Category: History

This and that

Dear editor:

As I write this, the dust of Tuesday’s election has not yet settled.  Either our nation’s lurch towards full-blown fascism continues unabated, replete with swastikas and flag-waving, cross-burning white supremacy, and out-in-the-open Christianist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant bigotry.  Or perhaps – and hope springs eternal – reasonable voters have turned out in numbers that shout “our rights shall not be denied!”

My friend Mike Nunn is fond of reminding us we live in strange times.  Indeed we do.  Ever vigilant George is startled to learn that Arkansas’s brightest teachers and students are mostly liberals.  Surely, a conspiracy is afoot!  Mary is, as always, fixated on Benghazi and the sins of Democrats long gone and now inconsequential.  But God Bless President Trump, nevertheless.  Meanwhile, Billy Graham wannabe Lloyd offers us yet another altar call.  Just as we are, if only we weren’t…

To arms!  To arms!  A rag-tag caravan of impoverished refugees slowly approaches our southern border, bearing gifts “perhaps” of polio, drug sales, and even possible gang affiliations.  An invasion!  Where is Ellis Island when America really needs her?  A Villager pleads for civility in our national discourse, and then abandons the moral high road for a few shekels in arms sales (after all, Khashoggi wasn’t even an American citizen…).

Our very own local Donald warns us that only the 1611 KJV is flawless, and anything else is a fast foxtrot down the path to perdition.  And of course there’s the always verbose Bradley R. Glitz from Batesville, Arkansas, who appears about twice a week on these hallowed pages.  I swear he must be paid by the word, or at least for every time he refers to Democrats as socialists and communists.  According to his erudite rationale, if you dare vote for anything but Republicans, you are nothing but a slave to orthodoxy.

Indeed, we live in strange times.  Sign me a slave to orthodoxy,

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/11/05/this-and-that/

Circular No. 3591

Dear editor,

 

Time for another letter of random (or not) non-sequiturs…

Like most Americans, you probably think slavery ended with the Civil War.  Fact is, especially here in the South, freed slaves often found themselves subjected to conditions of forced labor little different from slavery.  Real emancipation didn’t begin to happen until FDR’s Attorney General announced Circular No. 3591 on December 12, 1941.

Imagine, only five days after Pearl Harbor, an AG was taking care “of the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).  Now, in 2018, we have in Jeff Sessions an AG more interested in wrecking families, turning schools into bunkers, and setting up Bruce Westerman as poseur by proximity.

Westerman, flush with reelection cash from who knows where, seems determined to pick a fight with advocates for the disabled.  Advocates who rightly think Hayden Shamel will do a better job taking care “of the least of these.”  Ergo, they are Westerman’s enemy.  The Chamber of Commerce endorses Westerman because he favors business profits over public service.  Winning is everything.  Protecting the environment, promoting education, exercising justice (tempered with mercy), and taking care “of the least of these” – well, those are just quaint ideas best left for snowflakes and libtards.

Someone recently suggested America is diseased, afflicted with a terrible, terminal cancer only an expert oncologist like Trump can heal, despite his boorish bedside manner.  To help heal this America, or at least keep her hanging in there for a few more miserable years, Dr. Trump needs his entourage of merry Evangelicals, holy men and women always willing to overlook truth and morality, always willing to offer their uncritical, blind allegiance.  After all, winning is everything.

Unchecked, unregulated capitalism is the better diagnosis for what ails America.  Fundamentalist writers – and they are Legion – might want to re-read the story of the Good Samaritan.  It’s an early exercise in free health care, and it’s right there in that Bible they so love to quote.  No work requirements, and not even background checks to see if the injured party was an immigrant.  Aid was rendered.  No questions were asked.  No payment was required.

Meanwhile, the bars-and-stars battle flag of the Confederacy again flutters over the very spot where men were once lynched.  Welcome to Hot Springs!

Finally, an observation that cuts close to the bone.  Where have all the progressive editorials gone?  The nearest thing we have are Republicans so disgusted with Trump they cannot defend his reckless antics and naked nepotism.  Now, these pages are filled by the same fistful of wordy regressives ossified in the paranoia of 1950s McCarthyism:  communism and socialism and liberalism are still existential threats to America.  Maybe rock-and-roll, too.

