Monday, October 5, 2009

All politics is local?

It would be a great thing if all politics is, really, local, as the late Boston politico Tip O'Neill famously said. As a way of endorsing the magical thinking behind this postulation, I made a red baby's cap (or, if you will, a cap of red yarn for a baby) for Afghans for Afghans (, the noble organization that distributes American handknits to the deprived children of that country. Confronted by the situation in Afghanistan, a situation dreadful in more ways than can be enumerated here (though illumination, particularly with regard to the plight of Afghan women, may be found in the compelling memoir, The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad), one feels entirely helpless. Since I already feel entirely helpless and entirely demotivated by most oppressive political (and environmental and nuclear and economic and healthcare) situations, which unfortunately seem to govern the world these days, I do the little I can, mainly by contributing money to organizations that deliver aid, and teaching conversational English to immigrants and refugees at the International Institute of Rhode Island ( And now, by knitting for Afghans for Afghans.

Afghans for Afghans organizes knitting campaigns, supplies patterns, and delivers, by email, densely-worded announcements regarding its activities. In the past I've always seemed to be out of phase with the A for A calendar, but luckily Hansina Wright, the force majeure at Mystic River Yarns in Mystic, CT (, has dedicated part of the shop as a collection center for donations, and throughout the latter part of the summer and early fall has sponsored an A for A knitting circle at her shop on Schooner Wharf.

I stopped by there yesterday to deliver the red cap (modeled by Ted in the photo), and have a look at the beautiful garments and blankets knitters have contributed. I was also pleased to meet Ruth and Heather, the two impressive knitters in the photograph above who were working on A for A projects, and adding to the positive energy of the shop. (A side note: Ruth writes a most interesting knitting blog: Since the pile of knitted donations on display (see photo above) was substantial, it's clear that there are more than a few knitters in the immediate area (coastal southeastern CT, southern RI) who have joined the collective. Here's wishful hoping that our local efforts will have some small impact on the bigger picture.

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