Posts tagged Gaza

Gaza Conditions in 2009

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Gaza conditions in 2007

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When do we start the clock?

Here is a very good video of Phyllis Bennis, a peace activist talking about historical amnesia and Gaza. She asks a very important question on how history plays a vital role in understanding the conflict in Gaza today. When you start the story of  the current conflict, gives you a different story. People can decide what it just and unjust by when they begin the story. And people will choose the history they wish in order to prove the point they want to make. Whether it is a Zionist American Jew trying to convince you that everything Israel does is justifiable, or a American Leftist who wants to convince you that Israel is breaking international laws and has been for years and years, people will use history for their own arguments and agendas.

I am obviously not excluded from this. I got a comment on my last blog entry about how I need to go back to ancient Israel in order to understand the current situation, and that might be entirely true, but I am not. A historian has to choose their focus, their time frame, and it is by individual historians looking in, that creates the picture one gets by looking out. What I do on this blog is not formal history. I don’t footnote and the writing style is very different. This is a casual endeavor and outlet for me to talk about things that I ponder, one of which is the larger problems of how history effects the present. No one historian has all the information or all the answers. No one person will ever be able to right a TOTAL history of the world. And if they could, no one would read it. What historians do is add small pieces of work to a collective pool of knowledge in the hopes that the sum will be greater than the parts.

Historians have often strived to be objective and tell the historical truth without any bias or taint. This has largely been a complete failure. If history were about a play by play of events it would be pretty meaningless, at least to me. Historians have the job to take information and evidence and make an argument. Historians do not write encyclopedias, they write academic and intellectual works that provide historical truth, not historical fact. Events and facts are interpreted and put together by the historian in order to submit an understanding of something the historian thinks is important. It is the job of the reader or the audience to decide if the argument is compelling or not. 

Back to Phyllis Bennis, she is a bold, opinionated, well-informed asset to the current peace movement and I think she does a good job of delivering her sense of what has happened in Gaza recently. This video is from the beginning of January, pre-Obama inaguaration and pre ceasefire.

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today in gaza…

 I won’t pretend to know anything new or have some great new insight on what is happening in Israel and Gaza right now, but I do want to say this. (my opinion of course)

Israel is wrong in trying to subdue violence with more violence.

To those who think that Hamas fired rockets with no provocation, well you don’t understand the situation of the Gaza Strip.

To them, they are being occupied by a foriegn power, and they are being cut off from food and health care supplies. Their entire existence in the Gaza strip is provocation for them.

There is a blocade around Gaza. They are in a constant state of war.

I don’t condone Hamas and their violence. In fact I think that Hamas is made up of militaristic fanatics, but this I know…the problems of the middle east go back further than Israel and its creation in 1948. The story of Zionism begins much earlier and the Arabic people who inhabited that specific region were not met with open peacful arms from the new settlers. Nationalisms of all kinds were developing in this era before the first World War. Zionism is a form of nationalism, which by definition are usually militaristic.  The Palestinian nationalism was born a bit later, but is just as significant to them as Zionism is to the Jews who subscribed to it.

Unfortunetly, the hawkish creation of the State of Israel, the Israeli War of Independance (or Al Nakba  meaning ‘catastrophe’ as the Palestinians refer to it), and the repeated acts of violence perpetrated on both sides (one as a response to the other) has led to a new generation of Palestinians who have grown up in an impoverished state, not allowed out, and with constant fear of Israel using their power to demoralize the Palestinian people. ( i.e. demolishing houses in occupied territories)

I truly believe that Israel needs to be the bigger country (um…because they are the bigger country) and refuse to fight terror with more terror. People are dying in Palestine by the hundreds, and although Israel says they are very sad for this…it is what needs to be done. What would you do if your house was under attack? Well, I know that I wouldn’t kill 200 people to save my own.

It is sad to see pundits on TV saying that a ceasefire would be meaningless, because they want a lasting peace and ceasefire. I think the little boys and girls who don’t die because of an immediate ceasefire would think it worth it. We absolutely need an immediate ceasefire which HAMAS has offered.( but the pundits won’t let you know this- they want you to think that HAMAS never offers anything in diplomacy)

 

…and to the new year and new president. America can’t keep giving money for arms to Israel. As an American I have little control over what Israel does, but Obama says he wants to hear us- the people- and so we need to tell him. STOP GIVING ARMS TO ISRAEL. We have to stop paying for the murder of palestinian innocents (although the pundits would have you believe that the large majority of causalties are terrorists- this is simply a lie)

And to those who ask me why I care so much about this conflict. How come I don’t write about the Iraqi conflict or African genocides…well…

my answer is this….Peace in the Israel/Palestine region of the world would be a such an immensly positive moment in world history. If we can solve this problem and create peaceful coexistance in this region- what could we not do?

I mean really imagine peace in Israel and a thriving Palestinian state.

Its almost unthinkable- but maybe we need to believe it is possible.

In order to invent anything- you have to have a belief in it first. Humans would never have been able to fly if people didn’t first invision it. So lets try to imagine peace in the middle east, because while some said it was impossible for planes to fly…they were clearly wrong…in fact I am getting on a plane tomorrow…

Goin to Nashville, Tennessee…should be interesting…

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