Banishing progressive viewpoints makes a mockery of this newspaper’s core values.  “Credibility is the greatest asset of any news medium, and impartiality is the greatest source of credibility.”  This 24-year subscriber sees impartiality and credibility slipping away.  Fair and balanced?  No.

Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar (snowflake and libtard)
Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Image by Christian Cable. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nexus_icon/3207808412/

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/08/12/circular-no-3591/

Which 9-11?

Dear editor,

One final observation, one final broadside against our balmy Benghazi! bellowers…  It is exceedingly curious that they fixate their wrath only upon the 9-11 of 2012, when four white Americans died in the violent anarchy of a civil war that we actively participated in.  No matter that it also killed tens of thousands of Libyans.  Libyans were neither white nor Christian.  To navel-gazing Americans, their deaths were inconsequential.

Curious that the 9-11 of 2001 is barely mentioned any more.  Almost 3,000 Americans died that day, but it seems that Dubya, good white Methodist Republican that he is, is beyond reproach.  Another 7,000 Americans died in the endless wars he and others spun up in that 9-11’s aftermath.  More than a million Iraqis and Afghans have also surely died, but then they were brown-skinned and few were Christian, so their deaths, too, were of little consequence.

That 9-11, and the thwarted “awakenings” after it triggered a tsunami of human migrations that are still roiling Europe.  They have died by the thousands trying to reach safety and the hope of new opportunities.  The Mediterranean’s sharks are well fed and dead babies routinely wash up on its glorious beaches, but these dead babies are usually Muslim, so it matters not.  The little heathens probably got what they deserved.

Curious that the 9-11 of 1973 is never mentioned.  Nixon’s CIA helped overthrow Chile’s first democratically elected (but tragically socialist) leader.  General Pinochet replaced Allende, who died on this particular 9-11.  Thousands were “disappeared” and it was common to see bodies along roadsides, or floating in Santiago’s Mapocho River.  Later investigations revealed more than 3,000 people killed and 32,000 tortured.  But then they were brown-skinned and did not speak English, and that was a long time ago.  We didn’t care then or now.  And besides, we’re cool with torture these days.

We could go on, and include the 9-11 of 1857, when Mormon zealots and their Paiute allies murdered 120 Missouri and Arkansas Americans trying to immigrate into Utah.  Let us pray they used machetes to expedite Trump’s hagiography.

America’s hands are hardly clean.  For more than a century, we have helped giant fruit corporations and anti-communist juntas turn tiny countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador into cesspools of violence and corruption.  Our “War on Drugs” is a losing proposition for everyone but gangs and governments.  We have sowed misery and we are reaping a whirlwind of desperate families at our borders.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”  Such eloquence rings hollow when all we yearn for is a new wall to keep out suffering humans who are only guilty of having undertaken incredible, dangerous journeys for one last chance to start over.

No, we are much too busy hating Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to even notice what we have allowed ourselves to become…

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Photograph of “Augusto Pinochet en una imagen del año 1988” (AP). http://blogs.elpais.com/fondo-de-armario/2013/09/golpe-de-estado-de-pinochet-en-chile.html

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/07/22/which-9-11/

Puppet-theater Burlesque

Dear editor:

On September 11, 2012, four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya. Ever since, their fog-of-war deaths have been fodder for a macabre, puppet-theater burlesque of right-wing propaganda. Contrarians may wax poetic with fanciful exaggerations, but the dead did not “come home in wooden boxes.” As it has been for decades, their remains were respectfully returned to Dover Air Force Base in flag-draped metal containers.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were there when the plane landed. Here is part of what Obama said on that sad occasion.

“Four Americans, four patriots, they loved their country and chose to serve it and serve it well. They had a mission and they believed in it, and they knew the danger and they accepted it. They didn’t simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it, they embodied it: the courage, the hope and, yes, the idealism.”

Clinton also spoke, saying the four were “at the heart of what makes America great and good.” She added, “America must keep leading the world. We owe it to these four men to continue the long, hard work of diplomacy. We will wipe our tears and stiffen our spines and face the future undaunted.”

Hardly what we hear from the usual Benghazi! screamers, is it? Last October, when four American Green Berets were killed in Niger and one of them, Sergeant La David Johnson, was abandoned for nearly 48 hours, where were the rabid exhortations to “Lock him up!?” Was Trump on hand at Dover when their remains came home? Of course not! He was golfing in Florida and tweeting about “fake news.”

