22.7.06

why?


israeli kids excited about helping fight the war on terror



kylie and i (along with a sizeable portion of the informed world i'm sure) have been beset by bouts of frustration and despondance about the current state of world politics and the current violence in the middle east. it seems we can either think about it and be depressed, or forget about it and live in our own little bubble world of inconsequential hopes and concerns.

lebanon was finally digging their way out of decades of deprivation and now their citizens are suffering and im sure record numbers of terrorist recruits are making their way to various meeting points across the world. these tensions may be caused by other countries (no names needed) and take place on the other side of the world but i suspect the results will be felt everywhere.

how can 2 essentially good countries (i hope) full of essentially good people (i assume) act in such a psychotic manner? disregard for other lives and a lack of empathy are 2 essential characteristics of both psycho and sociopaths.

the worst part however (for us comfy westerners who arent getting bombed) is our impotence in the face of this tragedy. i am really feeling like we can make no difference. so should we just continue buying ice caps and going mountain biking and hiking and swimming in cultus lake? or should we spend all day fretting and hand wringing? maybe we should just work to be informed.

The Daily Star, one of lebanon's relatively free newspapers, recently published this excellent short summary of the current powers at play in the middle east.

also my friend lisa just sent us this interesting article by a rabbi who has some level headed ideas for change.

back to the question of how essentially good people could let this happen, kylie and i have been talking alot about the limited information available to americans about the actions of their own government and the actions of other countries, not to mention how the rest of the world views them. i remember visiting the states and looking for the international section of idaho's flagship newspaper only to find out the entire international section consisted of one small article about idaho's interaction with some country and a 4 line AP blurb about US economic ties with another country, both sandwiched between 2 giant ads for luxury cars and $5000 watches.

I just read this article about how much the US govt tries to hide from its own citizens (in the case of FEMA dropping the ball in new orleans) and our friend rob recently linked to this long but very well written article about the mainstream american news media's collusion in the fraudulent election of george w (both times).

holy heck! what are we supposed to do?
please advise, we are feeling confused and alternately depressed and disconnected (and while disconnected i sure enjoyed wake boarding on cultus lake today).

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

In the "states" we do not have a "flagship newspaper." The newspapers are not government owned. I'm not sure which paper you were referring to. True, the Bush administration has had more success at influencing, and censuring the press than any administration since the 1950's. America and the world has osama to thank for that. Despite this, it is common knowledge to Americans that the two Bush elections were compromised. Nothing can be done about it now; the hope is that the Democrats will take control of the house and senate in the November elections and investigations into the Bush historic level of corruption can begin. (As a side note – it is a great example of the dangers of mixing religion and politics. It was the American Christian right that got Bush elected due to the threat imposed by Islamic Extremism. In the name of God, Christian Americans remained silent about the voter fraud. In the name of God, the end justifies the means.) Americans are well aware of the Bush administrations inept handling of Katrina (as I write this to you a panel of pundits are on American television comparing the Katrina response to Bush's slow response to the slow evacuation of Americans from Lebanon. By the way, Israel is only waiting for the western powers to get their citizens out of Lebanon before they start the ground invasion)
I must admit I am getting a little irate reading about how we Americans are fat, spoilt, ignorant about the world and just don't care about what is going on in other countries. We do care. And since the 9/11 mass murders we care more than ever. The majority of American people are not taking to the streets to protest the Israeli attacks because we support them. I think the rest of the world does not understand that the real lasting effect of Nine-Eleven was that it has caused millions of American liberal humanitarians, as I once was, to turn their backs on the Middle Eastern countries. Palestinians no longer have the support they once had in my country; Six years ago the American people would not have tolerated the carnage in Iraq. The idea of innocent middle-eastern civilians dieing no longer appalls us after watching our fellow citizens jump to their deaths from the burning heights of the world trade center.
We are not ignorant, we are not un-informed. We are pissed off. And will be for years to come.

Go and enjoy your boarding. You can not let the world's insanity stop you from enjoying life, and trying to get the most out of life -- another lessoned learned from 9-11.

marcandorkylie said...

cs wilson, thank you very much for your informative comment. your points are well taken. i believe i gave americans as individuals some credit when i asked why good people are letting this happen. i certainly dont mean to paint all americans or israeli's with the same brush. one of the articles i linked to was by an american and another was by an israeli. i recognize that many americans may be even more concerned than me as it is their leadership helping perpetrate the various tragedies around the globe. also i am well aware that canada as a nation is a full and willing participant in the global economy that is ransacking the environmental capital of the poorer nations.
i do however take issue with your defense of the american people's reaction to the last 2 presidential elections. if it is "common knowledge" that the last 2 elections were compromised, where is the public outrage that got bill clinton impeached for lying about his marital infidelity? i agree wholeheartedly that both of these issues demonstrate the dangers of mixing religion and politics, although to me this loops back to my opinion that many of those in the christian right are very poorly (or narrowly) informed. (as a sidenote, i remember being a part of the christian right in high school, and looking back i now see that rush limbaugh and the alberta report (think foxnews in a magazine for farmers and oilmen) are poor/one sided news sources).
lastly, i also recognize that papers like the new york times have a lot of international content. however, the paper i was reading was the idaho statesman, the mainstay of print media in that state (at least at the time, and this was pre 9/11 so perhaps they have expanded their global coverage) and i stand by my astonishment b/c i can still picture the international page very clearly... it made quite an impression on me.

