Reparations and Reconciliation

I do global health work in Rwanda empowering women in health in rural villages. Rwanda’s model of Reconciliation post Genocide 1994, where nearly 1,000,000 people were slaughtered in less than four months, is an unsung model of healing for the world community – Israel/Palestine/Gaza, the Middle East, yes, even families.  What is reparations, is it money doled out to whom, where is the accountability for funds getting to intended need?  How is corruption and greed prevented?

Reconciliation involves all concerned – perpetrators and victims sitting down and confronting and facing each other. For all are now survivors committed to a stronger unified society.  Rwanda’s progress is remarkable, leading Africa in WHO and UN Sustainable Development Goals. Neighboring countries in East Africa marvel at the progress and recovery post Genocide. Rwanda now has the highest percentage of women in government than any country in the world – 64 percent, the U.S. a paltry 19%. Yet, healing and recovery from the trauma and unimaginable mass suffering, murder, torture, violence, rape, and abuse, especially to women will take generations if ever. As with the Holocaust, it must never be forgotten, so it will never be repeated, lessons for today.

How is reconciliation different from reparations?  Rwanda’s Reconciliation model went village to village with all participants judging their neighbor perpetrators and weighing ‘reparations’ – prison or not. As well, one Saturday a month is set aside for each citizen to perform community service to enhance the local village, community, and country. Reconciliation is a model including a narrower construct of reparations. I ask citizens, leaders, Embassy officials – how do you account for the remarkable turnaround, all say to a person – leadership and a desire to do and be better.

What would reconciliation look like in the U.S. for the crimes of slavery?  It can be done by eliminating the blockage of the social determinants of health that prevent communities and individuals and families in these communities from thriving. Transportation, access to primary health care, productive jobs and opportunities, schools that are equipped with resources, both human and capital, to produce future productive citizens with a joy and purpose in life and society. Decent housing, reverse food deserts with ready access to fresh produce and healthy foods.  What communities lack these requirements for health or as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) describes as the “Culture of Health”?  Look around, we do not have to look far, inner cities, racially segregated reflecting the values – politics of government.

Here in Washington, DC, we have these communities within view of the U.S. Capitol Dome.  The U.S. ranks #37 in basic health indices according to WHO data for all ‘developed’ countries. Within view of the  U.S. Capitol, there are high schools with no toilet paper; every visit to Office Depot there are school teachers spending hundreds of dollars of their own money for school supplies. Of the G20 Nations, the U.S. ranks at the bottom in striving for UN Sustainable Development Goals, just below Russia. These goals address basic human rights like good health and well-being, no poverty or hunger, quality education, gender equality, clean water (Flint, MI) and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry-innovation-infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities. Responsible consumption and production, climate action, protection of waterways and ocean-life below water, life on land-ecosystem and environment, peace, justice and strong institutions, partnerships for the Goals.

Now let’s look to the tax bill of 2018, who benefits? Those who pushed it through Congress – Ivanka Trump as ‘special advisor to the president’ has said this is her greatest policy achievement. Look again, whom does it benefit, the swamp the president continues to flow in and out of the White House.

For hope, there is always the 2020 elections to take step by step to remove barriers to communities suffering from health disparities, injustices, and lack of access to social determinants of health, and the values manifested in politics devoid of moral courage and ethics. Starting with the for profit pharmaceutical, insurance and sick-care, fee for service medical industrial complex strangling all citizens.


It does seem that Jeremy Corbyn and party have failed, not speaking up with constructive alternatives.  Rather, name calling the battered Teresa May.  As well, it appears that Teresa May, brave and strong, has dug into a narrow position of the slim vote for Brexit, as the raison d’etre to urge her on.  

 MPs timid with no direction popping up from green leather banquettes (or is it plastic) in Parliament. The sycophants of cowardly males scurrying about – Boris Johnson off on his bike, Farage prancing the stage with no future vision.  And, most of all, the conceit of David Cameron to propose the Brexit vote in the first place, thinking this would ensure his reign as PM with a no vote. 