In fact, he was completely silent about what happened in Niger for 12 long days. Finally, he whined that Obama had never called families of Americans killed on his watch, so why should he? It was a blatant lie, but not unexpected. Trump and mendacity are dear old friends. Eventually, his huge, magnificent eloquence did burst forth when he called Sgt. Johnson’s widow. “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

She cried. Our Comforter-in-Chief made a soldier’s widow cry. Think about that the next time you resurrect the same tired canards about Benghazi. You dishonor America’s dead and their service to our country when you cherry-pick your facts. Context matters. Four months after Benghazi, Secretary Clinton faced an inquisition led by Republican Ron Johnson (coincidentally, Wisconsin also spawned Joseph McCarthy). This was her response:

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Truth. It’s never as sexy as the stuff you make up. Is it?

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Image:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?308200-4/arrival-libya-victims-remains

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/07/04/puppet-theater-burlesque/

In your name

If

By Arkansas Times’ “The Observer” (David Koon), June 14, 2018

 

If you can, cast your mind back to when you were very young and recall what it felt like to be separated from your mother and father. Not just playing in the yard or another part of the house, but truly, even for a moment, lost. Recall the vice crush of panic in your chest.

If you were ever a parent, remember the feeling of being in a public place, turning around, and finding that your child is gone. They’re squirrelly little suckers, and compact. Turn your head for a second and they can vanish like smoke, even if you’re the greatest parent alive. Remember that feeling. Remember the terrible possibility. Remember the vice crush of panic in your chest at the thought of “maybe” until you laid eyes on that child again.

If you are an American, understand the things that are being done at the border right now, in your name. Thousands of children ripped from the arms of loving parents and spirited away into the night, in your name. Mothers reportedly being told that their children are being taken to be bathed, only to learn minutes or hours later that they aren’t coming back, in your name. Parents being charged with the misdemeanor — yes, misdemeanor, same as public intox and spitting on the sidewalk — of illegally crossing the border, but being sentenced on the spot to having their children snatched from them, in your name. Men and women with the American flag on their shoulders are literally kidnapping children like witches in candy houses, in your name. American police officers, duly sworn, are committing the textbook definition of terrorism against little boys and little girls who will bear the mental scars for the rest of their lives, and they are doing so in order to act as a deterrent by demonstrating the inhuman, reptilian cruelty of which Americans are now capable, even to children. In your name.

If you have ever been a mother or father, imagine your child living in a corrupt and lawless land run by criminal warlords, in the kind of grinding poverty that isn’t just situational but generational, with no hope to ever escape. Now imagine that you know that somewhere out there, there is a line, and on the other side of that line is a land of bounty and safety where any person who works hard in the hot sun can earn a sliver of that bounty for themselves and their children.

If that were your situation, what wouldn’t you do to get your child to that place? Would you lie? Would you risk your life? Would you break the law? Would you commit a misdemeanor?

If you support this madness while claiming to be a Christian, you are not. You are a servant of the creeping darkness, cruelty and despair that Jesus Christ fought and shed his blood for all his short life here on earth.

If you have ever uttered or thought or nodded along when someone said, “Well, if they didn’t want their kids taken, they shouldn’t have brought them here,” you’re not a good person. You have become, in your gluttony and narcissism, a monster, too far gone to even possess an understanding of the sheer, stupid luck of being born here.

If you still claim to be a Christian, consider Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord thy God.”

If you cling to the passages in Leviticus about hating gay people, but skim past those about loving immigrants, you should cast that cross around your neck into the dust, because it’s just jewelry now. Have yourself a tiny gold basin made instead, the basin where Pontius Pilate washed his cowardly hands of savagery. Have yourself a tiny gold truncheon made, a tiny gold jackboot, a tiny dollar bill. These are your gods now.

If you believe that history and our children’s children will not judge us all in the same light as those who remained silent while black Americans were bought and sold, while Native Americans were slaughtered and their families crushed, while Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced into camps, you are wrong.

If you are not pissed, get pissed.

If you are not loud, get loud.

If you are not informed, get informed.

If you are not ashamed of your country over this, you should be.

If you don’t believe it can change, it can, if those who want to make America truly great again act as one and say: “Not in my name.”

