The Logic of Occupation - Part 3
Right before the holidays, a good friend of mine posed the following question: "I know you are an a-theist, Aron. So why do you go to synagogue to pray on Yom Kippur?" My glib answer was that Jewish practice is for me a cultural act, not a religious one. But my friend did not accept that answer and neither did I. In fact, the question ran through my head during the entire service.
When I was in college, I took a course on the history of Judaism with the late professor Joseph Blau. I wrote a paper on the problem of prayer. I spent days working on it. I don't remember the grade, but I do remember Professor Blau's comment: "You didn't discuss the most important problem: people can't relate to the theology of the prayer book." That sentence too, reverberated in my head as I sat through the service.
Certainly, there are many things I find objectionable or even off-putting in the prayer book. The centerpiece of the High Holiday service, is the Netaneh Tokef prayer. My first problem relates to the story behind this prayer, which you can read here. I remember hearing this story when I was a young boy of 8 or 9 and being enraptured. The rendition given below is an edited version from a website I found which targets ultra-Orthodox Jewish "tots." It is nearly identical in form to the way I heard it as a child. Thinking about Rabbi Amnon, led me to think about the whole idea of martyrdom in Judaism. I have heard so many people talk with repugnance about the phenomenon of martyrdom in Palestinian society, and how awful it is. The Israeli army even circulated a picture they seized (obviously when they forcibly entered someone's home) which shows an infant dressed up as a shaheed - a martyr. The point of the army's action was to show how savage, primitive and immoral the Palestinians are for glorifying death and martyrdom.
From personal experience, I can say categorically, Jews are the last people on earth to criticize any one on that score. Rabbi Amnon was just one of many other stories of martyrdom I grew up with: the mothers who killed their children during the crusades rather than have them fall into the hands of Christians who would forcibly convert them; the story of the mass suicide at Masada; and many, many more. These were not told as horror stories of some remote Jewish past, but were held up to us as living examples of deep values which we should emulate. They were told to me by teachers and group leaders when I was very young. And I loved those stories. They resonated in some deep way. I know my friends enjoyed them as much as I did.
This is a beautiful piece. Trying to come up with some clever words to describe this — I can't. Just read it.
This guy is way too high. I've linked to him before.
Here are a couple of his pieces.
I wish I had an extra $200. Hell, I wish I had $200.
In this online project, Lee Walton placed a Red Ball in a specific location in the beautiful city of San Francisco. The location of where the Red Ball was placed was completely dependent up visitors participation.
To begin the project, visitors selected 1 of 41 districts from a map of San Francisco. The most selected was South of Market. Next, visitors participated by selecting one of 6 outlined areas in this district.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
thanks to Riley Dog
the shitstorm cometh
This is a must read. That includes Robby, Justin, Jenny and Katie. No skipping past the depressing parts to read the funny bits or look at the eye candy.
While media experts were preoccupied with analyzing Osama bin Laden's voice, they failed to comprehend, or even read, his actual words. Speculation about hidden meanings and secret clues totally ignored the obvious intended message, which is so clear that it doesn't even need decoding.
Because of the intense hate and fear evoked by Osama, because we are so traumatized by him, we automatically block those dimensions of his communication that are not pure threats. We simplify and reduce complex messages, transforming them into plans to attack unconditionally. Speculation is based more on fantasy than expertise. (...)
We have received three clear, consistent messages from bin Laden in the last year: on Nov. 11, 2001; Oct. 6, 2002; and Nov. 12, 2002. All are credible, plausible, and make psychological sense. They have all been grossly misinterpreted.
All of bin Laden's messages have a consistent theme, emotional tone and logic. All are about reciprocity, expressed in many different ways. The message from Nov. 12, 2002, began, "The road to safety begins by ending the aggression. Reciprocal treatment is part of justice. The incidents that have taken place ... are only reactions and reciprocal actions. "
Crotchless Panties Of Doom
Oh my god who will save the children who will protect this society's crumbling moral infrastructure who will rescue us all from the onslaught of leggy impossibly tall silicone-enhanced heavily shellacked alienlike quasi-female Victoria's Secret supermodels
Oh dear god who will stop these wicked fembots from parading across the TV screen in the nipply thongy not really very sexy Victoria's Secret lingerie, corrupting our high-fiving frat-boy sports geeks and setting the semi-comatose feminist agenda back 20 years and preempting the wholesome all-America goodness of, uh, "Everybody Loves Raymond"?
Total(itarianism) Information Awareness
Readin' the newspapers anymore is eerily reminiscent of all those bad novels warning of the advent of fascism in America. "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis was a bad book, and the genre shades off into right-wing paranoia about black helicopters, including the memorably awful "Turner Diaries." I don't use the f-word myself -- in fact, for years, I've made fun of liberals who hear the approach of jackbooted fascism around every corner. But to quote a real authority on the subject, "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
merry fucking christmas
Jo-Anne Hurlston can't find a job after nearly six months of searching, even with her master's degree and experience in education, human resources and the hospitality industry.
She's one of nearly 1 million unemployed workers across the country who will start losing jobless benefits three days after Christmas because Congress failed to grant an extension before leaving for the year.
