Rachel Corrie Uncensored, Bullies and Martyrs, Lambs and Lions, AIPAC, and Messianic Voices Off

I was privileged to recently attend a one-woman play called My Name is Rachel Corrie, about a young American tragically killed by an Israeli bulldozer as she protected Palestinian homes from destruction. Art-upon-art lavishly swirled in layer upon layer, as a dedicated actor-artist nurtured a compelling script crafted by two talented playwright-artists from the lyric insights of writer-activist Corrie—herself one of God’s great artistic creations….


After the play, I was grateful to Rachel and her parents, to the actor and playwrights, to the director and leaders of the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for collaborating so beautifully to share Corrie’s insights as she matured into a loving, idealistic, modern-day David out to slay her Goliath-of the-moment.


Rachel Corrie had no affection for bullies. Burning with a wish to stand up to power and deadly violence, she seemed born to resist injustice. I think she would have been just as eager to oppose Palestinians attacking innocent Israelis, were she drawn to their plight first.


I was saddened to think that some who cherish holocaust narratives like The Diary of Anne Frank would try to censor Rachel’s inspired voice and words for partisan reasons. I doubt any peaceful Jew seeing this play would urge such censorship.


But after it opened successfully in London, extremist Jewish organizations protested its further production, and it was dropped in New York City, Florida, and Boston. The Shepherdstown festival lost a $100,000 pledge and risked a boycott for their decision to stage it. During production, the protest in West Virginia continued in several purchased and prominent playbill pages presenting the Israeli-extremist side of the story, including six touching photos of Israeli “Rachels” tragically killed by Palestinian violence (implying an erroneous six-to-one death toll of Israelis to Palestinians,) along with a dehumanizing and demonizing suggestion about how all Palestinians want only to kill Israelis and put an end to Israel, while all Israelis want only peace.


Christians, Jews, and Muslims have found relative safety from prejudice in America, and I can understand why each of these groups would want to zealously guard such hard-earned respite, especially in view of their respective ghastly historical memories of exploitation and persecution. Which is why, wherever Muslims in America gather to air grievances, polite, respectful Jews show up to tell their side of the story.


American Muslims, however, rarely feel welcome to speak at Jewish events which accede to violent solutions in Israel/Palestine. In both America and Israel, the Jewish-extremist viewpoint is so well-funded and orchestrated as to saturate media and government; it also has much to answer for, in egging on the Bush administration’s current war on Islam, or should I say on Iraq, or should I say on terror…all of which have worked out to be pretty much the same thing. To the extent that nearly every influential comment opposing extremist policies in Israel is instantly reprimanded, often with accompanying accusations about the speaker’s anti-semitism—to that extent is the Palestinian/Islamic world-view grossly under-represented and out-of-balance in America, and of course in Israel/Palestine.


Considering all the pre-play controversy, I was nervous myself about attending it, and hoped I wouldn’t be thought anti-Semitic. I still hope to avoid that charge, although I welcome the labels of pro-peace and anti-violence.


The voice in the Israeli-Islamic conflict consistently drowned out in America and Israel is the moderate/peaceful Islamic voice, although peaceful Muslims are working hard to change this. AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, and other American Jewish organizations are too vigilant for their own good, defending themselves too assertively against slights both perceived and real, and attacking perceived attackers. An anti-Jewish backlash in reaction to such strategies, and to Israel’s typical knee-jerk disproportionate violent responses to aggression seems sadly inevitable.


Peaceful Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other Americans are often so aggressively intimidated by their own extremist factions that they rarely speak out publicly against the vengeful actions, bloody rhetoric, and sheer barbarism of all they see, on all sides. Caught within the context of a violent century’s heightened emotions, most moderates—peaceful Jews and Christians and Muslims and citizens of all nationalities everywhere—are too frightened even to say “Enough” to the extremist voices within their own groups.


As long as demagogues and partisan extremists freely pressure and intimidate moderates, worldwide anti-Islamism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism will continue to grow. And if the hot-blooded AIPAC successfully pushes extremists in America and Israel into another bloodbath, this time against Iran, the potential for anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-Islamic blowback upon moderates in all these groups everywhere will be as terrible as the cataclysmic impact upon the direct victims of the war.


