Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Strikes Gaza

Well, that didn't take long - less than 24 hours and Israel has launched missle strikes on Gaza killing at least 155 people according to the BBC. Of course, there will be more to come, as Hamas promises to keep launching missiles at Israel, even though a rocket launched earlier this week fell short of its target and killed two young Palestinian girls in their home.

During the six-month cease-fire, Israel was supposed to open Gaza to the world, to bring in food, medicine, gasoline, all the things that one needs to live (not to survive, which is different). But instead, Israel kept the borders closed except for the number of days that could be counted on one's hands and fingers.

But will this stop?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Opening Gaza

Evidently, Israel has agreed to open Gaza to much needed food stuffs and energy supplies. But this opening will not last and will not be enough to lift the Gazans out of the dire straights they find themselves in today.

For some reason, the Israeli government feels that treating their Palestinian citizens, in much the same way the German government of the 1930s and 1940s treated their Jewish citizens will result in the Palestinian population welcoming their government with open arms. While Palestinians are not considered Israeli citizens by Israel, they live in the country, were born there, and their families have for many, lived their for hundreds of years.

For me this is extremely painful because growing up, I had the most tremendous respect for the Jewish people for standing up to and facing down the Nazi government, against all odds and without losing sight of the righteousness of their cause and their lives.

This was important to me because as an African American baby-boomer, this was fairly recent history and seemed to be a way to behave in the face of oppression and subjugation. But then, the year I turned 20, came the 1967 war and the start of the settlements.

I just read One Missing Word Sowed the Seeds of Catastrophe and could not believe that the lack of a word has changed the world.

Because after the start of the settlements I came to see the actions of the Israeli government to be much too similar to those of Germany in terms of collective punishment, stealing land (wasn't part of the rationale of the Germany government in invading Poland the need for land for their people?), and finally just being unfair.

I know this is simplistic, but there hasn't been anything since to make me rethink my early judgments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Riots in Greece

I do understand some of the frustration and rage - I'm also enraged.

Enraged that when this country joined the euro zone they totally lied about the relative value of the drachma to the euro, pegging it at 340 drachmas to the euro. This caused immediate inflation from which the country has never recovered.

I'm also enraged that everyone seems to think that only they have rights and privileges. Seeing the kiosks burned because someone was burning banks angers me.

I'm enraged that the police are not allowed to do their jobs properly, even if they were so inclined. The fact that the Junta was forced out of power over 30 years ago means nothing if the country isn't willing to accept that change. The Junta is the reason why the police have to be invited onto college/university campuses. But if the police could arrest those who commit criminal acts and they would be punished by the judicial system, maybe change would occur.

But Greece is nothing if not egalitarian. The police are not punished, the politicians are not punished, nor or the ordinary citizens punished for committing crimes. We're just punished economically and through the lack of advancement.

How do you make change in such a small country that doesn't really want to change - people say they do, but then push back at every opportunity so that no one is brave enough to keep on.

Poor Greece.