2020, General


Yes, exactly! Totally discombobulated is how I have found myself to be these past two weeks, more so than in the past several months. I am more listless, depressed, anxious and unmotivated. I wondered whether it was my old age, or perhaps dementia knocking at the door? However, I quickly realized that my age only accentuated that sense of foreboding specifically because of past experiences. I know that I am not alone. I know from talking to friends that so many of us are feeling this apprehension. I also know that having been there before frazzles me all the more. Those painful memories of my past have always stayed with me: muted, muffled, muzzled, but they never really left. I am aware that they won’t leave this time either. Such momentous events as we are going through have a way of digging deep into our psyches, boring their way irretrievably, burrowing into the deepest recesses of our souls and lurking until such moments whence they emerge again energized by another new infusion of angst and powerlessness as I am feeling lately. Totally disconcerting!

The propensity for the evil that lies within human beings and that my memories now conjure up makes me recoil with fear and aversion for, yes, I have seen enough in my lifetime to be able to sense that we might be on the precipice of witnessing wicked deeds and callous perpetrators driven by their warped ideologies; by anger; by ignorance; by hate; by religious zealotry; by total selfishness; by misplaced allegiances and malicious aspirations.

From the age of five and on I have lived through a cacophony of uprooting, marches, protests, civil unrest, civil war and wars. I am not alone. There are numerous civilians like myself across the world who have been through such similar circumstances. That awareness does not make it easier, more tolerable, less spiritually invasive. It does not make the events that accompanied all these manifestations more justifiable, explainable, acceptable. It has never done so for me as I have realized what a steep cost all of us end up paying, and the remittance often continues for generations.

All this is accompanied by a very deep sense of sadness, especially that after we emigrated to the United States I believed that I would not have to deal with any civil unrest anymore; that I had moved to a democratic republic where no matter how polarizing the issues they get resolved through dialogue, law and not through violence! I believed that I was sparing my children from having to go through the agonies that I had to. I fantasized about how my grandchildren would one day when they arrived grow up free, secure, with stability and enduring hope for their futures. I wonder today how I have failed them; how my generation and those that ensued became too complacent, too spoilt, too engrossed with ourselves to pay attention to the real issues around us, not only those in our country, but across the world. Yes, we discussed them; yes, we opined on our social media platforms; yes, we may have expressed our worry by attending a rally, going to a demonstration, signing a petition, donating to an organization, waving a flag, writing a blog. All that has proven not to be enough, mainly because we continued to clap for the same rotten political class by electing them over and over again despite their glaring arrogance, greed and ignorance. We have miserably failed ourselves, our families, our country and the world.

Was all this set into motion after Two World Wars prompted the US into becoming an Empire? Or, was it after that fateful 9/11 when we began dismantling our democratic institutions in order to justify knocking down doors, bombing weddings and funerals, interrogating, torturing, imprisoning, occupying, invading? Questions for which I do not have the answer. I simply know that should reasonable, sensible and brave citizens stand up, speak out and act decisively we might possibly avert a catastrophe that is, and has been, in the makings for quite a “while.” Of course, and despite having had homegrown terrorists lurking in the underbelly of this nation for that “while” it has been brazenly and dangerously brought out of the shadows during these Trumpian days. It is morally reprehensible, degenerate and insane with a lethal Virus to top it all!

The How, Why and Wherefore does not really count at this juncture, because we are here now, and this “here” threatens all of us. However, our hubris – just the same go-it-alone arrogance of how we addressed the Virus – opts not to look into historical context in order to learn, enlighten, edify and elevate the nation. After all, Trump has his many ego-maniacal predecessors going back to Nero, to Hitler and to his contemporaries of today, but sometimes in our American ignorance we choose to think that our Trumpian experience is unique. Far, far from it!

Our children and grandchildren are living a nightmare rather than being Foot Loose and Fancy Free, a term that once upon a time was used in the context of someone being Unattached to Anyone, or Anything as yet. Free as a bird!