The Bible does not say “the lamb shall lie down with the lion,” but,“ the lion shall lie down with the lamb”—meaning, the powerful shall offer peace to weaker opponents as a wise first step toward peaceful resolution of conflicts. Even the mega-powerful United States is finally learning that everyone’s interests are best served when the mighty dare to humble themselves to acceptance and generosity toward weaker “others,” and truly begin to see—and treat—their neighbor as they would want to be treated, to love their neighbor as their own self. Our learning curve in America, meanwhile, has been excruciating for Muslims worldwide.


In the peaceable kingdom, the powerful will “lie down with” (a tender, intimate metaphor) all their lambish neighbors. This means that the biggest and toughest of the terrorizing thugs on every block, whether they be the American or Chinese nations, whether Iranian, Jew, or Muslim, Irish or British, a strong band of criminals, a tough group of insurgents, whether militias, tribes, national armies, navies, air forces, or even the marines, all the mighty and powerful will come to realize that their job is to protect the weak from those who would hurt them, and not to push the weak around in order to prevail in conflicts, however troublesome or longstanding.


Lambs, too, are opening their eyes to the fact that the terrible lions they so fear may in fact be more fearful themselves than fierce, and desperately in need of peaceful perspectives from ancient cultures and wise elders willing to patiently remove the painful thorns of ignorance and fear from their dripping paws.


Extremist Jewish leaders preaching the wisdom of ten-eyes-for-an-eye, and depicting Israel as a tiny beleaguered island within a vast sea of murderous Muslims all wanting to kill Jews and “erase Israel from the map” (please see the writings of Arash Norouzi) are as repellently manipulative as extremist Palestinian leaders claiming to be nothing more than a defenseless band of ragtag refugees confronting the combined wrath of the world’s largest and most powerful military forces, or American Christian-extremists sounding the alarm of American invasion from rapacious outsiders and infidels, or American patriots bristling with nuclear arms, self-righteously claiming to be the potential victims of nations working frantically to develop even a single one.


Violence, or violent extremism, or terrorism—that is, resorting to violence to resolve conflicts—turns out to be “the problem” itself, and not, as many have tried to persuade us, any particular ideology, ethnicity, religious tradition, or national affiliation. The burning question is always: who is committed to non-violent resolution of conflicts, and who isn’t?


Whether Bin Laden or Bush, Communism or Capitalism, Shiite or Sunni, Hamas or Abbas, Judaism or Islam, the U.S. or Iran, Saddam or Arafat, Hirohito or Mao or Eisenhower or Hitler—it is increasingly evident that “the good guys” are the ones who are committed to resolving conflicts non-violently, while “the bad guys” are the extremist zealots who turn to the use of violence to resolve their conflicts, whether through conventional warfare, street-fighting, or assassination, whether by suicide-bombing, napalm, nuclear weapons, torture, or IEDs. The choice of violent extremism IS the problem; and violent extremists ARE the terrorists.


Disproportionate retaliation against aggression makes sense only for cornered wild animals fighting for survival against overwhelming odds. Unfortunately, this is the very vision offered up by violent extremist leaders, regardless of affiliation, who deliberately stoke up fears and urge violent responses by perceiving all situations through dire scaredy-cat doomsday lenses.


Fortunately, the world seems to be developing new improved crap-detectors, and violent tactics in our small, interconnected, and media-rich world don’t play so well in Peoria anymore. People now recognize man’s-inhumane-violence-to-man for what it is, regardless of context, and despite all the varied ideological, ethnic, religious, and national colors and flavors that violence so often comes wrapped up in—whether it be bulldozed homes, the shattered bodies of innocent children, or maimed and traumatized young soldiers from every land.


The sanctity of human life has finally emerged to be the world’s highest human value, rising ever more clearly above even the most rabble-rousing words of demagogues and ideologues bent upon stirring their fellow-citizens to torture and murder.


In the promised land we are approaching, constructive criticism of the policies and actions of various peoples and organizations won’t be called anti-semitic or anti-American or anti-Islamic or un-patriotic. Instead, powerful, messianic, moderate voices of Jewry and Christendom and Islam and all other isms will speak freely and softly of peace, cooperation, and compromise in all our holy lands, where we will all work side-by-side, undivided by ancestry or belief or tradition, letting go of old grudges and offering olive branches of reconciliation, as we non-violently resolve each day’s natural conflicts freshly and openly, as they arise.


