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I Am Malala
This is a book well worth reading. Malala was shot while just trying to go to school like any other girl; except as a Muslim girl, this was not acceptable. She currently is in England and can't return to her native country. Many of her friends do not see her as a champion of education, but as a trouble maker.
Malala Yousafzai, 7/12/1997—is the young woman from Pakistan who was shot simply because she got on the bus to go to school, like most young people do everyday. Her family always valued education, but as her country was becoming overrun with terrorists who believed women didn’t have the right to go to school, many girls were staying home. The Taliban forbid girls in her native Swat valley to attend schools, but a few brave ones continued to go anyway. Malala was singled out and was hit by three shots the day she was attacked on the school bus, critically injured. One bullet hit the side of her forehead, traveled through her face, and went through her shoulder.
Malala remained unconscious for several days, but in the face of media attention, was finally brought to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England for treatment. At the time, her family was frantic, and government officials had to quickly get her a passport to get her to the hospital. So when she awoke, she was alone and frightened, her family had not yet arrived. Offers came pouring in from doctors to help Malala, because her condition was so serious. The Pakistani government paid all her medical bills, and after several serious surgeries, one where she had to be put in a coma, she began her journey of recovery. She thankfully has no brain damage, but her skull had to be reconstructed, and her lost hearing had to be restored.
This disgusting assassination attempt has begun a great outpouring of support for Malala in the International community, as she has become a Pakistani icon for Women’s Education. The 2013 Time Magazine named her “one of the most Influential People in the World.” She received Pakistan’s first International Youth Peace Prize. Malala has spoken at the United Nations about the importance of young girls and women getting education. Later in 2014, she was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggles against the suppression of education. In the April 27, 2015 issue of Time Magazine, it announces that a Nasa Astronomer named an asteroid after Malala, now called 316201 Malala.
Sadly, the Taliban split up her family and they were displaced from the valley where they lived. As she became more recognized, death threats to her and her family became more common. Finally the Pakistani army pushed the Taliban out of the valley, and the family was reunited and returned home. But Malala had to stay in Birmingham, England for quite some time before it was safe return home.
Although revered as a heroine in the U.S. and other countries, her reception in her homeland of Pakistan has been mixed. Many feel the West used her to bring their own agenda to Pakistan, as if educating women is so dangerous. They also don’t like the spotlight on the fact that there are so many militant groups who are dangerous running loose in their country. Although Malala’s shooter has been indentified, he remains at large. Malala’s book, “I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up For Education, and Was Shot By the Taliban”, is banned in Pakistan. But it is definitely worth reading, and shocking to people in other countries where we often take education for granted.
Robin Williams—7/22/1951—8/11/2014--was a well known standup comic and an Oscar winning actor. He got his start on the TV show Mork and Mindy, playing an alien who improvised most of his lines in the funny series. Williams went to the Julliard School, where he was a classmate of Christopher Reeves, remaining a staunch friend to him and his family after his tragic accident, which led to his being quadriplegic. Apparently Williams played the role of an eccentric Russian doctor, complete with zany accent, when he visited, and it’s been said this was the first time Reeves laughed and knew he would do well for as long as he did.
Robin Williams also played a role on Happy Days, but decided he liked comedy better in front of a live audience, and began to do stand up in clubs. He was a huge hit, and had several specials on HBO, including an appearance at the Metropolitan Opera House. He was a master of dialects and could move in and out of characters in seconds, so his comedy had a frantic, yet hilarious, pace. He was in several critically acclaimed films, among them Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and the Fisher King. But just when he thought the Academy was ignoring his acting work, he won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, a film which also had Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, both fledgling unknowns at that time. Williams also played an adult Peter Pan in Hook, and delighted audiences once again with his improvisational skills and humor.
He also became a humanitarian, and took up the Comic Relief project with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, which was a yearly comedy special given to collect funds for homeless people. Williams also performed abroad to entertain American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. A fan of bicycling, he owned 50 bikes and enjoyed riding them near his home in San Francisco. Robin Williams had problems with alcohol and drugs, which contributed to the breakup of his first two marriages. He has three children, and was last married to Susan Schneider, since November of 2011. Robin had a huge love for video games, and is said to have named his daughter Zelda after Princess Zelda of the very popular Legend of Zelda video role playing games. He voiced numerous cartoon characters in movies for children’s audiences as well, among them Aladdin, and The Timekeeper, a former attraction at Walt Disney World. Robin Williams made his Broadway acting debut in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, by Rajiv Joseph. He also appeared opposite Steve Martin at Lincoln Center in an Off Broadway production of Waiting for Godot. Robin Williams was a very multi talented person, true of most Cancer people. His kindness towards his friend Reeve and hard work to raise money to try to end homelessness are other examples of the nurturing characteristic shown by Cancer people.
