A Coupla Bummers and A Miracle

Well, it was Thanksgiving in America, again.

A friend of mine calls it Shabbos Hodu.  (“Shabbos” is the Eastern European version of the Hebrew word “Shabbat,” or Sabbath).  “Hodu” is the Hebrew word for both “turkey (the bird)” and the imperative form of one of the many words for “to thank.”  Thus, “Shabbos Hodu!”

In Orthodox Judaism there is no “Thanksgiving Day,” because we formally give thanks to God at least six times a day, and sometimes more often.

The three daily prayers, which take up to an hour each, contain 19 paragraphs of blessing.  Each of these blessings opens and closes with a verse of thanks.  There is a separate blessing expressing thanks in general, and when there is a quorum of ten people, a special very beautiful paragraph is sung that describes the praises of the Angels.  There is a verse in every prayer beseeching the Creator to rebuild Jerusalem, our Holy City.

The other three “Thank you’s” are contained in the Blessing After Meals, said after any meal containing more than a certain amount of bread (the exact amount is part of Jewish Law), and a shorter version that is said after eating any non-bread product containing one of the five varieties of grain that grow in the Land of Israel: wheat, spelt, rye, oats, barley.  The long version takes me 45 minutes to say, because I say each word with concentration on its meaning.  I learned this from my teachers.

In these prayers also, the rebuilding of Jerusalem figures large.  Both sets of prayers were codified while the Hebrews were in exile in Babylon, after the Babylonian conquest had razed Jerusalem.

However, I no longer live in a Jewish community, let alone Israel; and to tell you the truth, I’m not really practicing Orthodox Judaism these days.

It was so wonderful living in our little country, being able to practice my religion in an unfettered way.  We could wear our special religious items–you know, the ones we are prohibited from bringing to the Temple Mount–right in the street, in the buses, anywhere, without people screaming epithets and other unpleasantries.

I once had a conversation with a black woman from New Orleans who had converted to Islam, married a Lebanese man, and moved with him to Saudi Arabia.  I met her in India.  She wanted to know why we Jews had to have our own country, when we could be Jewish anywhere in the world.

I was so taken aback by this question that I had to sit and think for a minute.  At last I got hold of my senses and asked her,

“Were you able to practice Islam in America?”

“Well, of course!”

“Then why did you move to Saudi Arabia?”

“Oh, because it’s an Islamic country!  Saudi Arabia enforces strict Shari’a Law, so it is the purest Islam…”

For a moment, understanding dawned in her eyes, but it faded just as quickly.  I developed something that needed my urgent attention, and left my friend wondering what went wrong.

Oh yes. I was talking about Thanksgiving in America.

Since I’m in America for the foreseeable future, I am doing some things American style, like Thanksgiving Day and gifts for Hannukah (our Festival of Lights, coming up next week).  In Israel, Hannukah is a time for celebrating miracles.  Gifts are not really a central theme.  It’s all about the light. ( More on that next week.)  The American practice of giving gifts on Hannukah seems to have arisen in order to keep Jewish children from being bummed out because of Christmas.

Since my son’s father is Christian, my son goes to him for Christmas.  For the past few years, my son and I have been “doing” Thanksgiving together.

While my father was alive, my son would come to my parents’ house and he and I would make a kosher turkey, and we would all get gorked on the usual T-day dishes.

Last year I was still in shock from my father’s death in early October, so my son and his then-girlfriend made a huge feast at his house.  People dropped by, roommates who had stayed in town for their own reasons cruised by and partook, we all smoked a lot of weed, and generally had a good time.  My mother was not invited, because she has made herself unwelcome by her delight in shaming me in front of my son.

This year my mother decided to fly to my cousins and have Thanksgiving with them.  I was not invited.  My cousins, who suck up to her for their own reasons, did not invite me either.  That being the case, I felt no pangs of guilt when I accepted my son’s invitation, party of one.

Then my mother decided to cancel her Thanksgiving plans, for her own reasons.  Since she knew my son had invited me (party of one), she got herself invited to one of her many friends, who has a big family, so my mom could feel really angry that her own family had not invited her.

For some reason my son did not invite anyone else to dinner.  His own reasons, I guess.  It was a little weird having just he and I, especially since he was in one of his dark moods, brooding and irritable.  I really wish he would start taking lithium again, but he angrily rejects the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder that, in his opinion, was foisted upon him as a teenager.