thanks again for taking the time to set me straight and i apologize for making you irate, please feel free to continue to inform us ignorant canadians.
marc

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the conservative movement, bolstered by the relgious right, is in charge of things right now. Legal action was taken concerning both the Florida and Ohio fraudulent activity, but was struck down by the supposedly liberal courts (conservatives are masters of misinformation. They have learned that if you repeat something enough times people will begin to accept it as fact). He did not win the first election he was appointed president by the courts. Short of armed insurrection there is little we can do but wait and watch as Bush destroys his party's credibility. Half the country wanted Bush to win and so did not care what he had to do to win. Not to mention, a lot of Americans believe that America is so perfect, something like a rigged presidential election could not possibly happen here. It is the Democrats fault. They are a weak party. They allowed Clinton to be censured for something that was of no detriment to his country and do nothing as Bush cuts social programs across the country, gives exclusive no-bid contracts to his connected friends, spies and wire taps his own damn people...I could go on an on, but you obviously understand what liberal Americans are up against. I am a history buff and one of the biggest questions on my mind, in my lifetime, has been 'how did the German people let the Nazi movement happen to them.' Thanks to six years of the Bush administration I am closer to understanding how it happened. As you asked, 'where was the public outcry?' It was here. But the conservative party is in complete control of this country. Bush contains all of Hitler’s evil, but luckily, little of Hitler’s intelligence. He has severely damaged the conservative party in the last couple of years, but it will be up to the Democrats to capitalize on it.
I said I was irate because I had been reading blogs all day – mostly mid east blogs—in an attempt to get a clearer picture of what was going on. And was just amazed at how the world seems to think the average Americans do not have a clue as to what is going on. The thing that bothers me most is the world thinks that since we are not rioting to stop the war in Iraq or protest marching to stop Israel it means we don’t understand or know what’s going on. I was once a far left liberal. It took one event to turn me into a liberal hawk. I still believe in most of the things I believed before with the one profound exception: I now accept the fact that war and the killing of others is a necessary act of survival in this world. I am no longer interested in trying to understand the mid-east culture (after the first WTC bombing in the 90’s I read the Koran and various mid east lit in order to try and better understand why they felt as they did) I don’t seek to understand them any more. I fully support the destruction of the Islamic movement in the Middle East. To protect my family physically, and to protect my family’s culture, I will say nothing as hundreds of Lebanese civilian die under Israeli jets; I will say nothing as the American army stands by and allows the Iraqi’s to kill each other at the rate of 3,000 a month. I understand that me and the millions of Americans like me are playing right into Bush’s hands by feeling this way. I know it is a slippery slope. Hitler understood the need for a national enemy and so does Bush. My only prayer is that America can get a person into office that will be able to walk that slope without falling off to deeply to either side.
I apolgize if I sounded condescending. I had been defending the American people in dozens of blogs all day and as I said I was irate by that time. As far as you being an “ignorant Canadian” I did not even realize you were Canadian. I was skipping through blogs ignoring profile info and just reading text. The comment about the flagship paper led me to believe you were European. Guess that just goes to show you how uninformed we Americans are.

marcandorkylie said...

wow man, thanks for that... i really appreciate the window you are allowing me to peer through. i am going to take advantage of this serendipitous access to a concerned hawkish american history buff to ask you 2 questions:
1. you identify clearly that you realize that bush and cronies are using fear to goad their people into accepting violence. however you must realize that you and your family are more in danger from traffic accidents and natural disasters than you are from the threat of terrorism. what is it about this threat that makes you abandon your concern for the lives of innocents? the fact that it is totally out of your control? the novelty of the threat? ???

2. it seems fairly clear to me that israel dropping american bombs on lebanese civilians is only going to fan the flames of hatred and create more terrorism across all arab states (as it has in iraq). why do you believe that violence now will beget less violence in the future? the party line wont cut it here man, i have heard israel's hard stance rhetoric and you seem to be too smart to fall for that. lebanon's govt does not condone hizbollah b/c it is to the govt's advantage, they support it b/c their citizens support it (ie. they also see violence as the only way out)
marc

tyrnandkelsey said...

Thanks to both of you for this dialogue. You're asking the tough questions without prancing around, very much appreciated. I will let it percolate in my mind for a while before I make any judgements on your comments, so that I don't prove how dumb I am.

My only comment worth adding is a very Canadian one. It has to do with western apathy about the endless violence in the middle east. We hear about suicide bombers and islamic militants every day it seems, the confusing part for me is why this leads to increased apathy rather than increased concern? Could you honestly even imagine how you would feel if a bomb landed in your neighborhood (obviously New York citizens can)? To feel so vulnerable and threatened? Now put that in context of the innocent civilians (and I believe there are MANY) that are being bombed and shot at like clockwork. It's so overwhelmingly depressing that perhaps apathy is a coping mechanism, but I doubt if that is why westerners are apathetic (pardon the generalization). And so I agree with both of you that ordinary citizens are relatively powerless, but only as long as apathy reigns. We CAN voice our disapproval, and we'd better, for the sake of "our own families and our families' culture".