Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bullies!

"In 2009 may all the barriers that oppress the people of the world fall."

I haven't taken much time for news lately, but had been mourning the news out of Palestine. I don't think it really sank in though until my hubby turned on the news last night as we headed to bed. CNN had special live coverage of the the ground offensive and we watched as smoke rose from the distant city and bright rockets slammed down towards the terrified people below sending more smoke rising up into the otherwise beautiful blue sky.
Un niño palestino falleció y otras 11 personas resultaron heridas este sábado debido al disparo de un tanque israelí, convirtiéndose en las primeras víctimas del ataque terrestre que la nación judía inició sobre la franja de Gaza. (radio mundial)

A palesinian boy died and 11 people were hurt this Saturday due to the firing of an Israeli tank making them the first victims of the ground attack that the Jewish nation began against the Gaza strip.


I am not an expert on the Middle East by any means, but I agree with this analysis by David Bromwich:
There is a word for the straightforward killing of enemies by a superior force where the victims are sparsely equipped and the odds one-sided. Much of the world is calling Israel's actions in Gaza a massacre. By contrast the American press has been cleansed and euphemized. "3rd Day of Bombings," said the New York Times headline on December 30, "Takes Out Interior Ministry." Takes out. The Times paid an involuntary homage to George W. Bush: "I think it's a good thing for the world that we took out Saddam Hussein." Under that phrase are half a million Iraqis killed and a country destroyed. And for Israel in Gaza?

..."It was Israel at its best," writes Yossi Klein Halevy, a typical war broker, in a New Republic column posted on December 29. "In response to random attacks aimed at civilians, Israel launched precise attacks aimed at terrorists." Halevy does not add that the precise attacks killed almost 400 persons and that one death in every four was civilian.


Back in 1991 I sat, awed, in front of my family's TV in Southern California and watched the green and black pictures of Smart Bombs targeting specific military buildings. My teenage mind was impressed and thrilled to see that we could defeat the "bad guys" while avoiding civilian deaths. My boyfriend (now my beloved husband) was watching very different video clips of the same war on his family's TV in Entre Rios, Argentina! He saw fathers digging out their dead and severely wounded children. He saw the bombs destroying homes and other civilian buildings.

I didn't believe him when he told me.

"No!" I said, "We have smart bombs, we aren't hurting civilians!"

I couldn't believe him, wouldn't believe him, did not want to believe him, but over the years I have been forced, by the sad, sorrowful, awful facts, to have to believe him. American news does not tell us the WHOLE truth. It is whitewashed and twisted so that we can hear a clip, watch a distant explosion, perhaps sigh and mumble a wish for peace, but then go back to Christmas gift exchanges and New Year's resolutions to loose the weight put on a Christmas feasting.

The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas. (read more)

The voice on CNN reported the news without expression.

"I feel so helpless." I whispered to my sleepy husband.
"What?"
"I wish I could do something!"
The only thing I can think of to do is to write to my congressmen. You can write to yours as well. I have links in the side bar, titled Be Heard, that you can use to look them up and send an email or snail mail, and tips about the proper way to do so.

Although I sadly agree with my blogging friend Dade:

It's a mess, pure and simple. There may well be no solution. But I'm disgusted at how the cowards in Washington (and in Cairo, Riyadh, and everywhere else) are willing to let the Israeli blitzkrieg --and, yes, let's call it what it is-- roll over a defenseless people.


I have to try something!

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Update 1

-------------------------------
Sent e-mails to both of my Senators and my Representative. I didn't send a copy to still President Bush, I figured it wouldn't do any good. Feel free to copy any part of my e-mail to send to your representatives. But most likely you can write a better one on your own:

_______________________
I am writing in hopes that you may have some way to influence our national
position on the situation in Palestine. I was appalled to hear that:

"The United States late Saturday blocked approval of a U.N. Security
Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip
and southern Israel and expressing concern at the escalation of violence
between Israel and Hamas."
-Huffington Post (although I first heard it on CNN)

I am trying to do my small part by writing to you, but I truly feel helpless
when faced by what appears to me to be a vast overreaction on the part of
Israel.

