I wanted to write a blog about something positive; my loving wife, my great friends, the immense slabs of rock that I see every time I look to the west. I consider myself a happy person; I am free to read whatever I want, write to my hearts content, and I just got accepted to and got an insane amount of aid for what seems like a school founded solely for me. Then I wake up in the morning and read some articles about war and poverty, read books that talk about holocausts and death, and then watch a documentary about all the unfairness going on and it seems like a waste of energy to talk about happiness. What right do I have to go to school when little kids in Palestine are being shot for throwing stones at tanks? How can I complain about my non-air conditioned apartment being hot when whole families are being slaughtered in Darfur for seemingly no reason? Does the Mets going on a losing streak mean anything in the grand scheme of things?
I read an op-ed about Thomas Jefferson and his calls for constant revolutions the other day, which was the catalyst for me riding my bike in the 104 degree heat, to the library to check out his complete writings. I’ve read seventeen of over a thousand pages so far, but it has been enough to make me want to murder, by hand, the laughing Barbie doll neighbors having a party on the west end of my building for no apparent reason, except that she shouldn’t be laughing.
In the first writing, a letter to the King of England voicing his concerns over how the colonies are being treated, Jefferson says “History has informed us, that bodies of men as well as of individuals, are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny. A view of these acts of Parliament for regulations, as it has been affectedly called, of the American trade, if all the other evidences were removed out of the case, would undeniably evince the truth of this observation.” He is referring specifically to the power and hegemony being horded over the colonies by Great Britain in that the King won’t let the Colonies trade with anyone but them.
Great. The colonies were being treated very unfairly by the biggest super power in the world; therefore they were standing up for themselves. Approximately ten years after the writing of this letter, they would revolt; thereby leading to the creation of what we know as the United States of America today. However – although I have never spoken with Thomas Jefferson personally – I don’t think the reason for these fighting words was to get power and then treat every one else the way they didn’t enjoy being treated. And yet, the victim has become the evil empire.
Over the past two or three years I have become somewhat knowledgeable about the Holocaust. My grandparents and some aunts and uncles survived Auschwitz, but a lot of my family did not. My father’s side of the family always made me feel dirty or ashamed to be half Jewish (even though my grandfather’s father was a Jew) and so I hid it from everyone. Recently, my grandmother began revealing stories of what went on in her early life in Hungary, the ghettos, and the camp; consequently I became very interested. I watched many documentaries and read many accounts and historical documents on the horrible genocide.
Leading up to my interest in the Holocaust I had taken minimal interest in the situation in the Middle East. I read the newspapers and knew that there was constant fighting; I knew the Jews had moved on to land that wasn’t theirs, but I also knew that the Arabs had used means against international laws – including teaching hatred – to get the Jews to leave. I didn’t take a side.
After learning about the Holocaust and seeing that a big reason why the Jews were so vulnerable was because that, although treated like a nationality, there was no homeland and therefore no army, navy, or anything like that to protect the Jewish people; my allegiance was clearly formed. I saw Israel as not only a reasonable desideratum for withstanding such a horrible epoch, but also as a way to prevent such a unimaginable thing from ever occurring again. In turn, I saw the Palestine suicide bombers and Iranian sympathizers (among others) as being fractious. I thought, of course the Israelis have to employ some ruthless tactics; the only way another Jewish Holocaust will happen is at the hands of the Arabs.
Despite a natural fear I have always had of listening to dissenting opinions, as of lately I have been giving it a chance. I will listen to the “Right” network on the radio, read a couple articles a day from the NY Times and Politico.com, and even pick up the occasional book written by someone with opposing opinions of myself. While it’s rare that something I hear makes me change my mind (I mostly give it a chance to prove that I’m right, and know my enemies arguments before they say them) one thing I have become very confused over is the Israel/Palestine agon.
I know that there doesn’t seem to be a simple solution; as a matter of fact, I fear that there may be no solution at all, and I don’t think either country is to blame any more than the other one. However, I’ve watched documentaries and read the papers (even the right-wing ones) and Israel does some horrible things, both in Palestine and Lebanon (and Iraq and – in the future – Iran, if you want to be technical.) One would think that a people who have been through so much injustice, so much suffering, would understand the desperateness felt by the Palestinian people, and yet the genocide continues.
It’s all one big cycle; almost every country has had their empire and now it’s America’s turn (and if you don’t think what’s going on in Israel/Palestine is really America, you have some learning to do). The British Empire, on which the sun never set, fell relatively quick and despite the confidence and arrogance of the American people, so too can this new one.
As un-American as it seems, part of me yearns for the day that America is fell. I would be loudly cheering the oncoming downfall if I thought things had a chance of changing. Maybe Hugo Chavez will be at the head of the Anti-American movement; maybe it will be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Moktada al-Sadr. Whichever one it is – I have no doubt in my mind – will (if they already aren’t, which remains to be seen) become corrupted and will suffer the same fate as all the leaders before them. Power always has and always will corrupt. History has a strange way of repeating itself and I’m wondering when people are going to finally realize this; my guess is around thirty seconds before we all become a cloud of dust.