This blog began in January 2004. I had been reading all the political blogs for a year or more and getting more and more depressed. The invasion of Iraq was such an enormous mistake, and I despaired about the future of America and the future of the Middle East.
During that first month of the invasion, in April of 2003, I took a vacation to California's Central Coast. While sitting on the beach at Montana de Oro State Park, looking at the serene ocean, I had a revelation. Peace is everywhere, I thought. Even in Iraq right now, there are places of peace.
So when I got really, really sick of it all in January 2004, I decided to start a blog that would focus on the peace that is at the core of everything. I would blog people, events, places that embody signs of hope. I knew (and still know) that places like Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine are much more than just war zones. I knew that humans have big hearts everywhere, that even in the midst of war people pray and meditate, people do good works for each other, people reach out. People always take actions to construct positive good, no matter how bad the behavior of others around them. I wanted to blog visions of the world we want to have, not the problems that plague us.
In the middle of the night, almost on impulse, I began this blog with that purpose. The name "Bedouina" is derived from a song my Arab grandmother used to sing me, about Leila the Bedouin girl. Bedouina is a Frenchified version of the Arabic term for "bedouin girl." Until I was 32 years old I was indeed a wanderer; the name also denotes pride in my Arab heritage.
Of course as soon as I began blogging, bad stuff started happening in the Middle East. Whenever it seemed too hypocritical to blog signs of hope (how can you chirp about flying kites when they're blowing up children in Gaza?) I would post recipes. "When there's no hope left, you can always make dinner," I told people. I also blogged environmental and sustainable development projects, because I'd been concerned with such issues since the late 70s, when I was a teenager. I wrote to Michael Lerner at least five years ago that "global warming is going to fry all of our Semitic asses if we don't wake up."
In January of 2004, the environment seemed a quirky topic to add to Middle East peace issues, but now that everybody and his brother wants to go green, nobody blinks an eye.
In fact, when I began this blog, my focus on Middle East peace, food and the environment seemed weird. Folks would laugh when I said all three topics together in one sentence. A friend commented that Dove's Eye View seemed "all over the place." It's a sign of hope that nobody finds this combination remarkable today. My buddy Rami Zurayk, who blogs at Land and People, is a Lebanese professor of agriculture who blogs Slow Food, the environment and Middle East politics from Beirut- and he's got a Ph.D. in this stuff.
I also wrote early on:
The Dove told her husband when she first started this blog that all hell could break loose. She's seen other bloggers, mostly women, begin blogs devoted to sunshine and flowers, and then the heavens split open and Jove or whomever sears their hair with lightening bolts.That one was eerie, since I was diagnosed with breast cancer six months later, and Jove did indeed sear my hair with chemotherapy. Twice. I got it again, second time in September 2007, metastatic, and I'm in chemo now for the seventh month. I'm making progress and I plan to live a very long time with the help of Jove or whomever (your Great Mystery term of choice here).
More than once I've had the experience of seeing the power of words on the internet to mirror or possibly shape reality. I now watch what I type very carefully. I have discovered in this round of chemotherapy that my words about myself and my world affect my physical and emotional state quite strongly. I also think that my words published on the internet affect me. Sometimes I want to bitch and kvetch, or criticize and condemn, but this always causes me problems online and offline. I do permit myself to vent in private (my old friend Felicia is concerned about the happy talk on Dove's Eye View) but I no longer permit myself to vent for posterity.
If you want to know the bad news, or get the negative interpretation of whatever event, there are plenty of sources on the internet. Dove's Eye View focuses on solutions, whether for justice and peace or environmental harmony, and celebrates those who celebrate life.
Oh yes, and if you're my friend, neighbor, relative, acquaintance, college buddy or other compadre/comadre, I reserve the right to brag about you and your accomplishments in public. That explains why readers hear about violinists, trapeze artists, novelists and other random achievers. It's my blog and I'll promote who I want to!