Update: mild stroke, Abu Walid correspondence

Please forgive the multi-friend posting — I wanted to get this update out to a great many friends & colleagues old and new…

On Tuesday evening [15 June] I was released from hospital after a “very minor” stroke which occurred on Friday evening [11th]. It’s about as gentle a warning shot as one could hope for, and I intend to respond appropriately in terms of diet, exercise, etc.

The stroke itself sent my left arm into spasm, and I had the curious experience of my nervous system / phantom limb withdrawing from that arm like a very quickly receding tide — this was not painful, but being an innately curious fellow, I found it both intriguing and unexpected. I was pretty scared during the 40 seconds the spasm lasted, and again when it reoccurred as I was being brought into the hospital, but after a battery of EEG, EKG, MRI and CAT scans, the doctors decided I was fit to be loosed again on the unsuspecting American public, and I’m now back at home with the family of Chris and Ed Worden in Chicago, where I’m a house-guest while doing a bunch of writing.

Other things have been moving along, too.

Some while back, the Australian Federal Police’s top specialist in al-Qaida, Leah Farrall, opened an online dialog with an Egyptian Taliban strategist and frequent critic of bin Laden, Abu Walid al-Masri.

I wrote their conversation up on Howard Rheingold’s blog, SmartMobs.

Leah then invited me to make my own comments to Abu Walid, which she posted on her All Things Counterterrorism blog, while Mark Safranski put it up on his blog, Zenpundit, where I’m a regular guest poster. I hope some of you will read this piece, which comes as close to a statement of my values — for myself and the planet — as anything I have written.

Abu Walid recently posted his response to me, in Arabic, and I now have a translation up at Zenpundit.

I hope you will read Abu Walid’s post, too, both because I find his emphasis on chivalry quite remarkable, and because as Leah observes:

These letters may not change anything, but they are important because in mass media sometimes only the most controversial and polarising views tend to make it into the news. I think person to person contact, especially via mediums like this, can go some way to providing opportunities for all of us to discover or be reminded that there is more than one viewpoint and along with differences there are also similarities. Contact like this humanizes people, and in my book that’s never a bad thing.

I’d encourage you to post your own comments on these exchanges if they interest you.

There’s more, too — the extraordinary generosity of my friends Chris and Ed Worden, with whom I am staying, my boys, Emlyn and David, who make me very proud, my work moderating online events for the Skoll Foundation’s SocialEdge website, poems, DoubleQuotes, some renewed stirrings of interest in the HipBone Games, and so forth.

That’s the update for now…



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