Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A Farewell

As 2008 moves to its final hours in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, my thoughts go in many sometimes conflicting directions.

I'm very much upset by the Israeli attacks upon Gaza. I agree with President Bush and the Israelis that Hamas is "the enemy" in some important ways. I'm also very much aware that such military attacks will Not: 1.) Stop the violence directed against the Israelis, 2.) Help opponents of Hamas who may be Palestinians , Arab non-Palestinians and similar build a credible opposition to Hamas and most importantly 3.) Allow for or help any moves towards Peace in the Middle East.

Violence can intimidate individuals, but it does not help when a Legitimate Grievance of Many is minimized and blamed repeatedly and those affected have no effective method of getting justice.

The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are not blameless nor better than those of us who are Jewish (and others). They do, however, have a repeated quandry which they can not get themselves out of. Jewish Settlements on the West Bank grow and expand, regardless of whether there is relative peace or violence on the West Bank. The lives of West Bank Palestinians are seriously affected by the land appropriations and the building of Israel's "Wall" attempting to separate Jews from Palestinians (on Palestinian land).

In Gaza since early November Israel has been increasingly strangling the economy as food, medicine and other goods are decreasingly allowed in. (When there isn't violence - the status quo - is Not - a Tenable State - the status quo - is a continuation of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. Gaza has Not been "independent" though Israelis have largely left it - it has Not been a "Palestinian State" any more than the Navaho Nation is a state in the Southwest.)

It can be argued that Hamas and Palestinians have been violent against Israeli Jews. It is also clear that the violence and injustices have also been coming from Israelis against Palestinians. To argue that the violence of one is Only in reaction to the violence of the other is naive and simplistic.

What can not be disputed is that Palestinians are increasingly hurt by a devastated economy, two separate land areas, one of which is separated into segregated areas for Jews and Palestinians where the Palestinians (the significant majority) are treated like a "minority group" and a crowded, impoverished small territory, which neither Israel nor Egypt wants, which can not survive economically on its own.

It also can not be disputed that Israel pays a huge price for continuing in an endless stalemate with the Palestinians. The fears of Israelis and their general state of isolation hurts individuals and the country as a whole.

We in the U.S. have an opportunity now with January 20, 2009 to begin a new era of change where negotiations might (faintly possibly at least) begin with the U.S. as a true mediator, not a force in support of Israeli interests Against Palestinian interests. Israel wants secure borders and Peace. Palestinians want true independence in a Palestinian State.

We need a huge change in attitude though if we will work towards making peace.

There are many ways we can educate ourselves in new ways about "making change" both for Israelis-Palestinians and for others in the world.

We need to stop being the world's bully who fears others. We talk of how the Chinese and others are causing environmental devastation while we disproportionally use up precious resources such as oil, water, etc.

We blame the Mexicans. We blame the Cubans. We blame the French. We blame the Russians.

We need to face plenty of truths within our own world(s) here at home in the U.S.

Yes, the Iranian leadership is dangerous! Threatening their leadership as a basic way to deal with their threats helps keep their leadership in power. There are plenty of non-Jewish forces in the Middle East who have No Love of the Iranian leadership.

Yes, Hamas is dangerous! Hamas has come into power and grown because of the failure of moderate Palestinian leadership. Moderate Palestinian leadership has failed to get a (secular) Palestinian state established. Some of its failures have been due to corruption and internal weaknesses. Some of its failures are as a result of opposition from the Israelis and U.S. interests.

Pakistan is probably the "biggest threat" to U.S. interests today. It is an impoverished country with a large population, the possession of nuclear weapons, great instability and an increasing movement of people who are very Anti-American.

We need to begin to be an ally to the "good people" of our world. We need to talk with those who we oppose such as the leadership of Iran.

We also need to really start dealing with our problems at home here in the U.S. Besides the current economic disaster we need a good national healthcare system that allows all of us to get affordable healthcare. We need housing for the poor. We need to end violence directed at women, children, minorities as well as violence we Men direct at other Men.

We need to avoid looking for simplistic answers to our problems. It is common to hope that President Obama will lead to a much better country and world. I remember when there were hopes when President Clinton was first elected after 8 years of Reagan and 4 years of Bush, Sr. Obama can make a huge difference however it will only happen if a huge number of us help push for what we want and need.

Obama can not eliminate racism, sexism and classism. He will need nudging and more. He will need support and more.

We can and hopefully will make a better world - starting in 2009. It won't be easy! We need to support each other. We need to look at options and possibilities and speak out more and more. We need to have a sense of humor. We need compassion. We need both patience and a determination to Not accept less than is necessary now.

I am cautiously optimistic. Thanks!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sending me the info on this topic.

I wish that we could see some sort of real peace in the Middle East in our lifetime. I worry that the bad habits of all are so entrenched that they will never see a real resolution.

Off topic - I hope that you will have a happy, healthy and peaceful 2009.

- Lisa