"All the money that's being spent on homeland security and we're left stranded," said Hurlston, 47, a single mother with a 12- year-old daughter. ``If they want more money for homeland security, we have to be able to work to pay taxes.''
thanks to BookNotes
I'm sure Congress had the time to put in all the pork that their corporate contributors wanted. I would think that the least Congress could to is buy tickets, for those running out of unemployement benefits, to a local stage production of Dicken's A Christmas Carol.
stupid inventions that, without which, we would lead lives much more dreary
Dr. Earl L. Warrick, one of the scientists who claimed credit for the creation of the ubiquitous plaything Silly Putty, died last Friday at his home in Loma Linda, Calif.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
I've linked to Lewis Hines before, but it's always worth repeating when someone reminds me of it again.
thanks to plep
Pencils of Light
These two albums of the Edinburgh Calotype Club, the first photographic club in the world, are among the earliest photograph albums in the world ever assembled. They contain over 300 images by a group of pioneering Scottish photographers working in Edinburgh and St. Andrews....
thanks to wood s lot
Wonder if any of the vast sums of money approved Tuesday for the new Department of Homeland Security are set aside for black uniforms with knee-length boots and black leather trench coats?
Should be. Since we’ve gone to all this trouble to create the new American Gestapo we might as well let them look the part.
Excuse me if I don’t join in all the senseless celebration over creation of yet another mammoth bureaucracy of the federal government. Pardon me if I don’t go ga-ga over a federal agency that has been given unlimited powers to spy on Americans, trample all over the First and Fourth Amendments, ignore the privacy of anyone it chooses and violate the rights of every man, woman and child who used to live in the Land of the Free.
Our own paranoia has accomplished what Osama bin Laden and his minions could not with hijacked airplanes and vague threats about future attacks – these fears have forced America to abandon its principles and create a police state.
thanks to BookNotes
A Secret Burial for the Bill of Rights
The 4th Amendment, an unwavering champion of our right to privacy, died on 18 November 2002. The amendment, adopted by the convention of states on 17 September 1787, was 215. The 4th tirelessly fought to guarantee that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
A day in the life
And if, for whatever reason, something in that laundry list (and the even greater detail they're fully capable of) should perk their interest, they can find out a lot more. They can investigate me legally; interview my friends and subpoena my attorney; have me followed, search my home or office or car without my knowledge. If they decide they'd rather not have me come visit your community, they can ban me from all air travel. Or perhaps just throw me in jail indefinitely, without charges or access to counsel or family.
Extreme? Sure. But it's all legal. Check out what's gone on just in the last week:
Several weeks before the election, conservative Christian websites began promoting the idea that Christians should view voting as a special responsibility. Pete Winn, the Associate Editor of Focus on the Family's CitizenLink, raised the issue of responsibility with Christian historian David Barton, who responded: "A Christian has a duty to vote probably more than any other citizen because of the biblical principles that are out there relating to nations."
My Marble Machines are complicated and ingenious, but utterly useless pieces of machinery that automate the process of playing with marbles. With these machines, mankind is free to pursue more productive ends, while leaving the playing with marbles to his trusty automated machine servants.
Alas, any productivity gained by this automation is generally offset by crowds of people watching the machines running.
thanks to plep
Midnight Dragon Special Reserve
Robust. Bitter enough to let you know you're about to get busy.
Smells like napalm in the morning.
The riunite of malt liquors. 75"/16 oz. can. Remember when your college chums replaced your Mountain Dew with piss? Here's your chance for revenge.
No joke. Little known, but must be major cause of black-on-black crime. As for the ad campaign, I fail to see how anyone can suck on anything if you are passed out in the gutter.
thanks to Riley Dog
U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner, one of America's most prominent jurists, warned Tuesday of an "enormous expansion" of intellectual- property law, adding a conservative voice to a chorus of criticism that's so far come from the left.
thanks to reenhead.com
These colorful, well-crafted, Danish-made pens are also known as tilt pens, magic-motion pens, floating pens, or affectionately, "floaties." Whatever you call them, let Float Art Design help you custom design your one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
thanks to Travellers Diagram
are there any democrats out there?
Invasion of the Pelosi snatchers
Was it "Meet the Press" or the Sci-Fi Channel? Watching Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., make her first Sunday morning TV appearance since being elected House minority leader, I had to check the cable box twice to make sure.
The woman answering Tim Russert's questions might have looked like Pelosi but she sounded like a character from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." What had happened to the congresswoman from California? Gone was the bold, combative, impassioned, progressive politician we've come to know over her 15 years in the House. In her place was a soulless pod person -- an empty shell mouthing the kind of pallid, inoffensive, focus group-tested and cringe-inducing platitudes that have driven two-thirds of the American electorate away from politics -- and a little more than half of the remaining one-third away from the Democratic Party.
I couldn't help but wonder: Had head pod Terry McAuliffe given her a whiff of some life-sucking spores?
About the same time I moved to New York (December, '97) I got into the very annoying habit of doodling on the back of business cards. The format stuck.
