A Child Was Born!

shelbycourtland

A child was born, dark as night,
and sent out into the world.
Everywhere he turned,
such insults, people hurled.

He took this all in stride,
grew up and became a man.
Took one look at his skin,
it was darker than a tan.

On a mountaintop, he stood,
looking out on a sea of hate.
He decided that once and for all,
he’d be the master of his own fate.

He had been followed for many a day,
even when he’d stopped to rest.
He thought he’d never feel secure,
knew that to him, this was a test.

God, they said, loved him
and he believed it for awhile.
He carried with him, a Bible.
 It was evidence at his trial.

You see this man, he finally snapped
on a hot, sunny day in June.
One insult was one too many,
a white man called him, a baboon.

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Palestine/Israel/Palestine

The events of May 1948 in Palestine have sparked trillions of conversations that have droned on in parallel for seventy years now. You may find a few thousand meaningful uncommon conversations post Nakba (the Catastrophe). They are exceedingly rare. Most “conversations” parrot propaganda mills (hasbara in Hebrew).  Below are concerns of an individual Israeli citizen. I have not redacted a single word.

Bill hi, I would suggest you come and visit Palestine – you know Palestine was Israel before 1948. If you come I would be only too happy to offer you coffee and you can tell me what you think about Israel and answer any of your questions if I can.

Even though I live here and spent hundreds of hours at lectures my memory unfortunately is not what it used to be as I am now 76. I live in Netanya and would be only too pleased to help you find answers from history lecturers to any questions you may have. My opinion on Israel seems a bit different to yours but I am sure we could have interesting chats.

I must tell you I am fascinated with BDS and how so many people really do have a problem with facts here and there but I always believe you have to visit a country and speak with the locals so as to make up your own mind.

I keep hearing from members that there is a Genocide in Israel and the disputed territories yet their own statistics show this to not be true.

How many members know that an Israeli president was sentenced to jail by an Arab judge. That Arabs account for 20% of the population and that is their representation at Universities and hospitals where they are professors and famous surgeons.

Please don’t mix up Israel and politicians – I would swap Bibi for Trump in a heartbeat. I think we should keep our correspondence private as I really do not want to cause anyone any grief.
Looking forward to your reply
Mike Altman, Netanya Israel

Hello Michael, Thank you so much for the very kind comments, they are gratefully received. In the two years I’ve been writing this blog, yours is the very first remark from an Israeli perspective — a succinct and thoughtful set of arguments as well. I certainly respect your wishes to maintain an off-blog conversation; however, I would also like to share your views with my audience. Please know that I am quite willing to make your comment visible — again, I understand your concern.
Here is one proposal: I am eager to write a post that addresses your points and to respond on each concern you express. An open conversation between viewpoints is sorely lacking, but desperately needed.

Droning on in parallel from differently selected events, statistics and perspectives proceeds without hope of resolution, and indefinitely.

I have been following the “conflict” for many decades now. I was born eight months before the events of 1948, so it is possible for me to relate each event. For example, I was a student in Germany during the Munich Olympics of 1972. So I was 25 years old and so was Israel/Palestine Palestine/Israel.

Perhaps a point-by-point response that does not reveal your name or location might be a worthy compromise between private and open dialog.
It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Michael. I look forward to learning from you 🙂

I try and reply to posts immediately but your reply was different to what I somehow expected. I do not at all mind our conversation being viewed online I incorrectly assumed it would be you that would rather have an offline chat.

Since I am blessed/cursed with a very over active imagination I manage to see things from multiple angles and standpoints. When I think of BDS my mind is flooded with so many questions of why does one well funded organization with ardent followers choose a basically one sided view of just one of the many obviously urgent problems on our planet. Reading articles I do understand that people are writing from their viewpoint but like I am colour blind I expect people to try and see what is there but maybe not visible to them. The thing about being colour blind is that the mind can force oneself to see the missing things if you think they should or could be there.

I have a childhood friend that adamantly believes that we should not intervene – like invading Iraq – we are obliged to do nothing and wait for evolution to choose a path for everyone. Maybe Obama also believed in doing nothing and the result was half a million people killed more wounded and displaced causing hardship and misery for millions more. Never mind the other millions migrating to Europe from Africa to find a better and safer life for them and their children.

The reason I mention this is because with all this abject misery surrounding us I would think that such a well-funded and run organization would not be focusing on just one problem amongst all others. I have always been able to analyse what I see and read and imagine the many directions things could take and how effective they could be. In my humble opinion I cannot see why BDS could succeed as it has already “solved” this complex problem without understanding too much about it.

My father would not have won many “father” awards but he was smart and instilled in me to never judge anyone until I have walked in their shoes. As an example, the last time I visited the Western wall myself and everyone else including tourists passed through metal detectors – like we do at airports today – thank goodness. After arms were taken onto the Temple Mount and used to kill two policeman.

