Friday, February 4, 2011

The Risk to Bloom


~Anais Nin

Of Note: Few would believe that during World War II Muslims would protect Jews from the Nazis. But that is exactly what happened. Turns out that Albania, Europe's only Muslim country, offered visas to fleeing Jews. Honoring an ancient code to take in all guests, this movement was led by King Zog himself. Other countries offered limited visas which took weeks to procure; the United States had a quota system. In the midst of this, Albania stepped up to the plate and offered all-told 3,160 visas the very day they were requested. A Canadian-Albanian man, who has been documenting this story for years, emotionally reported: "It is the greatest untold story. This is the only country in Europe where all Jews were saved....The only country. It reflects what a society can be at its best." Another writer said that this was not a case of a person here or there taking in a Jewish family rather whole villages protecting its Jewish occupants. Under the ancient social protocol called Kanun an "Albanian's home is first the home of God and second the home of the guest." It has been invoked numerous occasions in the past such as the times when the impoverished Albanians took in Austro-Hungarians in 1917 and former Italian occupiers during World War II. In a recent interview, one Albanian reflected: "Why did we do it? We saw the Jews as brothers. As religious but liberal Muslims, we were only doing our duty." It would appear that the Albanian's have something to teach the rest of the world through this story of "hospitality, sacrifice and religious harmony." Now it is up to us to repeat it over and over until the energy of these actions reach every corner of the globe.

Today's Weather Report: Right now it is snowing to beat the band and stands at 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Interesting that we get snow AFTER the huge storm that pummeled the Midwest this week. That's AOK, because we needed it to freshen up the scenery. After awhile, the crisp, white snow gets dingy and dirty and screams for a new layer so that the landscape looks picture-perfect again. The two dogs came in covered with snow and wherever they laid down, a puddle of water was the result. Thankfully, we have cement floors downstairs and wooden floors upstairs, which makes cleaning up the water a cinch. I will be venturing forth this afternoon to town for errands and hope to have a safe trip. If nothing else, it will be a winter adventure in the northwoods.

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