The originals of gapingvoid.com are drawn on either business cards or bristol board cut to the same size i.e. 3.5" x 2". I use mostly a Rotring 0.25mm rapidograph pen. Occasionally I'll use other things- pencil, watercolor, ballpoint etc, but not often.
thanks to MetaFilter
giving our government to the corporations
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S plan to privatize half of the federal work force is an attack on the very essence of the federal government: It replaces the notion of public service for the common good with the profit motive. By turning over 850,000 civil-service jobs to private contractors, the Bush initiative — which requires no congressional approval — will destroy the firewall protecting federal jobs from political influence, taking the U.S. government back to the 19th century and the everything-for-sale days of, for example, the administration of Ulysses S. Grant.
The Energy Department has shut down a popular Internet site that catalogued government and academic science research, in response to corporate complaints that it competed with similar commercial services.
thanks to Progressive Review
when only too much is enough
Silicon Valley's newest status symbol needs a big parking space.
The Hummer H2, the huge sport-utility shaped like a brick on wheels, is a surprise hit. In October, it outsold all other models in its class, including SUVs from BMW, Cadillac, Lincoln and Lexus.
Silicon Valley's two Hummer dealers can barely keep the $50,000 behemoths in stock. Putnam Hummer in Burlingame and Los Gatos Hummer are planning expansions so they can sell more. And both dealerships have been surprised by the number of female buyers.
``You're up high. You feel very safe,'' said Sharon Andres, who works for the San Jose Unified School District. She bought a sunset orange H2 two weeks ago. After previously driving a Ford Explorer, she was looking for something bigger.
A curb weight of 6,400 pounds and 11 mpg. Just what the world needs.
thanks to Progressive Review
the shitstorm cometh
GEORGE Bush's top security adviser last night admitted the US would attack Iraq even if UN inspectors fail to find weapons.
Dr Richard Perle stunned MPs by insisting a "clean bill of health" from UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix would not halt America's war machine.
Evidence from ONE witness on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme will be enough to trigger a fresh military onslaught, he told an all- party meeting on global security.
Former defence minister and Labour backbencher Peter Kilfoyle said: "America is duping the world into believing it supports these inspections. President Bush intends to go to war even if inspectors find nothing.
"This make a mockery of the whole process and exposes America's real determination to bomb Iraq."
thanks to Progressive Review
Some things have been bugging me about President Bush’s efforts to plunge us into full-scale war against Iraq:
If Saddam Hussein’s program to develop weapons of mass destruction is so secret, how did Mr. Bush get aerial photos of all those large above-ground buildings that allegedly house Iraq’s nuclear program? Why isn’t Saddam afraid that those expensive facilities could easily be reduced to splinters by Israel or the United States?
thanks to Progressive Review
thanks to reenhead.com
and now for a zen interlude
‘Deiryu...Deiryu...Deiryu...', the thunderous voice of the Zen Buddhist master Yamamoto Gempo (1866-1961) called out as tears flowed down his face. Gempo was conducting the funeral service for Kanshu Sojun, better known as Deiryu, on the morning of 7 March 1954 at the temple Empukuji, just outside Kyoto. Deiryu had been only sixty when he died, and the deep sorrow and affection expressed by Gempo, himself 89 years old, was indicative of the love felt for Deiryu by monks and lay people alike.
thanks to plep
(We take you now to the Oval Office.)
George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
thanks to Cooped Up
A dangerous and entirely unscientific application of archaeological principles to inspect evidence of previous human habitations and demises, preferably involving an amateurish and histrionic analysis of human relics, case and site assessments based on children’s diagrams of parlor games, and palindromic investigations of imaginary crime scenes. Equipped with expert witnessing skills and third-grade chemistry sets, we are always ready to take the stand.
thanks to enthusiasm
revolting tax revolts
Watching the fiscal crises gripping cities and states across the U.S. is like watching a chain-reaction auto wreck in slow motion. I don't think the general public has a good sense yet of the pain that will result from the carnage.
thanks to Cursor
I live in the state of Washington and the voters recently passed a bill to reduce transportation taxes and defeated a bill to increase taxes to pay for improving roads. And they still expect the road problem to be fixed. Surreal.
BODYSCAPES® are NOT double exposures. Nor are they the result of computer montage. These unique landscapes are created by photographing toys and miniature “people” directly on the human body.
thanks to Dumbmonkey
On the cold November evening of November 19, 2002 our democracy and our fundamental freedoms have sustained a serious body blow, thanks to you. The passage of the abomination known as the Homeland Security Department marks a dark chapter in our nation's history. Not only have you, our elected representatives, gleefully stripped dedicated workers of century old civil service protections and made them wholly vulnerable to political pogroms, which this blatantly anti-worker administration will most surely undertake, you have expanded and worsened the destruction of the Bill of Rights started with the passage of the USA (UN)PATRIOT Act.
thanks to BookNotes
The Homeland Security merger mess
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a mammoth federal agency whose chief goal -- to protect Americans against terrorism -- is daunting. But leaving aside the matter of terrorism, the mere creation of the new department, which will employ about 170,000 people and bring together 22 government agencies, will be a huge challenge for the officials charged with the task.
What are the department's chances -- not only of surviving the harrowing merger process, but of actually making us safer than we are today? Ashish Nanda, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and an expert on corporate mergers, says that we shouldn't expect any magic soon.