May we learn without having to endure more lessons from ever-greater tragedies, wars, and environmental catastrophes, and may we all awaken together to begin with a convert’s zeal our great shared task of peacefully saving our tiny blue planet, and all our brothers, every one.


Please write comments to njcpace@gmail.com . Thank you! 🙂








The Best (and Only) Way to Solve Our Terrorism Problem

As a history major, I know about what western corporations and governments have done to Muslim (and other) nations—exploited resources, manipulated politics, set up friendly regimes, assassinated opponents, and armed and funded those willing to serve our interests. So when Thomas L. Friedman, in his 4/7/07 New York Times column, “At a Theater Near You…” (copied below) wonders how Americans have grown so “numb to just how crazy” scattered Muslim suicide bombing attacks are,” I wonder in turn how we in the west can be just as numbly indifferent to the horrors we’ve perpetrated upon Muslims.


One member of Congress after another argues for withdrawal from Iraq so that not one more American life will be added to the number lost, without a word about the millions of Iraqi lives already lost or maimed or ruined, and the hundreds dying daily–those same Iraqi lives President Bush so often claimed we had come to rescue.


Mr. Friedman wonders, how could a doctor ever become a terrorist? Many Muslim doctors in London and elsewhere have been dealing for five years and more with the tragic effects upon almost everyone they know of the western occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. These doctors are educated humanitarians, knowledgeable about the histories of western aggression and oppression in their countries of origin, histories we certainly don’t teach or discuss here at home. They are doubtless grief-stricken, paralyzed, and hopeless enough to prefer dying to doing nothing at all. I think they intended to terrify the British into feeling their heightened vulnerabilities more personally, without harming them, hoping they would urge their new Prime Minister Brown to address Islamic concerns and stop the carnage.


Consider: what if an imagined, vastly more powerful Muslim alliance had invaded and occupied the United States five years ago? We wouldn’t be “generating vigorous, sustained condemnation” about an occasional American suicide bomber way over in Iraq, consumed as we would we be already, here at home in America, with simple day-to-day survival, with burying and mourning our million dead brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, with caring for five times that million beloved wounded, with desperately fleeing the violence along with the millions of our fellow Americans abandoning childhood homes and trying to pick up the pieces of shattered lives and dreams anywhere else….


Just who is it, Mr. Friedman, who is “erasing basic norms of civilization” by terrorizing—Islamic suicide bombers, or our own invading and occupying armies?


Both, of course.


I have no doubt that many extremist Muslims are every bit as crazy as some of our very own home-grown terrified fundamentalist Christians and Jews who stand ready to nuke whole Islamic nations right now with no more questions asked. Yes, there are violent, ignorant, vengeful people everywhere, and this is a big big problem. And adding more violence, suffering, anger, and fear to all of their lives is being done to what good purpose?


Islam and Christianity, as practiced by their most devout and informed followers, are both peaceful religions. To be sure, the Koran requires believers to protect Muslim lands from those who would attack, occupy, and impose different traditions upon them, just as American Christians and Jews alike pledge to defend the Constitution even to the death from all enemies foreign and domestic. That doesn’t make either of us crazy. Yet Mr. Friedman implies that crazy-fanatic-Muslims are “the problem.”


Surely he can’t mean to compare the terrible 9/11 attacks perpetrated by misguided young mostly-Saudi Arabian radical intellectuals, with the American government’s own calculated five-year attacks and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have resulted in the deaths of a million people, the wounding of five times that many, the loss of 3,600+ of our own precious youth, the blighted hopes of millions of refugees, and the transformation of vast swaths of culturally-rich Muslim home towns and cities into bullet-ridden ghost towns?


Surely Friedman can’t be comparing the current outbreaks of desperate suicide attacks, however horrific, here and there in the west, with the deliberate, incalculable damage done to Muslim countries by western governments and corporations over the last several hundred years? Only the biggest, comfiest bully on the block could get away with making up such comparisons.


Mr. Friedman believes Islamic countries are benighted because they haven’t embraced western modernity, and it is true that the west and the east have much to learn from one another. But if only we would get out of their way, Muslims would have a better chance to embrace what they admire about western culture, as the Japanese did after WWII. Maybe when freed of western interference, Muslims, like the Vietnamese, will amaze us not only with their productivity, but with their generosity to former enemies as well.


