Teen Talk 7-24

By Gianni Risper

The holidays are a time for family members, celebrations, and mindless gorging of food. But what if you live too far away from most of your family.

I hardly ever get to see my mom’s side of the family. My grandmother lives in Atlanta. We call her “Grammy”. She is the greatest, coolest grandma one could ever have. She recently sent me a watch for a graduation present. She can’t come here for the holidays because she hates Michigan weather and will only come in the summertime when the weather is warm. It would be great if my grandmother came to visit during Thanksgiving or Christmas because she’s one the greatest cooks I’ve ever known.

Food has always been a big part of my holiday experience. It just wouldn’t seem right if we didn’t have a feast to celebrate them. Everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Thanksgiving is the only time when families come together and gorge themselves and mine is no exception. This holiday was an interesting one. Usually I like to cook Thanksgiving dinner with the exception of the turkey, which I leave up to my father. But this year my dad decided to cook dinner all by himself. I did a bit but not as much as I usually do. It was weird sitting on the sidelines while someone else did the cooking. The dinner came out fine as I hoped it would and I gorged myself to bursting along with most other Americans that day and for many days more on leftovers.

Just like most kids, I can’t wait for Christmas a.k.a The Big One. This is the holiday people go all out for and go all out of their wallet for. I was watching CNN and they highlighted how even with the economy as bad as it is, people were still spending at big retail stores, who are now making back all the money they lost in the economic rut the country was going through when it started to look like it did before the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

December is the time when people of all faiths celebrate the holidays but still we have people who seek to destroy all that is good in the world. The most recent crisis the “War on Mumbai” is nothing but hate. I watched the coverage on CNN who brought unprecedented live footage from the Hotel Oberai and the Taj Mahal Hotel where gunmen captured and killed an American rabbi and his wife, simply for being Jewish. These gunmen then went to shoot anything moving in sight. This is an act of hate driven by terrorists, but not the terrorists the “Right” has given you the image of.  Every country has terrorists. One of the main problems that the task force in Mumbai had was that they had no idea what the situations in the hotel rooms were, whether the people were being held hostage or whether the gunmen had mixed in with the hostages and when you released the hostages you could be letting go gunmen.

Just making this statement alone tells me that we really don’t know who the terrorists are and neither do they in India. The situation made me think that we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that all terrorists look like Osama Bin Ladin. Terrorists can look like anything and be anywhere so keep your wits about you.  Just look at Timothy McVeigh, he didn’t look like a terrorist at all.

Pray for those in the Mumbai crisis and their families. Over 150 people were killed and over 500 wounded.  Praying and trying to understand one another is the only way that we as a collective unit of people are going to survive in this world.

Gianni Risper is 16 years old and a student at Lansing Community College.