Tuesday, June 19, 2007
And now for the, um, shitty news.
It's been virus time again. This time in my inner ear. Ugh.
I've had this before. It's called labrynthitis. I never ever used to swear before I got labrynthitis in July 2000. At that time I thought I was done with bad health and had just started what felt like my first grown up job in the public affairs department at the Port of Portland. Then the vertigo started and the doctor said it would probably last one to six weeks, maybe 2-3 months, or it might never go away and become Meniere's Disease. All I could think of when I stood at the bus stop afterwards was fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck!
I didn't get Meniere's Disease, but my inner ear -- and my angelic mouth -- have never been the same since, though my further descent into the ME/CFIDS abyss was probably good for my soul as I had to quit my public affairs job. Had I gone on to a brilliant career in PR, I don't doubt I would have been headed straight to Hell.
Or wait...maybe I'm already there...
At any rate the week before last I got to relive those delightful days all over again. Vertigo, nausea...mmmm...The dizziness is mostly gone now but I've sorta been in the same state as I was in February after that respiratory virus. Watching lots of movies/television and sleeping, but not blogging too much.
Though not that there hasn't been lots to blog about. I had been working on a nice links garden post before I got the labrynthitis. And now I've got a whole other field of stuff to comment on.
Granted, when it came to the Middle East last week I mostly put my fingers in my ears and went "la la la la -- I can't hear you, Jim Lehrer!" But now that my stomach has settled a bit I've sat down and started reading the gory details of violence and rank hypocrisy.
But I need a little more sleep I think.
However, I will leave you with the following two links that give a good history/background of the Fatah coup -- yes Fatah.
The first is an older piece from December 11th at electronic intifada that provides the context just about ever news report I've watched or read has been lacking (what can I say, we academics do like things like context and perspective...)
The nearest exception to that is this piece by Donald Macintyre at the Independent, one of the few reporters who actually ventures to the West Bank and Gaza (though I don't think he's probably been in Gaza much lately, especially after what has happened to Alan Johnston -- I keep meaning to put one of those jpeg's up on my blog).
Oh and speaking of the Indy, Robert Fisk, of course, has some brilliantly sarcastic points to make, as well.
And I couldn't help but think of this little bit I wrote for the now defunct SRS well over a year ago. Yep, folks. Just keep in mind where Fatah -- and Hamas for that matter as Fatah is so corrupt they were selling guns to whoever would buy them -- got those weapons they used to so viciously kill each other with will last week.
Er...right, well, I guess that's Palestine sorted for the time being. Or, at least, one of the final nails in the coffin of a Palestinian state (that was a nice blog post -- I miss writing cogently...).
Saturday, June 09, 2007
But, alas, there is much controversy with this centennial-year Grand Floral Parade. In recent years people have taken to using tape and chalk to mark out where they will sit days in advance. However, this year there has emerged a backlash against this practice with people saying that parade-goers should get their spots on a first-come, first-serve basis. Camp out overnight and earn their spot. Which, I should point out, is what we used to do when I was a teenager. Sitting up all night with junk food and cards was a major social event. The parade was almost beside the point.
A. was here last year during Rose Festival (and despite our close proximity to the parade route, neither of us felt much inclined to go) so he's somewhat familiar with Portland's little botanical party. And this evening as we exchanged news from our parts of the world, I had to include this story. I mean, it was the top news story on our local news (yes, it's true, it even beat out Paris Hilton). After coming down quite definitively on the side of no tape, A. ventured to apply the situation to international politics.
"See, that's what Bush and Blair needed for Iraq. Just tape it off. 'Hey this belongs to us.'"
I mean, you know, if sending aircraft carriers with nuclear weapons to scare Iran doesn't work, I suppose they might consider the duct tape solution.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
My Son’s Answer to Palestinian Textbooks at semitism.net
I don't get over to Semitism.net very often (actually, I don't get to too many blogs often), which is a shame because there is some really great writing going on over there. The latest post from Brad discusses the controversy regarding the alleged "hateful" content of Palestinian textbooks through the lens of his son's experience at a Palestinian playground in East Jerusalem.
My hunch is, no matter what those kids learned in school the day we were at the playground, what they told their parents, siblings, and other friends at night was that we were at the playground, that they took care of my son for a few minutes. And that he loved it...
...So I believe if you want them to change, do what my son did. Hold their hands and go down a slide. You never know what you’ll find at the bottom.
I can definitely relate to the remarkable dissonance between the Palestinian "jihadis" they show on television and the actual flesh and blood Palestinians I've known in real life. And it's not like I've only met "westernized" Palestinians here in the U.S. I met students at BirZeit University on the West Bank (a school known for being a hotbed of Palestinian nationalism -- so much so the Israelis closed it frequently during the Intifada and still routinely arrest its students) quoting Martin Luther King. Visiting me when I was sick (yeah I was sick there too). The one thing I always, ALWAYS hear people say when they spend time with Palestinians is how warm and generous they are, Brad's son being no exception.
Are there violent Palestinians? Most certainly, just as there are violent Americans and violent Israelis. Both sides are afraid and fear inevitably leads to anger and anger to violence. But peace comes, as Brad's son so eloquently discovered, when we let go of our fear long enough to grab hold of a real person's hand.