Thursday, March 28, 2002

This is not a black and white world.
I've heard it said that there are always three sides to every story: his, hers, and the truth. In this case, it's not even that simple. But there are two very clear sides, two very real realities, and I cannot help but hear the point that this side is making. In an interview with CNN's Bill Hemmer, this is what Usama Hamdan, a spokesman for the Palestinian terrorist group, had to say about the situation in the Middle East.

HAMDAN: I am not talking about eliminating Israel. I am talking about fighting for freedom against Israel's occupation of our lands. Israel is always, always trying to talk about (Palestinians wanting) to eliminate Israel. But as Palestinians, we are talking about the occupation.

The Palestinians will continue their struggle against Israel until they reach their goals. The main goal for the Palestinians now is to repatriate their lands and have their own state.

HEMMER: If there's any chance of Israel returning the West Bank and Gaza, there has to be some sort of cease-fire worked out, and then a peace agreement worked out after that. So why not hold back on your fire and see what can happen at the negotiating table?

HAMDAN: You are talking about cease-fires. Two months ago, (Palestinian leader) Yasser Arafat announced a cease-fire, and for three weeks no attacks were launched against Israel. But after three weeks, Sharon attacked the Palestinians -- he killed two of their leaders, one from Hamas and the other from Fatah.

After that, we understood that there is no real cease-fire with the Israeli government, that they want this cease-fire as a trick to continue their operations against our people. So if they want a real cease-fire, they are supposed to withdraw their tanks from our cities.

They are supposed to announce the cease-fire from their side first. We are not asked to do that because we are under occupation. You can't ask us, with the knife on our neck, to raise up our hands -- we must fight not to make this knife cut our necks. So you can't talk about a cease-fire while he's killing our people.

For the Palestinians, that is their side of the story. That is their reality. That is their truth. It is as true and real for them as their enemy's reality is true for that side. Neither group is willing to relinquish any of the "truths" that it insists are the only real reality. It's like a street gang war magnified ten thousand times. It is men-who-should-know-better taking testosterone-driven street-justice to its inhuman extremes. What in hell do they think their almighty God thinks of what they are doing!

No wonder I tend toward female chauvanism and irreverent non-belief.
Oh, this is just too perfect!
I used to have something on my site to keep track of the number of hits, and I probably will put it on my newly designed site when it's ready. But I'm afraid that I'll start posting things that will push up my hit numbers rather than stay true to the whole reason I started blogging originally. I have to admit, however, that Mike Sanders' suggestion for a "Google Persuader" is priceless.

Here's what he says to do:
Go to this page of popular Google Search terms and try to use every term in a paragraph on your blog. If you can use them in the same order that they are listed, with as few words as possible, it is even better:
[example] The Oscars awarded Halle Berry a pre-Easter present as well as bringing Elin Nordegren and Jennifer Connelly to our attention. I don't know much about Alex Baroni or Ostern, but Passover is coming and I think Ali G and Celine Dion are involved in some sort of controversy.

Ya gotta love it and love Mike for thinking it up.
As time slips into the future.
More of my past is gone again, with the passing on of Dudley Moore (just four years older than I am now) and Milton Berle. Uncle Miltie was a weekly staple on our black and white miniature TV back in Yonkers, New York in 1948. He brought transvestitism into our very living rooms and we loved it. He is the icon of Drag Queens. He played right to the camera with his zany "off-side" remarks, and we laughed and loud and loved every minute of his stap-stick antics. Good-bye Uncle Miltie.

In many ways, the importance of the deaths of these two extraordinary men pales in the face of the deaths of thousands upon thousands of good and ordinary people. But there is always the Big Picture and the Little Picture for each of us. Moore and Berle now. My mom, I imagine, within the next five years, and then it's me and my generation waiting at the finish line. I can't help think about that and what I want to do with the years I have left. I can't help wonder if some of what I'm doing is what I should be doing.

David Landsman tells a funny-but-oh-how-true story on his blog today about the conversations of a couple of check-out girls about "old people." Yes, it's relative. But yes, it's also all too real when it's real.