 It does seem another vote is in order, a breath of fresh air to clear the noggins of those who voted Brexit, to now vote to Stay in the EU.  Then my paternal ancestral heritage will be where it belongs with all the others across the pond, from whence many of our ancestors on this side came.  For long ago, the sun ceased to set on the shrinking Empire.  Speaking for my maternal ancestral heritage, perhaps Northern Ireland will join the Republic; and Russia will stay out of Britain and U.S. elections. 

 Yes, here in Washington, we have hope of the 2020 elections to dig us out of our mess.  For the UK, not so much hope in sight, a great pity.  Cannot we all do better than what we have wrought now. 


Angela Merkel

ANGELA MERKEL for President of the World –

Staring down lies, falsehoods, bullies – G7 Summit, Quebec, Canada, 2018


 Sen Kamela Harris 

Senator Kamala Harris – September 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Kavanaugh

“Can you think of any law giving the government power to

regulate a man’s body?”


Speaker Pelosi Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stands up to bullies and speaks with grace, truth, and strength.

No one in public service today speaks with the same clarity of what the Constitution empowers all citizens of a country whose founding is based on ideas, not nationalism, not ethnic enclaves, not tribalism, but strength in unity and our diversity.  Speaker Pelosi educates the public to what the responsibility is of all citizens and empowers us to believe and act.  Most of all – Vote.


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton – the most qualified individual ever to run for President.  The process and results mingled with sexism and the media not questioning falsehoods with the destructive result in the White House today.  Talk of a new generation – where are the ideas?  Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton.  Who is dismissed for ageism, who is not?  Sexism is the most toxic ‘ism’ in the world today.  Look only to the fall out of war and disorganization in fragile societies – it is the rape and abuse of women, to keep girls from education.  The fear of cowardly males to communicate, negotiate, talk, use words for understanding not weapons, negotiate from compassion and dignity of the individual and respect, not brute force that kills and destroys the killers.  Returning veterans still in their youth are haunted by the scenes ever-present on the ‘orders’ of their superiors – to kill with impunity, return still young and questioning their unique experience and how to incorporate into productive lives in the future.  Look only to the ongoing wars this country has waged in recent times, starting with George W. Bush false invasion of Iraq leading to the dissembling of the Middle East.  Yes, dictators organically would have been removed, perhaps generations from now, but not by the ignorance and arrogance of the male weapon.  It is the women in fragile societies, such as the young women Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State, who have the vision and guiding light.  Educators and Education will raise societies and awareness to bring truth, beauty, and justice to the surface and mainstream compassion, respect, and dignity in all interactions – personal, family, local, regional, national, global.


Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama –

“When they go low, we go high.”  Said in support of Hillary Clinton, 2016, and for truth, honesty, integrity.

In 2018, Michelle Obama adds, “I absolutely still believe that we’ve got to go high ― always and without exception.  “It’s the only way we can keep our dignity. Because if we lose our dignity, what do we have left?

“When someone’s trying to pull you down into the mud, it takes a lot less effort to give in and join them in the muck than to keep yourself upright, standing tall. If you allow yourself to play on their terms, they win. It’s what they want you to do. You can’t give them the satisfaction.” Continuing, “Now, going high doesn’t mean giving up or ignoring reality. It doesn’t mean you shy away from the fight or weaken your principles. It means you lead with your whole heart and your whole soul — your whole value system — and not just whatever happens to be your stance on a given issue. Going high isn’t just about the fight you want to win, but it’s also about the person you want to be — and the kind of country you want to have….But we never lose sight of our goal. We never stop working. And we never stop trying to set a good example for the next generation.”


