Sunday, January 25, 2009

E. Pluribus Unum

As my blog is about human idiocy as well as its amazing creativity, I thought Chris Jordan's work is especially fitting. He currently has a show at the Washington State University Museum of Art that I hope to see. This piece is E. Pluribus Unum and includes the name of one million organizations in the world that are dedicated to peace. With so many, don't you think we humans can get there? I hope so.

For more detail about this piece as well as his other works dealing mostly with consumption and waste, see his website.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Freedom Theatre

Here is a wonderful example of art's transformative power.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Searching for Naomi Shihab Nye

and this is what I found.

For Mohammed Zeid of Gaza, Age 15
by Naomi Shihab Nye

There is no stray bullet, sirs.
No bullet like a worried cat
crouching under a bush,
no half-hairless puppy
bullet dodging midnight streets.
The bullet could not be a pecan
plunking the tin roof, not hardly,
no fluff of pollen
on October's breath,
no humble pebble in the street.

So don't gentle it, please.

We live among stray thoughts,
tasks abandoned midstream.
Our fickle hearts are fat
with stray devotions, we feel at home
among bits and pieces,
all the wandering ways of words.

But this bullet had no innocence, did not
wish anyone well, you can't tell us otherwise
by naming it mildly, this bullet was never the friend
of life, should not be granted immunity
by soft saying - friendly fire, straying death-eye
why have we given the wrong weight to what we do?

Mohammed, Mohammed deserves the truth.
this bullet had no secret happy hopes,
it was not singing to itself with eyes closed
under the bridge.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It is a bit early for me to post. Yesterday's was very important for me and I wanted it to simmer in people's minds and in my own more. I have been struggling with truly feeling what is going on in Gaza. For some reason, I feel like a factual account or sharing an article is going to impact people so much more than emotions. But I know better. I have lived through 8 years of the Bush Administration, 9/11, and now the "Yes We can Hope!" President-Elect after all. Emotions are key. The wedge, as a dear former professor of mine would say. In this case, the wedge is EMOTION. And so, I will share some of the outrage and expression that the world is feeling. It is pure in its raw sincerity.

From ei: World Demonstrates for Gaza Part 1 and Part 2
New Orleans, Caracas, Beirut, Bethlehem, Houston, Kansas City, Kuala Lumpur, NYC, Paris, and Seattle. There were so many more. People from all over our dear Earth have been showing their outrage and their humanity. Yes, they get it and they care.
And, I am saving the best for last. A Western song a dear new friend from Jordan sent to me. She is one of few Arabs in my part of the United States surrounded by rolling hills of wheat and misinformation. I share with her a deep sorrow.

We will not go down in Gaza tonight without a fight. That "we" includes you. Please, please respond. E-mail, write, shout, and if you need encouragement or direction just let me know... Our humanity is at stake.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kulna Gaza

I have been feeling so emotionally blank about what’s happening in Gaza. It’s been easier to read every article I can get my hands on as opposed to feel anything. I know it's how we survive when we don’t have control, creating emotional distance and analyzing the facts. But it's not facts that have allowed the ethnic cleansing and genocide to continue for so long. It is emotions. Predominately those of fear and anger.

The average Israeli citizen is afraid that they are going to be consumed by the "Arabs" that surround them. This is what their government tells them and why the majority of Israeli citizens allow their government to take more and more land from the Palestinian people in the form of settlements, to break agreements, and to kill over 800 people in the recent events in Gaza alone. And most U.S. citizens share this fear that the Arab "terrorists" are going to destroy the only people in the Arab World that look like them. Which is why we allow this genocide to continue.

And on the part of Palestinians such has Hamas, the emotion is anger. But they are not alone. It is an anger that I see when I go to protests and when I read progressive responses to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. It is an understandable feeling that I have as well.

But I am beginning to realize that underneath all of my analytical readings and all of my anger, there is another emotion that I have been suppressing: grief. This is the emotion that I need to let out and that I encourage others to acknowledge and feel as well. We human beings are supposedly civilized and yet can let such atrocities occur for 60 years despite and in many ways because of the holocaust of World War II. Admitting this fills me with such a profound sadness.

The Palestinian/Israeli conflict is very personal to me. I have written many times of when I was 6 years old, my mother would drive me past Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp in Beirut to and from school. It was then that she first explained the conflict to me and it has stayed with me ever since. One of my greatest hopes is that a humane solution for all can be reached in my lifetime. Every day that this conflict continues, I grieve. Because Palestine is not just some far away place in conflict, it is us. We are a part of it, no matter where we are.

"We are all Gaza," "Kulna Gaza," was written on a protest display of coffins on Hamra Street in Beirut this past week. We are. And that is why we must grieve. Because a part of us is dying every day that this conflict continues. Every day that another child is killed and that another doctor cares for the wounded without adequate supplies we are losing one more piece of our own humanity.

Postscript 1/12/08: My father just read this post and thinks that I am remembering the Karantina Camp near the port. This makes sense, given that I am now recalling a taxi driver this summer pointing out the spot of Tel al-Zaatar further up the mountain from Beirut on the way to Ain Saade where two of my friends live. The Phalangists perpetrated massacres in both camps with Israeli blessings in 1976. They are prime real-estate now. Its all about resources.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Truth about Gaza

If you want to get beyond some of the popular Western misperceptions that exist regarding Gaza, this NY Times op-ed piece by Rashid Khalidi is a good place to start.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What to Put?

There is a protest planned tomorrow. Awkward time- 4:00 pm when many are still at work. I have the privilege of leaving work and later returning. In return, nights are sometimes expected.
But tonight I have a sign to make. My declaration to my community about how I feel about the atrocities in Gaza and the perpetrators of these atrocities: Israel and myself through my tax dollars that are being spent on military aid to Israel and my country's unconditional support of a government that is creating a holocaust as horrible as the one perpetrated on some of its citizens.
What should I write on my sign? I could write a simple diatribe against Israel but I am sick of those. I want peace. I want a solution that makes everyone feel ownership, dignity, and an everyday life. There is a solution out there, perhaps the one state one. I must believe it. This is what I want on my sign. A lasting peace, longer than a cease-fire where all are included. Where Palestinians aren't forced to make inhumane concessions.
How can I put this on a sign?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy New Year

The New Year has come and gone and I haven't posted. I've been a bit down about Gaza and trying to get myself out of a work funk. Thankfully, I think I have. Wish I could do more about Gaza. Did my letter writing and have been forwarding my articles. I feel so removed from it all. And during the day, I am so busy with work that I haven't been keeping up on my reading of each new atrocity that is being perpetrated upon the people of Gaza by the Israeli military. Plus I distracted myself by going to the shelter and getting a kitten. Her name is Asha. My post today includes pics of her and an appeal to support Mercy Corps through their petition and hopefully a donation to their humanitarian work. It's only dealing with the immediate emergency but right now, that is important.