Of Rednecks and Royalty (Who knew?)

Thanks to Dave Smith, of course, for pointing out that I ain’t all that far from eastern NC when it comes down to it…..

The Spanish King and his Poor Ego

Viva Sean Penn


“In fascism, one serves a state. Let’s show the world that with democracy we can make the state do our bidding. And that such bids would not be the blind ones given exclusively to the friends of power, but rather the domain of the people of freedom everywhere. This in an administration that advocates torture, deceives the public, spends billions of dollars on a failed war. This is an administration, where in the year of Katrina ExxonMobil claimed the highest profit margin in the history of world business. It is an administration that belittles, demeans, deceives, and indeed kills our brothers and sisters, our sons and our daughters. In the human family, the President is indeed pushing his wheelchair-bound grandmother down the stairs with a smile on his face.”

– Sean Penn/Serious Bad Ass

(Besides, he married Madonna, punches tabloid reporters, and loves guns)

Fascism Anyone? (In Case There Was Any Doubt)


14 Points of fascism

The link to this entire article, which includes examples of each of the below:
http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm

In his original article, “Fascism Anyone?”, Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes.

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9.) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10.) Labor Power is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14.) Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Like my father (RIP) used to say, “Fuckin’ Yikes.”

Ok, Ok, Wedding Photos


Lili and Helena Doing Their Berber Thang


Giant Panda Busting Wedding Rhymes

Lili and I Being Sufficiently Embarrassed By Something Onstage

At Home (Only Missing the Kaya)

KC and Mom, Jetlagged

Jeff and Helena–Family (Soon to be Hitched)

¡Que Viva España!

Israeli PM Olmert Faces War Crimes Suit in Spain

Spanish National radio is reporting that a lawsuit is being filed today in Spain’s high court against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He is being accused of committing crimes against humanity for ordering military attacks on civilians in Lebanon and Gaza. In recent days, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has expressed concern that senior Israeli military and governmental officials could be prosecuted overseas for committing war crimes in Lebanon. Israeli legal experts say some officers or government officials who traveled to Europe stood the risk of being arrested.

Democracy Now! September 6th, 2006

(I suppose it’s too much to hope Bush is next)

Of Whores & Patriots: Let’s Remember 9.11

Amid the ratings-concerned media blitz that’s supposed to take us back into the horrible moments of September 11th, 2001, you can pretty much gorge yourself on whatever your appetite is: imagery of simple carnage; imagery of massive urban devastation; tear jerking video of people clutching hands and plummeting to their deaths; war-pig drum-beating for revenge; intellectual rehashing of strategic failures; fervent conspiracy theories; somber church services; peacenik protest; and, most of all, booming, massive, mainline doses of what far too many have no come to claim is “patriotism.”

But memory is important—not the stock memories that CNN feeds us nor the melodramatic houses of cards that Oliver Stone builds for us now. I mean our memories, the way we honor and love and, necessarily, hurt.

Here’s what I remember:

Tuesdays are my slow days I’m awakened midmorning by a call from my girlfriend at her new job, selling coffee in downtown Wilmington.

“Wake up, baby, turn on the news—some big catastrophe’s happened in New York.”

Sleeping in the shafts of Carolina sun is so sweet, that I doze again for a few minutes before hauling myself to the sofa and turning on the news. I twist the Venetian blinds open as I click the television on, so the horror erupts on the screen as the tranquil blades of light cut the room. My vision is swimming and I fall back onto the scratchy sofa and hold my head in my hands—as the first tower smokes and then buckles in real time and Aaron Brown of CNN slowly turns damp eyes back at the camera, says quietly, “there are no words,” and drops his microphone.

This from a trip one month to the day after the towers fell:

As the 747 banks a turn around Roosevelt Island and veers in, I can see the wreckage arching like bad post-modern art out of the skyline. It seems that smoke still rises from the rubble, but I’ll later learn it’s merely dust—composed of particles of bone, retina, skin, cartilage, and even the human heart as well as steel, concrete, glass. It’s sent to orbit each time a dump truck rolls away with gravely ashes of capitalism. Around me, all the passengers are white-faced, most of them weeping, the plane a funereal spiral down to the tarmac.

At ground zero, Hassidim circle with devotional Hebrew whispers, their gazes confined to one another and the spectacle to the north. A gaggle of Midwesterners pull rolling suitcases over the curbs and through the crowds, snapping blind, high, one-handed shots with disposable cameras. Deadpan bike messengers and business people duck the pointing arms of ambling tourists. A line of impatient officers pretend to regulate the scene, yelling out gruff commands to keep on moving. I muse on the similarity to Bush’s instructions to the nation: stay in motion, carry on, shop.