"An irresponsible exercise in political chicanery"
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 90-9 to approve the landmark Homeland Security bill. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., was one of the few senators voting against it, and in an address on the Senate floor, he raised fundamental questions about the need for the new agency and whether it will have the desired impact. What follows is the full transcript of his remarks during the conclusion of the Homeland Security debate.
Microsoft wants your cellphone
Von Tetzchner -- the CEO and co-founder of Opera software, which makes a commercial Web browser with a reputation among chic geeks of being one of the best alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer -- doesn't bring the phones with him just to burnish his image. The gadgets serve a business purpose. Opera has just released a new Web browser for tiny devices, and von Tetzchner needs all those phones to prove that his software will work on just about anything. Microsoft's browser will work only on phones powered by Microsoft's cellphone operating system -- and von Tetzchner considers that a significant limitation for Microsoft as well as a significant opportunity for Opera.
thanks to BookNotes
1. What is philosophy? Like all other questions, the answer is open to debate ... luckily for philosophers, who've spent thousands of years arguing the toss. Best not to ask one of them, to be honest. Philosophers think about all sorts of stuff, including logic, metaphysics, politics, ethics, aesthetics.
Aron Trauring continues his personal account as an Israeli soldier in Hebron. He has done some reorganization so I've linked to all three parts currently up. More to come.
This post is about Hebron. I gave 40 days of my life to the settlers of Hebron. 40 days for which I will never forgive them. Precisely now, when blood once again washes the cobblestones of those streets, now I feel compelled to write. (...)
Why does this seeming quibbling over words matter? Because the Israeli government and army have long ago given up on telling the people the truth and live in a world of spinning lies. And these lies, as Gideon Levy tells us lead to more useless death, more blood spilt.
Yes Hebron always gets me brooding on death and lies. It was in Hebron, after all, that I first learned about the lies of the occupation and how the settlement movement was leading Israel and the Palestinians headlong into a never-ending bloodbath.
My army service, which began around the same time as the first Intifada, opened my eyes. On my very first tour of duty which was in the Ramallah area, our commanding officer lectured the officers when we took up our post. In his briefing he said: "All the Arabs understand is force. If we show weakness, then we will have trouble the whole 30 days we are here. We have to kill a few Palestinians as soon as we take up our position, and then we'll have quiet. Otherwise, they will be uppity [lit: they will lift their heads up]" And in fact, that is what he did. The first day out he took a few soldiers into a suburb of Ramallah. Immediately the stone throwing began. And true to his word, he killed a teenage Palestinian stone thrower. Some of the officers and soldiers were angry about it [not angry enough to do anything formal], but most agreed with what he said and did. I was pretty shook up by this. Our commanding officer was someone I knew well from the community I lived in. I ate over at his house on occasion, and our kids went to school together. He was just a normal guy. I couldn't assimilate the brutality of his actions. "Maybe he is right," I thought. "Maybe that is the way we have to treat the Palestinians since we are at war with them." But my heart told me was he had done something very wrong.
All around us are things of beauty and value, but their attributes are interpreted very subjectively. I believe that things utilitarian, or which give pleasure to the eye have the highest value. I come across many things which have been abandoned and find something more in them than their intrinsic worthlessness.
Hubcaps, for instance. Aesthetic in purpose but ultimately of very little use. They're automatically rubbish when on the side of the road, but with a little effort and imagination I transform them into something which gives people a great deal more pleasure.
thanks to MetaFilter
the shitstorm cometh
Bush threatens attack over 'lies'
George Bush has threatened to unleash a military assault on Iraq if Saddam Hussein continues to deny possessing banned weapons of mass destruction.
How does he know they are lies without any inspections? What a charade.
A war that can't be won
One year on, the crowing has long since faded away; reality has sunk in. After six months of multiplying Islamist attacks on US, Australian and European targets, civilian and military - in Tunisia, Pakistan, Kuwait, Russia, Jordan, Yemen, the US and Indonesia - western politicians are having to face the fact that they are losing their war on terror. In Britain, the prime minister has taken to warning of the "painful price" that the country will have to pay to defeat those who are "inimical to all we stand for", while leaks about the risk of chemical or biological attacks have become ever more lurid. After a year of US military operations in Afghanistan and around the world, the CIA director George Tenet had to concede that the threat from al-Qaida and associated jihadist groups was as serious as before September 11. "They've reconstituted, they are coming after us," he said.
In other words, the global US onslaught had been a complete failure - at least as far as dealing with non-state terrorism was concerned. Tom Daschle, the Democrats' leader in the Senate, was even more brutal. Summing up a litany of unmet objectives in the US confrontation with militant Islamism, he asked: "By what measure can we say this has been successful?" But most galling of all has been the authentication of the latest taped message from Bin Laden himself, promising bloody revenge for the deaths of the innocent in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. This was the man whose capture or killing was, after all, the first objective of Bush's war. And yet, along with the Taliban leader and one-eyed motorbiker Mullah Omar, the mastermind of America's humiliation remains free.
Jagged shrapnel searing its way into flesh, phosphorous shell particles scorching their way into chests and bellies, hobnail boots trampling prone bodies lying defenselessly on soil already bloodied are not the everyday subject matters for symphonic compositions. Yet, Dimitri Shostakovich wrote a symphony based on such horrors. It is Symphony #11 in G minor, Op 103 'The Year 1905.' (...)