So that was Thursday.

I slept in my camper van, in the parking lot of his apartment complex.  One of his neighbors, who had clearly been watching out for me, accosted me as I headed out to go to bed, demanding to know if I was visiting someone in the complex.  Surely he had seen me exiting my son’s door…

My nerves were already frazzled from dinner with my glowering son, so I fired back,

“Why do you want to know?”

“Because I think you’re just camping here.”  Whoa, let’s just get some holiday spirit of giving on here, hey?

I wanted to say to him, “Listen, Mr. Nice Guy, even if I was ‘just camping here,’ there’s a whole fucking empty parking lot because everyone has gone elsewhere for the holiday.  And what are you angry at, anyway?”

But I didn’t say that, because there’s always the possibility that a poor unhappy fucker like that will call the police, and I was already tired and tense enough.  So instead I said,

“Well, I am camping here.  This (pointing to my camper) is my bedroom.  I’m visiting ____ in Apartment _____.  Would you like him to come out and speak with you?”

As it turns out, this unfortunate fellow has seen my son, who is a weight lifter and quite muscular and buff.  So the sorry sucker subsided, and allowed as how that would not be necessary.  I also subsided, went into my spaceship and slept fitfully, as people constantly came and went, car lights and porch lights flashing.  My PTSD surrounding cops blazed like a tiger in the night.

Friday.  I woke up feeling like shit.  Depression.  Again. Still.

Went in and stood under my son’s excellent shower for half an hour while he went to work for a while.

When he came back, I said, “Listen, I’m feeling really disorganized brain-wise.  Do you mind if I hang out till tomorrow?”

The minute the words left my mouth I saw the twitch in his face that said, Oh No, Not That!

“Um…listen, Mom, to be honest, um, I really need my space.”

My heart hit the pavement.  Then I noticed the spiffy outfit.

Date.

Yeah, I was glad he was able to tell me no, but on the other hand I wished he had seen fit to be honest and say something more like, “Oh wow, Mom, I really wish you could, but since I thought you were leaving today, I made plans.”  That would have sent me off with a smile and a lighter heart.

“Oh, that’s OK,” I chirped, suddenly feeling like I’d been handed the bum rush.*

He graciously allowed me to stay long enough to use his internet to find a campground.  I found one pretty close by, said my goodbyes, and lit a shuck out of there.**

____________________________________________________

I called my mother today, just to see how she is doing, and I wish I had put money on the bet that I made with myself.  I would have won.  She barely spoke to me, and clearly had her victim act all planned out, in case I called.  I laughed.  Couldn’t help myself: it was all too predictable.

Now for the Miracle part.

My sweet Belgian Malinois, Atina, is most certainly an angel.

She sleeps in the right-hand third of my bed.  The left-hand third is reserved for all the computer-related shit that won’t fit anywhere else.

The only thing I had the energy to make for dinner was a cup of gluten-free microwave macaroni and cheese.  While I was mechanically going through the motions of making it, Atina was busy doing something in the bed.

She was pushing my duvet into a nest-like shape toward the pillow.  No, wait.  She was pushing it with her nose, straightening the edge up toward the pillow.  I thought, you cutie, you are making yourself a nest out of my duvet, and you know that’s my spot in the bed!  But I did not scold her.  My heart was brimming with love.  She pushed and pulled at my pillow, fluffing it and making it into a nice continuum with my duvet.  Aha, I thought, now I will see you plump yourself down in my spot!

But that’s not what she was about at all.

When she got my part of the bed all fixed up to her satisfaction, she plopped herself down–on her side of the bed!  She had made my bed up–for me!

I dropped what I was doing and hugged and kissed her for a long time.  By the way she reacted, she knew that I knew what she had done for me…she made a place for me to rest.  She did it with love and care.  As I write this, I am lying in the bed my dog prepared for me.  Her breathing is soft and even as she sleeps in her own third of the bed.

“Friends may come and friends may go, but your dog will always be glad to see you.”

_____________________________________________________

*”The bum rush”: A term dating from the Great Depression and possibly earlier, when many out-of-work men went “on the bum,” going from door to door begging for food, money, a place to sleep…if the man of the house took offense, the beggar would be chased off the place–“given the bum rush.”