 

https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/if/Content?oid=19088724

Photograph of Samar Hassan:  https://levantium.com/2011/05/07/i-am-samar/

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/06/20/in-your-name/

Suffering Fools

Selections from a recent Facebook conversation.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent, the willfully ignorant, the woefully beguiled, and the morally repugnant (see fundie #5).  Due to the branching nature of such conversations on social media, this is stitched together from various, sometimes parallel/simultaneous narratives and is therefore only a linear approximation of a non-linear medium.  Grammar and spelling have been only rarely altered so as to preserve the intellectual intensity and profundity (and inanity) of the comments that ensue…

— Monsieur d’Nalgar, Samedi 26 mai 2018 Ere Commune

 

Last week…

Doc:  Fifty people died today in Palestine, with thousands….think about that, thousands wounded. The Israelis are treating the Palestinians the way our country treated Native tribes. Educate yourself and ask yourself #WWJD. I’m thinking Jesus will come back when He’s ready.

Fundie #1:   Yes, Jesus will come back and I think it is going to be sonner.then we think

Fundie #2:  Read the Bible as the answer to your question is in there. Israel has always been and forever will be The Apple of God’s Eye and He never changes. He promised to protect Israel and He will…Two days ago they were firing missiles at Israel which started this. If North Korea was firing at us what do you think Jesus would have us do, as we have many of God’s people in our nation as well?

Doc’s friend #1:  I’ve read the Bible a few times, and if you think snipers killing kids is somehow a justifiable act condoned by God, you might want to open it again.

Fundie #2:  Exactly and how many Americans died in 9/11…there are and always have been senseless killings and it’s not going to stop until the Prince of Peace returns!
I hate that any children died today, Doc but how many die yearly here in the USA by abortions? And how many folks seem to be okay with it? Really!

Doc:  Fundie #2 going to the “abortion” issue is a cop out…btw, the Jewish tradition states life begins at the first breath…so, can’t we agree snipers shooting innocent people is wrong?

Fundie #3:  Hamas is also using innocent civilians to envoke violence.. So is it really Israel’s fault for defending themselves as a terrorist organization is provoking the violence.. Hamas’ actions are getting innocent folks killed.. Its sad that any lives are lost…

Fundie #2:  I stand with Israel and have never thought or said that any of this is Israel’s fault. They are a small country totally surrounded by enemies. I study our Torah and God gave them that land, every inch of it, it is written! I thank God that the USA/Trump/Pence, have moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. The plan of Almighty God unfolding before our eyes. The protesting has become far from peaceful protesting, not only in Israel but here in the US and around the world, and has been the cause of much bloodshed. As the Bible says, I watch therefore, and pray.

Moi:  Today is Nakba Day. If you don’t know what that is, it’s probably because you don’t want to know. For those of you who think God “is in this” and the Israelis are God’s “chosen people” – I offer you this opportunity to educate yourselves…

A concise defense of Palestinians:

Leaving aside the moral arguments for ending a festering, 70-year injustice, leaving aside the comparisons to South Africa’s systemic apartheid racism, and even leaving aside the ultimate irony of obvious parallels to Nazi Germany’s millennial dreams (Godwin’s Law be damned)…

First of all, archaeological evidence suggests ancient Israelites were just another tribe, one of many, in Canaan (today’s Palestine). Their particular deity was Yahweh, although artifacts from this time show that these people were hardly monotheistic – neighboring gods (especially fertility goddesses) were routinely incorporated into their religious practices. As these tribes jockeyed for power, the Israelites eventually emerged as the region’s dominant tribe, more through gradual assimilation and population growth (maybe those fertility goddesses really worked) than from bloody smiting and conquest (despite the tall tales of the Old Testament’s PR priests and poets).

Israelites’ self-rule typically only lasted as long as they were overlooked or ignored by nearby superpowers. When the big boys from back East showed up, Jewish kingdoms quickly collapsed and their aristocrats were killed or taken away as captive (albeit well-treated) hostages. It was hardly total ethnic cleansing – peasants, mostly agrarian, were left behind. Once the rich folk returned from exile, they discovered these peasants had gotten uppity and “moved on up” – they had become the new establishment. Just in the nick of time to re-establish the old order, these returning refugees magically, deliciously “discovered” their creation/origination myths (for which there is not a shred of evidence – see below), the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch), in the ruins of Jerusalem’s destroyed temple. What a coinky-dinky! God was mandating a return to the old pecking order and peasants were forced to shuffle back to their fields of labor. The old sheriff, the aristocracy and particularly the hereditary priesthood, was back in town…

Now let’s look at the science of the “we were here first” argument. Sephardic Jews (especially the Mizrahi) and Palestinian Arabs have practically identical DNA while Ashkenazi DNA indicates medieval origins in eastern Europe… Israel shut down DNA research several years ago because the findings were so awkward (and antithetical to their notions of ancient racial/ethnic purity).

