Saturday, April 5, 2014

Don't Talk About It and It Doesn't Exist

It’s OK to talk about the weather but do not mention climate change, seems to be the program of many politicians. Just don’t talk about it and it won’t exist, in spite of the evidence.

Keep the poor out of sight and there are no consequences to balancing the budget on their backs. Never mind that there are five applicants for every job.  Cut their safety net and they no longer exist on the welfare rolls. Never admit that, except for when, where and to whom we were born, any one of us could very well be one of those homeless men lined up for a hand out on main street. Don’t talk about it and we never have to think about it.

Millions now, for the first time, have health insurance due to what is called Obamacare.  But, don’t talk about the benefit to them. Rather focus on one part of the budget which may be strained by universal compassion. After all, it’s not my dad waiting in pain until someone gets him to an emergency room.

And most blatant of all, don’t refer to the occupied territories as “occupied territories.”   Israel’s ruthless military moves into Palestine with brutal force, plants over half a million settlers in West Bank, steals land, labor and resources for the benefit of Jews only, forces local inhabitants through hundreds of checkpoints, imprisons thousands without charge or trial, humiliates and even tortures children. But if it’s not talked about, it doesn’t exist. Israeli leaders and their supporters can walk around as though they are proud of who they are and what they are doing. 

When Chris Christie “slips up” and refers to the West Bank as “Occupied territory,” he immediately apologizes to Jewish money saying that he misspoke. What he really meant to talk about was the “disputed territory.”  Of course, that which is disputed sounds like  two legitimate claims to the same land. The only people who see this as a dispute are Israeli occupiers, those who think the writers of the early part of the Jewish Bible speak for God and a few million Christian Zionist who choose not to talk about the rest of the Old Testament which speaks of love, justice and compassion. The requirement of being a blessing to others is not binding if you don’t talk about it.

Columbia College Professor, Lymen Chehade,  had his class canceled by the school administration because he did talk about it. He showed the Oscar nominated film 5 Broken Cameras which focused on the peaceful demonstrations of Arab Christians and Muslims against the pain of Israel’s apartheid wall cutting through their village. The most frightening part for Israel was the pictures showing violence, terrorism and settler brutality.  It’s hard to keep actions invisible when there are pictures.

And heaven forbid that Mahmoud Abbas, representing the Palestinian people, would apply for recognition as a state by the United Nations. That which strikes fear in the heart of Benjamin Netanyahu, is not the word “state,” or even “United Nations,” but, the thought of “recognition.”  When your legitimacy depends upon your actions being unrecognized, any little crack in the door threatens to being down the whole house. So, to hell with academic freedom, an independent media and the open debate among politicians.  Such things just cannot be talked about or they might very well be seen to exist and need addressing.

                                                                                    Thomas Are    
                                                                                    April, 5, 2014