Do we not hear the dreaded sound of hobnailed boots in America today? Are we not being readied for a new crusade of killing? Does not the propaganda alert us to detect enemies within and without? Draconian laws are in place to seek and destroy. Our enemies, we are told, are not only bin Laden and Saddam Hussein; our enemies are also citizens who avow values differing from the official party line!
Have we not been told that those who disagree with presidential edicts are enemies of the state? Have we not been warned that opposition to the new Christian America is not patriotic? Are not dogmas announcing a new Inquisition springing up all around us? Do we not hear the oppressive drum roles of a regime seeking to condemn all who dare to reject in the name of liberty the coming despotism? (...)
The terror of Shostakovitch’s 11th is but a reflection of things to come throughout the land.
thanks to wood s lot
I think like most Americans, I was very affected by Columbine the day it happened. And in the weeks after it, I started thinking about how this issue has affected me all my life. It's the country I live in, the violence and everything. I thought, you know, we should really do something about this. So I just got my friends together and we were making our TV show. We approached this Canadian production company to see if they'd give us money. And they gave the money and we were off making the movie.
The project combines portraits of blues musicians playing at home and in clubs with images that describe what remains of the rural African-American culture that gave rise to the blues. Examples include, juke joints, cotton farming, sacred music, rural church services, river baptisms, folk religion and superstition, life on Parchman penitentiary, hill country African fife and drum music, and diverse regional blues styles. In addition, Steber is combining these images with field interviews that put the photographs in an historical perspective.
thanks to wood s lot
early news broadcasts
Hundreds of hours of historic newsreel footage can be viewed free of charge on the internet after Pathé put its archive online.
The bi-weekly news bulletins, which played in cinemas from 1910 to 1970, have been released via the Pathé website thanks to a grant from the National Lottery.
More than 3,500 hours of footage is available.
thanks to reenhead.com
"We Want To Own Tummy Time"
This is the reality. If your beautiful bundle of adorable mewling diaper-clad genius baby cannot lift its head up off the floor as it flounders around on its tummy, bumping into the furniture and eating stray lintballs and annoying the dog, it is all over.
Your child will clearly not learn to crawl early enough and will doubtlessly grow up to become a monosyllabic encephalitic drug-addict transsexual dental fetishist premature ejaculator, shunned by his peers and never able get into an overrated college you can't really afford. Very sorry.
Similarly -- but yet completely different -- if you are obnoxiously rich and live in Manhattan and your tot doesn't get into one of the ultra-elite Upper East Side preschools at 15K a year by way of Daddy pulling illegal favors with his company's stock price so his crony CEO pal will put in a good word with the school board, well, you might as well just give up.
Because clearly your epically spoiled children will most certainly not get into the right grade school or middle school or high school and then Princeton and Harvard will just snicker and sneer and tear up your applications, laughing and pointing at your tiny genitalia and humiliating your family honor and your status at the country club for all eternity.
Bush administration officials acknowledged today that the Department of Homeland Security would need years to organize itself fully and that the logistics involved in merging 22 agencies and nearly 170,000 government workers into a giant new bureaucracy could threaten to divert the department from its central mission of safeguarding the American public from terrorist attacks.
Sam Smith, over at The Progressive Review, doesn't have this on a permalink so I have lifted the entire thing, including the picture. But don't let that stop you from going over there — just don't forget to come back.
POST CONSTITUTIONAL AMERICA
SENATOR ROBERT BYRD of West Virginia had this to say about the Homeland Security [sic] bill:
As I have mentioned before, some of the most impassioned voices against the occupation are Israeli. Here is another one:
Aron has written numerous pieces from the perspective of the soldier in the occupied territories. A different and valuable perspective. His weblog will be in my blogroll. Many thanks to A.Q. Jensen at American Samizdat. I would thank you personally A.Q., but I don't have your e-mail.
The City of the Dead, Part 1
It was mid-April of 1990, right after Passover. Yitzhak Shamir was the Prime Minister of Israel. The national unity government had just collapsed, and Shamir led a narrow right-wing government. Moshe Arens was the new/old defense minister. Our unit got its annual call. This time - 30 days in Hebron. We had been there once before for a brief stint of 10 days, actually more in the outskirts. That first tour of duty is blurry in my mind. I can't really remember what happened. But these 30 days - they are forever burned on to my heart and mind.
We got to our new "living quarters." A half finished building on the road leading out of Hebron to the Kiryat Arba settlement. 30 of us were stuffed into a large room, which also served as the radio control room, the kitchen, the commons. Our toilet consisted of a hole in the ground in the basement. Our shower was a plastic pipe that ran from a faucet outside down into the basement. We used this same pipe to flush down the "toilet". You had to be careful how you pointed that tube, or you would get splattered with crap. Sleep was almost impossible. The close quarters, the dangers of our duties, the constant noise - all this led to many arguments among our usually close knit group. Everybody got on everybody's nerves.
This FAQ has many insights into the power of the military in Israel. It's unsettling, to say the least.
