Saturday, May 11, 2024

Thank You, Protesters

 Thank you to the folks who are protesting the U.S./ Israel's war on Palestine. The news tells me this is a war against the government of Hamas, but it sure as Hell looks like a lot of Palestinians are being tortured and murdered to me. I don't think the Israeli government and its supporters are discriminating in regards to who is a threat and who is not a threat.  

When I say "protest," I include the people who talk about the war with their friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. in a time when lobbyists are pushing for laws that equate the act of speaking out against the actions of the Israeli government with an act of anti-semitism. Am I to believe that being anti-genocide is being anti-semetic? Thank you to the letter-writers, bloggers, artists, and bakers who use their talents to express their dismay at mass murder. You may not be getting hit in the head by a cop's baton, but your energy is being directed toward a hard-won goal. Perhaps protest can take the form of your organizing a book swap among pals with the goal of educating yourselves rather than blindly accepting what television and radio media tells us.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

An Old Woman's Education

 When I heard 1,500 Israelis met their makers in a fiery blast, I thought what could compel a group to launch such a  strike? I decided to read about the history of the relationship between Israel and the Palestine. I learned how the Palestinians had been forced off their land by the British and the Israelis. Think about that, people. Your family -- your ancestors, grandparents, children -- has been living in this home built on memories for generations, and suddenly you  receive government paperwork that tells you "Hat up, and get thine ass out, so that an Israeli can live here." If you're familiar with the United States' history, then you have an idea what goes with this storyline. But back to my re-education.

Anytime you kick someone off his land (backed by bloody weapons and strategies that you'll figure out how to market to other colonists), you create policies and operating procedures that convince the former landowners that they are not welcome to return home; in fact, you come up with ways to subject former landowners to the "less than equal" category. Enter apartheid. If you do not know what apartheid is, then I encourage you to read books written by Jewish authors who describe life under the the National Socialist German Worker's Party. 

Once I became aware of what Palestinians endured under Jewish control, I became aware of the following: (a) if you are beneficiaries of apartheid and its offspring known as genocide, you have to convince people that your truth is the most important truth even if that truth is a brass ass monkey lie. In this case, 1,500 Jews didn't die in a fiery blast. You'll note in successive weeks during news broadcasts, the number for the body count dropped. It seemed others besides Jews died in that fiery blast, but hey, if you craft the storyline that the media doesn't challenge, then you decide whose pov is newsworthy. (b) You have to make genocide profitable. If your allies aren't receiving an incentive to support you in your organized, homicidal frenzy, then your allies might not fall in line and perpetuate the narrative. (c) You have to come up with a way to convince people it is within their interest to keep their mouths shut if they disagree with you. Perhaps it's through a loss of employment or maybe it's through bodily harm by the police. 

What am I learning from these weeks? I learned that people don't forget history. People learn from history. They learn the ways of their oppressors, and use those methods against other people. In other words, genocide is bad until you figure out a way to make it work for you.  

Book That Made Me Say "Wow.": The Palestine Laboratory by Anthony Lowenstein

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Current Read: Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts"

 Perhaps hundreds of books have been written about the terror associated with the reign of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Is it because we continue to be fascinated by proof that no matter how nightmarish the dream, the dream becomes reality if enough people willingly follow the tune? Given the United States' unwillingness to halt the genocide inflicted by the State called Israel on the Palestinian population, the book serves as an excellent reminder.

In Larson's tale, William Dodd was employed as the United States Ambassador to Germany when Hitler and company began to cast their magic on a receptive population. The US did not want Germany to default on money the European country owed to the States; it was easier not to make a fuss about what Germany did to its citizens. The followers did not limit their violence to Germans, though. Dodd learned Americans tasted Nazi fandom, and German officials did not seem overly interested in ending the violence. After all, that happened to those who did not want to conform to the cause. Eventually Dodd caught the attention of Party members and believed he and his family fell under the State's surveillance machinery. Acquaintances met a nasty end. Perhaps fortunately for Dodd, the governments of the United States and Germany thought it best if Dodd left Hitler Country.

In "In the Garden of Beast," Larson paints a tale worthy of the creepiest of horror movies. A land known for its musical and artistical talents morphs into realm where the wrong friendship might land a man or woman in prison known for its torture. The neighbor that you invited for the morning breakfast might be the neighbor that revealed your poor choice of conversation by evening to the State police. Colorful with the occasional  not-quite-polite humor, the book shows that infamous Party members have been painted larger than life by Hollywood movies, but the ring leaders were frightfully human.  

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Current Read: The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffrey Haas

 Even at my young age, I was aware of the community's indignation at the news that  Chicago's cops had murdered Fred Hampton. People weren't exactly shocked. Hadn't Martin Luther King Jr, been murdered a year earlier? Hadn't Malcolm X been murdered three years earlier? Anyone who openly championed self-empowerment of an oppressed population received a prison sentence or a bullet. Because Chicago Police Department had carried out the assassination, it was within the realm of possibility that the United States Government had a hand in the murder. At the same  time, the CPD went on a rampage, arresting those they believed associated with the Black Panther Party. I recall how a gnawing fear threaded its way through the community. If you openly supported the Black Panthers, then the cops painted a target on your back. 

Memories of that period convinced me to purchase a copy of Jeffrey Haas' "The Assassination of Fred Hampton." As a lawyer for the Hampton family, Haas challenged Ed Hanrahan (the State's Attorney who organized the murder), members of the CPD (who carried out the hit), and members of the FBI (who relayed the orders that the hit must take place). CPD had no intention of admitting they carried out an assassination. In his book, Haas relays his battle to win the case against homicidal law enforcement personnel supported by judges who seemed as hostile toward the lawyers who represented the BPP as they were hostile toward the BPP, and unethical lawyers who acted as though no behavior was too low in their defense of the cops.

Last Book Read: The Plot To Save South Africa by Justice Malala

Strip the United States to its rawest, most horrific form of  racism, and you'll have something that looks like apartheid-era South Africa. Spawns of the loathsome regime, two Afrikaners came up with the idea that if they killed the perceived leaders of the anti-apartheid movement, then South Africa would erupt in civil war. I'm baffled at how these descendants of  Dutch immigrants convinced themselves that the assassination of Chris Hani would work in their favor. It wouldn't be much of a spoiler if I revealed the murder of Chris Hani gained the two men nothing except prison time. And they were awarded prison time only because they lied during hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Perhaps had they told the truth, they would have slithered their way to freedom. Much to the Conservative Party's dismay, South Africa and her sons pounded the stakes into apartheid, a system created by a government that had counted  the US's president Ronald Reagan and Britain's Thatcher among its allies.

In The Plot To Save South Africa, journalist Justice Malala reports on the days in the wake of Hani's murder. Nelson Mandela, Cyril Ramaphosa, and other comrades of the ANC were not going to relinquish the goal of a fair election. Their steadiness survived the maneuvers of a organization and its blood-soaked, murderous secret police who were not going to give up grisly power readily. This book illustrates how the Afrikaners' "terrorists" liberated South Africa,