The dust is identifiable everywhere: it coats the suits of commuters and the uniforms of cops, making them appear figures on an old television screen, muted. There are the faintest of tracks on the ground; the buildings are an identical beige—at least up to the twentieth or so floor. People of color are particularly striking as the off-white layer settles, as if they are fading slightly to ghostly. One Arab man selling NYFD caps and American flags whips a kerchief over his bored face every few seconds.

The truth comes to me like a nightmare does: this drifting dust is not simply composed of the toppled towers. The horror has not penetrated my mind until now: this dust is also bodies. Certainly that gruesome fact had hit me, sitting in front of CNN at some point before this, but it had been composted away with all the other images and awful facts. Particles of bone, retina, skin, cartilage, and even the human heart, are mixed in with the innocuous silt. When I can, I remove myself from the scene, my mouth covered with dirty tee shirt.

Here’s what my best friend (RIP) described in the days following September 11th from her home across the Hudson:

Driving home from work, i couldn’t take my eyes off the thick smoke smoldering in place of the towers, nor could i hold back tears. It seemed that no one could in any of the cars around me. Envoys of dump trucks full of buildings’ debris roll past like a parade. And even though we’ve had two incredibly clear, sunny days, from here we can’t see the sky. The wind changed directions today so all the clouds of dust and smoke loom, it’s like the sky is expressing for us. Memphis [dog] can’t help but shake with fear every time the sound of military jets disrupts the eerie quiet of night. The city is silent except for the sounds of trucks removing the wreckage. It’s all so strange, everyone is waiting. And aside from the racist violence, we are wrapped together under this cloud, all careful not to disturb the sorrow. There isn’t even any kind of relief effort to organize, hospitals are waiting too, quiet because there is no one alive to treat. And it is a military state. Hummers and jeeps are the majority of cars on the roads. Check points everywhere.

Whatever manner in which we choose to remember, and whatever memory means to each one of us, let us all climb aboard one rapidly sailing piece of truth that will whisk straight into the present and should put fire into our veins: our government has exploited the death of every one of the innocents, using their murder and the agony of their families as a road to war, in which they have murdered thousands more of our innocents—to say nothing of innocent Arabs—to steep themselves yet further in oil riches.

Let me be crude and honest: the Bush administration has shamelessly whored every person who lost his or her life that day; they have turned them from victims into whores. And with every shot that’s fired, every bullet that wings from the barrel of a M-16 into the skull of an Iraqi, every curlicue of shrapnel that carves the life from another young American, the ranks of the whored swell.

So when we remember today, let’s remember what justice means. Let’s remember that the patriots are the kids in the desert being whored by the traitorous war pigs. Let’s try to remember that patriotism means fighting for the good and the safety of your home, which is what each one of us does every time we dare to raise our voices against the robbery of patriotism, against the robbery of our young men and women, against the ever-increasing endangerment of our way of life—which the Bush administration threatens far more ominously than any other force.

A September 11th, 2001 Exchange With Pops (RIP)

(WARNING: I was a real fucking blowhard back then, you know? I don’t offer this as any evidence of any literary ability, it’s just bombast–and sadness in some form, I guess. On my part that is–pops is wise as usual in his observations)

Dear Dad,

Unprovoked?

What a joke, no booming voice of righteousness can make it true. At a moment when the big apple’s skies rain bodies like broken angels and our blood rises and as a nation (yes, even my subversive ass) we weep, we would give all that we possess to believe that we didn’t bring this on ourselves as a nation and will, as a result, get justice and somehow heal. But these concepts are tattered and flawed by the same blades that we have held to the throats of continents, by the terror and decimation we have inflicted on hundreds of thousands at least as innocent as those who filled the vanquished towers.

Truly I have never before wished more fervently for the ability to be patriotic, indignant, inspired to stand and avenge the wound in my homeland. And for me, the sick agony that burns and roils now in my sternum is composed mainly of the fact that I am denied that rolling, strong, curative feeling. Certainly I will mourn the victims of New York, but no more than I will mourn the victims of whatever swath of land our leaders select for reprisal in all its horrible scope, nor more than I mourned the peoples that have been crushed and oppressed by our imperialist zeal since the inception of this empire.

Alright, that’s not entirely true. I don’t make any claims to the purity of my integrity; I found myself far more disturbed and saddened by today’s events than any single incident that I had knowledge of in any of the above cases. Despite myself, I guess that my heart lurches more toward perishing, suffering Americans than toward an equitable snippet of agony elsewhere on the globe. However, unlike many, I am not proud of that response and will endeavor as always to value all human life equally and condemn acts of malice against all people equally. I will not revel in my misplaced and twisted patriotism by valuing Americans¹ existence more than others.