On top of that, once modern historians began re-examining the long-held idea that the Roman Empire completely emptied Palestine in 70 AD, they soon concluded that the ludicrous logistical requirements rendered the Jewish Diaspora as nothing but myth. And not for the first time. The non-existence of ANY archaeological evidence suggests the story of a much earlier Jewish exodus from Egypt to Canaan was also a myth. If it happened at all, it could just as easily happened along the western coasts of Yemen and Arabia.

The truth of the matter is that a Jewish diaspora had already largely
happened by the time an itinerant rabbi named Jesus got himself killed for upending the cozy relationship the Jewish muckety-mucks had worked out with their military occupiers. The majority of Jews were already living beyond Palestine and, except for diehard zealots and anti-Roman terrorists, even Jerusalem was fading in importance for Judaism.

In other words, today’s Palestinians are direct descendants of those same Jews and pagans and pilgrims and assorted mystics who lived in Palestine while Jesus was among them. They didn’t go anywhere – a few clung to their Judaism, but most became Christians and later, Muslims. Notions of racial purity here are a fool’s fantasy. The blood-soaked “holy land” is the world’s genetics kitchen blender. Waves of conquerors have marauded through the Levant since the dawn of human history. Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Arabs, and even French, British, and now Ashkenazi Jews have all added their cultural and genetic flavors, often with violence, to the recipe of Palestine’s people.

Most Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1929, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea. (See link below)

Today, too many foolish fundamentalist (a tautology) Christians (and many Jews) are beguiled by their hypocritical leaders and Israel’s massive hasbara propaganda apparatus. As an antidote, I heartily recommend Gary Burge’s book – Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology.

http://mondoweiss.net/…/israeli-historian-palestinians…/

Fundie #2:  Nope! Not buying into that. You will be successful in getting lots to believe this though wow!

Doc:  It is their life that is at stake. So if I protest, I can get shot by a sniper and that’s ok?

Doc’s friend #1:  It killed 50 people today…for what? It wasn’t violent…so your basically saying its there own fault for protesting. I’m going to try and be civil and suggest sometimes its better to talk a moral high ground that win an argument…especially with an asshole like me…

Doc’s friend #1:  Jesus would tell Israel to “love thy neighbor”

Doc’s friend #1:  He would care less about the petty BS we argue about, and care about people getting killed for no reason. He would espouse love over violence…

Doc’s friend #1:  So this is what Israel is doing by having snipers shoot people?

Mon amie:  my dad/his family still living in Nazareth and our diaspora are Christians. Palestinians remain one of the largest populations of Christian Arabs in the world, so I must regretfully inform you that Israel has and continues to persecute, dehumanize, occupy, imprison without charges, torture and murder the indigenous Christian population of Palestinians💔. You would be horrified by the unspeakable acts committed by Zionist terrorist groups and the Israeli army during the “clearing of the cities” in 1947 and 1948.

Fundie #2:  Rape n incest ect… 650,000 to 750,000 abortions a yr in the U.S… 55 today in Palestine.. I think that no loss of life is good.. Does that amount not offend any of you!!

Doc:  Glad you are expressing your outrage at the loss of life in Palestine ..because….killing is killing

Doc’s friend #1:  I’m more offended by your moral equivalence…so there is that…but hey, at least we’re talking…

Doc’s friend #1:  Glad you are expressing your outrage at the loss of life in Palestine ..because….killing is killing

Doc’s friend #1:  I don’t call people names…and wether you recognize it or not, allow people to “hash it out”. We ain’t got to always agree, but talking helps….

Doc’s friend #1:  So, you’re outraged at the loss of life in Palestine?

Doc’s friend #1:  #sad Too bad people can’t realize that “those people” could be them. Jesus loves everyone….and that’s really hard at times..

