Editor: I came home to Scranton last Sunday after a week of meetings in Rwanda. They ran the gamut from a seminar on how to deal with post-genocide stress disorders to the launch of Rwandapedia, a customized version of Wikipedia.
On Wednesday, Suraya Pakzad arrived here to speak on her organization, The Voice of Women, and its work in addressing the needs of abused women in Afghanistan. This world-renowned woman of courage is running five shelters for abused women and, with the help of some generous Scrantonians, will launch the first women’s restaurant in her native land. Women will manage and prepare food for the restaurant. It will be a place for women only, where they can gather in comfort and safety. The restaurant will offer such services as job postings, Internet access and counseling — and most likely — a take-out counter for men. Suraya also dreams of founding a leadership institute for women.
In an already whirlwind week, President Obama and Vice President Biden came to town on Friday to promote affordable higher education. Will it get the same bad rap from the far-right as affordable health care? We hope not.
When I look at the challenges in other parts of the world and then turn to our country, deeply divided over programs that serve the public good, it worries me. Do Americans believe that affordable health care and higher education are un-American — beyond the scope of the business of government?
This week we are reminded of the necessity for dreams. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Suraya dreams. As sentient human beings we all can dream. As American citizens we have the power to turn those dreams into realities. If we don’t exercise that power, we can lose it. We can’t afford that loss.
August 27, 2013