Then, along came Trump and a Lethal Virus and this phrase has taken on a whole new meaning! In other Words our younger generations might now sadly be saying: Foot Loose and finding out that We’re Screwed? Here, to put it in perspective are numbers that I came across depicting that 233 million human beings in the United States – out of 330 million total population – were born from 1965 and on, that is: they are 55 years old and younger. (Numbers are approximations rounded up)

Generation Z: 86 Million   (Born 1996 – 2015)
Millennial Generation: 82 Million   (Born 1981 – 1996)
Generation X: 65 Million   (Born 1965 – 1980)
Generation by Population

These are the generations, many of whom – by no means not all – during these Trump and Virus days, believe that they are Screwed! After all, the majority of those under 55 were rudely awakened from their secure and happy slumber by 9/11 – the oldest of them were 35 years young then – and our national as well as international adventures; to the horrors of school and mass shootings and no reasonable gun laws; to awareness of the disasters of the climate changes and what these are doing to the planet and to our health; to swirling talk all around them of terrorism and extremism; to corporations becoming more callous and avaricious; to an abundance of drugs and opioids tempting them; to the many challenges facing their own families; to their personal insecurities, as well as their financial; to their feeling angry at the injustice and discrimination that their friends whether they are of different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations or other were being subjected to; to a political landscape whose dynamics they are totally estranged from and on and on. Therefore, when we read the headlines and find out that it is mostly those generations who have been spreading the Virus by going to parties, on vacations, to the beaches, pubs and bars we should realize that these manifestations go much deeper than mere in-your-face rebellion, because, obviously, they have developed, though quite subliminally amongst most of them, a Carpe Diem attitude that seems to say: we are doomed any way you slice it and dice it, so we might as well party on! An outlook brimming with Fatalism! My heart goes out to them!

There are also amongst those in the above mentioned age groups who are diligently studying, or already working, or parenting, or heroically coping etc. etc. That group is hunkering down and preparing for “The Day After,” when we would be Virus-free knowing that there is a New Normal that they would have to be dealing with whether it is the same Administration, or another one in charge of our lives. How that will be evolving remains to be seen. Nevertheless, they, too, are apprehensive and worried about that unknown future.

Conclusion: To one degree, or another, most of us seem to be Discombobulated!

Mantra of the Day: This too shall pass! This too shall pass!


Darkness and Light

Yes, it does seem that there is more Darkness than Light these days, doesn’t it? On so many days after I wake up and after finishing up all I have to do, I go around with this nagging feeling that there is something I need to do that I haven’t done. It is a very disconcerting sensation. What? What else did I need to do? I check and re-check my agenda, my lists, and rack my brains time and again only to come up with Nothing! I become frazzled and uneasy, but hours later I realize that it is the sorry state of our world that I am unable to fix, or to do anything about, that is causing my troubled and helpless feelings! Moreover, it seems that barely have we begun to process one dramatic world event when another one overtakes it! This rapidity in which events are happening is causing so many of us to feel Whiplashed often! That, too, is unnerving!

A serious moment of Darkness came with the untimely death of Kobe Bryant, his young daughter, and seven other people in a plane crash. Do any of us know when, and how, that moment of our demise will be? While Kobe left a shining legacy, do the corrupt amongst us think of theirs and, maybe, try to mend their rotten ways? It does not seem so!

Yet, it is not always Dark on our Planet, and it is those moments of Light that give me hope. One such moment came about as I was viewing a news clip depicting how the charred forests in areas of Australia were birthing new life as magnificent looking plants and flowers were emerging from amongst the blackened landscape. It was breathtakingly beautiful! The power of nature to emerge after such catastrophic blazes, as well as after volcanoes and other natural disasters, is absolutely amazing.

Yet, there is that cloud of Darkness fluttering over our Planet in more than one place. Recently, and with the emergence of the Coronavirus that was detected in Wuhan, China – that has apparently been there for a while – and which started spreading pretty fast, a panic was beginning to set in. The virus may have been caused by snakes, or bats, or other filth in an overcrowded, unsanitary warehouse full of some rare animals whose meat is sought-after. This caused the Chinese Government to put cities in lockdown and the World Health Organization, as well as health officials around the world, scampering to contain its spread before it became a worldwide pandemic. As I write this, we do not know whether the containment efforts will be successful, or not. However, what is obvious is that when Conscience and Responsibility are applied among nations things can get done to mitigate the outcome of disasters, and if – IF – we are able to manage the spread of diseases and pandemics then we are very well capable of managing the climate crisis, conflicts and wars through cooperation, dialogue and negotiations and not through the barrels of our guns. Not difficult, really, should we set aside our Arrogance and Greed.