The last thing Americans want to confess is our culpability in the Middle East, so painful is it to see our own shortcomings clearly, and so comforting to chalk disastrous policies up to Muslim backwardness….just as we’ve chalked everything bad happening in China up to Chinese backwardness, until now, when, whoops, here they come too, industriously going about doing things in their own way, and the bigger and stronger for it. In fact, they’ve succeeded so well that many in the west are working to boycott attendance at the Beijing  Olympics on various pretexts, not wanting to risk letting the west see how well the Chinese are doing.


I wish our government would stop creating enemies out of everyone “different,” and stop encouraging well-paid radio demagogues like Rush Limbaugh to keep up their steady drumbeat of xenophobia (“fear of outsiders.”) Demonizing and colonizing distant oil-rich nations does guarantee big profits for oil and for military/industrial corporations which thrive in a political atmosphere of fear. Regrettably though, capitalizing on America’s abysmal ignorance and fear of the rest of the world will never unify or save our nation, or our planet. We are young, brash, and powerful, and we want to “be right” about everything, want to “settle” conflicts “quickly” through violent means. Both goals are fantasies. Instead, we could choose to work to befriend everyone on the planet, accepting all nations and peoples as-is along with their weaknesses and mistakes (including our own), extending a welcome hand of caring and assistance to all….


But unless we voters suddenly get a lot smarter before the 2008 elections, the U.S. government will continue to be run by politicians elected by money from big corporations whose only interest is making high profits for their stockholders, and with no interest at all in changing the aggressive foreign policies which so successfully fill up their bank accounts.


And why should such corporations care if Muslim or American innocents are killed here or there? Why would corporations want to stop endless wars, when they can reinvest their gargantuan war profits into more government lobbying, a strategy which has successfully created for them a safe, lucrative niche within this nation of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, which may yet perish from the earth. Few politicians disproportionately influenced by corporate donations will risk their powerful status to educate voters about the U.S.’s abysmal history of empire-building.


Friedman seems blissfully unaware of the two clear and oft-repeated “concrete political demands” which Bin Laden and his violent cohorts have stated time and again: in order to stop Islamic terrorism, the west must withdraw military forces from Islamic lands, and must stop arming and supporting Israeli anti-Islamic aggression.


The strategy of beating weaker nations into submission through gunboat lack-of-diplomacy and war has not proved robust. The west will be far more effective at spreading the best of our culture when we first offer generous support for popular cherished Islamic projects and problems.


No matter how far we fling our military forces in attempts to resolve east/west political conflicts, “our” dangerous and costly “terrorism problem” will only become worse until we withdraw our military forces from Islam, and offer generous support only to those Israeli leaders working for peaceful co-existence and equal rights for all ethnicities and religions. Until that time, grieving, patriotic, angry, jobless Muslim youth with no national military hope of prevailing against western oppression or against regional enemies newly armed and militarized amidst the lawlessness and chaos of life in a rapidly spreading war zone, will keep on choosing to throw in with terrorist/insurgent bands and militias.


If we continue to insist upon our American right to impose upon distant cultures our own “superior” political and economic values, multinational corporations profiting from war and terror will continue to misuse our ideals to serve their own greedy purposes:  to drive ever-deeper wedges into foreign lands, and to buy and sell (or take) whatever they want at criminal prices.


Friedman argues that it’s up to Muslim leaders to “remove this cancer” of terrorist violence. No. It is up to western leaders to remove this cancer of military-backed hegemony, this cancer of “might makes right,” this cancer of trampling the rights and traditions of smaller and weaker peoples.


Unless Mr. Friedman and I can somehow agree upon which of our children and grandchildren we’re willing to trade for a steady flow of cheap Middle Eastern oil, and which of our cities we’ll willing to exchange for bigger earnings for American stockholders, we should support leaders capable of shifting our nation and the world into to a new era of non-violent global cooperation, for the sake of all in both the east and the west.



Please send comments to Nancy Pace at njcpace@gmail.com .




July 4, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

At a Theater Near You …



I knew something was up when I couldn’t get a cab. Then there were sirens and helicopters whirring overhead. I stopped a passerby to ask what was going on. He said something about a car bomb outside a disco six blocks from my hotel. A few hours later, I finally found a taxi. The driver warned me that it was nearly impossible to get across town. Another bomb had been uncovered in a car park. Next day, more news: a suicide bomber had driven his Jeep into an airport and jumped out, his body on fire, screaming “Allah! Allah!”

