trust that I would have been delighted to welcome them as students. If either of them were to walk into my home, I trust they would receive a hearty, warm welcome. If either of them wanted to marry my daughter - were she still unmarried, - then I wonder how my thought patterns would have run..... and so should we all.

Until each of us can see the image of God in all of our fellow human beings, and indeed, as Carlos Fuentes wisely wrote, ("The Buried Mirror," 1992, p. 353), "if we do not recognize our humanity in others, we shall not recognize it in ourselves," the humanity of us all remains gravely diminished. Does this matter? Surely gravely so! Indeed, the consequences of our prejudices will continue to be acted out on the streets, in the classrooms, and in our homes, day after day, just as they have been for years past.

I openly admit that I grew up with every shape and form of bias and prejudice in my heart, until I learned to respect the power and the beauty, and the transformation of life that gradually grows from respect for the power of the most basic of Commandments, namely to love God with all our hearts, and, flowing therefrom, to love our neighbor as ourself. It is so basic, yet so challenging.

But, in the name of God, and his beloved creatures, the only way to do amends for the totally tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin, is for each of us, of whatever race, religion, or class, to embrace these fundamental human obligations with all of our hearts, our minds, our wills, and our bodies, and also to abjure the American obsession with the right to bear arms, and to use them, in such a cavalier, indiscriminate manner, free from prosecution.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

dou_ble-you's curated Flickr Gallery, "Oedipus Rex," March 2012

dissolution of magical ideasIn the Bull's Mind's Eye, 2012self portraitLion HeartSedla merda è merda... e se merda deve essere, che merda sia!
The Adventures Of Luis The Tranny #1We are only humanTSwoon at NOMAchurning.Ode to bagheera
as a relicfloralThe Hazards of SunbathingOld photosMerge 'n' Vary

Oedipus Rex, a gallery by dou_ble_you on Flickr.

The gallery of curated images, gathered by Flickr's dou_ble_you is a wonderful testimony to creative intuition. His gallery is indeed an inspiring idea, and brilliantly conceived.... his right brain (as usual) functions marvelously, and the outcome, notwithstanding the process of assembly - or perhaps rather just because of it - does indeed manifest some common threads, for the attentive viewer. But, for me, it also introduces me to several works hitherto unseen by me, that are simply splendid to dwell on, and return to. Thank you so much, UU, for the creative intuition, and for the inclusion.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flickr's dou_ble_you's "Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin knew Zen before Zen knew him," Sept 2009

"A Lenten Zen-itation"

Now and 'Zen, I'll take a break,
From severity of Lenten think.
Hard for me, to see the snake,
In loss of virtue, so then I'll wink.

Zen quietens mind, that's good for me!
But don't cleanse my bad, habitually.
So I go, by turns, from Zen to Christ,
Best of both worlds, in this life.

-- JW, for UU, with a little bit of luv
for our friends, Lent, 2012!

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John Walford

John Walford
Not All That Meets The Eye

About Me

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United States
I am a British-born, art historian, teaching in the USA; I studied law, in England,1964-68; worked part-time in the art world, 1968-69; then studied art history at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1969-76; completed my Ph.D. diss. at the University of Cambridge, 1981; moved to the States in 1981, and have since written, or co-authored, other books. I am currently studying satire in Netherlandish art. My wife, Maria, was born in Milan, Italy, where she worked as an interpreter, in business; she spent seven years in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne, 1963-70. She came to Amsterdam in 1971, and we soon married. She is a wife, mother, literary critic, of Italian (and French) literature, and completed her Ph. D. diss. in 2002, at the University of Chicago, on Cesare Pavese and His Critics. We have three married children, and eight grandchildren, all of whom we excessively adore! I welcome dialog about art, photography, human behavior, beliefs, and motivation from all comers, regardless of race, color, gender, orientation, values, or beliefs. This is to be a site for words and images, as vehicles of human expression, around topics of mutual interest.

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