I have been very fortunate to have been able to spend some time in the presence of some wonderful Tibetan Buddhist Monk refugees. They have touched my life in a very important way, reminding me of why I blog. More than that. Of why I love life and why I care deeply about us and our nation.
People are people as you've seen me write a great many times, and a better kinder more just world is possible if people consciously act from a place of love and respect. Acting out of loving kindness and decency was the norm for society for the majority of what we call civilization; take a look at any traditional culture.
These monks in their peaceful presence serve to remind me that years ago, without the Internet and unbiased news sources genocide could quietly occur; an ignorant populace offers no objections and doesn't know to ask our government to advocate justice. These kind and gently people have no homeland in part because enough of us early enough along did not stand up and say that state sanctioned genocide is wrong, the murder and suppression of a people half the world away is important, the erasure of their culture, the destroying of their religion is a crime. I championed the plight of Tibetans in the 90's through letters to political figures. It wasn't enough. Starting in 1959 these folks were visited by genocide and ethnic cleansing, monks killed, nuns raped all folks religious imprisoned tortured and killed as Communist China Occupied their sovereign nation, filling the land with an imported population of Han Chinese folks. I know this and you know it, but overall our nation has just gone on with a business as usual approach.
The monks mention little of this, merely the fact of the Occupation, only wishing to share the culture of their land, the innate kindness of their people, the lovingkindness of their religion. The strength of their peaceful presence. But the fact that they are refugees is to me glaring.
The British have done this with the Irish. Our early forefathers have done this to the folks who lived here when they "discovered" North America. We individual Americans have a good chance of being intimately aware, through our families, of genocide. Of our religion being forbidden, our language being erased through law and punishment. The Jewish folks among us are particularly aware because it is such recent history. Same with Native Americans, the history of their being dealt with unfairly by the government is as current as yesterdays news. People of African descent. We really have no excuse to be quiet or let ethnic cleansing be done in our name; except that the culprits always whitewash their heinous deeds. The press, controlled subtly or overtly make these immoral measures seem justified. The history books gloss over the realities. It is hard to face. People being people, the truth would work on the minds of the decent populace. It would be stopped. Information is powerful that way.
As an American, wouldn't you stand up and say the massacre woman and children was wrong in the American west? Wouldn't you wish to put a stop to genocide done in your name, with your tax money? If you could turn back the clock wouldn't you keep a shameful part of our US heritage from happening? People are people, we regular folks are decent and want justice across the board, consonant with our religious and civic beliefs, those ideals that our nation was formed with and for. Justice for just one type, one class of people is not justice. And that fact is obvious for anyone that has been gifted with a mind to think.
People have taken the time to send me some really hateful screeds due to my championing of justice in Palestine. The truth of my writing shines through I feel due to the fact that these angry communications do not refute my links or ideas on their substance, they are just partisan ramblings of the irate, and given what is said, the sadly ignorant.
This month has had me highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people for a few reasons. Topical daily news makes it easy to write about. The evidence is "the elephant in the room" meaning it is there and easy to access and anyone with a sense of justice could intuit it and with the help of a few accurate books or search engine and the names of key players can dig it up readily. But some folks would rather not mention it. They find the truth troublesome to explain in relation to the claims they base their actions, their worldview on.
One reason is that the media hype we are exposed to in the US has us looking at current events in Palestine without context, a context that is freely available and quite easy to communicate simply by quoting Zionist historical figures. Read the quotes and judge for yourself the justice revealed behind the Zionist movement's need to take land that does not belong to them for their vision of Eratz Israel, a land free of its native inhabitants and welcome only to militant folks of one religion. Then the kind people can live in a free land. But first the genocide need happen. The ethnic cleansing and "transfer". The early writings of the Zionists speak about the reality of this plainly. But history is written by those in power so the truth is left in the dark. Again, it is because the majority of citizens are good people and would not want this to happen to them as a people (again). Part of being an adult, a full human being is having the ability to look honestly through the eyes of the other. One can build up a complex of rationalizations but deep down the truth lies buried no matter how hard the biased intellect attempts to slam it down.