Where was I? Baghdad? Kabul? Tel Aviv? No, I was in England. But it could have been anywhere. The Middle East: Now playing at a theater near you.

But this movie gets more confusing every time you watch it. When you watched it on 9/11 it was about America’s presence in the heart of Arabia. And when you watched it on 7/7 it was about unemployed and alienated Muslim youth in Britain. In Jordan not long ago it was about a wedding at a Western hotel. In Morocco recently it was about an Internet cafe. And two days ago in Yemen it was about seven Spanish tourists who were killed when a suicide bomber drove into them at a local tourist site. Wasn’t Spain the country that quit Iraq to get its people out of the line of fire?

Because these incidents are scattered, we’re growing numb to just how crazy they are. In the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amid innocent civilians — without making any concrete political demands and without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.

Two trends are at work here: humiliation and atomization. Islam’s self-identity is that it is the most perfect and complete expression of God’s monotheistic message, and the Koran is God’s last and most perfect word. To put it another way, young Muslims are raised on the view that Islam is God 3.0. Christianity is God 2.0. Judaism is God 1.0. And Hinduism and all others are God 0.0.

One of the factors driving Muslim males, particularly educated ones, into these acts of extreme, expressive violence is that while they were taught that they have the most perfect and complete operating system, every day they’re confronted with the reality that people living by God 2.0., God 1.0 and God 0.0 are generally living much more prosperously, powerfully and democratically than those living under Islam. This creates a real dissonance and humiliation. How could this be? Who did this to us? The Crusaders! The Jews! The West! It can never be something that they failed to learn, adapt to or build. This humiliation produces a lashing out.

In the old days, you needed a terror infrastructure with bases in Beirut or Afghanistan to lash out in a big way. Not anymore. Now all you need is the virtual Afghanistan — the Internet and a few cellphones — to recruit, indoctrinate, plan and execute. Hence, the atomization — little terror groups sprouting everywhere. Everyone now has a starter kit.

Gen. Michael Hayden, the C.I.A. director, recently noted in a speech that during the cold war “the enemy was easy to find, but hard to finish,” because the Soviet Union was so big and powerful. “Intelligence was important” back then, he added, “but it was overshadowed by the need for sheer firepower.”

In today’s war against terrorist groups, said General Hayden, “it’s just the opposite. Our enemy is easy to finish, but hard to find. Today, we are looking for individuals or small groups planning suicide bombings, running violent Jihadist Web sites, sending foreign fighters into Iraq.”

I’d go one step further. The Soviet Union was easy to find and hard to kill, but once it died, it was dead forever. It had no regenerative power because it had no popular base. The terrorists of Iraq or London are hard to find, easy to kill, but very difficult to eliminate. New recruits just keep sprouting.

Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists. But it’s been widely noted that virtually all suicide terrorists today are Muslims. Angry Norwegians aren’t doing this — nor are starving Africans or unemployed Mexicans. Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion, feeding off it like a cancerous tumor.

This cancer is erasing basic norms of civilization. In Iraq, we’ve seen suicide bombers blow up funerals and schools. In England, seven out of the eight people detained in the latest plot are Muslim doctors or medical students. Doctors plotting mass murder? Could that be? If Muslim leaders don’t remove this cancer — and only they can — it will spread, tainting innocent Muslims and poisoning their relations with each other and the world.



Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company










Here's A Blogger's Theory on Our War That's Worth Giving Serious Consideration To…Thank You Corvuswire

Date: 7/8/2006 10:56:04 AM
Subject: It's the damnedest thing I've ever, ever seen in my life.

It's the damnedest thing I've ever, ever seen in my life.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about how most Americans have been brainwashed into believing Muslim terrorists are mindless, soulless subhumans who have no legitimate complaint against our government. Who has brainwashed Americans into such untruths?

The American-Zionist pro-Israeli media and the Bush administration have been working triple-overtime to make Americans believe bin Laden and Muslim terrorists have no legitimate complaint against our government, and that the only solution is: “……. to hunt'em down and kill'em all.” Of course, Americans don't approve of the methods bin Laden and Muslim terrorists have used to air their complaints – violence – but the fact remains: 99% of Americans DO NOT KNOW WHY BIN LADEN AND MUSLIM TERRORISTS TARGETED AND CONTINUE TO TARGET AMERICA FOR TERRORISM!!