The more profound and lasting crime against the people of the United States is the misdirection of our rage and wrath toward vague and arbitrary culprits or invented boogeymen. The true crime is the success that our political masters have had in dumbing us down and blinding us to their avaricious and bloody exploits which have, in a manifestation beyond belief, come home to roost and exacted the price from the deceived heart of America: the people.

This disjointed, short missive leaves volumes to be discussed and desired, to be sure. There are many hours left in the night and I will see most of them either from my scratchy, thrift-store couch, or from my sticky, humid front porch, where I will huddle with my vices and ponder further. And lest I sound like some soulless academic fuckwad, from where I will also pray, in my own way, and launch great volleys of love out into the hot gusts that race, often, northward from here.

More than ever my thoughts and prayers are with my loved ones tonight, scattered as they are all across this bulging, troubled land – and even beyond it. Maybe that’s all I should have said in this; it’s the only thing, reading over it, that really feels right.

Let us all speak to our respective deities or lack thereof, and ask that all the broken people that litter the streets of Manhattan today are collected by their respected angels and make a swift trip to a place that is no doubt sweeter than downtown or anywhere within this sphere.

In love and a strange solidarity

eli

Dear Eli,

Maybe there is still hope that what happens is an unanimous
worldwide coalition against terrorism that makes its existence
impossible. I would like to think that such a thing is possible if the so
called people of good will in the world can cooperate. But then I think: as
long as the US stays defiantly in denial of its own role as an international
terrorist, how can this happen?

This is really a nightmare for most of us, although I suppose for those in
power it is nothing more or less than the long awaited and much desired
opportunity to display our might and righteousness.

Fuckin’ yikes.

You and I (and I hope all people of good will) are wrestling with balancing
our personal reaction with our intellectual reaction.

Intellectual reaction is easy, and because it is “rational”, seems like it
should be the only reaction that matters. Intellectually the attack
yesterday can be understood in terms of retaliation for the innumerable evil
deeds perpetrated by the United States government on various governments and
people around the world in the last hundred or more years. One would hope
that this point of view will be acknowledged by our leaders and fellow
citizens, although this is unfortunately not likely to be done to any large
degree. Following this line of thought the next thing that can happen is a
feeling of frustration and even anger towards our fellows, which ends up
making us feel isolated–the last thing we need.

It is important then to focus on our personal reaction: on the pain of
witnessing so much wanton loss, our fear at how the world has changed
forever, and on the anger at those responsible. It is not wrong to feel more
deeply affected by the sight of New Yorkers dying by the hundreds than
reading about atrocities in Nicaragua, seeing pictures from Bosnia, or
watching news from other places torn by terrorism and war. I think it is
natural to feel an affinity for those most like us. Yes, the intellect tells
us that that is wrong, that every human’s life is equally important, and
while that is indeed true we still can’t help but feel a kinship with our
kin–our tribe, if you will. It is an odd thing this tribal feeling,
because we are so unaccustomed to feeling connected to people we don’t
actually know. But that is exactly the point I’ve been trying to make, that
a positive thing that can come out of this is to acknowledge our connection
with others.

Concentrating on our personal reaction, on our emotions, keeps us committed
and connected to our hearts, and that’s where we need to be. We are not
comfortable or accustomed to thinking about this country as a huge family,
but it is, sociologically and otherwise. You and I, KC, your Mom,
David, our friends and other relatives are the core of that family and as
such we need to hold each other close both now when it is easy because we
have been reminded of the fragility of life, but in the future as often as
possible. To the extent we can do these things, this whole debacle will not
be utterly meaningless.

Love,
Dad

The Looming End: Castro and My Best Friend

The airwaves and e-world are awash, of course, in carnivorous speculation about what Fidel Castro is suffering from. The prurient guesses about his intestines and the conspiracy theories aren’t overly interesting; there is a surplus of talking heads to handle those angles. The burning question of what exactly post-Castro Cuba will look like, however, is a hot and valid topic. As I listen to the somber, proud Communist assurances that the “revolutionary project will continue” and the fanatical Miami crowing about “victory at last” and “death to the tyrant” I wonder, as I often have, just what that funny middle ground called truth will look like when the rhetorical dust settles and el Comandante is resting his ultimate rest.

