I came through the alleyways of Shemiran
The desert, and sand dunes of Pars
Reciting Hãfez, Saâdï, and Rumï
Through a thousand cities and towns
I crossed many alleyways and streets
Trying not to forget Ferdowsï
There are alleyways everywhere in the world
Some are lined with cobblestones and flowerpots
Others reek of poverty and excrement
Today, many are hoping for new pathways to walk through
Mine's been a journey that has taken a lifetime
Along the way, I have learned that our lives are molded,
Not by the knowledge that we gain
But by the choices that me make!
I've been lucky to find a way out of adversity
Learn medicine, and serve my fellowman
All the while hoping not to forget
The choices that brought me today.
So I teach my children and students to be wary of their choices
For the reason of the roundness of the world
Is for the future to stay hidden beyond its curve
Be careful in choosing your options
And hope to walk the alleyways of happiness.
America lost a great hero this week. General Colin Powell was the big hero of my generation. As a veteran, I admired him and his sense of duty to our country and people. As a statesman, he served our nation admirably and without reservation.
He was however, even more of a hero to many. To millions of people like myself, he was proof of the worthiness of immigrants and a testimony that they strengthen our nation. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he grew up loving this country because of what his parents - who appreciated our values - taught him. That education made him a hero of our nation, not Jamaica, but USA. So it is that he was a hero in various ways!
How do we celebrate the merit of such a hero? And now that he is gone, how do we remember him? How do we appreciate what he contributed to our country, our military, our politics, our society, and our sense of values? Perhaps we can do all of that by just learning and valuing the gift of all our countrymen, no matter their race, origin, or class.
Rest in peace, General Powell, and thank you for all your contributions!
The Nobel Prizes were awarded last week. The Pulitzer awarded last June and other prizes throughout the year. Interesting, how new telecommunication tools are playing an important role in achieving many of the science outcomes these days.
These modern tools - by revealing the many issues facing our world today in real time, create an urgency to resolving them. They also provide an avenue of cooperation for people near and far, not possible before. Such teamwork from differing arenas helps to accomplish solutions faster, eliminating hesitancy and diffidence. As playwright and novelist Alice Childress whose birthday (10-12-1916) was this week said, "Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave, and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way."
Lack of contacts and collaborations can however, add to many of our problems. For, as Eleanor Roosevelt, whose birthday (10-14-1884) was also this week said, "We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk …”
Just as in medicine, a closed wound can fester into an alarming infection, while a surgeon's knife opening it will drain and heal it. Prizes and awards encourage dialogue and discourse, solving problems. While secrecy and reticence aggravate to misunderstandings and conflict.
Fall is now well advanced and the foliage on the mountain side sings in the golden colors of autumn. State Fairs show off the toil of summer. School Homecomings have everyone hooting and hollering about their team. Everyone is a winner by just celebrating.
In my home state of New Mexico, it's Balloon Fiesta time and hundreds of balloonists from around the world gather to show off their flying talent and colorful balloons. The Fiesta was cancelled last year due to Covid, so this year it's warmly welcomed.
In the streets, the aroma of roasting green chile peppers fill the air and people making an attempt to meet, greet, and interact one last time before shutting in for the winter.
I am stopped by the music of mariachi:
Voz de la guitarra mía al despertar la mañana
Quiere cantar su alegría a mi tierra Nuevo Mexicana
Yo le canto a tus volcanes, a tus praderas y flores …
For those who are of Latin heritage or have spent any time in Latin America, listening to the music of the mariachi horns is a nostalgic journey. What a beautiful world we live in and if it was not for polarizing politics, it would be pleasing to everyone.
It's fall time and as we shut our doors to the coming cold, let's also shut it to all the hatred, bigotry and polarizing discourse. So when the voice of our guitars wake us tomorrow morning, it would be to the joy of a peaceful and healthy world. As healthcare providers, we have the power to greatly contribute to the health and beauty of this world. Let us be the leaders in this revolution and endeavor.
Progenies of Adam are of one family. For, in their inception, are of one seed (Persian Poet: Saadï Shïrãzï - circa 13th century).
This week, the United Nations General Assembly is meeting in New York. Leaders of the world nations are there making their pleas, concerns, and wishes known to everyone else. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the number one issue on their agenda is healthcare and the disparity of its delivery. It is obvious that race and nationality play a big role in this disparity.
As the refugee crisis moves and mixes races everywhere, the question of how to deal with it becomes evermore acute. However, with population increasing at the present rate, the human race will become heterogeneous no matter what the obstacles. So branding, segregating, or isolating them or ourselves will matter not! The sooner we get a grasp of this reality, the better the outcome will be. To achieve that, takes work and requires tolerance and acceptance.
