We are the refugees. And why are there Nike’s on your doorstep?

The refugees are us.

We in America do not have a spotless history or a moral fall back to point to manifest destiny as a justification for our historical actions. Nor can we claim they are purely in the past given the racist and misogynistic vitriol of the current election season. In 2016 we still see these words and actions come up. As Passover is upon us, it is clear we have reached a physical place of bounty, but not, regardless of beliefs, achieved

As described by Wikipedia:

So when Jews retell that story at the first night’s traditional festive Seder, “these are not ancient, crumbling dusty issues that don’t have relevance today,” says Rabbi Eric Greenberg, a spokesman for the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees. “We can see this is actually happening now to many people, including the Syrian refugees.”

It’s a connection that resonates for Shadi Martini, 44, himself a Muslim Syrian refugee who now lives in Farmington Hills, Mich. A hospital manager in Syria, he had to start over after leaving in 2012. In the U.S., he began supplying humanitarian and medical supplies to those in need in Syria.

“We worked with everyone who offered help, and some NGOs were from Israel, and that was a big surprise,” says Martini, who is currently senior Syria adviser for the Multifaith Alliance. In Syria, which is in ongoing conflict with Israel and today has only a tiny Jewish population, he had no exposure to Jews. It was also a surprise to learn that welcoming and coming to the aid of the stranger “was a pillar of the Jewish faith,” he says.

Rev. Channing E. Phillips, (left) Rabbi Arthur Waskow, and Topper Carew on April 4, 1969, the night of the first Freedom Seder.

In Freedom Seder, Jews And African-Americans Built A Tradition Together

The connections between the journey of the ancient Israelites and of refugees today are being emphasized in online readings from American Jewish World Service, whose mission is to end poverty and promote human rights in the developing world, and HIAS, formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a nonprofit that focuses on protecting and aiding refugees around the world.

Since the Seder is famous for promoting discussion, including the four questions, it was natural to ask four questions for 2016.

Why should we add readings?

Because the stories of today’s refugees echo the long history of Jewish stories of being expelled throughout history, says Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. That history includes being forced from Spain in 1492 and from Nazi Europe in the 1930s. All these instances, past and present, have to do with “individuals and groups asserting their rights to be and live where they are” and remind us of times and places “where the government is saying we will deprive you of the rights that other people in this country have.” When the Haggadah, the text that is read at the Seder, instructs us to remember that we were strangers in a strange land, she says, that means it is “our responsibility” to reach out to refugees in need.

What are the modern-day plagues?

The Haggadah lists the 10 plagues visited upon Egypt as the Pharaoh refuses again and again to let the Israelites go. To provide insight into what displacement means today, the HIAS supplement lists “10 Plagues Facing Refugees in the U.S. and Worldwide.” The list — which includes violence, dangerous journeys, poverty, lack of access to education, anti-refugee legislation and loss of family — is accompanied by facts and figures.

Have we done enough?

Another seder favorite is the song Dayenu, whose refrain proclaims that any single one of the miracles that led, step by step, to the exodus would have been dayenu — Hebrew for “enough.” “It’s a great lyric” that speaks of gratitude and appreciation, says Messinger. The AJWS version provides a different twist, which acknowledges that in addition to appreciating what is being done, there is still more work ahead. One verse goes, in part:

If the world responds only to the cries of the wounded, but does not stay to help them heal…
It will not be enough.

However, if we sustain our support until stability, peace and independence have been attained…Dayenu! Then it will be enough.

Why is there a pair of Nikes on your doorstep?

In a new ritual, HIAS asks Seder participants “to place a pair of shoes on the doorstep of your home to acknowledge that none of us is free until all of us are free and to pledge to stand in support of welcoming those who do not have a place to call home.” This acknowledges that “we have stood in the shoes of refugees, and as we’re celebrating our freedom we are committing to stand with today’s refugees, and take a stand,” says Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, vice president of community engagement at HIAS. You can choose your own moment to place shoes at the door, but one possibility is at the Haggadah passage that reads, “My father was a wandering Aramean.” This suggests “the essence of the Jewish experience: a rootless people who have fled persecution time and time again,” says the HIAS supplement. “When we recite these words, we acknowledge that we have stood in the shoes of the refugee.”

drops

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.”

– Sylvia Plath

Upgrade Linux kernel on Ubuntu 14.04.3 to Mainline v4.3.4-wily

linux
The Linux Foundation

Upgrade Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to the newest kernel just in case you want to play with later versions of Dockers or systemd on an LTS release.

DISCLAIMER – MESSING WITH THE KERNEL CAN BE BAD. RUN YOUR BACKUPS AND SNAPSHOTS AND DON’T PLAY WITH LIVE AMMO!

Step 1 – First check “kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline” to find out the current mainline kernel. As I type this it is 4.3.4 but you may not want to copy and paste these as it has probably changed by the time you read this. It is software, right?

sudo su
 mkdir -p /home/ubuntu/kernels
 cd /home/ubuntu/kernels/
 wget kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.3.4-wily/linux-headers-4.3.4-040304_4.3.4-040304.201601230132_all.deb
 wget kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.3.4-wily/linux-headers-4.3.4-040304-generic_4.3.4-040304.201601230132_amd64.deb
 wget kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.3.4-wily/linux-image-4.3.4-040304-generic_4.3.4-040304.201601230132_amd64.deb

sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-4.3.4*.deb linux-image-4.3.4*.deb
 sudo reboot

NOTE: I have hit an error on this upgrade several times similar to this:

Errors were encountered while processing:
linux-headers-4.3.4-040304-generic

The fix was to run these

apt-get -f install
apt-get autoremove

Next you MUST REBOOT.  Then log back in and check what kernel you are running

uname -a

# from that you get a long string and in the string you should see something like this:

4.3.4-040304-generic

Keep googling for more, or duckduckgo-ing. My biggest advice would be to create a throw-away VM in the cloud to test this stuff. VMWare isn’t great for networking by “sox” imho.

Ubuntu Linux
Linux of the Ubuntu variant

deep thoughts by a whale

Vegas with Night Lights
Alien Landing in Vegas

The Book:

It is important to note that suddenly, and against all probability, a Sperm Whale had been called into existence, several miles above the surface of an alien planet and since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity.

This is what it thought, as it fell:

The Whale:

Ahhh! Woooh! What’s happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I?

Okay okay, calm down calm down get a grip now. Ooh, this is an interesting sensation. What is it? Its a sort of tingling in my… well I suppose I better start finding names for things. Let’s call it a… tail! Yeah! Tail! And hey, what’s this roaring sound, whooshing past what I’m suddenly gonna call my head? Wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do.

Yeah, this is really exciting. I’m dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the wind? There’s an awful lot of that now isn’t it? And what’s this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ‘Ow’, ‘Ownge’, ‘Round’, ‘Ground’! That’s it! Ground! Ha!

I wonder if it’ll be friends with me? Hello Ground!

[dies]