Thank you for your concern,
____________________________



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Update 2
-------------------------------
I read another blog on this topic that describes well my view of Israel as bully:

In professional boxing they do what? Men are weighed to match each others mass. Their skill levels are matched to see how they can be challenged in a fair fight toe to toe. Now imagine, one boxer starves the other boxer. Imagine that the same boxer not only starves the other boxer but breaks one of his hands and two of his toes. Now that same boxer gets to take a bat into the right with him and the other boxer doesn't even get to wear his gloves. The referee is also paid off by the bat weilding boxer not to distrub him as he pummels his opponent. The news all portrays this sporting event as a "fair fight." Is it actually a fair fight?

--------------------------------
Update 3
--------------------------------
I was just talking to my dad and he was telling my cousin and I about a book he's been wanting to share with us:
Once Upon a Country
by Sari Nusseibeh

He mentioned that one point made in the book was that Israel encouraged the formation of Hamas because they preferred to have an extremist group with which to fight, than a group that would negotiate with them. This thought blows my mind, and also reminded me of an interview that I heard on NWPR last week. (I'm still looking for the link.) In the interview a Palesinian representative, I don't remember his name, claimed that he did not believe that Hamas was actually firing the rockets, but that Israel had sent people in to do so and thus give them a reason to invade. I do not know if there is any proof of this at all, and kindof dismissed it as crazy, but when my Dad mentioned the info from the book above it made it a bit more believable.

24 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

Here is an excerpt from an AP article:

Sens. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, the top two Democrats in the chamber, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell all described Israel's actions as understandable. "I think what the Israelis are doing is very important," Reid said. "I think this terrorist organization, Hamas, has got to be put away. They've got to come to their senses."

Israeli President Shimon Peres said that Israel had to push forward despite the calls for a halt to the ground offensive and that a cease-fire was pointless without a stop to Hamas rocket fire.


It seems that Hamas has had plenty of time and motivation to stop the bombing in the past but have not stopped. What do you think Israel should do about the rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza that have assaulted the people of southern Israel?

Heather Ann said...

I think the problem is that Israel really does not want a peaceful solution. I believe they want an excuse to kick all Palestinians out and claim "greater Israel" all for themselves. I do have sympathy for the Israeli civilians who just want to live their lives, but unfortunately many are all to happy to turn the tables and switch from being oppressed to becoming the oppressors.

Kansas Bob said...

From what I read it seems that Hamas is the group that does not want peace.

Heather Ann said...

Well, like I said, I am NOT an expert, and I'm sure there is blame on the Hamas side as well, but it does seem to me that Israel is overreacting in this current offensive.

Heather Ann said...

Here is some analysis from one of the blogs I linked above:

"Recently, Condoleezza Rice, blamed Hamas for the Israeli bombing of Gaza. It is Hamas' fault because they fired rockets at innocent Israeli's, according to Rice's logic, anyway. This is called "blaming the victim." Blaming the victim is a way excusing an abusers behavior. "The bitch asked for it." "She didn't have my supper ready when I walked in the door." "Don't cower, Bitch!" Wasn't the abusers fault that his fists slammed into the face of his wife/girlfriend, it was her fault because she didn't do as her master told her.

The recent Isreaeli genocidal (using the accusatory term in its LEGAL sense) attack is no less than Israeli responsibility. Israel has been disarming (making defenseless) Palestinians since its 1948 inception. Provocations have been made in the forms of sanctions, apartheid, ignoring UN resolutions such as 242, breaking the arms and legs of Palestinians, building an apratheid wall so they can fence in Palestinians to be more easily murdered at Israeli convenience, performing radiological health experiments upon Sephardic (darkie) Jews, etc. When one watches their families and friends made powerless over a force that is allowed to steal its dignity and flaunts it in their face on a daily basis, one will eventually fight back. Wouldn't you? Would you sit their and allow your family to be starved? Would you just sit there and let armed thugs (Israeli military) break the arms and legs of your brothers for no particular reason other than to further you oppression? Would you just take it as you watch hospital supplies purposefully depleted so your people could more easily die from preventable health problems? Would you just sit there and take it while your electrical power is purposefully cut off for no other reason than to keep you and your neighbors suffering? That is what Israel has done to Palestinians. It is called provocation."

Kansas Bob said...

Do you think that Iran is arming Hamas? Do you think that it is more religious than political?

Eugene said...

It is a matter of survival. Under the horrific conditions that the Palestinians live under via FORCE of Israel and its allies, when one is so horrifically beaten with no end in sight and no help allowed, one takes up whatever weapons one can in order to SURVIVE. Survival includes dignity. That is what we Indians did. Had we Indians not taken up a fight, Americans would have ruthlessly slaughtered every last one of us. In SW Oregon in the 1850's, the American volunteers called themselves "The Exterminators," as that was their intent.