The head of the police promised their families who happened to be Druse that they would take steps so it would not happen again. Maybe even to foreign visitors on this holy site. The police themselves decided to install metal detectors at the entrances and this is what caused the current serious problem. People prayed in the streets instead as they would not pass through the machines and dispersed after prayers with very little problems but in some parts of town young people rioted and people were injured and killed.
Please forgive the over long post but there is so much to say.
May you all have a very good week, Mike

Hello Michael, Thank you for your kind comments on my About page. Dialogues on this topic are as desperately needed as they are rare, and misinformation is the coin of the realm. I think it’s a good sign that both of us responded with consideration for the privacy of each. Would you mind if I wrote a new posting that contains your comments without redaction on my part? In other words, a genuine open and civil dialogue.

Shalom,
 
Bill

I have no problem whatsoever – in fact would welcome it.

A very strange time of year here as more than 4 million Israelis leave to spend a greener cooler holiday all over the world. Amazing when there are only 5,600,000 Danes in Denmark.

 Have a good week Bill

Mike

 

You are a kind soul, Michael. Our exchange already contains enough grist for the mill to inspire quite a few conversations. Actually, that observation on climate, travel and Denmark is sufficient for an entire post. 🙂

A superb week to you, Michael.

🙂 an interesting thought – if we can get the mill to spin faster it could take off – imagine that, flying windmills. Something to think about while trying to sleep.

Thanks for reading.

Zeitangst

 

“I have a term that I’ve been throwing out occasionally,” Erle Ellis, a global ecologist at the University of Maryland, told me. “It’s the Zeitangst.”

— Robert Sullivan

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

— Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. would have warmed to the topic. A perfect folly, an utter absurdity — grist for a writer’s mill. The criminals in this novel are human, inhumane humans. The victims of the crime are both human and non-human — the crime is a kind of murder-suicide. Where is the crime scene? Sol’s third.

marble.earth

The murder weapon was forged from the remains of an earlier extinction event: subterranean flora and fauna under carpets of rock. Rock carpets pulled down by gravity. Intensely energy rich organic substances. Hydrocarbons.

Weaponized liquid fossil delivered by the purest capitalism on planet Earth, understated as Industrial Revolution. Intense energy capsulized in organic molecules created under great pressure, gravity tugs at the rocks above and pressurizes organics below. Stored energy from all manner of organic material, animal and vegetable under mineral.

Black gold, Texas tea

fossil.hand

Flying, crawling and swimming creatures alive at the time of extinction event number five.

During each extinction event the Earth becomes Venus-esque, and it stays that way for the eons it takes for perpetual cloud cover to dissipate.

Terra abides.

Its first victims were guilty of a fatal flaw: being born with an appetizing flesh, tasty organs and texturizable blood.

Kill, Cut and Sell. That’s the name of the game.

chitterlings

How many homo sapiens does it take to consume 70 billion unfortunately tasty species annually?

7 billion. In my eponymous birth-year there were 2 billion humans, far fewer than 20 billion animals were consumed. Wealth breeds waste, waste breeds wealth. Measured in units of GNP. Capital C Capitalism — a motive for the crime.

Veganism is gentle reproach.

Thanks to Mira of Everything socio and eco linguistic for inspiring this post 🙂

Thanks for reading.

The Case of the Missing Article

The Case of the Missing Article by E. Stanley, the Gardener.

“In the days before the arrival of the cicadas, the frogs and the dreadnoughts, in the land of the dead, the gardener tended the garden green. Suddenly a shot rang out.”

The” is definite English, it’s been that way since the Vikings killed the sixteen ways the Saxons (Sachsen) spoke, ways always to denote nouns. A part of speech now dead in the Isles of the Brit, many eons afore days of present kind.

To the victor goes the grammar. “THE” spake the Viking, and it was so.

Word order reigns where inflection governs. Do away with inflection and you become a slave to word order. By good fortune I suffered the arrows and the slings of Latin in high school. An introduction to case-driven tongues, that’s what it was.

scribblers.sculptors.scribes
Wheelock’s Latin

I’ve since revived my high-school understanding of Latin via (a Latin preposition you understand) the Wheelock method. I think that it’s fun to discover unexpected similarities between German and Latin, ones that originated in Indo-European. The preposition “in” uses the same cases (dative and accusative) to denote intra and inter movement, respectively. Now that is what I call a good time. A grand substitute for the dreadnought of sports`. In very fact, I am extraordinarily ignorant of any iota embalmed as sport.

indo.european.migrations

I like to bounce around among crowds of languages, to weigh their lot for commonalities, patterns and purposes.