The shocking news that Williams took his own life in his home in California in 2014 deeply affected his fans, because he was so well loved by many. Apparently he had suffered many long bouts of depression, a condition which needs to be taken more seriously in the U.S. Robin was the only child of wealthy parents, and it seems he often did comedy routines for them, servants and friends, in order to be accepted, because of his shyness. When he finally won that coveted Oscar, he looked so bashful, and this writer could see the little boy in him who made people laugh because he needed so much to be loved and accepted. If only he realized how much he was.
Williams Accepts Oscar for Good Will Hunting
Liv Tyler—7/1/1977—is a model and American actress who achieved international recognition in the role of Elf Maiden Arwen in the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy. She is the daughter of Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, but her mother, Bebe Buell, a former Playboy Playmate, did not tell her the truth about this until Liv was eight years old. She noticed a family resemblance to him and one of his other daughters. Buell admits that Tyler was too drug addicted at the time of Liv’s birth, and thought it would hurt her to know that Tyler was her father. The two enjoy a close relationship now.
Liv Tyler began a modeling career at age 14 and got help from Paulina Porizkova, who took photos of her which ran in Interview Magazine. She later got parts in a few commercials, and took part in an Aerosmith video with Alicia Silverstone, in the 1993 “Crazy.” But her breakthrough role came in Stealing Beauty, where she played Lucy Harmon, a romantic and innocent teen who travels to Italy with the intent of losing her virginity. It got mixed reviews from critics, but most people think she has an endearing lack of self consciousness and lush good looks. She played the role of a young woman married to a rock group of a “one hit wonder” in the 1960’s, called That Thing You Do, and stole many hearts with that. She played roles with Bruce Willis and a love interest of Ben Affleck’s in Armeggedon. It made $553 million and made several songs on the soundtrack famous, including two from Aerosmith, What Kind Of Love Are You On?, and I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. When she played Arwin in The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, she had to learn the fictitious language used by the Hobbits. Her performance was deemed “lovely and earnest.” One year later, Liv appeared in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, for which she had to learn sword fighting. This was another success. The third part of the trilogy, The Return of the King, was also an enormous hit.
Liv Tyler was engaged to Royston Langdon for two years, and they have an 8 yr. old son together, although they have separated. Since then she has relocated from living in New York to Los Angeles. She is an active supporter of UNICEF, and a Goodwill Ambassador for the U.S. in 2003. Since 2004, Tyler has donated funds to the Woman’s Research Cancer Fund, and with her Mother and Grandmother, launched a pink drink called Emergen-C, to support Breast Cancer awareness week. Liv is a spokesperson for Givenchy perfume and cosmetics, and in 2005 the branch named a rose after her and used it in one of their fragrances. She has signed on for two more years as a Givenchy spokesperson. In 2011, Liv announced a collaboration between Givenchy perfumes and Sony music. She sang a cover of the INXS song Need You Tonight in a video released in 2012. She also co-wrote a book on manners with her Grandmother Dorothea Johnson, called Modern Manners, to be released this year too. Liv Tyler has the many interests of a Cancer person, changeable as the moon as it passes through all the zodiac signs in the course of one month!
The Dalai Lama
The 14th Current Dalai Lama
The 14th and Current Dalai Lama—7/6/41935—Tenzin Gyatso or Lhamo Dondrub, is the most important person in the lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetans believe a Dalai Lama to be a reincarnation of his predecessors and the manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. So a search party was sent out to find the incarnation of the next Dalai Lama when the present one was only two years old. It was said that the embalmed head of the deceased, prior Dalai Lama was facing Northeast, and this was considered a clue as to where the current Dalai Lama would be found. The Regent, Reting Rinpoche, had a vision of a sacred lake, which indicated that a town named Ando would be the correct place to search.
It was in a house nearby that the boy who would become the 14th Dalai Lama was found, and given toys and gifts that belonged to his predecessor. He apparently recognized these items, and claimed them immediately. Lhamo Dondrub was placed under house arrest because the court of the deceased Dalai Lama did not want to face the fact that their past Dalai Lama was gone, but finally they could no longer keep him from his rightful place in Tibet. He was formally enthroned at the age of fifteen, and regular Tibetans refer to him as Kundun (Presence).
His monastic education commenced at age six, and at age eleven he met an Austrian videographer and tutor to teach him about life outside of Lhasa. He was twenty three when he was tested and passed the Lharampa degree, equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. During his reign a border crisis broke out between China and Tibet, because the Chinese under Chiang Kai-shek did not want Tibet to be a free nation, and did not want them to seek help from the Japanese. In the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama was taken to India, forced to flee for the sake of his safety. He set up a Government of Tibet in Exile, which is also called “Little Lhasa.” Shortly afterward he helped re-establish the 80,000 Tibetan refugees who followed him into exile, founded an agricultural lifestyle, and set up an educational system, so that Tibetan children could learn the language, history, religion and culture that was their rightful heritage.
