Monday, June 18, 2007

My goal is to be as charming and sophisticated as my Auntie!

I couldn't resist... and he looks so gosh dang adorable trying to be me, don't you think!?!?!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Where The World Became Perfect

May 23rd at 12:08am

6lb 5oz

21 inches long

The cutest baby you've ever seen... and I'm not just bragging!

I am over come with joy to announce the birth of my nephew Gabriel Thomas Murphy... Its been an unbelievable blessing to have held such a perfect miracle. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

So for the past few weeks I've been struggling with the idea of bringing a child into this broken and hurting world. I've stood in awe of Greg and Kelly and thought them the bravest of brave (or crazy) for bringing a child into this place which can be so messed up. But I get it now... he was perfect, and in him is a perfect promise of hope that with each generation, with each child God starts a new thread of His story of redemption. I believe tonight to be one of the most moving experiences that I have ever experienced. For everything in the world, I couldn't be as happy. I don't think I've ever experienced this kind of love: as long as he is healthy and happy, I could beg for nothing more in this world. All is right. If this is how I feel, I can only imagine the ways in which Greg and Kelly are feeling this love tonight.

Sweet Dreams Dearest Nephew!

Happy Birthday to my Daddy... He got an amazing birthday gift today by 8 minutes! Of all people to share a birthday with, I think my dads a great one!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Op-Ed Piece worth considering...

Iraq Policy Sustained by Geographical Illiteracy

This op-ed is based on material previously published in the Chicago Sun Times on March 18 and August 26, 2006.

Almost no one has stopped to consider the role that geographical ignorance has played in the ongoing disaster in Iraq. Yet only a geographically illiterate public could have been hoodwinked by the characterizations of Iraq spouted in Washington after the invasion. With Iraq little more than a blank space in most people's minds, few could point to the obvious once the United States moved in: the importance of strengthening institutions such as the Iraqi army that promoted state nationalism (not recognized), the strategic advantages that could come from securing Iraq's borders against foreign intruders (not prioritized), the need to guarantee a sharing of oil revenues given the lack of significant oil fields in Sunni areas (not considered), and the value of showing that the U.S. had no long-term military designs on Iraq (not only ignored, but undercut as plans went ahead for new military bases).

The blinders that got us where we are today have not disappeared. The debate centers on what is going on inside Iraq itself. Yet what are the implications of the invasion of Iraq for the larger geopolitical picture? What impact has it had, for example, on America’s influence in Southeast Asia? What role does Iraq play in widening the geographic scope of violent extremism? The crisis inside Iraq should not distract us from the gravity of such questions. Unless they become the focus of attention, the administration can continue to claim, without challenge from significant segments of the electorate, that Iraq is at the leading edge of its "war on terrorism."

The absurdity of this claim becomes clear when one considers that the Iraq invasion has been used relentlessly and effectively by those seeking to undermine American influence in other parts of the world. Al-Qaida sympathizers from Europe have gone to Iraq, and then returned to Europe in a position to wreak more havoc than they ever could have imagined without the training Iraq had provided them. We cannot have a serious discussion of the role of Iraq in the larger terrorism picture if such matters are not part of the conversation.

A democratic society depends upon a certain level of understanding and engagement on the part of its citizens. Yet the limited exposure of most Americans to the history and geography of the Middle East means that few are in a position to question the geopolitical vision advanced by the current administration. That vision was on display when Donald Rumsfeld addressed the Senate Armed Services Committee in early August.

If we leave Iraq soon, Rumsfeld said, "the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they'd order us and all those who don't share their militant ideology to leave what they call the occupied Muslim lands from Spain to the Philippines."

This statement casts the Middle East as a monolithic geopolitical node. Yet watching what is happening now in Iraq shows the naiveté of that image. The issue isn’t just Shiites versus Sunnis; there are significant divisions along tribal, village, and political lines. Moreover, the perception that most of the region's states command little loyalty is manifestly wrong. In many respects state nationalism is a stronger force than Arab or Islamic nationalism. One would have to look long and hard to find animosity between two neighboring states as violent and deep-rooted as that between Iran and Iraq. Are Iranians and Iraqis really just one undifferentiated chunk of a common enemy?

In a world in which the gap between political rhetoric and reality is growing by the day, public accountability is impossible in the absence of a basic level of global understanding and inquisitiveness. There will always be differences of opinion on policy initiatives, but the Iraq venture has been conducted and promoted through a combination of on-the-ground illusions and unasked questions—all made possible by a geographically challenged general population.