Bin Laden, Ramsey Yousef and other Muslim terrorists have explained why they targeted America for terrorism PRIOR TO 9/11 and AFTER 9/11. Basically, only two reasons:

1. U.S. military occupation of Muslim land;

2. U.S. financing and arming Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine.

These are the two reasons why Muslim terrorists target America for terrorism. bin Laden has repeatedly stated such over the years, yet Americans don't hear him – what they do hear is the American-Zionist media emphasizing everything BUT the true reasons Muslim terrorists target America for terrorism. Why? Because the American-Zionist media has undying allegiance to Israel, instead of the best interests of the American people. The Bush administration and Israel has vested interests in convincing the American people Muslims have no legitimate complaint against our government; that instead, Muslims are just crazy religious extremists who are so jealous of America's freedom, hot dogs, apple pies and Chevrolets, they simply want to destroy America.

Americans are so blinded by the terror caused by 9/11 and the subsequent media fear frenzy, most Americans simply do not care WHY bin Laden attacked us on 9/11, nor do most Americans want to entertain the idea bin Laden may have legitimate complaints against our U.S. government. The death and destruction of 9/11 has blinded most Americans from being able to objectively understand and realize our government's activities and deeds PRIOR TO 9/11. You ever heard of, “What goes around, comes around?” It's called “blowback.”

The bottom line is, our government would prefer to fuel and exacerbate terrorism against America than to withdraw our U.S. military from Muslim land and cut off funding to Israel. Our government obviously believes it is worth keeping America in the crosshairs of Muslim terrorism than to withdraw our U.S. military from Muslim land and support Israel's illegal occupation and genocide of Palestine and Palestinians.

Americans need to remember: the reason Bush cheerleads so hard for the continued occupation of Iraq is because if the U.S. military is withdrawn from Iraq, who is going to protect the fatcat American contractors (Halliburton, etc.) in Iraq? Would not a U.S. military withdrawal effectively terminate those fatcat contracts? Would not a U.S. military withdrawal curtail the construction of Bush's half-billion dollar palace in Baghdad? Yes, it would.

Most Americans do not realize, that for the Bush administration and their fatcat contractors, there's no profit in peace – only in war.

Nothing has changed for decades in America. President Eisenhower warned Americans of the fact the U.S. military industrial complex has grown too strong and too powerful.

What has happened is, Israel's interests and the U.S. military industrial complex's interests have coincided. This is the danger which has been created. Israel's desire to destroy, debase and occupy Muslim nations has intersected with the U.S. military complex's desire for more profit and power. These are the two things bin Laden and Muslim terrorists know.


Is it worth it?   (of course not)


Despite the American-Zionist media and the Bush administration's best efforts, some Americans are beginning to realize why 9/11 happened and why Muslim terrorists continue to target America for terrorism.

It's time for Americans to ask themselves, “Is it worth it? Is it worth occupying Muslim land so American can continue to be the targets of Muslim terrorism? Is it worth occupying Muslim land for Israel? Is it worth occupying Muslim land so our sons and daughters can die in Muslim lands? Is it worth occupying Muslim land so Bush can keep building his half-billion dollar palace in Baghdad? Is it worth occupying Muslim land so Bush can keep his fatcat buddies in multi-billion dollar contracts to rebuild what Bush destroys in Muslim lands? Is it worth sending four and a half billion of our tax dollars to Israel each and every year?

 The answer is, of course not.


Litmus Test 

What can you do about it? Ogre W. Bush and Dick Cheney have both repeatedly chanted, “Terrorism and the War On Terror will not end in our lifetimes or our children's lifetimes.” Well, bullcrap. Yes we can end terrorism in our lifetime – that is, terrorism against America – not Israel. It is essential that Americans realize that ending terrorism against America and ending terrorism against Israel is two different things entirely. First of all, because immigrant Jews decided to occupy and build a state on Muslim land back in the forties, Muslims will always target Israel for terrorism BECAUSE Muslims absolutely, truly believe immigrant Jews have no right to implant a Jewish state on Muslim holy land. This is Israel's problem and Muslims' problem – it should NOT be America's problem; but no, thanks to our greedy Congress and U.S. military complex, it has NOW BECOME America's problem. Pro-Zionists writh in glee at this long, sought-after goal.

