Palestinians have been living in their native Palestine for 2,000 years now. The olive tree symbolizes roots, endurance, a culture long lived and fruitful, but they are more than a symbol. The same olive trees nurtured by ancestral families for a thousand years — a single tree can live that long — have been uprooted by the current occupying entity, often at a whim, by the thousand. Ancestral homes are also demolished by the thousand.
The house key is a symbol for Nakba. Lock the door, put the key in your pocket, unlock the door upon your return. Have you ever done that?
“As the Palestinian people (currently number almost 10 million) were being DISPOSSESSED and ETHNICALLY CLEANSED out of their homes and farms, European Jews (mostly fleeing anti-Semitic Europe) were taking possession of their homes, farms, and businesses. It is worth noting that up to 25% of all Palestinian refugees were PUSHED into the sea. Ironically, often Jews “claim” that Arabs are plotting to “push” Israeli Jews into the sea, click here to learn more.”
You have probably seen a graphical display on how quickly Palestinians have been displaced since 1947. Impactful, is it not? Julien Bousac has published a geographical depiction of the phenomenon that shows fractured and isolated neighborhoods in another powerful way. Discontinuities separate islands, shaded according to remaining population — a result of settler-colonial occupation that continues unabated to this day.
Every October 14th, we celebrate a saintly adventurer, discoverer, and patriot — the fellow who captained three ships (N, P, and SM) on something blue in ninety-two. Chris was the first to introduce indigenous pagans to prayer, piety, and punishment. The lucky savages gratefully reciprocated by sharing chests of valuable souvenirs with their newfound European friends, thereby swearing obeisance to Spain’s Queen and to the Holy See.
Thus begins a series of classes taught in the same rigid way, using the same flattering vocabulary to parrot a consistent and seamless account of the planet’s most exceptional 50-state solution — if you ignore a short list of possible lapses, when “mistakes were made”:
Five of the current nine Supreme Court Justices are Catholic, though only five percent of Blacks in the United States are Catholic.
What of the exiled, exterminated, ethnically cleansed, bombed to the Stone Age, kicked out, sold out, disappeared, abducted, drowned, burned, staked, flayed, shot, cut, mutilated, poisoned, lynched?
To the victors go the spoils and the lucrative future contracts with docile “American modeled democracy” certified governments
A manifest destiny extending from Atlantic to Pacific, spanning two continents between those oceans — what could possibly get in the way? The Big Lie, made coherent from myriad little cherry-picked lies, gets repeated over the centuries to justify a penchant for an overwhelming use of force for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
Empires rape, plunder, pillage, trample, and torture with rabid impunity. But reserve those words for your real or imagined foes. To the victors go the spoils and the lucrative future contracts with docile “American modeled democracy” certified governments — preferably administered by puppet regimes. The U.S. just told Venezuela to clear out the chambers of government, make clear the way for its next puppet.
The United States expanded rapidly from thirteen States to fifty. Genocide happens. Slavery happens. The Electoral College is still a backstop that assures our elites that the Constitution has their respective backs. The Constitution in its “original” form is still revered by Originalists in our supreme judiciary. Five of the current nine Supreme Court Justices are Catholic, though only five percent of Blacks in the United States are Catholic.
Prepare to be collaterally killed, maimed, blinded, starved, bombed, tear-gassed, napalmed, carpeted with white-phosphorus, terrorized, shot at a whim, desecrated and cursed if you buck the Empire.
Unexploded explodable bombs still kill in Laos, the most bombed country on the planet.
What you don’t know can kill children and many other living things.
I love maps, all my life they’ve whispered to me. I spin imaginary globes in my mind and imagine a sphere metamorphosing from three dimensions to two in arcane and artful ways.
Lines of longitude and latitude: which is which? Here is a mnemonic to help:
Lines of latitude are like the rungs of a ladder extending from Equator to Pole. The ladder rungs connect along the long lines of longitude (left and right side of the ladder). There’s something curious about that ladder — it connects to a single point at the top or bottom of the Earth.
The Mercator Projection takes the two points of the two terrestrial poles and stretches them from zero to infinity. A Mercator projection was designed for one thing only, and though that one use is obsolete, Mercator dies on.
USGS topographic quadrangles describe a rectangle representing 7.5 minutes of arc. A quadrangle at the Equator is a square, a quadrangle at the North or South Poles is a triangle.
You can trace landscapes on a paper topographic quadrangle. There is a symbol available for every conceivable landmark, including the occasional sunken ship.
