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[RC] Totally off-topic but on my mind - delete if you wish - Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

After 9/11 I spent a lot of time online talking to friends online about what it is like living in the Middle East, having children in university in New York, and what matters to "The Arab World". This doesn't have anything to do with riding....except that it is becoming harder day by day to relax and listen to our horses here, to concentrate on something that really is important in the face of the general insanity in the world at large.

With the "yes, we are bombing Iraq", "no, we are not bombing Iraq" seesaw going on in the US government, the Middle East, like much of the US, Europe and other parts of the world is filled with people of all nationalities who are increasingly feeling helpless. Egypt has nothing to do with all of this, as is the case of many other countries here. Yet when Bush decides to invade Iraq, it is going to blow our economy right out of the water and this is going to affect us right down to the donkey carts and the horse carriages. Right now, many people just wish that he'd get it over with so that we could go on with our lives without the bloody uncertainty, even though we know the horrific costs that will be exacted upon all participants.

I went to my yoga class this morning, taught by an American born in Quebec (an ex-corporate lawyer whose husband's job took her to Southeast Asia and out of law practice) and attended by an Italian, a Jordanian, a couple of Americans, a French woman, and two Koreans. Debra did a class in breath control because she said that with the political situation whirling right out of any sense of control and the feeling of being some kind of victim in an undecipherable play increasing, she felt that the only thing that we could do for ourselves and our families was to try to maintain our own balance and sense of reality in the face of the incredible stress. There are so many millions of people worldwide who want no part of violence and war, yet it appears that no one wants to hear their voices, whether they are in the Middle East, China, Kansas, or Paris. As Debra said, perhaps all we can do is to create some peace within ourselves and try to share it with the others around us. Go ride, groom your horses, watch them, do whatever, and please remain mindful of the love that exists in every part of the world. The media today are gripped by fear, for whatever reason or purpose. We know how to deal with fear in our riding and horsemanship....we must do the same for our people.

Off my soapbox and into the office,
Maryanne Stroud Gabbani
Cairo, Egypt