ένας πρώην γράφει στον πρώην

Dayton, Ohio,

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson

Any Little Fish

Any little fish can swim, any little bird can fly
Any little dog and any little cat
Can do a bit of this and just a bit of that
Any little horse can neigh, any little cow can moo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

Any little cock can crow, any little fox can run,
Any little crab on any little shore
Can have a little dab and then a little more
Any little owl can hoot (to-whit, to-whoo)
Any little dove can coo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

Any little bug can bite, any little bee can buzz
Any little snail on any little oak
Can feel a little frail and have a little joke
Any little frog can jump like any little kangaroo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

Any little duck can quack, any little worm can crawl
Any little mole can frolic in the sun
And make a little hole and have a lot of fun
Any little snake can hiss, in any little local zoo
But I can’t do anything at all, but just love you!

– Words and music Noel Coward

Ο λόγος της Greta Thunberg στη Γενική Συνέλευση του ΟΗΕ για το κλίμα

Climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019.

[The full transcript of her speech.]

My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

You say you “hear” us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I don’t want to believe that. Because if you fully understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And I refuse to believe that.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5C degrees, and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Maybe 50% is acceptable to you. But those numbers don’t include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of justice and equity. They also rely on my and my children’s generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us – we who have to live with the consequences.

To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5C global temperature rise – the best odds given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world had 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide left to emit back on 1 January 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

[πηγή: youtube Greta Thunberg (Young Climate Activist) at the Climate Action Summit 2019 – Official Video 4:07]

Ο λόγος της Severn Suzuki στη Σύνοδο Κορυφής για τη Γη

In 1992, at age 12, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of David Suzuki, raised money with members of ECO to attend the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Along with group members Michelle Quigg, Vanessa Suttie, and Morgan Geisler, Cullis-Suzuki presented environmental issues from a youth perspective at the summit, where she was applauded for a speech to the delegates. The video has since become a viral hit, popularly known as “The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes“.

[Here is the Transcript of that Speech]

Hello, I’m Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. – The Environmental Children’s organisation.

We are a group of twelve and thirteen-year-olds from Canada trying to make a difference:

Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg and me.

We raised all the money ourselves to come six thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future.

Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.

I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard.

I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go. We cannot afford to be not heard.

I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it.

I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants going exinct every day – vanishing forever.

In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterfilies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.

Did you have to worry about these little things when you were my age?

All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions.

I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you!

You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.
You don’t know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream.
You don’t know how to bring back an animal now extinct.
And you can’t bring back forests that once grew where there is now desert.

If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!

Here, you may be delegates of your governments, business people, organisers, reporters or poiticians – but really you are mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, aunts and uncles – and all of you are somebody’s child.

I’m only a child yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong, in fact, 30 million species strong and we all share the same air, water and soil – borders and governments will never change that.

I’m only a child yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world towards one single goal.

In my anger, I am not blind, and in my fear, I am not afraid to tell the world how I feel.

In my country, we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, buy and htrow away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose some of our wealth, afraid to share.

In Canada, we live the privileged life, with plenty of food, water and shelter – we have watches, bicycles, computers and television sets.

Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent some time with some children living on the streets.

And this is what one child told us: “I wish I was rich and if I were, I would give all the street children food, clothes, medicine, shelter and love and affection.”

If a child on the street who has nothing, is willing to share, why are we who have everyting still so greedy?

I can’t stop thinking that these children are my age, that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I could be one of those children living in the Favellas of Rio; I could be a child starving in Somalia; a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India.

I’m only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental answers, what a wonderful place this earth would be!

At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us to behave in the world. You teach us:

not to fight with others,
to work things out,
to respect others,
to clean up our mess,
not to hurt other creatures
to share – not be greedy

Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?

Do not forget why you’re attending these conferences, who you’re doing this for – we are your own children.

You are deciding what kind of world we will grow up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying “everyting’s going to be alright’, “we’re doing the best we can” and “it’s not the end of the world”.

But I don’t think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities? My father always says “You are what you do, not what you say.”