The results now lie starkly before us. If we are to salvage anything reasonable from the wreckage and avoid similar policy pitfalls in the future, we can no longer let political grandstanding trump serious consideration of the cultural, political, and environmental character of the contemporary world.

Alexander B. Murphy
AAG President 2003-2004

Monday, April 30, 2007


Hello From Haiti!

The party has started and the city of Jacmel is out in force! I wanted to wish you all a happy Fet! I will be posting more when I return!

(Tim and Leah are going to try and post some pictures of my vist on their site, so please feel free to visit and look around)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Don't give up hope!

This is my amazing Mexico reminder... Please don't give up on my Mexico memoirs! I have been writing quite a bit to post for this blog and yet its far from finished. It will come in instalments and there will be quite a bit of heavy stuff mixed in, but I am confident that this is the stuff that made the trip. I am headed to Haiti tomorrow for a short time, and when I get back I will continue with postings. Please be patient as I process all of these amazing trips.

P.S. If anyone knows of a job where I can travel and get paid at the same time, let me know!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Sounds of Iran

I just got back from the Green Bean (one of my favorite haunts) where I was doing some reading for my trip to Haiti in a few days. I ended up sitting in one of the comfy chairs near the tea cup fire place next to a man who had sat down in the Green Bean to warm up on this wet and chilly Northwest spring day. He needed to talk, and in many ways so did I. Especailly after the horrific happenings at Virginia Tech two days ago, I am more convinced that America's problem is not flimsy security, or poor gun control laws, but the perpetuation of a society that prides the individual so much that it leaves us thirsty for more, for a community, and desperately lonley when we figure out that there isn't anything more. Mishrdad was from Iran. Facinating to me that an Iranian male would sit and talk with me, but he was lonley and had a story to tell. He was so interested in my trip to Haiti and seemed to understand the country better than most Americans I've tried to explain it to. He started talking about Iran and America. Both countries have seemed to over look him and both countries have offered little to his needs. One thing I learned for sure about Mishrdad's life was that his father was a hard worker, he made sure that I understood that. He had a deep respect for how hard and how long his father had worked to support themselves so that they were not dependant on the Iranian government. I didn't quite understand what brought Mishrdad to America and what left him on the streets or what brought him to the Green Bean today, but it was nice to fade in and out of conversation with him between paragraphs of my book. It was wonderful to share a meal and a cup of coffee with him although both of us hungry for different reasons. At this moment, the verse "what you do unto the least of these you do unto me." became real. It became with a blue beany and a full beard. This man would have given anything to get back to his family in Iran, but because he couldn't find a job, he there was little hope of getting back to his country. He continually asked me if I had enough money to get back from Haiti. I assured him that I would be fine. Speaking from personal experience, I apprecieated his concern more than he knows. How freaky would it be to be stuck in a country where there are few opportunities for you and many people who have a false oppion on your people, or only see you for your government... I've learned something very valuable today that I would have previously preached yet hardly practiced... if you truely listen, you put yourself in a very vulnerable place. If you truely see the injustices that are perpetuated even by things we might see as good and normal, you put yourself in a place of responsibility... Listening is the most freeing act I have ever experienced. Yes, I head to Haiti in less than a week where I am certian that I will learn more than I expect, but it is here in my own front yard, in my own beloved coffee shops that I find just as much need to be heard. My passions are international- God knows that- and today I made a trip to Iran.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy Taco Day!!!

Hello my faithful readers! I wanted to wish you all a happy 1st annual Taco Day!!! Fireworks have been blasting since 7:30 this morning and excitement fills the air as taco day has finally arived!.... I'm not joking! Actually the fireworks are because its the first day of holy week here in Mexico City, but it truely is the 1st annual taco day here. There is a big festival and concert at one of the Mexico City football pitches and the taco stands are gearing up for a huge influx of people. It just so happens to correspond with the begining with holy week as well. I love mexican culture! Food and God... two of my most favorite things!

Anyways, all of this to say, that I am still in Mexico City enjoying some catch up time with Greg (sadly Kelly had to go back to Socal right after our PIH trip was over). I will be home soon and will post lots of pictures and stories for you all to read and enjoy. One thing is for sure... this trip was not lacking in great stories and adventures!

Adios Amigos!