1) “A Man may make a Remark” by Emily Dickson
A Man may make a Remark –
In itself – a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature – lain –
Let us divide – with skill –
Let us discourse – with care –
Powder exists in Charcoal –
Before it exists in Fire –
2) From the Week In Wildlife Guardian slideshow – http://tinyurl.com/47cayvr
An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders have climbed into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh report that there are now less mosquitos than they would normally expect. (Photograph: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development)
A trio of striped hyena cubs at the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters on 24 March in Nairobi where they have lived since they were rescued a month ago. The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is considered threatened in many parts of Africa. It has been widely hunted with dogs, poisoned or caught in traps (Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)
3) While idiots like Charlie Sheen give Hollywood a bad name, it’s actors like Sean Penn who show that entertainers, like all groups of people, are doing what they can to make the world better.
Who is a celebrate that you respect for the work they are doing to make the world better?
From an article in the New York Times, by Zoe Heller, about the work Sean Penn has been doing in Haiti.
“On a hot morning in January, at the Pétionville Internally Displaced Person camp in suburban Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a four-wheel dirt bike pulled up outside the tent hospital, bearing an elderly woman with a deep gash in her cheek. While a group of medics assisted the patient inside, Sean Penn ambled over from under a tree where he had been having a meeting with one of his camp workers. He walked with a slightly bowlegged cowboy gait, a walkie-talkie crackling at his waistband, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. Having glanced into the tent and ascertained that the situation was in hand, he turned his rather dour gaze on a newly arrived reporter.”
“The Pétionville camp, which Penn’s aid group, J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO), has been running since last March, sits on the golf course of a former country club. (Some of the old staff can still be found lurking in the clubhouse, gazing out at the devastation like Alpatych, the loyal retainer in “War and Peace,” after the army has laid waste to his master’s estate.)
Since the first homeless Haitians started arriving here in the days following the quake, the camp has grown into a vast tent city of 50,000. It now has a school, a market, two hospitals, a movie theater, countless salons de beaute and its own red-light district. As Penn led the way along the former golf-cart trails, past women lathering themselves up over basins of water and men playing dominos, he delivered a lecture on the issues facing post-earthquake Haiti. It was a rapid-fire, digressive monologue, studded with the acronyms of the aid world — P.A.H.O., W.H.O., C.R.S., O.C.H.A. — and ranging over a broad number of topics: the merits of the controversial cholera vaccine, the report from the Organization of American States on the November elections, the damaging effects of UV rays on tent tarps, the complex but fundamentally noble character of President Réne Préval, the relative merits of guns over fire extinguishers as defensive weapons. (Penn sometimes carries a Glock, but the fire extinguisher, he claims, is a far more efficient tool for crowd control.)
After about 45 minutes, we reached the western edge of the camp and began climbing a series of steep slopes. Penn broke off from what he was saying and turned to point out the view. Before us lay the patchwork sprawl of the camp, the battered cityscape of Port-au-Prince and, in the smoggy distance, mountains and ocean. “Look at that!” he said. “It’s beautiful, right? Right? That’s the thing! You get the air cleaned up in this city, and it’d be extraordinary. And the whole country’s like this — more so, even. That’s why I never have a doubt — nee-e-ver have a doubt — that this country can be successful. It’s too tangible, too containable to not do it. And the change is going to come of this earthquake.”
The commanders of the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who were using the Pétionville Country Club as their operational base when Penn first turned up there had their initial doubts about fraternizing with a bolshie movie star, but they have since become ardent J/P HRO boosters. “What surprised me the most about Sean,” says Lt. Gen. P. K. “Ken” Keen, military deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, “was how he went about learning the humanitarian assistance business. There was no ‘how-to’ book for that. You want to get stuff through the transportation networks? You want to get stuff out of the warehouses? You want to collaborate with the U.N.? How do you do all that? He was always willing to listen, learn and work with everyone.”
Brad Horwitz, the founder and C.E.O. of the communications company Comcel, Haiti’s largest U.S. investor, has provided J/P HRO with logistical support and all manner of resources over the last year. “Sean’s politics and mine are completely opposed,” he says. “His go left. Mine go right. But politics are kind of irrelevant in this. Comcel can only pick so many horses to back, and J/P HRO have shown real staying power. He’s been very good at figuring out and managing relationships. He’s also been extraordinarily efficient in using the resources he gets. I know if I provide J/P HRO with stuff, it won’t get wasted.”
Perhaps most telling of all is the respect that Penn has earned from seasoned aid workers. Dr. Louise Ivers, who is chief of mission for Partners in Health, Haiti, says of Penn: “His newness to this work has actually helped him in some ways. He doesn’t have misconceptions about what works and what doesn’t. He sees a problem, he talks to people, and he figures out solutions. As clichéd as it sounds, I think he really gives a damn about the Haitian people.”