IDF Refuse-nicks — Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
The shuttered houses on Holy Days
The one and only meaning to the creation of "territorial contiguity" from Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, is expulsion. The expulsion of thousands more Palestinian residents of Hebron, people who were unlucky enough to find that their homes, shops and gardens are in the area meant for "contiguity." The IDF will protect the Jewish construction and dozens if not hundreds of Israelis - contractors, engineers, architects, carpenters - will join the work, and police will protect them. Thousands of Israelis will thus become active partners in the expulsion. They'll go home every night to their worried families in Jerusalem and Kfar Sava. If one of them is killed in a Palestinian ambush, the response will be even more "territorial contiguity." (...)
Are those Jewish zealots and their lobbyists really the heirs of the Jewish Diaspora? From inside Hebron they actually appear to be of a different heritage, scions of nationalist, anti-Semitic movements who sent pogromchiks at the head of mobs who spread fear and were full of greed for the Jewish homes, to gradually implement the plan of "cleansing the homeland of its kikes." Hebron, on Shabbat, was reminiscent of ancestral tales from Sochba, a town in northeast Romania, where on Holy Sundays, the Jews would shutter themselves up in their homes.
thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
Amira should know. She is refering to her Romanian parents who were Holocaust survivors. This is a quote from her book
These narratives were my parents' legacy — a history of resisting injustice, speaking out, and fighting back. But of all their memories that had become my own, one stood out beyond the others. On a summer day in 1944, my mother was herded from a cattle car along with the rest of its human cargo, which had been transported from Belgrade to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. She saw a group of German women, some on foot, some on bicycles, slow down as the strange procession went by and watch with indifferent curiosity on their faces. For me, these women became a loathsome symbol of watching from the sidelines, and at an early age I decided that my place was not with the bystanders.
Thank you to all the Jews and Israelis that are speaking out.
our tax dollars at work
"The Blindfold's Eyes" by Dianna Ortiz
Dianna Ortiz is one American whose relationship to torture is different. That's because she was tortured in 1989, during a two-year stint in Guatemala as a young, politically unsophisticated nun from a Kentucky convent, teaching children to read in a rural province. She was abducted from a convent garden one morning by a U.S.-trained Guatemalan army captain, a police intelligence officer and their campesino torture temp, and installed in the secret basement of a police training institute called the Politecnica. (This was a regular site for torture conducted on orders of the military high command.) (...)
Ortiz was held for only 24 hours, unlike many other torture victims, whose ordeals last, incredibly, for months or even years. But those 24 hours resulted in a complete loss of memory of everything in her life prior to being tortured. She had to be reintroduced to her own parents, and she still has almost no memory of her childhood, her college years, how she became a nun, or her pre-torture friendships.
For the last year since moving to Soho, I have been obsessed with the little stickers, posters, graffiti, and stencils that can be found all over my neighborhood. Most of these artworks were only up for a short amount of time. And perhaps this is what makes street art so exciting. The art is always rotating. The streets of downtown Manhattan is a living gallery. No pretensions. No hype. Just little pieces of art.
thanks to reenhead.com
so — were those inspectors kicked out?
Well, yes. And in the interest of presenting what happened accurately, let's take a little trip in the Wayback machine, back to that distant, mythical era, of which so little historical record apparently survives: 1998. Those of you with exceptionally long memories may recall what Spinsanity and Josh Marshall apparently do not: Saddam justified his lack of cooperation with the UNSCOM inspectors because, according to him, they were being used to spy on him. And you know what? They really were being used to spy on him. "United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors," the New York Times acknowledged on January 7, 1999. And according to the Washington Post, the U.S. "infiltrated agents and espionage equipment for three years into United Nations arms control teams in Iraq to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military without the knowledge of the U.N. agency." (You can also read the cartoon I did at the time here.)
DEBORAH AMOS: Just after September 11th, disturbing documents were found on the floor of this safe house in Afghanistan.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHCROFT TESTIFYING BEFORE CONGRESS, 12/6/01: This is a seized Al Qaeda Training Manual.
DEBORAH AMOS: Attorney General John Ashcroft showed a similar manual In testimony to Congress.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHCROFT TESTIFYING BEFORE CONGRESS, 12/6/01: In this manual, Al Qaeda terrorists are now told how to use America's freedom as a weapon against us.
DEBORAH AMOS: But what Ashcroft did not point out: these manuals show Osama bin Laden's foot soldiers how easy it is to buy assault weapons in American gun stores and gun shows.
Al Qaeda and other terrorists organizations have exploited numerous loopholes in American gun laws — loopholes that exist because of consistent lobbying by the powerful National Rifle Association to stop any restrictions on gun purchases. Since September 11th, critics say, the U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has chosen to side with the NRA at the expense of the war on terrorism.
thanks to This Modern World
Welcome to my site. I am a Brooklyn, New York- based artist who photographs the urban landscape. My current body of work, titled Wilderness, has been in progress for several years and has been exhibited and collected nationally. It includes pictures from New York, Rhode Island, and the Southwest, with a focus on places that strike me with senses of desolation, growth, decay, and mystery.
thanks to consumptive.org
all is not lost — yet
But will McCain and Chaffee bolt? Certainly not before the outcome of the Louisiana election is decided, because if Landrieu loses, their switch would leave an evenly divided Senate (50 Republicans, 49 Democrats and one independent, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, who votes with the Democrats). And Vice President Dick Cheney, acting in his constitutional role as president of the Senate, would keep the Republicans in the majority.