Water and Bark

Photo of Exhibit – “R.T./S.R./V.S.” – Matti Braun (Berlin) at Rubin Museum of Art, NYC

Tree Bark in Water – natural elements in a strange place.  Take the first step,  shaky timid yet with anticipation, embrace the journey, endless possibilities, gain strength, joy, hope, freedom.  Knowing one cannot look back but forward, let go to what is not attainable, the exhilaration of the discovery – the future, the present, the past are all fluid.

Much like playwright Will Eno’s last line in Title and Deed, “Wherever you go, don’t be lost too long.”  Take the first step to the rest of your life.

Hold fast and deep to your Moral Courage and Depth of Integrity.  Always question, ask Who, What, Where, Why, How, When?  Do not accept statements as fact from any source, including family, do not be afraid, hold on to your core values, follow your inner light.

            I return to Rwanda in May 2019


    The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the     public with the public’s money.

    America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to     be great.

    Liberty cannot be established without morality.

   Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831




Universal Health Care Coverage for All

 Washington Journal, Sunday August 5, 2018 – Medicare for All in the US

 Two economists, Charles Blahous and Emily Gee, did not add the Values needed for any discussion of this topic.  Blahous holding tight to his research with no holistic perspective on the health of citizens.  Gee only at the very end mentioning what we Value in this country, thus, hinting at health disparities so rampant here and unlike other ‘developed’ countries.

 Caller from England most poignant, that country made a decision in 1948 and embraced universal coverage wholeheartedly.  A bumbling incoherent explanation from Blahous about the lack of applicability on this side of the pond.  Caller from Massachusetts also correct, Medicare requires recipients an out of pocket loss each month of approximately $300, with NO vision, dental, or hearing coverage.  Hearing assistive devices alone tends to thousands of dollars.   

 Coverage of this topic, so vital to the future well-being of this country, needs contributors with a heart as well as practical and policy knowledge.  Yes, taxes would be raised to provide coverage for all, but we would not have the growing threat and rise of the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions denied, health disparities, lack of coverage for our vulnerable.  Resulting now with the U.S. ranking #37 in basic health indices in WHO data. 

 Based here in Washington, DC, I teach health care policy online to Family Nurse Practitioner graduate students throughout the country and abroad.   Professional nursing is the largest health profession, and is mandated through the Institute of Medicine Report (2010) The Future of Nursing to take leadership in health maintenance, promotion, and prevention in the community where our clients – individual, family/support system, community – local, national, global naturally reside.  Leading to humane health care reform and universal coverage for all.  I also do global health care work in Rwanda, where universal coverage is a value, unlike in the U.S.  As I teach my students, politics is simply an expression of values, and policy is merely the implementation of those values.

 Harriet A. Fields, Ed.D., RN 

Washington, DC

Trump, at Putin’s Side, Questions U.S. Intelligence on 2016 Election – Commentary by Harriet A. Fields, July 16, 2018

Is not this the definition of treason and a high crime, undermining the country’s own administration investigative findings?  Pundits bent over themselves proffering explanations of president Trump’s agenda for his visit with murderous, and journalist truth telling dissent killing oligarch Putin of Russia. Now beyond our wildest speculation is the next and daily ghastly ‘aha’ moment, to continue to lie about himself and weaken the status of the government already weakened on January 20, 2017 at his inauguration.  And last week by the insults hurled at and attempted dismantling of the 70 year old bond with Europe at NATO meetings.

In my grandfather’s film ‘Old Fashioned Way’ there is a line rehearsed by the wonderful actor Jan Duggan playing Cleopatra Pepperday and being directed by the Great (Marc Anthony) McGonigle, the character played by W.C. Fields. This scene never gets into the play being rehearsed in the film, for it is too preposterous to believe, “What’s the lowest you will take for your rotten carcass now?”

Now we know the current occupant of the White House lowest, dismantle the world order to assuage his ego and line his family pockets. Does not this merit impeachment, at the very least removal from office, jail time too.  Perhaps Bernie Madoff, Donald Trump, and Paul Manafort would make fine cell fellows.