Actor, Morgan Freeman, was asked in an interview on how we should deal with the problem of race? "To start with", he said, "you can stop calling me a black man."
In one of his performances, comedian, Gabriel 'Fluffy' Iglesias, said: "People always call me fat Mexican. It wasn't till I was performing in Arabia, that I was called an American."
German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, addressing the UN General Assembly in New York last week, said: "In blaming others, we have to remember that when we point a finger at others, the other fingers of our hand are pointing back at ourselves".
We are all children of the creator. Our race, color, or ethnicity is irrelevant. Not until we appreciate this fact will we be totally free.
When I was a little boy
My family owned a big bookstore
In it we had lots of books
For all generations and age groups,
Some took us far away
Others into the brain's passageway
Books that told a silly story
And those that taught us history.
There were picture books and magazines
Almanacs, newspapers and quarterlies
The bookstore, a first of its kind
A big surprise for people to have it at hand
Skepticism abounded, and many asked
"People are illiterate, why a bookstore?"
"People are illiterate, so a bookstore!"
Was the answer with a smile.
At the start they just passed us by
Stretching their neck as they looked inside
Then stopped and looked, curiously attracted
Finally took a step inside, wide-eyed and fascinated
Walking around the many isles
Wondering eyes and curious minds
"you can read them, if you like."
"I don't know how." They said back.
"It's OK, hold it in your hand
and with you, the book will have a chat."
In their hands they held a book,
Felt its weight, sense and power too.
Cautiously they looked inside,
Saw the words along each other's side
So clean and orderly they were
Page after page, book after book, shelf after shelf.
With a sigh, they began to leave.
"I wish I could read," said one with grief.
"Oh, but you can, do not fret."
"There are only 32 letters in the alphabet."
"All these books are made of those letters. You can bet!"
So it was that more people came. Young and old, ladies and men.
Teachers came-by and made connections.
Classes started, masses trained. Reading became a trend and then.
No one passed the store again.
The bookstore developed into a home
For seekers of knowledge and wisdom.
Much developed in that store
As was seen in their happy stare,
All because they were shown the way
And kept their uncertainty at bay.
In medicine, too, knowledge comes to us in many ways. Rewards and happiness of our service appear when we treat people, not their malady. For their sake, not their money. Then at night we don't have to wonder; am I wealthy, am I poor, am I happy, can't be sure.
With feeling our patient's pain and hurting, to correctly stop their suffering,
We gain the satisfaction of being a true physician, a healer.
As chaos seems to overwhelm the world, many young people are stepping forward to save the day for themselves, humanity and the world. People like Malala Yousafzai, of Afghanistan, Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, Milou Albrecht, of Australia, and others who are fighting for our environmental changes and global warming. And young geniuses like Caleb Anderson, an African-American 13-year-old who just started as a sophomore at Georgia Tech, studying aerospace engineering.
In medicine too, we have the likes of:
Balamurali Krishna Ambati MD, who was the world’s youngest doctor at the age of 17.
Riana Helmi MD, of Indonesia, age 19.
Iqbal-Al-Assaad MD, of Palestine, age 20.
Ola Hadaya of Syria. After earning her MD degree, she entered OBGYN residency at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at age 21.
Sho Yano MD, he earned a PhD and an MD from the University of Chicago by the age of 21
Dr. Arpan Doshi of Indian-origin who became UK's youngest doctor at age 21.
Heenal Raichura MD, also of Great Britain. She completed her medical degree at 22 years old.
Serennah Harding DO, of Kansas, USA, graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Georgia at the age of 22.
And many others. Most of these wonderful people got their recognition and education in western countries. But obviously there are many more like them all around the world. Given the same opportunity and recognition, they will fill universities everywhere. New technologies are available - right now - to give everyone of them the needed chance. We only need to breakdown the outdated and protectionist barriers.
As Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said in a recent in-depth interview about the diversity of our great nation [and indeed the world], it is up to our young people, our high school students, who must take responsibility for improving it.
And that should give us all great hope for the future of tomorrow!
Of smoky skies and flooded land
Such is the destiny at hand
For all, who wonder of our faith
Of today, tomorrow, and life's prospect
For what awaits us is uncertain
Yet here it is, a future to ascertain
From the natural world and man
In hope of a better life and chance
Healthcare providers are on the frontline of this war on uncertainty. For no matter what turmoil, society, politics, pandemics, wars, man's instinctive desires and selfishness create, to our tabernacles of healthcare, the effected come for solace.