For years, Israeli Zionists have dreamed of making Israel's problems, America's problems – now they have succeeded.

Therefore, Americans should begin electing representatives to Congress who act in the best interests of the American people, instead of the best interests of Israel – they are NOT one and the same!!!!!! Americans should begin asking Congressional candidates for Congress whether or not they support continuing to give four and a half-billion of our precious tax dollars each and every year to Israel and whether or not they support the continued U.S. military occupation of Muslim land. These are the questions Americans should be using as a litmus test in deciding who to vote for office in Congress. That is, if you're interested in ending Muslim terrorism against America.

As long as Israel occupies Muslim land, that's how long Muslims will continue to target Israel for terrorism. That's Israel's problem. They made their bed, now Israel must sleep in it.

But this should not have to be true for Americans. America needs a policy of disengagement from Israel. It is extremely dangerous for America to support and arm Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine – just ask the widows of 9/11. Not to mention, it happens to be against our U.S. law for our Congress to fund, arm and support any nation in multiple violations of 65 U.N. resolutions, such as Israel has been for over 36 years now. In this regard alone, we should immediately STOP the flow of billions of U.S. tax dollars to Israel.


.r o n    d a l l a s , t e x a s   corvuswire@verizon.net


Barack Obama, The Unforgiven, the Race Tightrope, and the Blame Game

In a very interesting Washington Post editorial (July 6th, “Obama’s Tightrope,” copied below), Amina Luqman argues that Barack Obama must present voters with only the whitest of credentials and speaking styles, and avoid blaming whites for black problems—while other candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton, remain free to stir up blacks by criticizing whites, and by using the passionate, rhythmic cadences and stirring challenges traditionally relied upon by black politicians and preachers. As Luqman watched the presidential debate at Howard University, “up seemed down and everything seemed out of sync” to her, because of this flip-flop in the rhetorical styles of these two candidates.


I don’t think Obama walks a race tightrope. I think he walks and talks and thinks just exactly how he walks and talks and thinks, and he doesn’t attack anyone, white or black, because that’s who he is. Somehow, Obama has learned not to bother with blaming anyone for anything, because blaming is a waste of time and spirit and resources, and besides, it only invites retaliation, which must then be defended against. Instead, Obama consistently accepts, “as-is,” all others, black and white, American and “other.”


Obama knows that everyone makes mistakes, and that the greater one’s power, the greater the potential for and impact of their mistakes. As Dr. King did, Obama encourages his audiences to move forward together to find solutions to unsolvable problems, to clean up impossible messes, to do better than the last generation, and he knows we can’t do it while carrying a burden of past guilt.


Not-blaming is a deliberate, habitual practice of Obama’s. He shares with King the best, most productive kind of humility: self-acceptance born merely—and spectacularly—from realization that they are God’s creatures, which is to say, imperfectly perfect, perfectly lovable, and forgiven.


In The Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood’s compadre regrets killing someone, but justifies it to himself by saying, “Well, he had it coming.” Eastwood answers him with, “We all have it coming.” We've all made mistakes, but it makes no sense to demand retribution for every mistake. Unless we’re delusional (as most of us are, now and then, including me) we can recognize our culpability in many things without insisting that each sin be punished.


Pointing fingers, assigning blame, piling on, creating scapegoats, and exacting revenge are all of one piece with the same fearful, guilty, hateful politics that keep us so mired down with old problems that we can’t solve anything new. Obama apparently holds to Jesus’ new covenant, which is all about forgiving, forgetting, lightening up and moving on to make things better.


More interested in mercy than in an eye-for-an-eye, Obama will leave worrying about others’ accountability to lesser humans. His positive, present-oriented spirit will bring him all the power he can use, and it will allow him to use all of that power for good. Of course he will make mistakes; all leaders do. Lovers of Shakespeare and classical theatre see demonstrated over and over how every person, however great, has “tragic flaws.”  But because Obama tries to overlook the mistakes of others, he won't let his own mistakes become stumbling blocks that prevent him from pressing boldly on.