According to his enemies, Castro is a cutthroat, a thug, a terrorist, a repressive tyrant that has ruled Cuba for so long only by way of brutality and threat. To his admirers he is a strong, just, heroic leader, and the only head of any nation to successfully defy the subversion, bombast, and sabotage that the U.S. government has meted out to its enemies since throughout the modern era. What’s not debatable is that Castro hails from an upper-middle class Cuban family and that his privilege and the accompanying education was the doorway through which he entered revolutionary, populist politics. Therefore, loathe him or venerate him, Castro is assuredly a complex figure and, by now, a stone-cast political and cultural icon.

It seems to me, though, that the important question isn’t what the pundits in Washington, the scorned hordes in Miami, or the ranks of armchair revolutionaries think of Mr. Castro. The important question is—or will become, once there is space to hear it asked—is what his people feel about him. Which way, ultimately, will his legacy swing, which image will be confirmed by those who have the experience and the right to confirm it?

When I traveled to Cuba several years ago, I went toting a youth full of leftist political ideology. It’s safe to say that I had placed Castro on a pedestal. My ire toward U.S. policy was so high octane at the time that even if I had been more aware of some of the not so shiny policies of the Cuban government, I probably would have swept them aside in my esteem for a man who could defy the world’s only superpower so eloquently and successfully for so long. By some stroke of luck or intuition, however, I did preserve the critical instinct to insist on experiencing the nation free of the government’s influence—in other words, I assiduously avoided the tourist track, which was not easy. But with highly functioning Spanish, lots of smiles, determination, and some ideological debates with functionaries, I managed to mainly stay in the streets and close to the Cubanos—who without exception embraced me not despite my nationality but because of it.

What I found was almost an even split: about half of the people that I managed to draw into discussion expressed opposition to the President that ranged from light dissatisfaction with social services to white-hot rage at their perceived “slavery.” The other half professed approval that ranged from a minimal confidence to deification. (It bears mentioning, however, that his most extreme critics were also the people who carried the notion that if you could get yourself to American shores there would be sports cars and blonde women waiting for you there.)

What I was displeased to discover was that the people who issued their critiques of the President often did so in whispers. But even those whispering were well fed, healthy, and adequately educated to converse expertly on many topics.

There is a documentary, Comandante (HBO Films, 2003) that the filmmaker Oliver Stone recorded a few years ago in Havana. In it, over the course of several days, he puts very tough questions to the Cuban leader. For his part, Castro answers without the slick slip-offs and evasions that we are accustomed to in politicians. At times, though, he does lapse into what seems to be earnest Marxist dogma, jabbing bizarrely long fingernails at his interrogator to make a point, liver-spotted brow rolling into severe furrows. At others moments he acknowledges mistakes and oversteps that his government has made with frank, direct stares across the desk and illustrative shrugs of his stiff-shouldered uniform.

At one point Stone is questioning the fate of a handful of refugees who attempted to hijack a boat to escape the island, killing the owner in the process. Castro responds by accompanying Stone to the (closed to the public) trial. As the accused swallow hard and try not to stutter in the presence of el Comandante, Castro laces his fingers and listens attentively. When Stone asks Castro what he thinks the fate of the men should be, Castro responds that it’s not his decision to make but that he hopes that they receive a very strong defense and are not put to death. But the judicial system is not his to manage. The disparity between his democratic claims and the totalitarian heft of his presence is never clearer.

At the end of the film, to prove out his claimed mandate, Castro wanders casually into a Havana street at sunset with Stone at his side. In seconds he is mobbed by well wishers who clamber for a brief grasp of his hand or a respectful pat of his shoulder, some weeping, all calling out their support and commitment in the sing song melodies of Cuban Spanish.

The viewer can never know, of course, whether or not that shot was theater. Nor can we know if all of those people descended from their dinners of beans and rice out of true joy or out of fear at what might happen if they didn’t. We can’t know if some were just caught up in the rush of bodies and moment. Perhaps we don’t see a larger number of citizens that hold back, cross their arms, scowl, or simply disappear inside their apartments. But we know that, for the President, the booming grin he wears is the confirmation of all he has argued.

We used to call my best friend the Fidel Castro of psychiatric patients. She suffered a depression so deep it physically immobilized her for days at a time. She often slept no more than five hours per week. The sight of a homeless man could break her into pieces, then into action, searching out blankets, food, water. She was tortured and haunted beyond my ability to report. What I can report is that not a single one of the top-shelf doctors or hundreds of psychiatric medications or thousands of hours of analysis, MRI’s or diet changes ever produced a real diagnosis or improvement. But I knew. She was merely without a filter. She looked at the horrors of the world everyday plainly and they eroded and poisoned her. She responded with everything she could—prayer, heroin, poetry, humanitarian work. But in the end she just hardened—she had to. She defended herself by closing as many doors as she could, which is the only logical response to an all-out assault.