The case of the USS Liberty has been in the news. The facts support the eye-witness reports of the crew that survived the onslaught of rockets, cannon and machinegun fire, napalm and torpedoes. The latest news of this longst attack ever withstood in US naval history verifies the fact that before Lyndon Johnson was told who had perpetrated the attack he said he wanted it covered up to save our ally. I would write about this no matter who did it. It was Israel.
The Apartheid Wall is in the news. The whole world has come out against it, with the exception of Micronesia I think, a country that is totally reliant on the financial goodwill US government. The Isreali people largely too. Apartheid is wrong. Sure, it can be dressed up with new terms but the reality of what is happening fits the label. The fact that the wall is built heavily on Palestinian land in such a way as to slice it up into little cells, bantustans, is newsworthy. That it accomodates illegal settlements in defiance of UN 242 needs to be known to folks fed the biased pablum of US news makes it a must mention, as does the damage done to Palestinian lives through this atrocity. It effects the water issue as well. To not mention this evil is to not be honest.
The Balfour Document had it's anniversary earlier this month, and highlights the mistreatment of the Palestinian people, who according to the paper are to keep their civil and religious rights. That is news in the face of recent headlines.
I attempt to bring verifiable facts into the discussion of these issues. Because facts are what democracy is about, basing judgements on the opinions of others is dangerous, a symptom of laziness and indicative of stupidity. You can watch TV and let the "talking heads" tell you how the speaker looked, what his/her style was, amd how to think of them without going into substance at all. You can let the screen show you a ticker monolog running across it as you are offered a news byte without context but usually wrapped in sensationalism and give yourself up to a mix of pablum and information overload. I offer links to flesh out the point I'm offering you and so that you can judge its truthfulness. Don't believe me, look into the post. Discern the truthfulness. Only by cutting through the smoke and mirrors can we exercise what rights we do have as citizens in the face of a system where money, not the will of the people effectively votes in the larger sense. But if we act intelligently and assume the mantle of responsibility we can steer the elites in office.
I have come to grips with the fact that the United States is a republic with Democratic tendencies. That our rights of suffrage are pretty limited and that people on the whole, as fair as they are, are like deer caught in the headlights when it comes to participating in how the country is run. People are taught through experiance and conditioning that they are powerless, the rich folks involved in the goverment game really care little for the sensible wants and needs of the populace, both parties, that Democratic participation if anything scares them. The media steers our attitudes effectively and keeps us stupid, like children, happy to be told what we've heard, what we've seen, never giving us the information we need to analyze our situation, the complexity of the issues dumbed down enough so someone feels confident discussing the matters at hand after being exposed to 2 minutes of information.
Keep in mind the Coulters and Limbaughs of today would be the same individuals telling you who to hate back in Nazi Germany, trotting out stereotypes and sensational incitements to violence to turn off your intellect and let your anger take over; giving you a target for your frustrations and the learned powerlessness that though institutionalized all freedom loving people deny, but they sense namelessly, only to seethe deep down. In "the land of the free" it is hard to break the internalized constraints a life without the context of history so effectively masks, harder still to admit to oneself that the difference between what we are taught to believe and what "is", is what comprises our reality.
It is threatening to stand tall against the view of reality that the comfortably indoctrinated hold. Ones whole worldview doesn't like to be shaken. But a scathingly honest appraisal of what is fact and what is rhetoric is what is called for, and quickly. Only 50 percent of Americans believe Mr Bush was lawfully elected president a study I read recently said. He and his administration clearly lied us into attacking Iraq, the proof is on the table. A majority of the world sees our country as the most dangerous force in the world, along with the state of Israel who we bankroll; and who practices racial/religious discrimination making it the main disturbance in that volatile cauldron that is the Middle East. Richard Perle has admitted that the attack on Iraq is illegal. He was also one of the administration that said we would be welcomed with open arms in Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld, who said he same thing, glaringly denied his statement on Jim Lehrers TV show, although a quick trip to the search engine can pull up the exact quote. A year before the attack Powell and Rice stated before dignitaries during a talk in Egypt I believe, that Saddam was effectively contained and had no "weapons of mass destruction". Cheney is still plugging away at the spurious Iraq /Al Quaida link that Bush admitted there was no evidence for back on February 2nd in a press conference with Tony Blair- before the "shock and awe" bombs and missiles started falling. Saddam having the capacity to nuke us in 45 minutes was proved to be crap, as was the Killer Drone that Iraq supposedly had, an awkward machine held together by duct tape powered by a weedwacker motor.
