It’s a full moon day today, and is also a Friday the thirteenth. I read in the internet that the next time Friday the thirteenth will land on a full moon day is in 2045. I doubt I’ll be around by then…And so let’s enjoy this odd combination.
The sun is low in the sky, with puffy humid clouds hanging around filtering its heat and light. The leaves on the trees are still a brilliant optimistic green, and optimism is in full bloom in my neighbourhood, for it’s the season of graduations/convocation at the University of Toronto.
The other day I was pedalling around King’s College Circle in the late afternoon. The large white tent that the university sets up on the lawn for convocation season was alive with slowly moving figures: grads in their black gowns, and profs too, the latter often with wonderfully medieval-looking caps and colour; and proud family members clutching bouquets of flowers and busy with cameras and cel phones. I stopped and asked one grad which group was graduating that afternoon. “Masters and Phd students” she replied. What a select and hard-working group. No wonder the families were looking so proud and the grads as well.
Other reasons for optimism in my household and among my friends include the election in Ontario yesterday. The province elected a woman as premier, a first for Ontario. Her name is Kathleen Wynne and she is also notable because she’s in a long-term domestic partnership with a woman. Her partner was invited up on the platform last night as they all celebrated the results. Bravo to Ontario for not worrying about the sex or sexual orientation of the premier, and also for defeating the hard-right conservative party.
Now we need to push determinedly for a clean-up of corruption and money-waste. Will it happen? For once I feel a little optimistic that it might. We’ll see.
And another positive: I spent lunch with a friend from Kurdistan named Ayub who is working here in Canada running the English language arm of a Kurdish news organisation called Rudaw. He confirmed that the startling-to-ousiders success of ISIS fighters in capturing the northern part of Iraq this week is a happy thing to the Kurds of the region. They view it as “about-time”, this realignment of borders with the distribution of the very distinctive populations in the region.
“At last” he said, the Kurds control all the areas inhabited by the Kurdish population, in both Iraq and Syria. Until this week they controlled only Kurdistan, but that didn’t include all Kurds. Now that’s changed. And the Kurds are jubilant. And he said, that’s all they want; they aren’t trying to invade or take over any other territory.
Northern Iraq’s Sunni population and southern Iraq’s Shia population are now divided into two zones of control.
This marks the end of the old borders that the European powers agreed to in 1919, following the dismemberment of the Ottoman empire (read Margaret MacMillan’s Paris 1919 for a wonderful review of the whole Peace Conference, and the legacy that we are still living with). So here we are, almost a century later, and after the spilling of blood by thousands of locals as well as far too many foreign soldiers and civilians, back to a map that corresponds to the cultural/ethnic/religion situation on the ground.
Let’s hope the US government doesn’t try to bomb people insensate, and instead leaves them to sort things out for themselves.
And on the food front, this evening I picked my first batch of garden greens: arugula and various other leaf lettuces, plus basil, and used it to make a coarse pesto with pine nuts and freshly grated pecorino, that went onto some penne. So that’s the first taste of late spring, beyond the dandelions that I stir-fry, and the rhubarb, and into tender fresh greens. Lovely. Another lift of the heart.
Now it’s time to go out and look at that fat full moon.