This is why Louisiana is to 2002 what Florida was to 2000 and why money from both parties is pouring into that state.
Prediction: There is a 50-50 chance that McCain and Chaffee will switch parties and a similar chance that McCain will become the Democratic standard bearer in 2004. The odds of a Landrieu victory in Louisiana are much higher.
thanks to Cursor
Not only would this scenario slow down the rape of our country, it would cause so much coffee to come shooting out of those wingnut noses.
our favorite family
Bush Family Values Photo Album
thanks to consumptive.org
What the Human Bean Company proposes, and what we have already initiated, is to pay the indigenous producers approximately double what they are normally paid for their weavings and the fair market price, or higher, for their coffee. Since we are establishing direct markets for the products we feel that we can still offer fair prices to the end buyer. We are working in partnership with the producer and when there are profits they will be used to help develop community projects in the indigenous communities at the direction of the people in those communities.
thanks to American Samizdat
This is a great interview with the gun nut himself. Two parts.
Andrew Collins: Thanks for coming, and if you haven't seen Bowling For Columbine, I'm sure you know already, it's Michael's look at American gun laws, and from there, he expands it into a film about America's foreign policy and race. It's been wrongly described as a scattershot or scattergun approach by journalists too keen to use a gun metaphor in their review. If you've seen it, you'll know it isn't. I think it's more like a sniper who picks his target and hits the target.
Michael Moore: part II
thanks to bertramonline
Unions gouged by Bush's silver spoon
President Bush, a scion of great wealth who has never had to earn an honest living, has abruptly wiped out the jobs, retirement security and health benefits of 850,000 blue- and white-collar federal workers. Always bailed out of losing business ventures by his daddy or a family friend, Bush apparently finds it easy to play games with the livelihood of ordinary Americans as a way of punishing unions that opposed him at election time.
James Coburn, the rugged actor who reveled in playing rakish men of action and slyly humorous villains and overcame a debilitating illness to win an Academy Award for his performance in "Affliction" in 1998, died yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 74.
to the victor goes the spoils
Victors and Spoils
Rule No. 1: Always have a cover story. The ostensible purpose of the Bush administration's plan to open up 850,000 federal jobs to private competition is to promote efficiency. Competitive vigor, we're told, will end bureaucratic sloth; costs will go down, and everyone — except for a handful of overpaid union members — will be better off.
Hogarth and 18th-Century Print Culture commemorates the 300th anniversary of one of Britain's most influential artists. This exhibition critically reassesses the satirical graphic work of William Hogarth (1697-1764) by highlighting a variety of eighteenth-century themes that are of particular fascination to a contemporary audience. Hogarth's range of inquiry was extremely wide, touching upon topics from everyday life as well as upon more theoretical debates. The thematic sections of the exhibition reveal Hogarth's deep concern with the ills of the modern city, the dignity of and the dangers faced by professional women, and issues of theatricality, race, class, and taste. Moreover, Hogarth was an active participant in the public sphere, immersed in contemporary aesthetic, political, and physiognomic debates.
detroit fucks up again
This is not the first boom-and-bust cycle that has afflicted American automakers, and they do always seem to turn things around. The problem is that, with each cycle, they wind up further behind than they were before. At the 1994 auto show, Jack Smith—then the C.E.O. of G.M.—said in a speech, "Success itself breeds the roots of complacency, myopia, and, ultimately, decline." Smith thought that he was talking about Detroit's past. Little did he know that he was also predicting its future.
No Christian lady should be without this product. Offering pure protection from pesky penises!
The What Would Jesus Do? Thong and many other fine examples of religious merchandise at the Landover Baptist Church Gift Shop.
why we are going to war
Another variation on the Apple switch ads (Quicktime).
If you're interested, here's a page to check out.
thanks to PerpetualStroll.org
Glacier Park on Thin Ice
When naturalists first hiked through Glacier National Park more than a century ago, 150 glaciers graced its high cliffs and jagged peaks. Today there are 35. The cold slivers that remain are disintegrating so fast that scientists estimate the park will have no glaciers in 30 years.
Oil, Air, Energy Laws In Play
Suddenly, President Bush's proposals to drill for oil in an Alaskan wilderness, boost energy exploration in the Rockies and consider changes to some major environmental laws are back in play, following the Republicans' resounding success in the Nov. 5 congressional elections.
thanks to MetaFilter
By George and son
thanks to Tapped
The first half of the challengers cup quarter finals are over and the British (Wight Lightning) and the French (Le Defi) are eliminated. Five more to go. One World will race Stars and Stripes while Prada will race Orm in the repecharge quarter finals. The losers of these two races will be eliminated and the winners go on to the second group semi-finals starting November 23 in best of seven series.
Two more teams go home as the Cup circus rolls on
I've read many things in my search for what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Nothing I've read has affected me quite like this piece. I have just posted the end of this essay. It is a must read.
In the context of Jewish existence today, what does it mean to preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel? Does it mean preserving a Jewish demographic majority through any means and continued Jewish domination of the Palestinian people and their land? What is the narrative that we as a people are creating, and what kind of voice are we seeking? What sort of meaning do we as Jews derive from the debasement and humiliation of Palestinians? What is at the center of our moral and ethical discourse? What is the source of our moral and spiritual legacy? What is the source of our redemption? Has the process of creating and rebuilding ended for us?