**”To light a shuck” means “to leave in a hurry.”  It has its origin in the  Civil War, when dried corn shucks were used as fuses for light cannons and field artillery.  Once you “lit a shuck,” you had to run like hell because not only did the big guns recoil (and could run you over), but also sometimes the cannons would backfire, shooting cannon balls behind instead of in front of them.  The idiom is still in use in the Southern and Southwestern United States.  It is one of my favorites.

 

 

heavy heart full of pain

My friend here has (fortunately and unfortunately) captured what I feel when I’m profoundly depressed. I wonder if it’s like that for everybody. How about you? Can you share? I feel like sharing our experience of our illnesses is empowering. One of the signatures of depression is isolating oneself, or being alone in a crowd. If you feel like having a conversation about this, I think it might be helpful to a lot of people.

midnightdemons7

Heavy heart full of pain

I have been in a funk the past few hours. I thought it was because I didn’t eat for several hours but I had dinner and my heart sunk lower than it did before eating. I feel really miserable. I just feel really depressed and I don’t know why. That is the hardest part of dealing with this illness. It just takes so much just to go from a to b. I did a lot today but I still feel like I am useless. I feel like I have no purpose. I texted my therapist to tell me it is worth one’s while to live, but I haven’t heard back. I honestly don’t expect a response. She probably will give me a response tomorrow.

I just feel like my heart can’t take any more pain that I am feeling. It is getting to be unbearable…

View original post 541 more words

So Much For My Salmon!

Yesterday I shared my horror at discovering that the guvvy is mucking about with the food supply again–this time in the form of “GMO” giantized salmon.

At the very moment of that writing, a fillet of what looked to be perfectly normal Atlantic salmon reposed in my fridge.  I purchased this, mind you, before I had any idea that Frankensalmon could be even now glaring at me through the fish counter window.

After reading the GMO fish article I reflected a moment, then decided not to pitch it based on its petite proportions.  After all, I am petite (?). 

So this evening I decided to eat it, despite the fact that I was not at all hungry.  I have been struggling with this damn depression for many months now, which has ruined my appetite and made me even more petite.  But I gathered my resolve.  I must eat if I am to have strength to fight this monkey off my back, right?

So I took a pack of this yummy gluten free rice ramen, which tastes like cardboard soaked in hot pee.  A nice piece of fresh salmon will flavorize it, right?

Removing the fillet from its brown paper wrapping, I inspected it for signs of illegitimacy.  There were none.  I smelled it.  It smelled like fresh salmon.

Atina, my now-20-month-old Belgian Malinois, was driving me crazy humping her fleece blanket.  She does that.  Often.  She is a sex-crazed teenager.

So, to get her mind off of humping for two minutes, I cut a strip of raw salmon skin into tiny bits, made her sit and look deeeply into my eyes, and handed her a bit of salmon.

You would think that any dog would be in ecstatic transports, being the lucky recipient of a piece of salmon, no?

No.

Atina rolled it around on her palate, gave it a cursory chew, and spit it out on the floor with a look that said, “Awww, wadja do THAT for?”

“Girl,” says I, “You have just become the Royal Tasteress.”

I threw the rest of that fucking fish in the freezer, to be disposed of next time I go to the dump. 

I really think this is a sign that after our Thanksgiving duck I need to become a better vegetarian.

My main problem is motivation.  No, wait.  My main problem is that I’m too fucking depressed to care whether I eat or not.  It’s a vicious cycle, because the less I eat, the more my nutrition suffers, my body falls apart, my brain doesn’t work right, and everything sucks more.

If I had a lovely dark skinned South Indian kitchen staff cooking for me, I bet I’d eat.  There is nothing that will make my senses happier than dosai (a crepe made out of lentil paste) filled with spiced potatoes, with sambar (a piquant soup served with dosai and related dishes), coconut/green chili chutney, tamarind chutney, and slurping it up gloriously with the hands.

I think of my beautiful brown friends in South India who fed me so lovingly, and begged me to stop crying because it was making them sad.  But I couldn’t stop crying because no one had ever been so kind to me before.

One woman in particular touches my heart to its core.

She is a big woman in a culture that values petiteness, and she feels this acutely.  Also she is very dark, and Indian women are obsessed with trying to make themselves fair.