Well, what you do makes me cry at night. you grown ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words. Thank you for listening.

[πηγή: youtube ECO_92 6:41]

 

How to Grow Old

by Bertrand Russell

In spite of the title, this article will really be on how not to grow old, which, at my time of life, is a much more important subject. My first advice would be to choose your ancestors carefully. Although both my parents died young, I have done well in this respect as regards my other ancestors. My maternal grandfather, it is true, was cut off in the flower of his youth at the age of sixty-seven, but my other three grandparents all lived to be over eighty. Of remoter ancestors I can only discover one who did not live to a great age, and he died of a disease which is now rare, namely, having his head cut off. A great-grandmother of mine, who was a friend of Gibbon, lived to the age of ninety-two, and to her last day remained a terror to all her descendants. My maternal grandmother, after having nine children who survived, one who died in infancy, and many miscarriages, as soon as she became a widow devoted herself to women’s higher education. She was one of the founders of Girton College, and worked hard at opening the medical profession to women. She used to tell of how she met in Italy an elderly gentleman who was looking very sad. She asked him why he was so melancholy and he said that he had just parted from his two grandchildren. ‘Good gracious,’ she exclaimed, ‘I have seventy-two grandchildren, and if I were sad each time I parted from one of them, I should have a miserable existence!’ ‘Madre snaturale!,’ he replied. But speaking as one of the seventy-two, I prefer her recipe. After the age of eighty she found she had some difficulty in getting to sleep, so she habitually spent the hours from midnight to 3 a.m. in reading popular science. I do not believe that she ever had time to notice that she was growing old. This, I think, is the proper recipe for remaining young. If you have wide and keen interests and activities in which you can still be effective, you will have no reason to think about the merely statistical fact of the number of years you have already lived, still less of the probable shortness of your future.

As regards health, I have nothing useful to say as I have little experience of illness. I eat and drink whatever I like, and sleep when I cannot keep awake. I never do anything whatever on the ground that it is good for health, though in actual fact the things I like doing are mostly wholesome.

Psychologically there are two dangers to be guarded against in old age. One of these is undue absorption in the past. It does not do to live in memories, in regrets for the good old days, or in sadness about friends who are dead. One’s thoughts must be directed to the future, and to things about which there is something to be done. This is not always easy; one’s own past is a gradually increasing weight. It is easy to think to oneself that one’s emotions used to be more vivid than they are, and one’s mind more keen. If this is true it should be forgotten, and if it is forgotten it will probably not be true.

The other thing to be avoided is clinging to youth in the hope of sucking vigour from its vitality. When your children are grown up they want to live their own lives, and if you continue to be as interested in them as you were when they were young, you are likely to become a burden to them, unless they are unusually callous. I do not mean that one should be without interest in them, but one’s interest should be contemplative and, if possible, philanthropic, but not unduly emotional. Animals become indifferent to their young as soon as their young can look after themselves, but human beings, owing to the length of infancy, find this difficult.

I think that a successful old age is easiest for those who have strong impersonal interests involving appropriate activities. It is in this sphere that long experience is really fruitful, and it is in this sphere that the wisdom born of experience can be exercised without being oppressive. It is no use telling grownup children not to make mistakes, both because they will not believe you, and because mistakes are an essential part of education. But if you are one of those who are incapable of impersonal interests, you may find that your life will be empty unless you concern yourself with your children and grandchildren. In that case you must realise that while you can still render them material services, such as making them an allowance or knitting them jumpers, you must not expect that they will enjoy your company.

Some old people are oppressed by the fear of death. In the young there there is a justification for this feeling. Young men who have reason to fear that they will be killed in battle may justifiably feel bitter in the thought that they have been cheated of the best things that life has to offer. But in an old man who has known human joys and sorrows, and has achieved whatever work it was in him to do, the fear of death is somewhat abject and ignoble. The best way to overcome it -so at least it seems to me- is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.

[from “Portraits From Memory And Other Essays”] via

Επικήδειος

A 38-year-old woman who died from cancer has written a beautiful obituary that’ll seriously change your outlook on life.