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established too, along with the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. This is the primary school for all Tibetans exiled in India. In 1970, he opened the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala, home to over 80,000 manuscripts and important resources related to Tibetan politics, culture, and history. It is considered the most important institution for Tibetology in the world. The Dalai Lama wants Tibet to be an International Zone of Peace, and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Although many wish to see his return to Tibet, he wants it to be without any preconditions from the Chinese. On a personal note, he has lost faith that the Chinese wish to negotiate about his homeland of Tibet at all. He is active in spreading India’s message of non-violence and religious harmony around the world. It is his belief that India is “The Master” and Tibet is “the disciple.” It is his hope that the 21st century will be about tolerance and dialogue. He has a very charismatic personality, and has garnered much support for Tibetan independence and autonomy in the Western World.
The Dalai Lama on Compassion
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau—7/12/1817—5/6/1862—a Cancer who perhaps best expressed the need to have time alone, when he wrote about his experience On Walden Pond, a two year experiment where he built his own cabin in the middle of the woods on the pond in MA, and “lived life simply and deliberately.” It has been said he even borrowed the axe he used to cut down the first trees to build with, an example of Cancerian frugality. I cannot quote him too much here, as he is one of my heroes, and I would put myself in danger of duplicate content in my own writings if I did so.
Thoreau was one of the leading transcendentalists of his time, as well as an author, poet, philosopher, historian, critic of development, a tax resistor and abolitionist. His essay on Civil Disobedience is a great argument for individual resistance against the state, when one has moral objections to what the state’s objectives may be. Thoreau is best known for writing his book, On Walden Pond though, and his love of living in the simplest surroundings while enjoying nature and what beauty it has to offer.
It was very important to him that people understand that they should see beyond illusions and that they really did not need so many things in order to be happy. This was in the 1800’s, so was an idea well before it’s time and one which should still be heeded today. There were some who called him an anarchist, but Thoreau was not against government, he just was against a bad one, and thought most government could be improved upon. He was born in Concord, MA, and lived in New England for all his life. Thoreau graduated from Harvard University and refused to pay the $5.00 for his diploma. He worked as a botanist and a land surveyor. This philosopher and lover of nature was the Father of environmentalism and ecology.
Ringo Starr of the Beatles
Ringo Starr—July 7, 1940—Ringo Starr, or Richard Starkey, is best known as the congenial, well loved drummer of the Beatles. He sang lead vocals on Beatles numbers such as Yellow Submarine, A Little Help From My Friends, Act Naturally, and Octopus’s Garden. It was difficult to drum to psychedelic tunes that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote, so Ringo had to be a very creative drummer, and he was admirably up to the task. He is very humble about his abilities, but many of the greatest drummers have praise for his versatility on the drums, and Cancer people tend to underestimate themselves.
Ringo was a very sickly child and was hospitalized for two years during his childhood, suffering from stomach ailments for most of his life. Ringo has been in several movies, and is the most documented and acclaimed actor of the Beatles. He has had several solo albums since the Beatles breakup. He was married to Maureen Fox, with whom he had three children, but sadly she passed on in 1994. Ringo met Barbara Bach on the movie set of Caveman, she was once a Bond girl in The Spy Who Loved Me. Ringo and Bach have been married since 1981. He became a Grandfather for the first time in 1985, and seems to relish the role of family life, as most Cancer people do. Ringo is the perpetual “good sport” and played the part of “Mr. Conductor” in the PBS children’s show Shining Time Station, a show about Thomas the Tank Engine.
Ringo’s son Zak is also a drummer, and learned from the best, his own father and Keith Moon of The Who fame. Ringo is over 70 now, looks very healthy, and still is active in recording albums, performing in benefit concerts and the like. He sang a beautiful rendition of “Photograph” at the Concert for George, one year after Harrsion’s death. The song was written by Harrison and Starr, and Ringo says at the concert that, “I never thought I would be singing this song under these circumstances,” and then his professionalism kicked in. Ringo is credited with thinking up lyrics to many Beatles songs when the others were stuck. Although he has won many awards, he is still waiting to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame separately, as all the other Beatles were inducted both as a group and as individuals. Since he has been outspoken about how obsolete the Monarchy is in England and how much money it takes the working class to support the Royal’s lifestyles, it is unlikely that Ringo will be entitled “Sir Ringo” anytime soon! He was, however, appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire along with the rest of the Beatles in 1965. A Minor Planet 4150 Starr, discovered in 1984 was named in his honor. Ringo also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Who knows what he will do next?