2019

Where Do I Begin?

It was another perfectly made-for-television scene during which all the actors performed beautifully. The choreography, elegance, refinement and execution of the Commemoration of 75 years after D-Day was splendid. It was planned with the same details as was the November 2018 Armistice Day Commemoration that was 100 years after WWI and which also took place in France. Yves Saint Laurent once said: “Fashions Fade, Style is Eternal.” And that’s what France has definitely contributed to our planet. I cannot even imagine a world where – and, yes, that should date me pretty well! – there was no Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Francoise Sagan, Colette, Yves Montand, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, Rodin and his monumental sculptures, “Papa” Hemingway and all those other American spies and writers lounging around the beautiful cafes of the Champs Elysees, or that “Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite,” together with other ideals and values would have been buried amongst the ruins and devastation of that war, and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, it would have been an enormous loss to our civilized world.

I must admit that there were moments when I felt teary and very moved. After all, if Hitler had won, where would we all have been? Who knows? Our entire world culture would definitely have been changed. Would we, in the United States, as an example, have been speaking German perhaps, as might have been the rest of Europe? However, one thing we do know for certain is that the number of Jewish people slaughtered, as well as Catholics, Gypsies, disabled and old people would have surpassed the six million perished souls we know about. To say the least, that would have been simply horrifying!

And, yes, it was the entry of the United States into that horrid war which tilted the scales and dealt a blow to the German Nazi machine. Well done, America! However, and sadly absent from the festivities, was Russia, which sustained the most casualties (about 24 million military and civilian deaths), and opened up a seriously dangerous front for Hitler, as well as China (about 20 million casualties) – the United States lost about 415,000 casualties, and England lost close to that figure. Their exclusion is biased, unjust, unfair and a gross omission that only goes to prove how the study of the past never gives a complete and honest picture, because it entirely depends on who is writing that history. In the case of WWII, the Western Nations have chosen to disregard the Russian and Chinese contributions and casualties, while extolling their own flags. This is unbelievable! It is with that same callousness and pre-meditation that students of the Western World are taught that skewed and bigoted account of our past. And this is one more reason why humans continue repeating the same mistakes and persevering with their biases and hatreds over and over and over again.

That said, after the fires of WWII had simmered down, and from the point of view of Europe and the United States: Peace, Democracy, Freedom and Prosperity reigned. There was also the promise, retold almost yearly since D-Day that these horrors would never again be allowed to repeat themselves, and during this year’s gathering of Western heads of state, sixteen countries signed on a renewed Proclamation reiterating those same sentiments regarding the appalling events.

So, Where Do I Begin . . . because since then the “Allies” have been enjoying the Peace, Democracy, Freedom and Prosperity that signaled the end of that awful war, however, I cannot say the same for myself, the Palestinian people or the rest of the Middle East. To the contrary, what little steps we were taking at that time towards all those lofty ideals got miserably thwarted since the Western World’s Criminal Enterprise began apace bringing the whole region up to this miserable point of devastation, radicalism and terrorism. For, the sad truth is that when a people’s world collapses around them and they are uprooted and rendered refugees, and, when the collective values of a society are so brutally dismantled by wars, then Religion becomes a refuge for the Identity, Traditions and Community that were lost, and that’s what occurred on that miserable landscape.

And so it came to be that the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, lit the flame that had severely wounded Arab pride and aroused internalized feelings of anger simmering since Colonialism divvied up that world. Part of the consequences are that some factions were seeking justice though at the point of a gun, while others were real terrorists disrespecting Islam with a version of it that shocked us all, and, every punk with access to a gun in that region “opened up his own store” (translated from the Arabic adage) and was selling himself to the highest evil-doing bidder. And thus, a menace was released throughout that despairing area, as well as our world, inspiring a whole slew of evil-doers, including home-grown US, European, Asian and other terrorists of every religion and from all political persuasions. Unintended consequences can be pretty horrific!

