Monday, April 15, 2002

Eavesdropping on the Pro-Israel Rally
The Jerusalem Post reports on the Pro-Israel rally that took place in Washington D.C. today and includes the following, which I find very disturbing:
When House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Missouri) said the US is committed to preserving and strengthening Israel's security, the crowd erupted in wild applause. But when he spoke about securing a just and lasting peace for all, the crowd fell silent. [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz, a staunch supporter of Israel, was heckled nonetheless when he said Israelis are not the only victims of violence in the Middle East and that the majority of Palestinians want peace.

When he started a sentence, "The people of Israel and Palestine..." some in the crowd started screaming "What Palestine?" Another, appearing dismayed, said, "This is Wolfowitz?" "No double standards," people chanted as Wolfowitz spoke.
The chanting was so distracting that Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Presidents Conference, asked people at the end of his remarks to stay silent until after the speakers were completed.

I'm not given to prayer, but I think it's time that even I start praying for peace. It doesn't sound like the Pro-Israel people are.
History in Song and Shadow
In Googling for the lyrics of the song "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" to cite in the post below, I found it on a site called History in Song, which chronicles history-related songs from the American revolution through the Viet Nam War -- a war which I protested with all of my small voice and big mouth. In surfing that site, I found this entry related to the massacre, by our American soldiers, of the inhabitants of the village of My Lai:

According to accounts that suddenly appeared on TV and in the world press …, a cam-company of 60 or 70 U.S. infantrymen had entered My Lai early one morning and destroyed its houses, its livestock and all the inhabitants that they could find in a brutal operation that took less than 20 minutes. When it was over, the Vietnamese dead totaled at least 100 men, women and children, and perhaps many more. Only 25 or so escaped, because they lay hidden under the fallen bodies of relatives and neighbors.

The America GIs raced from house to house, setting the wooden ones ablaze and dynamiting the brick structures. Others routed the inhabitants out of their bunkers and herded them into groups....

Few were spared. Stragglers were shot down as they fled from their burning huts. One soldier fired his M-79 grenade launcher into a clump of bodies in which some Vietnamese were still alive. One chilling incident was observed by Ronald L. Haeberle, 28, the Army combat photographer who had been assigned to C Company. He saw "two small children, maybe four or five years old. A guy with an M-16 fired at the first boy, and the older boy fell over to protect the smaller one. Then they fired six more shots. It was done very businesslike."

The site shares this disturbing satirical song, sung to the tune of a popular romantic piece, "Wake the Town and Tell the People”
Strafe the town and kill the people
Let's declare a massacre.
Lay napalm in the square,
So you'll know that Jake was there,
Drop the candy in the courtyard,
Let the kiddies gather 'round.
Crank your twenty-millimeter,
Gun the little bastards down.
Come 'round early Sunday morning,
Catch the village unaware.
Drop a bunch of cluster bomblets,
Get 'em while they kneel in prayer.

As a species, we humans keep denying our shadow side, and in doing so, we allow our demons to rule our souls.

It is just this type of mother image that Kali represents. Starck and Stern say "Kali-Ma, the Dark Mother, holds the two edge sword; she has the power to slay the demons as well as the ability to be compassionate. At a certain point it becomes necessary to take Kali's sword and cut through the illusions that protect us from seeing and acting on the truth."
We, who do not learn from history.....
When an open war is impossible, oppression can continue quietly behind the scenes. Terrorism. Guerrilla warfare, violence, prisons, concentration camps..... And those who want peace in the world should remove not only war from the world but also violence. If there is no open war but there is still violence. That is not peace.....We are approaching a major turning point in world history, in the history of civilization. It has already been noted by specialists in various areas. I could compare it only with the turning from the Middle Ages to the modern era, a shift in our civilization. It is a juncture at which settled concepts suddenly become hazy, lose their precise contours, at which our familiar and commonly used words lose their meaning, become empty shells, and methods which have been reliable for many centuries no longer work. It's the sort of turning point where the hierarchy of values which we have venerated, and which we use to determine what is important to us and what causes our hearts to beat, is starting to rock and may collapse.

These are the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, from a yellowed Monday February 28, 1977 newspaper article that my mother unearthed this morning in cleaning out her stack of old newspaper clippings. He was writing about communism back then, but he could be writing our world situations today. When will we ever learn; when will we ever learn.