Castro, since he marched victoriously into Havana in 1959, has been defending against an all-out assault by the world’s only superpower ninety miles west. We declared him an enemy, “the dagger at our loins,” from day one and we never paused in our zeal to sabotage, kill, or overthrow him. We’ve tried with bombs and bullets, exploding cigars, poison rum, livestock plagues, diplomatic bullying, economic blockades, and covert invasions. Nearly a dozen presidential administrations have vowed to be the end of him. Castro has responded in the only logical way—he closed doors, built walls, and made his own deals with those world players who could soothe the economic agony we’ve inflicted—even though some might not have been the most virtuous characters. He’s put his fist down when those who echoed us in his own citizenry became too raucous.

Ultimately, of course, the world at large will have its way in. My friend took her last breath in an alley at age 27. Castro will have his last sip of Caribbean air in the not-too-distant future. Whatever comes next, whatever it looks like, will ultimately prove to be a step toward Cuba’s opening to the dizzying, polarized, loudly debated world we’ve created.

I can’t say what’s for the best. But I must say that I’ve been impressed by the tenacity, the courage, and the fight.

Clarification: F*#k Hezbollah

I’m writing for the first time from the paradisiacal 75 degree breezes and unfettered blue of Seattle in August. The Blue Angels (Navy fighter jet stunt team) are ripping the sky, people are walking dogs willingly, and it’s almost like a real American city—albeit with fewer Old Glories a-flutter. I find myself feeling equal parts pleased and guilty about how easy and wonderful this month—and my life in general—is.

After a couple of heated exchanges with old friends—who have a tendency to pop up when you start a bombastic blog and when you come home after living abroad—it’s been both gently and brashly brought to my attention that I wasn’t quite clear enough with some of my comments on the nightmare in Lebanon (and the nightmare that Israel is perpetuating with almost equal ferocity in Gaza).

In particular, when I wrote that “if I were from Beirut instead of Seattle, I’d be fighting for Hezbollah by now” has caused me trouble. I want to underline something savagely, in red highlighter: I said if I was FROM Beirut, not if I was IN Beirut. My old friend Gavin Wall called me on my lack of clarity when he commented that he hoped if I was in Beirut I’d be trying to help protect innocent people, not killing others. Of course, he’s right—at least I like to think so. But through the distinction “in Beirut” versus “from Beirut” flows a world of difference. I mean, that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s easy for all of us progressives to weep and shake our heads and fists at what Israel is doing as long as we do the same at what Hezbollah is doing—although the proportions are as out of wack as a bunker buster hitting a modest home. But for us to really imagine who we would be, what we would be doing, if we were concerned, progressive people AND brown and from Beirut….well, that’s not such a welcome consideration. I think that most of the people I love, if they were from Beirut would also—sadly and bitterly and rent deeply by conflict—be standing up to fight with the only force that’s doing so.

In other words, to condemn violence and war is easy; to stand up and fight back when there’s no other option is a damn sight harder.

And it’s easy to even-handedly castigate the ugly actions of the Israelis and the Hezbollah militants—to admit that Hezbollah would seem the only bastion of self-defense and that if we were Lebanese we’d be forced into their ranks too…that’s unpopular and not pretty but, I believe, is also true and therefore worth saying.

At the end of the day, however, I’d like to remind everyone that the Lebanese are a hell of a lot more like us than any other middle eastern nation—they speak French and English, listen to hip-hop, dye their hair and drink beer, for God’s sake. That’s why I’m so sure that many of our peers over there who are fighting with Hezbollah would get on fantastically with any one of us (reading these kinds of blogs).

But I’ve digressed wildly. My point: f*#k Hezbollah (trying half-heartedly to keep this PG-13).

They are war criminals.

They are baby killers.

They are murderous racists.

They are fundamentalist fanatics.

They are oppressors of women.

They are Puritanical hypocrites.

Just like the Israeli government.

I have no love for Hezbollah, but I do have respect for the people of Lebanon (and Gaza) who make the choice to fight back against the attempted brutal erasure of their families, their lives, and their homeland.

“And as a Jewish person who is also from a family that suffered lots and lost a lot in the Holocaust, and I was raised to be aware and not to follow any kind of racist leaders, I think that now it’s very important to be mentioned that these leaders…is so dangerous for us, and Jewish people from all around the world must wake up and understand that in order to support Israel, in order to make sure that Israel will continue to exist, we must stop these guys. We must stop them, because now they continue to lead soldiers.”

– Yonatan Shapira, ex-Israeli Blackhawk helicopter pilot, member of Combatants for Peace

Monday, July 24th

www.democracynow.org

http://elihastings.com/28/