So, yes, where do I begin citing the hollowness, the hypocrisy, the utter callousness of all those reiterated sentiments during the commemoration? On the one hand, I was a proud American while the ceremonies were being conducted, on the other hand, I was a very wounded Palestinian and Middle Eastern. How can one deal with that torrent of conflicting emotions and with a dismal reality that does not seem like it’s winding down? How does one deal with those torrid feelings when the next day after that celebration, France was preparing for kicking off the Women’s World Cup – football being my favorite sport to watch – with much fanfare and jubilation, while in Gaza the once-aspiring football players were walking around on crutches since the Israeli snipers had criminally and deliberately targeted their one leg in order to prevent them from ever playing football again? How tragic and savage is that? It was a surreal dichotomy that I was having to deal with and I wasn’t being very successful!

The Peace, Prosperity, Freedom and Democracy enjoyed by the Allies and the Western Nations has come at a brutal price for many countries across our warring world, and, especially, for the people of the Middle East. How egregious was that miscalculation, or, perhaps, pre-meditation, which brought us up to this point??!! Truly disastrous!

Some say, think of the Past and what Europe went through to get to this point: all the bloody wars, all the blind racism, all the religious zealotry. The same might be happening in the Middle East, and eventually there might be Peace, Prosperity, Freedom and Democracy. Perhaps! Who knows? What I do know is that it has been pretty depressing for far too long, and it still is at the moment. And, at this moment too, I am not being able to intellectually rationalize the commemorations of Armistice Day and D-Day with the frustrated and angry feelings of my reality, even though I know that another alternate reality based on peaceful coexistence and justice does exist! Yes, indeed, where do I begin?

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2019

Unbelievable!

Often when I am having a discussion, or giving advice to my children or grandchildren, I wish that I could transfer all the important, as well as the inconsequential experiences and knowledge that I have gathered over the years in my brains and in my heart to their brains and hearts, because there is so much that they wouldn’t have to repeat, go through, or agonize over if this were possible. I imagine a special Thumb Drive/USB that I can plug into my brain and my heart and then transmit all that information over to them. That would create a giant leap for mankind rather than our continuing to repeat the same patterns over and over and over again since it does not seem that we are learning how to avoid the pitfalls of life! Yes, we have gizmos, doodads and many inventions that are truly mind-boggling, however, and in general, our human vices, traits and frailties are still the same that they were centuries ago. Unbelievable!

Case in point, Governments and Politicians in many countries across this planet repeating the same crimes, wars and corruption at the expense of their people. Three examples that came to my mind this past week with respect to our US Government (if you live elsewhere, you probably have different issues): Hiring of “Illegal Aliens,” Immigration, and Abortion. Here we are every few years, and with every new Administration, hashing and rehashing what I thought (naively?) were problems we should have solved once and for all decades ago. Not so!

Hiring of “Illegal Aliens”: Believe it, or not, Congress banned the hiring of illegal aliens in 1986, but enforcement did not happen. Then, Bill Clinton came along and issued an order for companies doing work, especially with the Federal Government, to stop hiring non-citizens. He even used the armed forces and local law-enforcement to support the border patrols in stemming the flow of migrants, for which Trump is now being unfairly vilified. Moreover, he ordered enforcement efforts to focus on the companies that were most notorious in hiring non-citizens: construction, food processing, hotels, restaurants and agricultural enterprises. I know that for a fact as I was working for a restaurant at the time and the owner directed me to thoroughly check the paperwork of new hires as the fine was ten thousand dollars per infraction. And here we are, hashing and rehashing those same directives. Why? Because corporations that hire non-citizens want to make more money and non-citizens are cheaper, ergo they succeed in perpetuating the problem year after year after year! Unbelievable!

Immigration: Trump is not the first, or last, President to be tackling immigration. Again, it is a story that we have heard with every new Administration for decades! And, our corrupt politicians, mainly catering – again! – to the big corporations, have not come up with a plan. They simply have no intention of doing that. Listen to this: According to Border Patrol figures between 1998 and 2017, 7216 people died while illegally crossing the southwest border. Tragic! According to The Hill newspaper, Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said: “Open border policies are not compassionate public policy. When we passively encourage illegal border crossing we are creating a human rights tragedy.” So, why do we continue repeating things over and over and over again with Republicans and Democrats yelling at each other that it is the other party’s fault when both parties are equally criminally culpable? How can this be? Incidentally, this is becoming a global issue as wars and climate change succeed in creating more displacements. What will happen then? Is there a plan? I did not hear of any! Unbelievable!

