"...Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
...Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?"
-- Bob Dylan, Blowin In The Wind
Voices of Fear and Ignorance
Many in the media and congress have become sponges to the pro-Israeli propaganda. Their reporting not only lacks critical thinking but is pure hype. Their reporting shares the reasoning of Gaston in the movie, Beauty and the Beast. It is a world where we act based on our fears and ignorance - dump critical thinking.
On November 2012 - while bombs were hitting Gaza, and over 160 people died – many of whom were children, the US House of Representatives in one minute gave its “vigorous support” and “unwavering commitment” to Israel. Both, the U.S. Senate and House passed by unanimous consent resolutions defending Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip. These resolutions expressed no regret or mourning at the Palestinian loss of lives.
In response to the resolution, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) disputed statements that the U.S. House of Representative unanimously endorsed Israel's “right to act in self-defense” in Gaza. According Rep Kucinich, the bill was introduced at 12:04 pm. The resolution was “agreed without objection” by 12:05 pm. “There was no notice, no committee hearing, no discussion and no debate. In such a fashion, we achieve unanimity on great matters related to the Middle East,” said Rep. Kucinich.
In this current tragedy, the senate voted in the same fashion, 100 to 0 to support Israel's right to self defense.
Like Gaston, many blame the entire conflict on Hamas and Hamas is now the feared beast that we need to kill and destroy. No one knows the conditions that spawned Hamas, what their conditions to stop fighting are or why they are fighting. Destroying Hamas is a fruitless exercise — as long as the conditions that spawned them exist — Arabs will form new groups and re-emerge with a new resistance strategy to fight Israeli aggression and occupation.
Voices of Prejudice
Others engaged in logic embedded with prejudice using the "Us vs Them" argument, promoting Palestinians as subhuman who are violent like in the below clip from the movie 12 Angry Men.
As Fonda says in the clip, personal prejudice always obscures the truth. I don't really know what the truth is. Hence, we begin by investigating and verifying. Throughout its existence, Israel's psychology has been to avoid UN, avoid investigations and avoid the camera and rush to the public square using fear and prejudice to win the crowd over. As the Arab proverb says, he hit me and cried and raced ahead of me and hyped the crowd.
As I explained in the previous blog, this is not an Us vs. Them story.
It is an I vs We story.
The I group want security and life for Israel, and the We group believe every life is sacred, every life is precious and demand equal rights with the same human dignity before the law.
The I vs We Story
In times of conflict, tragedies and crises we face chaos of doubt, uncertainty, and fear that test our values. In the move 12 Angry Men, at the following segment: 29:40-37:40 - is a great conversation to help us reflect.
We can learn to face these doubts, uncertainties, fears and challenges and call ourselves to uphold our values and rule of law in dealing with the other or we can treat these values as hobbies. The aftermath is not healthy for society as we have seen in past tragedies and wars.
I wrote the previous two blogs on the current situation in the Middle East. The previous one, Fighting for survival, not destruction of Israel, has many references to research and learn more on the situation.
I hope to begin a series titled, Voices for Palestine. The series will introduce an Israeli leader to the public as well as introduce a voice standing up defending the human rights of Palestinians, whom have been dehumanized in the public square.
Arguing for security and life for me, myself and I, meet meet Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister.
In 2001, by his own confession, he was found guilty of beating a 12-year old boy.
SEE: Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Shame by Neve Gordon
"Lieberman is an ex-member of Meir Kahane's party, Kach, which was outlawed due to its blatantly racist platform. Moreover, his views towards Arabs do not appear to have changed over the years. In 2003, when reacting to a commitment made by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to give amnesty to approximately 350 Palestinian prisoners, Lieberman declared that, as minister of transport, he would be more than happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the sea and drown them there."
Why has our government sat down with Lieberman who lives illegally in the occupied territories while calling for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel proper? What is there to negotiate with such an individual - the timetable for the ethnic cleansing?
Every oppressed person desires a witness to hear, see and validate what they are experiencing. Because the oppressors regardless who they are, have learned the skill of not just physically controlling and abusing the victim, but also overpowering them mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. At times the oppression is so deep that the victim can only rage - as he or she is not aware of how to vocalize or put in words the oppression that he or she is experiencing. Oppression has a layer of brainwashing that needs to be understood.
Psychotherapist Elyce M. Benham, M.S., says: "The techniques of brainwashing are simple: isolate the victim, expose them to inconsistent messages, mix with sleep deprivation, add some form of abuse, get the person to doubt what they know and feel, keep them on their toes, wear them down, and stir well."
For years, Palestinians have asked for international observers to come and witness the suffering they are going through. But the Israeli government has successfully isolated the Palestinians from the rest of the world. Journalists and politicians were routinely invited to Israel and exposed mainly to the Israeli narrative.
What was omitted was the Palestinian suffering.
Arguing that security and life is a right for all, meet Dr Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Please watch the video as he discusses the current situation and context.