I think she is the most beautiful woman in the world.  When she wraps you up in her soft-strong hug, chuckling from somewhere in her soul, you feel embraced by the Cosmic Mother.

When she confided her sadnesses to me, I said, only half joking, “Oh my dear, you are so beautiful, can I come and live at your house?”

She looked very seriously and long, her deep brown eyes into my mood-ring blue hazel ones, and said,

“Yes.”

Unlike myself, who live in a tin can with a bathroom in it, my friend lives in a mud hut with no bathroom in it.  Cooking is done over an open fire.  Panthers, tigers, snakes and rabid domestic animals are the local hazards, not counting the men.  My friend’s husband beat her because she miscarried her baby, then he left her for another girl.

I have to think of her more.  A large part of me wishes I hadn’t left.  Another, larger piece of me wants to go back and find her.   I would learn how to cook dosai, iddlies, vadas, biryani…anything to make those deep brown eyes light up.

But no salmon.

I don’t believe my friend has tasted salmon.

Article: The FDA finally approved ‘Frankenfish’ — the first genetically modified animal you can eat

“The FDA finally approved ‘Frankenfish’ — the first genetically modified animal you can eat”

http://flip.it/a3dJe

And you thought GMO soybeans were scary?

This article should have come out on Halloween.

I’m just speculating here, but if I wanted to make a fish that grew hugely bigger in a much smaller time than its normal cohorts, I would increase its secretion of growth hormone.

But wait: the article states that the fish are sterile.  They can’t reproduce, or so they say.  So does that mean that each fish is the subject of generic tweaking?  Sounds expensive to me.  Since the driving force behind more-for-less is money, I doubt that there is an army of experts injecting fish fry with modified DNA.  (The baby fish kind of fry, not the kind with hushpuppies.)

And what about the fact that the US won’t even allow these mega fish to be cultured in the States, but only imported from two specific sites in Canada and Panama?

And what about the article’s statement that the water in which the fish are grown must be carefully contained so that it doesn’t reach the oceans and contaminate wild fish?  This implies that there’s something in the water that is causing these fish to grow huge in a short time.  I vote for growth hormone.

Now we come to the really scary part:  since the FDA has declared these modified fish to be identical with wild-type salmon, there is no mandate to label it as GMO.

I find this terrifying on a number of levels.

One is that the FDA is scared enough about the safety of growing these monsters using the methods proposed, that it outright bans the type of aquaculture that it’s permitting us to eat products thereof.

The second is that our children are already experiencing puberty at younger and younger ages.  Where 30 years ago the average age of puberty for a girl was 12, now it’s not uncommon for a girl to have her first menstrual period at 8, in certain ethnic groups, and 10 overall.  There is evidence that this is caused by hormones used to beef up food animals and to increase milk production in dairy cows.  How do we know what the long term effects of whatever they’re putting in these fishes’ water might be on growing humans?  We won’t know for at least another generation.

The third is that since there is no labeling requirement, we have no way of knowing what we’re eating.  I’m hoping the giant fish will look different, at least.

Damn, I bought a piece of salmon at Whole Foods yesterday.  It was from a very small fish, though.  I’ll eat it anyway.

But I think this will be the last “regular” salmon I eat.  Maybe Coho, or….maybe goodbye, farmed fish.  It was such a good idea.  Aquaculture was supposed to have saved the world’s food supply.  Instead, I believe we’re headed in the opposite direction.

Lentils.  I don’t think they’ve messed with lentils yet.

Egyptian TV Host: ISIS Is Israeli-British-American Made, Al-Baghdadi a Jew

Had your daily dose of the absurd yet?  This won’t take long.  I laughed so hard, my coffee went up my nose!.

http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/5169.htm

Ad Ana..How Long?

While the world reels from the news of the Paris massacre, millions of observant Jews the world over will not know what has happened until after sundown Saturday night.

That is because during our Sabbath, which begins shortly before sunset on Friday and ends after sundown on Saturday, observant Jews do not listen to radio, watch TV, use the computer, or do anything besides pray, share festive meals, study Torah (our sacred texts), and rest.

Clearly, I’m not observant at this time.

But when I was, I remember emerging from the Sabbath bubble on Saturday night to hear of one or another horrible acts of mass destruction. 