The above mentioned human traits of Darkness were on full display at Davos, Switzerland where the richest people on our Planet gather every year to rub shoulders and schmooze as they devise more ways to enrich themselves while giving all sorts of pathetic excuses why they cannot raise employee wages, support universal healthcare and education, as well as making sure that Justice prevails throughout the societies that are the vehicles through which they have amassed their wealth. Unbelievably sick!

And, while attending the Davos Forum, President Trump announced in one of his many appearances that “we have the cleanest air and water.” I guess he does not realize how gutting the Environmental Protections of this nation are causing immeasurable harm, and, I guess, he was not told of the latest study which states that over 40 cities (and probably many more) in these United States have water that is contaminated with toxins of all sorts and kinds, including medications. Are other countries checking their water? They should had Conscience and Responsibility not evaporated from many corrupt governments to be replaced with Arrogance and Greed!

However, protesting masses of despairing people all over the world are demanding that we should end all this Corruption on all levels of society that are leaving in their wake more injustice, more poverty, more inequality. They are “storming the Bastille,” so to speak, and I doubt that they will stop until there is some Light instead of Darkness in all our lives.

Arrogance and Greed have also been on full display recently with the corruption of Isabel dos Santos who has been enriching herself with the embezzlement and theft of the national wealth of Angola. What an evil woman! Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar is another wicked woman! However, a shining Light was the ICG (International Court of Justice) which ruled that, indeed, there was ample proof of the genocidal efforts by the government of Myanmar on the Rohingya and directed that they had to be protected from this atrocious crime, one that Suu Kyi and her heart of Darkness continues to deny. Santos and Kyi are perfect examples of the Arrogance and Greed that we are seeing all over our miserable world. What a stark contrast are these two immoral women to Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Sanna Marin of Finland, two inspiring elected leaders who are bringing refreshing rays of beautiful Light to our world. Amazing! May there be more like them sprouting up all over our Darkness!

Speaking of the Rohingya genocide, world leaders were commemorating the Holocaust in Jerusalem 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Russia and the Allied Forces. It was a somber and painful reminder of the pure Evil and Darkness of Hitler’s soul, as well as all those who supported and conspired with him. World leaders present at the ceremony gave moving speeches, amongst whom was President Putin who was egregiously uninvited to the commemoration of the end of WWII in Paris during June of last year, which was an unashamed omission by Macron at the time. After all, Russian casualties during WWII were about 24 million humans, including 11 million military casualties. An appalling number! Think of what dire events might have occurred had Russia not intervened in Poland and smashed Hitler’s hordes (and I realize that there is an ongoing feud between Russia and Poland regarding the interpretation of that segment of history). In any case, that horrific genocide of the Jewish people should, indeed, never happen again! It should never happen again to the Bosnians, the Rohingya, or any other people either. Period! President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that fact while giving their emotional speeches, and I totally agree with them. Yet, the beautifully done ceremony at Yad Vashem seemed so cynical and utterly depraved when only a stone’s throw away from Jerusalem, the Israeli Government was practicing a war of attrition and genocide on the Palestinian people of Gaza. How does that make any sense? How can this even be acceptable? It is very reprehensible to decry one genocide and not another, and it should be shameful to every Jew who recites: Never Again!

As I mention Yad Vashem, I remember my father and Pnina, a Palestinian Jewish woman whose ancestors had lived in Jerusalem for generations, if not centuries. Pnina was close friends with my mother and father. After The Nakba, when she used to attend funerals, or events, at Yad Vashem and/or Mount Herzl, she would tell her Jewish friends, amongst whom was Moshe Dayan: this is not our land. This is Gabriel Deeb’s farm, not ours! And, indeed, that was my father’s property – at that time called: Sharafet Ein Karem. This is painful, very painful, as are the memories of over seventy years of dealing with this catastrophe!

On Tuesday, The Middle East Peace Plan, (Deal of the Century?) was finally unveiled. It was most certainly a self-serving, ego-stroking exercise for both Trump and Bibi. However, the devil, they say, is in the details, and I haven’t read the whole plan yet, but I have always believed in Negotiations rather than Violence as a way of solving even the most intractable issues. So perhaps at this juncture, and painful as it might be, we should all pause and give Peace a chance? Perhaps we should replace the Darkness of the past seventy years with Light?

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