This is not a fair fight. You do believe in fair fights, right Bob. Israel has held up a blockade against Palestine letting little supplies in and controlling Palestine's energy grid. With this, they create great suffering amongst the Palestinians.

Like with Iraq. This is what Tommy Franks said as he was taken out of the field there, and I paraphrase: "For every [alleged] terrorist I kill, I create three more." Folks get a little tired of seeing their family and friends suffer. They get a little tired of seeing their children suffer and being killed. People will fight back. Then that is used as an excuse for an all out campaign of terror or genocide (again, look at Native American history in dealing with the current occupiers of our lands). It is simple to see the issue from the viewpoint from which you set forth. You don't look deep into the history nor do you look at the conditions of life on either side of the Berlin/Israeli Palestine wall. Nor will you, Bob. It would be interesting if you did.

Read "The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf," by Ramsay Clark about the George Sr.'s illegal and genocidal war against the Iraqi's, and you will start to recognize a pattern of warfare.

As well, "War is a Racket" by four star marine corps general Smedley Butler. Written in 1935 and available in its entirety on the internet.

Kansas Bob said...

"You do believe in fair fights, right Bob."

Yes I do.. but I don't think that Al Qaeda or Hamas fights fair.

Heather Ann said...

Well, I deleted my last comment, because I wrote in haste and feel I was insensitive. It is not easy to change one's point of view. I have done it in part, but it involved many tears.

Bob, I think your question about religion playing a part could probably fill a book let alone a blog posting and although I'm know religion is a huge issue I'll have to read more before giving my opinion.

Eugene, those books look interesting, I'll look them up.

Well, off to work!

Dade said...

I'm with Heather Ann and Eugene on this.

Regardless of the rockets that Hamas has allegedly fired into Israel, turning precision ordnance on apartment complexes, schools, and Mosques is inexcusable. Where are those vaunted Israeli commandos? How are the deaths of 9 children from a single family justified by Hamas' bad behavior?

The Israelis have oppressed and abused the Palestinians for long decades in a sickening manner. All of it funded by my tax dollars.

I do not consent.

Kansas Bob said...

Dade.. It is interesting that you said "rockets that Hamas has 'allegedly' fired into Israel".

The morning news guy in Israel said Hamas had fired 16 missiles into Israel today.. maybe he is lying?

I really don't have a dog in this fight.. I see problems on both sides of this tragedy.. it seems to me that this conflict is a religious one.. seems like all wars in the middle east are religious in nature.. seems that terror groups Al Qaeda and Hamas play on the dark hateful sides of religion.

I think that the whole thing is sad and I think that there are two sides to this conflict.. but I could be way off.. been wrong before.

Dade said...

Well, Bob, I think it very likely that rockets were fired into Israel. But, do we know for certain that Hamas fired them? And what does that mean? Does that mean that some person in Hamas' structure gave the authorization to fire the rockets? Or does it mean that some persons "linked" to Hamas acted on their own?

One thing is clear: the Israeli gunships that fired missiles on apartment complexes loaded with civilians were acting with the full authorization of the Israeli government and, by proxy, the Bush administration.

Eugene said...

I agreed with Bob there for a minute, Dade. "Allegedly?" Now I understand. From all I've read, Hamas has not denied the rockets are theirs.

If you are truly interested in a great debate between an Israeli and a Palestinian, Bob, I'd suggest you brave up and watch Democracy Now's January 5th show. Excellent debate which goes very in depth by two peoples on opposite sides of the line who are both effected by violence. One interesting point, however, is that Israel REFUSES to talk. "Hey, Palestine, what is it you want? Maybe we could work something out to where none of our peoples suffer." Ask yourself, Bob, why doesn't Israel want to talk peace.

Throwing out simple arguments like what about Al Queda and Hamas not fighting fair. Let's see, Arab type folks are getting tired of U.S. governmental type folks of forcing suffering upon their peoples and so many others. As Ward Churchill would say, folks are tired of their babies getting killed or dying of preventable causes caused by outside forces. 4000 people in the WTC buildings, it is said by some studies that over 1.5 million Iraqi's have been killed in the latest confrontation. You can also dig up the stats on Israel and Palestine and check the difference.

