Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 7/24/2014, 3:19 p.m.
Rolling out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, and life’s never been so good. Except for the unrest that plagues the Middle East and Ukraine. I confess I rarely watch the news any more, as the fighting is a bit more than I can bear. I did happen to catch one story about civil unrest in Mesopotamia, once known as the birthplace of civilization.
Reports are that the violence there between Christians and Islamists has escalated to life-threatening proportions. Islamist extremists are forcing the Christian community to either denounce their Christian beliefs, convert to Islam, pay a religious tax or die. People are fleeing the region wherever they can. If you ever wonder what’s good and right about America, it is the religious freedom.
The history of Mesopotamia, a region located between the Tigress and Euphrates rivers, dates back to 10,000 BCE. It was there that cities as we know them today were first invented, as was writing, the wheel, beer and wine. According to Joshua Mark, in an essay for the “Ancient History Encyclopedia,” Sept. 2, 2009 edition, “Women enjoyed nearly equal rights and could own land, file for divorce, own their own businesses, and make contracts in trade. The early brewers of beer and wine, as well as the healers in the community, were initially women. These trades were later taken over by men, it seems, when it became apparent they were lucrative occupations.
“The work one did, however, was never considered simply a ‘job’ but one’s contribution to the community and, by extension, to the gods’ efforts in keeping the world at peace and in harmony.”
This ancient land, which sits in the eastern portion of the Mediterranean region, is better known today as Iraq, portions of Iran, Syria and Turkey.
A little closer to home, out on the East End of Long Island, everyone is reeling upon learning that our dear friend B. Smith has been diagnosed with a rather debilitating disease. Her popular restaurant, located on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, has been sold and is now called Harlow. The menu still features the dishes we love, at reasonable prices, including the new popular dish, lobster sliders, three minilobster salads served on toasted buns. But the Boule Foundation has changed the venue for its annual scholarship summer soiree this year. They will host their Saturday picnic, but the Sunday jam will be on a boat that will cruise the bay. Tickets are extremely limited.
But back to B. Smith. She has been seen out and about among friends, who salute her as an icon, a woman who set the style long before it was popular. I recall the first time I met B. Smith. I was a very young adult out with a group of my girlfriends one Saturday evening. It was a warm night, and we were just hanging out in Soho, when this tall, beautiful lady approached us. She said she was having a party at her Soho loft and needed some girls because only guys had showed up. Would we please come? We said, “Sure,” and followed her home because, in those days, you could do things like that and it was OK. We were beyond amazed at being at a party in a Soho loft. The lights were bright, and it was all good, clean fun.