We all want second chances to do things right, to use our misdirected and under-utilized knowledge and talents and skills for good. We all want opportunities to redeem ourselves, because most of us eventually do learn from our mistakes. Obama seems to realize that only after he accepts others, as-is, can he accept himself, as-is. His safety, in fact, like Bill Clinton’s, lies in his reluctance to waste time defending himself.


I hope Hillary Clinton won't choose to stir up resentments, although resentments effectively unify antagonists against one another by polarizing and dividing. Radio demagogues also use fear especially well to pit one group against another, and all too many presidential elections have been won by fear-mongering partisans. Unfortunately, accusations and recriminations can't unify a nation, and stirring up ill feelings through blame cannot save one.


Please send comments to Nancy Pace at njcpace@gmail.com .




Obama's Tightrope

By Amina Luqman

Friday, July 6, 2007; Page A15


The world felt topsy-turvy as I watched the presidential debate held at Howard University last week. Up seemed down and everything was out of sync as the front-runners for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, spoke. In this debate, as in others, we watched Obama remake the traditional persona of the black candidate and someone else take what might have been his place.


From the outset, it was clear that Barack Obama wasn't going to be Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. For every rhythmic alliteration Jackson would have offered, Obama gave us pauses and sentences in paragraphs. For Sharpton's quick wit and scathing candor, Obama offered even tones and grave calm. There was no push toward applause-filled endings. He begged for contemplation and understanding. Simple became complex, demands became propositions and “they” became “we.”


The average black American onlooker can't help feeling proud but also just a little hurt watching Obama. Proud of his ability to traverse minefields on a national political landscape and hurt by what America demands of black candidates seeking public acceptance and trust. During the debate, black Americans in the audience sat, hands poised, yearning to applaud a black candidate able to articulate our passions and sense of injustice. We wanted to hear that he understood and loved us — not in the general, “we the people” sense but in the specific. Yet we know that with each utterance about injustice, each puff of anger or frustration about racism, we lose the very thing we seek: a viable black candidate. The closer Obama comes to us, the further he would be from winning the nomination and the presidency.


That is a reality of race and national politics in America. Part of Obama's appeal to white America lies in his hopefulness. It's in the way he looks toward a brighter future, and it's in his promise to bring us all along.


Yet the subtext of his appeal is in what he does not say. It's in his ability to declare that things must get better without saying who or what has made them bad. It's how he rarely chastises and how he divides blame and responsibility evenly; white receiving equal parts with black, poor equal parts with rich. The “we” Obama has created leaves blank the space traditional African American candidates would have filled with passion or a clear articulation of the state of black Americans. It's left some black voters unfulfilled and some white voters with a sense of acceptance and absolution from past wrongs and present-day injustices.


We are all watching Obama's tightrope walk, his attempts to appeal to the white majority while maintaining some semblance of integrity regarding the plight of black Americans. It's a heavy burden. In contrast, Hillary Clinton is on relatively sure footing. Obama must tilt away from clarity and passion about issues disproportionately affecting blacks while Clinton is free to perform the black candidate's role. In last week's debate, it was she who took on the traditional black candidate's persona, she who was both passionate and rhythmic in her cadence. Her endings built to crescendos. Be it real or pandering, Clinton can openly connect and show solidarity with black Americans in ways that Obama cannot.


There is no better example than Clinton's comment about the disproportionate effect HIV has on black communities. She said that if “HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.” For Obama to have said the same words in the same fiery manner could have been political suicide. By forfeit, Clinton essentially becomes the black candidate; it's not a space America would allow Obama to fill.


Not long after Obama announced his candidacy, the buzz in the media was, “Is Obama black enough?” Many black Americans privately laughed at this question. We know that it takes only a slip of the tongue about slavery's legacy or reparations, a hiccup about institutional racism or paying special attention to the needs of black Americans, and suddenly the love would be gone. We know that the question has less to do with black America than with whether white America trusts that Obama is not too black for its political taste.


We laugh at the question of Obama's blackness because we live with a version of Obama's tightrope dance every day. We do the same dance in our workplaces, with our supervisors, our neighbors and our college classmates. In that way we know Obama couldn't be more like us, he couldn't be more black. We along with Obama know that even the most skilled tightrope performance may not be enough to ensure that you land on your feet.


Amina Luqman is a freelance writer. Her e-mail address is amina.luqman@yahoo.com.