Why, God?

This touching article by Maureen Dowd of NYT. While reading the article, if you get teary eye, don’t hold them back.Here are some excerpts from the article, but better read the whole article by clicking at the link at bottom.

Maureen Dowd is beautifully narrating the thoughts of Father Kevin’O Neal

Father O’Neal tells a 30-year-old story;

“The killings on the cusp of Christmas in quiet, little East Coast towns stirred a 30-year-old memory from my first months as a priest in parish ministry in Boston. I was awakened during the night and called to Brigham and Women’s Hospital because a girl of 3 had died. The family was from Peru. My Spanish was passable at best. When I arrived, the little girl’s mother was holding her lifeless body and family members encircled her.

They looked to me as I entered. Truth be told, it was the last place I wanted to be. To parents who had just lost their child, I didn’t have any words, in English or Spanish, that wouldn’t seem cheap, empty. But I stayed. I prayed. I sat with them until after sunrise, sometimes in silence, sometimes speaking, to let them know that they were not alone in their suffering and grief. The question in their hearts then, as it is in so many hearts these days, is “Why?”

The truest answer is: I don’t know. I have theological training to help me to offer some way to account for the unexplainable. But the questions linger. I remember visiting a dear friend hours before her death and reminding her that death is not the end, that we believe in the Resurrection. I asked her, “Are you there yet?” She replied, “I go back and forth.” There was nothing I wanted more than to bring out a bag of proof and say, “See? You can be absolutely confident now.” But there is no absolute bag of proof. I just stayed with her. A life of faith is often lived “back and forth” by believers and those who minister to them.”

Father O’ Neal Continues;

“I believe differently now than 30 years ago. First, I do not expect to have all the answers, nor do I believe that people are really looking for them. Second, I don’t look for the hand of God to stop evil. I don’t expect comfort to come from afar. I really do believe that God enters the world through us. And even though I still have the “Why?” questions, they are not so much “Why, God?” questions. We are human and mortal. We will suffer and die. But how we are with one another in that suffering and dying makes all the difference as to whether God’s presence is felt or not and whether we are comforted or not.”

“One true thing is this: Faith is lived in family and community, and God is experienced in family and community. We need one another to be God’s presence. When my younger brother, Brian, died suddenly at 44 years old, I was asking “Why?” and I experienced family and friends as unconditional love in the flesh. They couldn’t explain why he died. Even if they could, it wouldn’t have brought him back. Yet the many ways that people reached out to me let me know that I was not alone. They really were the presence of God to me. They held me up to preach at Brian’s funeral. They consoled me as I tried to comfort others. Suffering isolates us. Loving presence brings us back, makes us belong.”

Father O’Neal Concludes:

I will never satisfactorily answer the question “Why?” because no matter what response I give, it will always fall short. What I do know is that an unconditionally loving presence soothes broken hearts, binds up wounds, and renews us in life. This is a gift that we can all give, particularly to the suffering. When this gift is given, God’s love is present and Christmas happens daily. 


Posted by F. Sheikh

Asian Quota in Ivy League

In the last two weeks,  there are quite a few articles in the news papers disclosing discriminatory practices against Asian Americans for admission into Ivy League Colleges. David Brooks of NYT writes:

“At the start of the 1980s, about 5 percent of Harvard students were Asian-American. But the number of qualified Asian-American applicants rose so that by 1993 roughly 20 percent of Harvard students had Asian heritage.

But, according to Ron Unz, a funny thing then happened. The number of qualified Asian-Americans continued to rise, but the number of Asian-Americans admitted to Harvard fell so that the student body was about 16 percent Asian. Between 1995 and 2011, Harvard’s Asian-American population has varied by less than a percentage point around that 16.5 percent average. Not only that, the percentage of Asian-Americans at other Ivy League schools has also settled at a remarkably stable 16 percent, year after year.

This smells like a quota system, or at least that was the implication left by Unz’s searing, sprawling, frustrating and highly debatable piece, “The Myth of the American Meritocracy,” in The American Conservative. It wins the first of the 2012 Sidney Awards, which go to the best magazine essays of the year.

You’re going to want to argue with Unz’s article all the way along, especially for its narrow, math-test-driven view of merit. But it’s potentially ground-shifting. Unz’s other big point is that Jews are vastly overrepresented at elite universities and that Jewish achievement has collapsed. In the 1970s, for example, 40 percent of top scorers in the Math Olympiad had Jewish names. Now 2.5 percent do. The fanatical generations of immigrant strivers have been replaced by a more comfortable generation of preprofessionals, he implies.”

Unz writes in his article “The Myth of The American Meritocracy”

Comparing Jews with Asians

In fact, Harvard reported that 45.0 percent of its undergraduates in 2011 were white Americans, but since Jews were 25 percent of the student body, the enrollment of non-Jewish whites might have been as low as 20 percent, though the true figure was probably somewhat higher.51 The Jewish levels for Yale and Columbia were also around 25 percent, while white Gentiles were 22 percent at the former and just 15 percent at the latter. The remainder of the Ivy League followed this same general pattern.

This overrepresentation of Jews is really quite extraordinary, since the group currently constitutes just 2.1 percent of the general population and about 1.8 percent of college-age Americans.52 Thus, although Asian-American high school graduates each year outnumber their Jewish classmates nearly three-to-one, American Jews are far more numerous at Harvard and throughout the Ivy League. Both groups are highly urbanized, generally affluent, and geographically concentrated within a few states, so the “diversity” factors considered above would hardly seem to apply; yet Jews seem to fare much better at the admissions office.

Click on the liink to read full report ” The Myth of The American Meritocracy”


Posted by F. Sheikh

Three Questions By Mian Aslam

Mian Aslam sent following three questions and some comments on TFUSA.

If TF USA is to be an inter-active congress of thinkers, the members must participate and offer their opinion, instead of  being voyeuristic onlookers while just a few specific members keep writing as a display sport. There comes a time to be blunt and forth right instead of continuing to be hypocritically polite and quiet. Now is that time. Please invite the House to come forth and come clean. These are some controversies that do not entail deep intellectual ruminations, but require simple understanding of history and realization whether history has been distorted and/or retrofitted to suit the agenda of vested interests. Lets offer an exercise like this ?

In the opinion of TF members :

1. Who was more insightful and far-sighted between Jinnah and Azad ? Why ?

2. Who was more keen to break-away ; Bhutto or Mujib ? Why ?

3. Who was the usurper ? Jinnah for making a Secular Pakistan instead of a Islamic Republic against the alleged wishes of Muslims of Muslim majority areas, or, did the Islamists hi-jack Secular Pakistan and turn it into Islamic Republic through Objective Resolution of 1949 followed by ZAB’s symbolic islamisation measures of banning Bars, Night-Clubs, Race-courses, and finally, enforcing of Sharia laws, flogging, changing ACRs to predicate raises and promotions of government functionaries on their knowledge of and compliance with Sharia in daily life, by Zia ? 

If Members do not participate in this exercise, you know that whipping unwilling horses islike pulling your own hair.

Mian Aslam