Our geomorphology tour now takes us to Cincinnati, OH. I’m the guide with the microphone at the front of the bus. Here’s what I am saying:
“A gently arcing dome once defined Cincinnati’s geomorphology. The most recent glaciation crushed the entire city under a couple hundred feet of solid ice, creating a set of hills carved from that arcing dome. When you stand on any of the surrounding hills you see all the other hills: 360 degrees surrounding a central point, each separated from the others by a number of miles. The technical term is ‘accordant summits’.”
Time to share a memory with you.
In the 1960’s our family would spend two-weeks in the northern oven-mitt of Michigan, we drove from Cincinnati on US Route 27 — a two-lane highway that also extends into Florida. We would unfold a free gas-station roadmap and wait for a city limit sign to appear on the horizon. I would run a black marker up the lap-held map as the drive progressed northward. A pre-cursor if you will.
There were no automobile seat belts in 1964 — each occupant had the unfettered freedom to pass directly through the windshield in a way explained by Isaac Newton. To paraphrase Isaac: an object in motion wants to just keep on moving: even when everything else stops moving.
Time now for an anecdote.
We were headed to a cottage in Michigan in one of those years (1964) when no passenger vehicles came equipped with seat belts.
I’m the guide with microphone at the front of the bus again:
“My mother held my youngest sister securely in her lap, front passenger side. Shifting her position, mom leaned against the passenger-door, felt that door open and saw the rushing roadway beneath them. But my mother knew about the first law of motion. Her objective: stop two objects in motion from following the lawful course identified by Newton. She successfully moved the center of gravity leftward by shifting their inclination inward, and by yanking the passenger door to a latched state.
The moral of this anecdote: understanding physics saves lives.”
Learning a second or 3rd or 4th language is like escaping the gravity of your native land. You probe about in another way of being, of thinking, of observing. Better still — if you’ve the inclination — learn another tongue via a second or third language. Meet the stranger in a place foreign to each.
I am so grateful for my Palestinian student who decided to learn German via English, without recourse to his native Arabic. He inspired me to do the same — learn Arabic by way of German. “arabisch lernen”
German from the baby steps to fluency. The magic of YouTube brings me teachers who speak their mother’s Arabic in a German-speaking land. I studied in Germany for a year and a half. The other international students joined me to prepare for lessons conducted in German. Japanese medical students already knew anatomical terms, because their forefathers carried it back to Japan — including decades as fellow Axis members. Gray’s Anatomy with German body parts
Some lessons I’ve learned
Iranian students taught me about Savak and their Shah many years before the Revolution of 1979. Krupp established large industrial site in that Persian land. An industrial giant since the 16th Century. A family tradition, Blut und Eisen.
Propaganda relies upon endlessly repeated mistranslations, designed to obfuscate. Weaponized language to serve hidden agendas, to move geopolitical stakes through sabotage, bigotry, racism, straw men, false flags, pacification, liquidation; in other words, chicanery of any convenient kind. Whatever works. No questions asked.
Walls visible and invisible. Sow the seeds of discontent to ignite anger. Divide and conquer. British imperialists deliberately provoked Sunni and Shia rivalries by locating them within an arbitrary borderline. Think of it as double solitary confinement. A technique that works wonders: encourage each to fight the other over differences deep as the empire gathers spoils of conquest, to the victor go the value subtracted.
History remembered is myth created by the most talented liars. Every American recites the same short soundbites: flag-shaded collective memories. Memorized lies to mask disquieting truth. 1,000 memorized lies. Cherrypick and pass on. Manufacture your destiny as something somehow manifest by a deity for your outrageous fortune. Cloying spoilings.
Conduct experiments on war fodder soldiers and increase your “intelligence.” Handbooks written by Chinese military master torturers were translated verbatim and reapplied in Guantanamo — word by evil word.
Accuse Cuba of human rights violations while torturing prisoners on Cuban soil. Announce bounties — turn in someone you hate, an enemy or a randomly selected person, a stranger. Get paid for lying about an innocent neighbor. Extraordinary rendition is spuriously twisted language designed by twisted authority to mask torture by proxy. Look the other way. Justify everything. Celebrate the patriotic art of bigly deals. Endless war for endless profit. Drop MOABS and cut a purchase order for replacement MOABS.
This morning I read a piece from Mark Chmiel’s blog — Mistake. Dark serendipity in the same tone and key. Thank you, Mark.