I want to end this essay with a quote from Irena Klepfisz, a writer and child survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, whose father spirited her and her mother out of the ghetto and then himself died in the ghetto uprising.
I have concluded that one way to pay tribute to those we loved who struggled, resisted and died is to hold on to their vision and their fierce outrage at the destruction of the ordinary life of their people. It is this outrage we need to keep alive in our daily life and apply it to all situations, whether they involve Jews or non-Jews. It is this outrage we must use to fuel our actions and vision whenever we see any signs of the disruptions of common life: the hysteria of a mother grieving for the teenager who has been shot; a family stunned in front of a vandalized or demolished home; a family separated, displaced; arbitrary and unjust laws that demand the closing or opening of shops and schools; humiliation of a people whose culture is alien and deemed inferior; a people left homeless without citizenship; a people living under military rule. Because of our experience, we recognize these evils as obstacles to peace. At those moments of recognition, we remember the past, feel the outrage that inspired the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and allow it to guide us in present struggles.
For me, these words define the true meaning of Judaism and the lessons my parents sought to impart.
thanks to Electronic Intifida
It's instructive to look at the Palestinian's attack in Hebron Friday night. The Israeli government tried to make it look like an attack on civilians during the Sabbath while, in fact, it was purely a military attack. An attack that is entirely legal and justified. The Nazis, at the Nuremburg war crime trials, tried to justify their destruction of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto; they were fighting Jewish terrorists; they were only maintaining order. The Tribunal thought otherwise. It established that those being opressed under a military occupation had every right to resist. The Palestinians were only doing the same thing as the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto — fighting for their freedom.
The actions of the right-wing Israeli government and settlers only show how far they have slid into this ugliest of racist barbarism. They scurry around trying to make the situation even worse in order to carry out their morally depraved plans.
It could be easy to paint all Jews and Israelis with this paint brush. Just don't forget that some of the most impassioned voices crying against this outrage are Jewish.
News media and public officials did not wait for the full story to emerge before jumping to the conclusion that Jewish "worshippers" had been killed in a Palestinian ambush in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Friday. In fact, those killed were all Israeli soldiers and armed paramilitary settlers
Fear and loathing in Hebron
Every weekend, including this past Friday, at around 5 P.M., soldiers take up positions on the roof of the home of Hussam Jaber in Wadi Nasara in the eastern part of Hebron. The three-story home is located on a narrow street that turns southward from the "worshipers' way" from the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The entire wadi, the hills that surround it, the houses of the neighborhood, the grapevines and the olive and peach groves spread beneath the roof like a relief map.
On the railing around the roof the soldiers set up a floodlight ("At our expense," notes a member of the family) that illuminates the wadi. This happens every Friday and every Saturday, to ensure the safety of the many Jewish worshipers who walk the kilometer or so between Kiryat Arba and the old city of Hebron.
"On Fridays and Saturdays we don't go out," relates a neighborhood resident last weekend. "Because of the many Jewish settlers that go through our valley and because of the military reinforcements, we don't dare go outside."
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday joined the demands of the Hebron and Kiryat Arba settlers when he spoke of the need for territorial continuity between Kiryat Arba and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offhandedly negated the Oslo Accords, as well as the Hebron Agreement, which he, himself, signed. The Kiryat Arba settlers hurriedly set up an outpost at the site of the battle and declared they would not leave the area until their demands were met. And the Israel Defense Forces began uprooting trees and destroying houses.
Palestinian activist Marwan Barghouti, General Secretary of Fatah on the West Bank and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, wrote earlier this year to the Washington Post, "Want Security? End the Occupation."
His opinion, as you can tell, is not being taken seriously by the Israeli lawmakers, who conveniently locked him up, branding him and his Fatah movement as "terrorist."
"Our enemies called us terrorists. People who were neither friends nor enemies…also used this Latin name, either under the influence of…propaganda or out of habit ... They called us 'terrorists' to the end. And yet, we were not terrorists ... It all depends on who uses the term ...What has a struggle for the dignity of man, against oppression and subjugation, to do with 'terrorism?' Our purpose, in fact, was precisely the reverse of 'terrorism.' The whole essence of our struggle was the determination to free our people of its chief affliction -- fear...if you love your country, you cannot but hate those who seek to annex it…if you love your mother, would you not hate the man who sought to kill her: would you not hate him and fight him at the cost, if needs be, of your own life?"
These were not the words of Mr. Barghouti, or of the spiritual leader of Islamic Jihad, rather, of revered former Israeli Prime Minister, and, incidentally, former leader of the (terrorist?) Irgun group, who personally led the notorious Deir Yassin massacre, Menachem Begin, rebuffing charges of terrorism against his militant gang, whom he refers to as freedom-fighters (from his book, The Revolt, New York, 1977).
To Begin's dual ethical standard, murder of innocent civilians by Jewish (terror?) groups does not qualify as "terrorism," rather, "a struggle for the dignity of man, against oppression and subjugation." His observations of course have profoundly ironic poignancy when applied to the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, especially the brutal suicide bombings orchestrated by the various Palestinian armed groups against Israeli targets.