I can only imagine the terror, the overburdened communication services as Jews fly to the phones, Skype, email, etc, to try to locate family and friends in Paris, on Saturday night.

This is what the terrorists want.  They want terror!  And they will keep getting what they want, as long as we keep giving it to them.

A good friend, who will not know about the Paris massacre until tomorrow night, said this to me yesterday:

There are two ways to think about the problem.  There is the Saul way, and there is the David way.

Saul said, “No, we can’t possibly fight the Philistines!  There are too many of them!  They are giants!  They are demanding that we send out our best hero, and we don’t have any hero to send out!”

David said, “Fuck a bunch of that.  My God is all the hero I need.”

Even if you don’t believe in such a thing as a God (I’m not sure), it’s crucial to look at things from David’s point of view.  Are we going to let ourselves be globally bullied in the name of political correctness, or are we going to demonstrate to those who would kill us that it’s really not worth the trouble?

We are stuck between the fire and the frying pan in a lot of ways.

The late Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo, once wrote, “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”  I quote this often, because I believe it’s a risk we take when we react to violence with violence.

Another problem is that when dealing with an enemy for whom the best possible outcome is to become a “martyr” (in quotes because dying for one’s beliefs historically does not include taking innocent lives with you), paying violence back with violence simply fans the flames.

On the other hand, doing nothing, or trying to broker peace by means of words, does not buy peace.  Our enemies see this as weak.

It seems that no matter what we do, no matter how easy we make it, how many doors are opened, there is a large and growing faction that now is not content merely to murder Jews and become martyrs.  This new “caliphate” actually DOES want to take over the world.

When IS first raised its head the world laughed.  How could a handful of rabid extremists do more than blow themselves up in town squares in Syria? 

The world is not laughing now.  More and more disaffected youth from every part of the world are going into training camps to become IS fighters.  Young women willingly travel to Syria to marry fighters and make more of them.  Girls are kidnapped, raped, and forced to marry IS fighters, to make more of them. 

Americans watch TV and say,  “That’s on the other side of the world.  It has nothing to do with us.  It’s a passing thing.”

I watch the Western world’s reaction to the growing violence, and I think of the same reaction during the run-up to World War II, the outrageous rounding up of Roma, gays, Catholics, and, of course, Jews.  No one could believe that this was happening, because it was unbelievable.

When I speak this way, people shout me down, accuse me of being a pessimist, a Chicken Little, tell me this is a whole different thing, a tempest in a teapot, etc.

But it’s not.

It’s the same thing, different day, and this time it’s not just the Jews (although it seems that anytime is open season on Jews).

It’s everybody.

So I ask you…is Goliath really so big nowadays that one mighty force cannot destroy him?

Tell me what you think.  I’m listening, and I’m afraid.

Packed With Wholesome Goodness

And it’s heart-healthy, Zero Everything, Good For You, and 100% Whole Grain (OK, the grain is white flour, but still).

Where have I just come from, dear readers?  Planet Claire?  Well, yes, and they also have grocery stores.

I would like to find the advertising executives who work for the companies that use this vapid copy. 

Can I write for you?  I can put together asinine slogans such as, “Filled With The Wholesome Goodness of Heart-Healthy Whole Grains.”

I actually saw a number of combinations of these exemplary examples of advertising copy, as I was cruising the aisles looking for what I really wanted, which was of course buried among the Good-For-You foods.  I don’t really like things that are Good For Me, as a rule.  I mean, I do like them, but at the moment I am too depressed to prepare them, let alone eat them; so I am making do with Heart-Healthy microwave meals, which are much too small for the calories contained.  Did I mention I’m a recovering anorexic? 

It was really terribly amusing to amble through the aisles noting the repetitive, monotonous descriptive cliches.  Any reasonably motivated blogger could make a pile of money cranking out Zero, Good For You, Wholesome Goodness, with a little Delicious and Nutritious and maybe Yummy thrown in to clinch the deal.

Since all advertising has to adhere to the Stick To Eighth Grade level of literacy rule, I guess “Scrumptious” is out of the question.  It’s ninth grade.

On a positive note, I discovered a brand of gluten free Oreo knock-offs that promise to be “Wonderously Rich.”  Splendid! 

They made it as far as the van before I took a scissors to the wrapper and sampled them.  It was my duty.