No writings remain of Indo-European, the common root tongue for hundreds of languages. A tongue spoken in a geography we now call Ukraine and vicinity.

The English word “scribe” finds origin in the German schreiben.

Schreiben — writing.

Scribe – writer, transcription, scrivener (of Bartleby fame).

bartleby

When teaching German I would often encounter worthy mnemonics to aid student learning. Once, while writing the German verb “beschreiben” on the blackboard I noticed that its English equivalent “to describe” possessed an unexpected aspect: pivot the round part around the vertical part of the letter “b”, the letter “d.”

b d b d

beschreiben/describe

rotate the “b” to fashion a “d”, rotate a “d” to fashion a “b.”

be de are inseparable prefixes that lend flavor and spice to a foundational word, such as schreiben or scribe. It’s also great fun to encounter such things — the stuff of useful heuristics.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Racists Are The Undead: Live

My formative years molded me into a leftward-leaning spirit — I studied German and geography in West Germany in the days of Willy Brandt, cast a vote in 1972 for George McGovern at the American Embassy in Frankfurt, watched the tragically pivotal Summer Olympics in Munich.

The unemployment rate in West Germany was 0.8% at that time. Gastarbeiter (guest workers) were invited as guests. Willkommen Gäste!gastarbeiter

Returning to privileged shores in 1973 brought cultural shock in the form of enormous automobiles, gigantic shopping carts, conspicuous consumption to match conspicuous war — all the trappings of glitz and phony patriotism. Homesickness set in, not for the country of my birth but for my newly forged affinity to nascent European sensibilities, a widening disdain for all things Nixon in the final three years before a well deserved defeat in Southeast Asia.

Your country needed your bleeding heart for fodder, but you didn’t enlist. You’re as yellow as a Chinaman, Bill.  

Lottery luck: 255 of 366.

The Monroe Doctrine is a thin veneer for brutally enforcing manifest destiny upon innocents — another word for sanctioned rape of Latin America. Has the United States ever interfered in the free elections of another country?

Might always makes right. The meek are weak. 

Do your part by looking the other way, pledging allegiance to a cotton flag and never sitting during the national anthem.

You can get down on your knee in a prison cell, rabble-rouser. 

The Gerrymander assures white privilege, something that Clarence and Neil agree upon. Six Supreme Court justices are of the Catholic faith, three are of the Judaic faith. No Atheists, no Protestants, no Muslims. What’s up with that?

gerrymander0675

Mitch (the unditched) changed the rules to seat a freaking originalist, Neil Gorsuch. Sing along with Mitch.

Clarence Thomas : Thurgood Marshall as Neil Gorsuch : Merrick Garland.

It’s what the founding fathers intended, my friend. It’s manifest. It’s destiny.

The constitution is a living document that matures slowly and deliberately. Society is kinetic. Amendments to the original document are a sign of vitality. Originalism molds its arguments from an intensely small set of volumes written in the 18th Century. Through the 18th Century human slavery was thought the most natural of laws, a societal bulwark. I’ve read that man was created in God’s image. Real men are white aren’t they? Why does Western Civilization color semitic speakers in shades and features comforting to western sensibilities?

originalism

Powerful white men were slaveholders. It’s a great way to keep the costs of production down. Down, down, down. Bail another crop of cotton, please. What did the white man do to the red-man? What would the white man do to those human resources obtained from Africa, the ones who arrived in cruise ships?

breeding.american.slaves

Do slaveholders have vested interests? Do slaughterhouse proprietors pay slave wages to undocumented workers? Why don’t American birth-certificate holders get in line for jobs at the slaughterhouses?

Don’t judge the evils of an earlier era from the perspective of later generations. We all benefit by looking the other way, Bill. Please look that way too. You fit the bill, Bill. Respect yourself.

Columbus Day is still on the calendar. Andrew Jackson is still on the twenty-dollar bill. Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans? Still the wrong color.

I’ve heard the following platitude: There is only one race,  — the human race.

Unfortunately, that platitude whitewashes centuries of evidence to the contrary. Forgive and forget? Convenient.

The human race consumes 70 billion fellow sentient beings per annum. Those fellow sentients possess inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — unless homo sapiens cast a veto vote.

animals.killed.yearly

Did heroin present threats to polite society before it struck nice white folk? Is that fact relevant in a deeply racist society? But if you do not call yourself a racist does that earn you a wild card?

White flight in one generation becomes white gentrification in a succeeding generation. But the gentrifiers are making poor neighborhoods safe aren’t they? Don’t they create jobs and contribute to a well wealth-managed economy?

Nothing succeeds like success, Bill.

Racism is alive and deadly well in the country of my birth. Is that a success story?

Thanks for reading.