And then there is the issue of Abortion, which we all thought had been resolved when the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973 and in a 7 to 2 decision ruled in favor of Roe (Roe v. Wade case) citing that women have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. And here we are, and with every new Administration, hashing and rehashing the issue for nefarious party agendas. Do, please, refer/reread my Abortion blog, as valid today as it was in 2015! And, yes, I understand that nothing is etched in stone and that we do need to revisit, undo or update our laws now and then. However, Undoing simply because it suits one political party, one zealous religious agenda, or, a minority of constituents across the nation? How is that even possible? It is plain evil and Unbelievable!

It is the same damned issue with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and how every President goes by his own agenda, and not by what is Safe! George Dubya Bush told the nation after the tragedy that brought the towers down and killed so many humans, that the air around Ground Zero was tested and it was safe. Not so! His EPA was following his orders and agenda, not what was scientific and right, thus creating life-long health issues for all those many involved in the cleanup! Criminal! And now we have Trump’s EPA adjusting the numbers on how many die due to air pollution so that they reflect a much lower figure than previously! Is it science, or whims that dictate our policies? Is it the safety of citizens, or party agendas? Is it Climate Change, or Extinction? Unbelievable!

It’s a real Hell out there! We are living in a country that suffers collective amnesia, because we forget from one Administration to the next one what issues were discussed to death and never resolved and then presented to us again as if they are new. Frankly, it seems as if we, the people, are nothing more than Collateral Damage to the policies and agendas of our corrupt politicians. Whether we are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, labor class, or middle class, educated, or not, it is all the same as they whip us up every so often in order to support one issue/election or another that is simply the same old partisan bullshit year after year after year.

When I read the online news from the Left leaning publications and from the Right, I smile wistfully. The truth is that very, very few of us read those blogs and zines, and, therefore, very, very few of us are even aware of the political shenanigans. Most people don’t even have the time to analyze and digest all the information. For this reason, nothing seems to be changing. The political establishment, as well as the mainstream media, the corporate honchos and the “connected” be they government contractors, or military brass, continue to bask in their positions, perks and greed while the “people” continue to be distracted with trivia and occupied with everything other than the real and dire issues. Sometimes I wonder why the hell some courageous souls still go on trying to shake the masses up to wakefulness, to insight, to reality? And the answer is that this has been valiantly going on since the Biblical stories that were meant to serve – and failed – as civilizing lessons, since Plato wrote “The Republic,” and since thousands of writers, journalists, poets, philosophers, whistle blowers, protestors, thinkers and martyrs endeavored to provide us with enlightening words and deeds. To no avail, or – should I want to sound generous – with very little progress. Meanwhile, extremists are increasing whether they are politicians, IS, or white Christian zealots; populist movements with undemocratic agendas seem to be winning across this sad globe; fake news abounds, as well as fake products, fake issues and distractions that are only meant to keep the sheeple subdued and obeisant; our meddling Everywhere and not expecting retaliation by whatever means necessary from those we call our adversaries such as Russia, or China, Korea or any other Enemy, which is plain arrogance and unrealistic; inferior medications produced in cheap markets in order to increase the profits of corrupt corporations, which Democracy Now had an expose about with Katherine Eban, who published two books on the subject, stating how most of our medications come from China, Vietnam and India where there is practically no oversight allowing for tainted and contaminated pills, which of course, the MSM would not tell you about since every other advertisement on their channels is from a pharmaceutical company. See the link between corruption, money and “news?” And the list goes on. You, me, he, she, all of us are Collateral Damage of political agendas, corporate greed, and corrupt mainstream media outlets. Let us not get all Uppity and pretend otherwise when the real and disconcerting truth is that we are Collectively Insignificant and will remain so until we wake up from our Collective Coma! It is damn Unbelievable!

Pray, where’s that Thumb Drive?