Harriet A. Fields

Washington, DC                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

My 3rd Off Broadway production in 3 years

United States Postal Service First Class Stamp, Performing Arts Series
United States Postal Service First Class Stamp, Performing Arts Series

Produced and featured in “Celebration of Comic Genius W.C. Fields

Dr. Harriet A. Fields

Educator; Commentator; Women’s Global Health Policy Advocate; Off Broadway producer/ creator

Dr. Harriet A. Fields presents “Celebration of Comic Genius W.C. Fields”   

National Arts Club in historic Gramercy Park, New York City, June 27, 2018, with Guest Panelists Dick Cavett modern entertainment Icon, Prof. Rob King, Columbia University Film Department, Dr. Harriet Fields granddaughter.  

Film clips and conversation, We bring together a family member, a scholar, and a comedic television personality for an evening about entertainment legend, W.C. Fields, who achieved acclaim in films, vaudeville, and on Broadway. Dr. Harriet Fields, W.C. Fields’ granddaughter, presents programs nationally and internationally about her grandfather. As a global health advocate in Rwanda, she shares her grandfather’s films with the Kwetu Film Institute in Kigali, with insights into how W.C. Fields speaks to the universal human condition. She is working on an Off Broadway play about an incident that befell her grandfather while performing on Broadway. Rob King is a film professor and historian at Columbia University, with expertise in early comedy. Dick Cavett is a comedian, writer, former talk show host, W.C. Fields devotee, and commentator of our times, notable for his conversational style.


A message to my Niece and Nephews – Dear Ones,

As we enter 2018, let’s go in Hope – Always Advocacy – Peace – Truth – and Love – the Lessons from the Women’s March on Washington that began 2017.

 Always speak truth to authority, call falsehoods and lies wherever we find them, advocate for our common bond of humanity in any setting.

 A few weeks ago I attended Daniel Ellsberg book reading event at Kramerbooks & Afterwords here in Dupont Circle.  Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers and the fraud and lies of the Vietnam war. 

I went up to Mr. Ellsberg after and said ‘thank you for all you have done.  I grew up with your bravery’.  He smiled widely and shook my hand. 

The new movie out now “The Post” is about this incident in American history

– Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, editor.   

A few years after the Pentagon papers came Watergate, at that time columnist Art Buchwald had a piece in the Washington Post on ’14 Points of Watergate”, number 13 was “What is it that those involved in Watergate learned in law school that made them think that what they were doing was ethical?” 

That column gave me the idea for my dissertation topic at Teachers College, Columbia University, for I thought all professions must have a common core of ethics in education and practice. 

From there I developed a Conceptual Framework for Professional Behavior, validated to apply to all profession. 

Have tried to live by these concepts ever since. 

As Hillary now says, Onward Together to confront falsehoods in any setting, including family, community, nationally, globally, to lead in honesty and truth with moral courage and depth of integrity.    

To be involved, to advocate for social justice.   

The day after I met Daniel Ellsberg, three weeks ago now, I heard him on NPR promoting his new book.  When asked, he said the two people he admires most in the world today are Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.  He said that recently he spoke with Mr. Snowden in Moscow.  Snowden said to him “If there was no Daniel Ellsberg, there would be no Edward Snowden.”  It takes a certain courage and bravery to try to “right wrongs” as was said of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Mead, Elma Holder, Hillary Rodham Clinton…….      

A goal in 2018 and beyond – to live in mindful awareness, compassion, and kindness.

Remember, the arts in all forms lift our spirits, speak to our souls, and lead to healing – the language of all living things.

On this first Day of the New Year 2018, sending each and every one – love, peace, and hope, words I hear every day in Rwanda.

Facebook selling ads that corrupt 2016 elections, vs. Kaspersky Internet Security

Now let’s see whom we might trust.  Facebook recently exposed as selling ads to an entity cynical attempts to influence the 2016 elections

Or, Kaspersky Internet Security on every Best Buy computer sold and most efficient and reliable.  Now is this really a choice?