Before her death, Sonia Todd said she didn’t like the traditional way obituaries are often written. Instead, she wanted it to be realistic and reflect whoshe actually was – faults and all.

[01946]

My obituary

My name is Sonia Todd and I died of cancer at the age of 38. I decided to write my own obituary because they are usually written in a couple of different ways that I just don’t care for. Either family or friends gather together, and list every minor accomplishment from cradle to grave in a timeline format, or they try to create one poetic last stanza about someone’s life that is so glowing one would think the deceased had been the living embodiment of a deity.

I don’t like the timeline format because, let’s face it, I never really accomplished anything of note. Other than giving birth to my two wonderful, lovable, witty and amazing sons (James and Jason), marrying my gracious, understanding and precious husband (Brian), and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior – I have done very little. None of that requires obit space that I have to shell out money for.

I also didn’t want a bunch of my friends sitting around writing a glowing report of me that we all know would be filled with fish tales, half-truths, impossible scenarios, and outright honest-to-goodness lies. I just don’t like to put people in that kind of situation.

The truth, or my version of it, is this: I just tried to do the best I could. Sometimes I succeeded, most of the time I failed, but I tried. For all of my crazy comments, jokes, and complaints, I really did love people. The only thing that separates me from anyone else is the type of sin each of us participated in. I didn’t always do the right thing or say the right thing and when you come to the end of your life those are the things you really regret, the small simple things that hurt other people.

My life was not perfect and I encountered many, many bumps in the road. I would totally scrap the years of my life from age 16 to 20 … OK, maybe 14 to 22. I think that would eradicate most of my fashion disasters and hair missteps from the ’80s. But mostly, I enjoyed life. Some parts of it were harder than others but I learned something from every bad situation and I couldn’t do any more than that.

Besides there are some benefits to dying youngish. For example, I still owe on my student loans and the joke’s on them cuz I’m not paying them. Plus, I am no longer afraid of serial killers, telemarketers, or the IRS. I don’t have to worry about wrinkles or the ozone layer and/or hide from the news during election season.

Some folks told me that writing my own obituary was morbid, but I think it is great because I get a chance to say “thank you” to all the people who helped me along the way. Those that loved me, assisted me, cared for me, laughed with me, and taught me things so that I could have a wonderful, happy life. I was blessed beyond measure by knowing all of you. That is what made my life worthwhile.

If you think of me, and would like to do something in honor of my memory, do this:

Volunteer at a school, church, or library.

Write a letter to someone and tell them how they have had a positive impact on your life.

If you smoke – quit.

If you drink and drive – stop.

Turn off the electronics and take a kid out for ice cream and talk to them about their hopes and dreams.

Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Stop at all lemonade stands run by kids and brag about their product.

Make someone smile today if it is in your power to do so.

The Troubles Tree

 

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stoney silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward, he walked me to my car.

We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. “Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

He Had a Year to Do It in

procrastination

He had a year to do it in
So brushed the thought away,
A chap with half his energy
Might do it in a day.
A year! ‘Twas too ridiculous,
As everyone should find;
However, he would get it done
And have it off his mind.

But not today. A few months hence would suit him better still;
Meanwhile, a far less irksome job
Might occupy his skill.
He would not let the matter pass
Entirely from him, No;
And doubtless he might take it up
In, say a month or so.

He had six months to do it in!
For six long months had flown;
Well, why should that alarm a chap
With talents like his own?
The job, whence once embarked upon,
Would soon be rattled through;
However, he would think of it,
In, say, a week or two.

He had three months to do it in!
“Oh brother!” was his cry;
The thing hangs on me like a weight,
Each day that passes by.
Let’s see: three months? Ah, that’s enough,
But, just to clear the doubt,
Make arrangements for a start
Before the month is out.

He had a week to do it in!
And care was in his glance.
“It’s hard,” he cried, “that flight of time,
Won’t give a chap a chance!”
He still delayed, the swift week passed,
As weeks will ever run,
And though a year was given him,
The task was still undone.

– John Lea in ‘Boys Own Paper’ (Volume 37 Issue 3, January 1915)