Stopping the Insanity
When the bombing first started in Lebanon, one of my cohorts at uni sent an email to his fellow students asking for support in ending this horrible situation. I was on vacation in the US and, though I sought his permission to reprint his letter here, by the time I had proper internet access to post I was stupidly preoccupied with other things and forgot to do it, and then time went by and cease fire talks started and I wasn't sure how timely it was.
But now, in light of the whole bomb-the-planes-over-the-Atlantic thing, I decided that I really did need to put this up here. I'm angry at those terrorist bastards. They're really messing with my life, and I haven't done a dang thing to them. Sure, I'm pissed that I can't travel with my ipod or a bottle of water or a book to entertain me. And my job is dependent upon people wanting to travel, which is not helped by terrorism threats. But more importantly, trips home for holidays and for visitors who want to come see me just got a lot more complicated. I used to say a quick prayer of thanks when we got past Scotland or Nova Scotia, since that's where bombs used to go off. Now I will be praying every fifteen minutes just because my plane is still in the sky. And I can't choose not to fly...I live in England, most of my loved ones live in the US, and this isn't changing for a few years. And while it is lovely to imagine my steam trips home across the sea, the likelihood of me affording the time or money required for a ship are slim these days. (And I think I've mentioned that I hate puking.)
The author of the email I've included below is Palestinian. He's in my MBA programme as part of the engineering doctorate school at Cranfield and is sponsored by a major car manufacturer. He's friendly, bright, and has a great sense of humor. He does not "hate us for our freedom." In fact, he loves Americans and America...he goes there on holiday and embraces many of the values we do. He's lived in Britain his whole life, and though his Muslim/Palestinian background informs his life, it is not the only thing that makes him tick.
When terror plots get exposed, people immediately start talking about the Muslim extremists. They wonder why they hate us, how they could want to kill us in the name of religion, why they don't appreciate us intervening and saving them from tyranny. The email below explains why.
Text of email:
Hello, I hope this email finds you well.
You will have no doubt seen the terrible collective punishment being dished out in Lebanon and Gaza. I have watched as much of the news as I can again tonight and I must admit I'm reaching the end of my patience and so I have decided to write an email to vent some steam.
Tomorrow morning I am going to contact the top men in Cranfield and ask that any links with Israeli Universities and Corporations be suspended with immediate effect. I am contacting you now as soon-to-be captains of British industry to ask that you remember what the Zionist entity has done to Lebanon and take this into account when making your business arrangements.
There are some I'm sure that will be thinking of Hezbollah's rockets against Israel, but those people should keep in mind that the untargeted rockets of Hezbollah have killed all of one tenth of those killed by the so called precision/targeted bombs of Israel. Also, while Hezbollah and Palestinian militia hold three Israeli soldiers prisoner there are literally hundreds upon hundreds held in Israeli jails. Israel supporting by the USA with around $14 billion a year is the original aggressor.
At the bottom of this email you will find a link to the House of Commons address book where you will be able to find your MP. I urge you to contact him/her and demand that Mr Tony Blair grow a pair and do something. While he and his friends sit on their hands Lebanon in the words of the Lebanese PM and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is being "systematically torn apart".
I want to say now that I am biased, my family is Palestinian so you don't have to share my view but I hope you can find it in you heart to help the people of Lebanon and Gaza in anyway you can. When two buildings got knocked down in New York Mr Bush started World War 3, but that son of a bitch is more than happy to see innocent Arab women and children blown to bits.
Finally, if and when you encounter ignorant people that say that this will all blow over or that it isn't really any of their concern please remind them of Sir Isaac Newton's third law : "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". In other words, some of the events we see around the world have a root cause and one of them is the disgust at the utter hypocrisy shown by Western governments. We can be sure that if a Western country was being bombed to hell Bush would have picked up the phone by now. This kind of thing makes it really hard for moderates to sustain an argument against more radical elements when it is clear for all to see that as far as the American regime is concerned some lives are apparently worth less than others.
I will stop there before I have a heart attack!
Thanks for reading,
I am not here to question Israel's right to exist. I know the Israeli/Palestinian conflict goes beyond the current war, and that Israel struggles to maintain sovereignty in a region that wants to see it dead. I feel for Israelis who live with the daily fear of bombers at cafes or markets...I don't ever want to live like that and it makes me angry that anyone does. And I also feel for the Palestinians who've had their property, their land, and their livelihood taken in the name of Israel's "security," who live under house arrest in horrific conditions because they are the native inhabitants of disputed territory. If I could find some black and white answer that would solve the problem, I'd obviously be telling someone and getting ready for my trip to Oslo to collect my prize.
But I think it's important that we, as westerners whose governments unquestionably support Israel and who daily face an increase in global terror and general ill will, take time to understand our culpability in this situation. The emotions of reality get swallowed by the Bushies talking points and the right-wing media pandering, and everything becomes a wonkish policy discussion that bores the general populace into apathy. If reasonable people who condemn terrorists and their ugly behaviour are still angry with us for our foreign policy, imagine how the unreasonable people are feeling.
Like blowing our planes out of the sky, apparently.
Chances are that the readers of my blog are politically opinionated and know all of this already. (Except for Brad, who just thinks I'm unpatriotic. =) But I know it takes a lot to remind me to write a letter about things like this...most of my activism happens in conversation and blogging. In case you fall into that category, I thought I'd remind you that it wouldn't hurt to send some letters and get others talking about this so that the upcoming election and future foreign policy starts helping us solve terrorism, instead of just fighting it.
In case you don't already know, here's how to find your senator.