Al Queda, as well, was basically created by the U.S. government. Al Queda was an offshoot of the Mujahadeen, supplied with money and weapons via the CIA during the Afghan war with Russia throughout the 1980's. Osama Bin Laden was one of those folks who were members and fighters amongst the Mujahadeen. Ronald Reagan also had a handful of Mujahadeen to the white house and called them the equivalent of the founding fathers.

One more thing, I believe my friend James Craven, Blackfoot Solicitor General to the Traditional Government and Business Head at Clark College coined this phrase: Never support a war you are not willing to take up arms in and fight yourself because you are asking other people to do your killing for you.

Kansas Bob said...

Dear Eugene and Dade,

Thanks for the responses. You both have researched this issue in more detail than I have so I will defer to your opinions and try to read a bit more about this in the coming days. I appreciate your passion for the people of Gaza and for hanging in there with my questions.

All the best, Bob

Dade said...

Good discussion! Thanks, all.

Eugene said...

Good for you, Bob. That is most excellent!

I just learned today, listening to an interview with a former senator from South Dakota, I believe his name was Abourezk, that Hamas was initially heavily funded by Israel as an answer to the PLO. Besides, Hamas was democratically elected in elections heavily pushed by Bush and D.C. Didn't go the way they wanted it to, however.

Israel, before becoming a nation, was also terrorist in its formation. Mouchere Diane (sp?), was responsible for quite a few terrorist bombings prior to the formation of the state of Israel. I had heard that Diane said he would be a freedom fighter if he was a Palestinian, also. Kinda says a lot.

Eugene said...

Oh yeah! And let's not forget the torpedoeing of the U.S.S. Liberty, a US spyship, during the 6 days war in '67. Israel claims that it was an accident, like Iraq and the Stark in '88, however, survivors say otherwise. As well, James Bamford's book, "Body of Secrets," claims the Israeli military knew the Liberty was spying on war crimes they were committing in that war.

Eugene said...

BTW, thank you Heather for this post. Getting people to think. Thinking is a skill not used enough. I started playing chess again recently, talk about brain exercise. Helps me to see things more clearly.

Heather Ann said...

It certainly has me thinking! I really wish I had more time to join in the discussion, but break is over so I'm back in the rat race. Maybe I can organize my thoughts a bit in a post over the weekend! BTW, I'm a horrible chess player - but my kids love it! Maybe I should let them teach me some strategy!

Eugene said...

Good idea on the chess. I have a book called "The Complete Chess Course," that I am going through. As well, I have a hand held computer chess came and a game on my computer. I don't get to play humans much, however. That will hopefully change soon.

Mike said...

Heather Ann, while it is touching to find there are people who still write their Congressmen, where is the evidence our "leaders" give a damn what we think about issues like this one?

If it is really the case our representatives urgently need advice on extremely basic questions of morality and human decency, we've gone far beyond the letter stage.

This letter business seems no more than a sick little game Congressmen use to encourage the illusion we can "make a difference."

Heather Ann said...

Hi Mike! I have tried other things ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/gehmflor/474057616/ ) but I didn't really feel they made any real difference either. My blog is of course one other attempt at spreading my views. The reason I still try the letters is that people like Dobson still do. I do think he is loosing some of his influence since his absolutely insane 2012 letter ( http://gehmflor.blogspot.com/2008/10/dobson-letter.html ), but the truth is he, and those like him, get huge numbers of people writing letters. I write mine in hopes that something from a different perspective may catch the eye of whoever has the job of sorting through such things. I'm not ready to give up on the system. The only step after that is more violence or complete apathy.

Mike said...

Heather, this is an interesting subject to me because in the 90's I realized Dobson and others would have me writing letters on a daily basis if I let them. Something seemed wrong with that. Why should defending myself from my own government interfere with normal life?

When you say the only alternative to those kinds of efforts is violence or apathy, I respectfully disagree. I am a non-violent person who refuses to vote for decidedly non-apathetic reasons. Voluntaryism (see Wikipedia) is just one alternative approach to addressing a corrupt system.

Spreading your views through blogging is probably one of the most potent long-term efforts you can personally make. Don't you think we underestimate the power of ideas as a force for change? I doubt you'd be writing otherwise.

Thanks for a stimulating blog!

Ole said...

Here's an interview with the author of the book:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99108805