We have a government in place concerned with exporting Democracy who's leader was unelected, a move so transparently false it set no Supreme Court precedent. People who avoided serving their country in time of war, one who pledged by his solemn oath to use his million dollar military training for a carreer piloting fighter planes who went AWOL sending our troops to fight and die overseas for no tangible reason.
Has the mainstream media shared any of this?
And they have their eye on Iran. The draft is going to be reinstated next year. A lack of statesman-like negotiations has North Korea ready to fight. China, who, thanks to tax cuts for rich GOP campaign contributors and an unnecessary war owns a large part of our debt, is mad over Taiwan. Thanks to Mr Bush China has the economic muscle to hurt America without war.
God told Mr Bush to strike Saddam he says. Osama too. But they are both free, Osama happy because George Bush put a large part of the world into a state of hating America, just as he said he wanted. But the Islamic governmental leaders are catagorized as religious nutcases. Extremists.
We are told another 9/11 could be used to shred our Constitution. Could be used to further militarize our culture, our nation. Endless war, Mussolini would tell you with a smile, is an attribute of a good Fascist State. As is the Corporate/State nexus. As is the totalitarianistic characteristics we see emerging, soft now, but coming out in the open in present day America.
The monks serve to remind me why getting this information out into light is so vitally important. I do not want my country to turn into another Nazi Germany, another Communist China, another Israel. To calmly and with an open heart bring folks back to reality is my personal mission. No more warcrimes in my name, none done with my tacit consent. In experiencing their "walking it like they talk it" manner I have been refreshed and enlivened. Their presence has been a gift to me. A gift I hope to share through this medium as well as in my daily life.
The misguided can call me names in their little rants. A group of bloggers that use the cute phrase "muckadoo" as a disparagement in their specious comments at the Leage of Liberals page, among others are trying to link The League name to the phrase "General Douchebaggery" in the Google search engine through a technique called "Google Bombing". But they cannot counter the truth held to light. They don't even try. Sort of like Bill O'Rielly, counter his raving with sensible talk, with facts and he has a temper tantrum. Like children burdened by a lack of upbringing they call names, they don't want to play anymore, gather their game then go home in a huff. The Google Bomb antic is the height of their discussion as far as I've seen it.
It says something sad about the state of our nation that these people that would rather be angry than correct.
So it goes.
We have the means of communication now to make a difference. What we learn needs to be acted on as well as shared. If the news is any indication trying times are ahead. The present administration seems to be willfully pushing past the bounds of all our country stands for and the name callers are cheering them on. Get the truth out now. We stand between human decency and fact wrapped in our Constitution on one side and the ignorant on the other. And they are comfortable with violence when cornered by truth, which threatens their worldview.
Walk it like you talk it. Loud and proud. We are what America looks like.
Witness to the illegal Occupation of Palestine Tom Hurndall was killed last April by an IDF gunman as he sought to protect some children from Israeli gunfire last April.
The fact he was unarmed and wearing fluorescent clothing did not protect him from the high velocity rifle shot to the head. His family has turned off the severely brain damaged peace activists life support. He never regained consciousness.
His parents went to Israel to be by his side and bring him home. While there they went to see the place where he was shot. The checkpoint they needed to pass through was notified three times that they were going to arrive. Days before as well as when they set out, again ten minutes before their arrival. The British diplomatic convoy was fired upon from the watchtower at the checkpoint. Your tax dollars at work.
His family spent 17000 pounds to bring him home to Great Britain. Months later a check from the Israeli Defense Ministry for 8300 pounds arrived in the mail with a letter from Ambassador Zvi Stauber arrived in the mail. The check bounced.
Attorney General, General Menachem Finkelstein, after much work from the boys family has agreed to start an investigation concerning his shooting.
Ideally the investigation will be better than the check.
Read about Caoimhe Butterly, another life risking young activist who stands between children and the IDF.
Amiri Haas writes in Haaretz about another innocent child killed.
93 children have been killed by Palestinians. 449 have been killed by Israelis (figures collected early September 2003) .
ALL were innocent, they were kids.