I don’t know about Wonderously Rich, but let me tell you they are CRUNCHY and DELICIOUS!  It’s very difficult to find crunchy and delicious gluten free cookies.  I ate two.

Speaking of ad speak, what’s this garbage about (fill in the blank)-free?  What are these things “free” of?  Disease?  Germs?  Lead?

Caffeine.  Gluten.  Lactose.  Fat.  Sugar.

Hell, in the olden days we used to say things like, “sugarless candy,”  or “skim milk (that’s fat-free), or even “diet pop,” which might have been sugarless, but it was never caffeine free.  What’s the point?   You want a bump, maybe you don’t want 240 calories (you want to know the caloric content of anything?  Just ask any anorexic), but decaf soda?  Ridiculous.

It was an uplifting experience, strolling down the supermarket aisles and sneering at the creme-filled, whole-grain, heart-healthy cupcakes.

Bon appetite!

When Is Enough Enough?

I lived with my father as he slowly died in increasingly excruciating pain over years and years.  When my mother was home, she forbid him to say, “I hurt,” and she withheld his pain medication “because it made him sleep all the time.”

He slept all the time anyway, because that was the only way he could reduce his pain level.  He groaned in his sleep, though.

Unfortunately, I have inherited the disease that caused his pain: degenerative joint disease, with the added agony of degenerative disc disease.

For the past few weeks the combination of mental and physical pain has me close to the breaking point.  I can’t take opiates because they make me itch, and my skin condition makes it impossible to scratch without tearing off pieces of myself, leaving a wound that takes a month to heal.  In addition, the docs in this part of the country are so afraid of opiates that they refuse to prescribe.  So I’m stuck with using mj, which is somewhat illegal here.  But I have things to do, so I can’t use enough to really relieve the pain, because that would put me in bed.  So I’m screwed.

The psychic pain–there are no words to describe. 

Part of it is endogenous.  Part is environmental–the part of the country I’m stuck in at the moment is grey and damp, two things I can’t stand.  The sun came out for five minutes today and it was balm to my soul.  I’m out of here just as soon as my task is done.

My task is to clean my stuff out of my father’s old studio, where I lived for the last four years of his life.  It took me four days just to clear the spiders out.  Now I’m sorting  through things, making three piles: throw out, because of damage from humidity; give away, because I’m not going to use anymore; keep.

Just to to the situational depression off, Atina is not doing well.  This week her labs were worse.  Her kidneys are getting leakier.  They’re no longer holding her blood proteins in her blood.  They were leaking protein before, but her serum proteins were holding their own; now her kidneys are leaking more than her body can produce to keep up with the loss.

Today we took a short walk in the woods.  It’s been raining for weeks, and since it had stopped this morning (but is back now) I thought it would do us both good to take a walk.  But she wasn’t interested in playing in the creek, and although she carried her ball, she didn’t want to play with it.  And she simply collapsed halfway through where I wanted to go, which is only half a mile on flat ground.  I had to sit down and wait for her to recover.

Now she has fallen off the driver’s seat, which is where she normally sleeps, and is passed out on the floor where she landed.  It looks like she’s nearing the end of her sweet life.

When will my misery end?

I want to stay alive until my son finishes his Ph.D in May.  I want to see him off on the next part of his journey.

He and I have talked about what we lived through with his grandpa, and that I have the same illness, with the added fun of bipolar.  We have had the talk about what will happen when I can’t stand the pain any longer.

It’s one thing to talk about it, and another thing to live it.  I know he’ll survive.  But losing one’s mother is a terrible thing.  And living in agony is a terrible thing.

There will come a tipping point.  I keep on living for others: for my son, for my dog…should I get another dog?  Can I live that long?

In three years my income will be drastically reduced, to the point where I literally can’t live.  I guess that will be the end of the line, if it doesn’t come sooner.

The Knife Intifada Video

Yup, you’re right.  I don’t drag politics into my blog, because my blog is about living with mental illness, and I hold to that.

However, there is something going on in the world that can no longer be ignored, pushed off as a one-off, or justified by other actions.

Rather than waste more of your time, I ask you to watch what’s going on here, and regardless of your political position, ask yourself, “what does this mean for ME, as a human being, and for the world?  Do I believe in genocide for any reason?  Who is the people who are marked for genocide here?  Are they a numerous people?  Is genocide condoned by the UN?”