It’s a new year and most people have probably made multiple New Year’s resolutions over the past few days. I hope every one has resolved to speak up and put an end to anything that they feel is wrong. Why else are we are if it’s not to make the world a better place? When we’re gone, we’re gone; we don’t get to take money, cars, or big houses with us. The maggots that will eventually eat us don’t really care how good our job was or the hotness factor of our spouse; the only thing that’s going to make any difference is if we do our part to make the world a better place.
When I lived in New Jersey, my mother lived in a building that had security at the door. I came and went a lot and therefore got to know almost all of the different people who worked there. For a few month period there was a guy that was probably around my age, with brownish skin and some kind of accent. One day the subject of Israel got brought up and he made a comment to me that I will never forget. He said that USians look at the US occupation of Iraq as something completely different than Israeli’s occupation of Palestine, but to the people who live over there (I later found out he was from Syria) it is the same exact thing. This happened a few years ago, but I have thought about it ever since. I thought about how much easier it is to be on the side of the bombing countries. I also thought about how easy it would be for this Syrian fellow (whose name escapes me) to hate all Jews. I am pissing off the majority of my maternal family because I am a Jew who is speaking out everywhere I can about the need to stop the aggressions of Israel. I am speaking out for the same reason I speak out about the atrocities that the US commits- I don’t want to be lumped in with the people who are doing it. There are a lot of people throughout the world who are (especially over the past week or so) expressing their hatred for Jews. Chris Floyd (quoting the Angry Arab) talks about this in his blog today and I agree with everything he says. I wrote a little bit ago about a random Iraqi child; he comes of age in a country that is occupied. He watches his friends and family either die or disappear by these strange foreign people in their green uniforms. Chances are he’s going to hate these foreigner people, but not only the actual people who are in his country kidnapping and murdering his family and friends. It’s going to be hard for him to see the difference between the USer who came into his house and kidnapped his father at gunpoint and the USer who organizes anti-war marches and dedicates his life to ending injustice. This is exactly what I see when it comes to people hating Jews. Even though it is not all Jews who are doing this – it’s the small majority of Jews and USers who are in power and get to make all the decisions – people will blame all Jews. I don’t want to be hated because of the acts of a few crazy Zionists, so I speak up and let people know that we are not all in favor of genocide.
Something I have said many times in the past and will continue to say well into the future is that each and every one of us needs to stand up for what we believe. The fact that we live in a democracy and yet the majority opinion is not recognized by our representatives (or even by the mainstream media) when it comes to matters like helping genocide should be enough for everyone to be screaming (in some way, not necessarily by literally screaming) every single day. The fact that the people we vote into office (and will have to vote for again in order for their careers to continue) take the money that we give them through our taxes and make weapons that eventually kill innocent people is unacceptable. However, it will continue to happen until we make it stop. All it takes is you- you raise your voice, you write letters, you start a blog you start conversations with friends, family and strangers, you organize other people who feel the same and you’re doing your part. Once you open your eyes to what needs to be done to make this world a better place, there is no way to stop. It then becomes your job to open other people’s eyes. If you can manage to see a Palestinian or an Iraqi as a human being then you will have no choice but to stand up. If you think of someone growing up in Palestine and what her or his life is like, then understand why some of them grow up to be suicide bombers, you will have to join the fight. As Arthur Silber points out, it is so easy to just follow along, we are trained so well to be obedient; this is why so many of us can just snooze through life. I’ve been dedicated for the past year (and plan to write my thesis about) trying to figure out why some people have this realization and some (most) don’t. I suggest reading Arthur Silber – although he is a little harsh at times – for a better understanding of this. I don’t know what it is that makes people wake up, but if all of those of us who are awake keep screaming, I am confident that that will play a major part in awakening the world.