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Archive for September, 2014

I do love me some Belize, but I didn't come expecting to be altogether secure. Fortunately, as bad and violent as crime is in Belize, the vast majority of people are ultra-friendly and peaceful--and deserve better law enforcement.

I do love me some Belize, but I didn’t come expecting to be altogether secure. Fortunately, as bad and violent as crime is in Belize, the vast majority of people are ultra-gentle and peaceful–and deserve better law enforcement.

Here’s another “Other Side of Paradise” story that they won’t tell you in those shiny “Come live in paradise” brochures and TV commercials:

Police in Belize are generally (a) brutal, (b) corrupt, (c) outrageously incompetent, or (d) some or all of the above.

Mind you, I have met and know a lot of extremely nice, courteous cops who may not be brutal or corrupt. But the police are just under-staffed and woefully under-trained and under-discipined

When I was researching Belize online and thinking about moving here, I asked an expat who blogs, online, about the awful law enforcement. I knew it was awful from reading Belizean newspapers online, which are riddled with crime reportage and frequent reporting about law enforcement

The expat’s reply was, “You’ve seen the Keystone Cops movies, haven’t you? Don’t expect the police to come to your rescue.”

Here’s an excerpt from the news in Belize City today from http://www.patrickjonesbelize.com, which covers police and crime news like a blanket:

    Aaron Hughes reporting: Belize City police face a truly outrageous allegation of brutality amid concerns of use of excessive force in several incidents in the past few days.

    “West Canal resident Armani Bailey, the nephew of well-known Justice of the Peace Grace Flowers, reported that he was taken from his home by multiple officers in a black Toyota 4Runner and driven up the George Price Highway to Mile 4, at Belizean Beach, where officers allegedly threw him into a garbage container with trash and water and tried to drown him in it, then left him for dead.

    “One of the officers even threatened to kill him with a bullet to the head.

    “They also pushed around Ms. Flowers and another relative, an 84 year old who they pushed to the ground.

    “Once again, the Professional Standards Branch has been called in to investigate.”

    Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster reiterated that if the investigation finds the allegation to be true, the officers in question would be disciplined.

    This is one of four complaints made to authorities about the behavior of the Police in the last few days.

    Officers in Precinct 1 and 2 are the primary alleged offenders.

    The Police normally ramp up operations around major holidays and are known for taking in young men and practicing a little bullying to keep them in line.

    But Broaster says there was no such operation this time and the Police are moving away from that kind of activity as part of their community friendly approach to crime solving.

    According to Broaster, the “Not In My City” campaign addresses the issue of community spirit and cooperation with law enforcement.

    Asked if that may be damaged by the allegations of brutality, he said they are doing their best to warn officers away from excess.

    Officers are told before going on operations to avoid unnecessary engagement with citizens.

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Remember on this day of remembrance–a day when our country and others are gearing up for the escalation of war in Iraq and Syria–that prayer is a powerful spiritual weapon.

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These are from The Book of Common Prayer:

    For the Human Family
    O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
    through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
    human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
    infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
    unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
    confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
    your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
    harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
    our Lord. Amen.

    For Peace
    Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn
    but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the
    strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that
    all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of
    Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and
    glory, now and for ever. Amen.

    For Peace Among the Nations
    Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the
    world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among
    them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they
    may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    Amen.

    For our Enemies
    O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
    our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
    deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
    your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
    through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The peppy New York musician Kate Davis does a great cover of "All That Bass."

The peppy New York musician Kate Davis does a great cover of “All About That Bass.”

If Kate Davis doesn’t freshen up your Monday, I don’t know what will.

(HAT TIP: My sister in deaconhood Debbie in North Texas: thanks for sharing).

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Photo by Bohari

Photo by Bohari


Lost in the Wilds of Your Life
BY PARKER J. PALMER*

Ever been lost in the wilderness — or in the wilds of your own life? Me too! Because I get outwardly and inwardly lost from time to time, this poem by David Wagoner means a great deal to me.

A couple of years ago, I got lost hiking alone on a poorly marked mountain trail at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, where I was on a ten-day silent, solitary retreat. It was starting to get dark, I panicked and began to run. Just the right thing to do when you have no idea where you’re going, don’t you think!

Then I remembered the wisdom in this poem, stood still, and listened. I could not tell you what I was listening to, except that it was something both in me and around me. After five minutes or so, as my fear subsided, that something told me to turn around and walk slowly back up the mountain, looking to the left as I climbed. That’s how I found the trail I’d missed in my fearful run down.

For me, that story and this poem have all kinds of implications for those times when I’m inwardly lost. I’ll spare you the long version of what I mean! I’ll simply say, with the poet, “Stand still. The forest knows/Where you are. You must let it find you.”

    “Lost”
    by David Wagoner,
    from Collected Poems 1956-1976

    Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
    Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
    And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
    Must ask permission to know it and be known.
    The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
    I have made this place around you.
    If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
    No two trees are the same to Raven.
    No two branches are the same to Wren.
    If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
    You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
    Where you are. you must let it find you.

*PARKER J. PALMER is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include Healing the Heart of Democracy, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.

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