Doc’s friend #2:  Of course the Bible says the Jews are the chosen people…They wrote the book, after all…I’d just like to get a third party verification, if you don’t mind…

Doc’s friend #1:  So yet another night solving the world’s problems on social media. I pray we can never post anything we wouldn’t say to someone’s face. I pray we at least think. I pray that although we don’t always agree, we will remain accountable for our world view. Most of all, I pray for the lives lost in Palestine. I pray we have a new respect for the ability to protest without getting shot by a sniper. I pray we can disagree, but be good neighbors. Good night, and God Bless everyone..

Doc’s friend #2:  Jesus never told his followers that they had to stand with the Jews to get to Heaven…He said that he was bringing a new way and a new light…And Paul never preached any of what you are saying in any of his many books in the Bible…Jesus stood for love, not war and killing unarmed protesters…I believe Jesus would’ve had more sympathy for the innocent Palestinians killed, than for the Israelis today… Please show me where in the Bible it says we have to unconditionally, uncritically, support Israel, to get to Heaven, because I must have missed that part…

Fundie #3:  You don’t know The Scriptures or you would understand. That land was given, not really, THEY had to kill the inhabitants to lay claim to it. God promised Abraham this land thousands of years before it happened. The Palestinians took over their land while they were in captivity. Read The Old Testament for details. THE COUNTRY OF ISRAEL BELONGS TO THE ISRAELITES, DUH! Hence the Name! I mentioned last week , if you want to know what’s happening or going to happen – WATCH ISRAEL. We are getting for THE LAST & FINAL WAR ON EARTH. Read The Book Of Revelations, slowly. It tells where we are at this point. The WHOLE world, except U.S.A. is the only country to stand with Israel. Not every American loves Israel & the world will answer on The Great Judgement Day! Read your Bible daily to learn how to be ready for THE GLORIOUS COMING OF OUR LORD, JESUS CHRIST.
I once was young but now I’m old – I say this in love so you will be ready. Things are speeding ip.

Moi:  I wish I had a hairball to cough up. Sigh.

Fundie #4:  Educate yourself and realize that you will always and only hear about Israel defending itself from being attacked. Making it always sound like they just starting shooting Palestine for no Reason !
Jerusalem has and will always be the capitol of Israel

Doc’s friend #2:  Yeah, they pretty much did start shooting Palestinians for no reason…And Jews own the media, so they always spin the news in Israel’s favor, not the other way around…Do you really think Jesus would be on the side of Israel in these mismatched confrontations Because you must be reading a different Bible than me…

Doc’s friend #2:  What planet are you living on? Not a single one of our elected officials dares ever criticize Israel, because of the Jewish Lobby! I say educate yourself!

Doc’s friend #2:  They killed unarmed people! You just can’t spin that any good way, so you shouldn’t even try…

Doc’s friend #2:  I’m sorry, but Jesus was not a war monger, like so many of today’s American Christians! So I’m afraid you’re following the Anti-Christ, instead of all loving Jesus Christ…Behind me, Satan!!

Fundie #4:  the Palestinians were warned not to go near the border fence, they were not innocent victims here, they were rioting, lighting tires on fire to create a smoke screen and throwing things at the Israeli soldiers, Irael, like every country, has a right to defend its borders period.

Doc’s friend #2:  Non lethal measures would’ve been more than sufficient…You can’t justify what they did, no matter how you try and spin it!

Fundie #4:  Not when one is dealing with a group of people whose stated purpose is to destroy the couintry, which is what the stated purpose of the Palestinian Authority. They do not want peace, they want Israel gone and will do anything they can to make it happen. The PA pays people who kill Israeli citizens, and are the ones who bussed in the protesters to the border fence, there is no question that lethal force was justified.

Doc’s friend #2:  No, their stated purpose is to take back their land from a bunch of thieving European Gypsys, who converted to Judaism around 800 years ago!

Fundie #4:  it was never the palestinians land to begin with the land belongs to the children of Israel. Not to mention the Balfour document, ratified by both the league of natiions and the united nations promising to give the land to the children of Israel. add that 1. there is no such race as a palestinian and 2. look at pictures of the area from the late 1800s and early 1900s, no one lived there, it was a barren wasteland until the children of Israel moved back home and built it. so no, they are not trying to take back their land, they are trying to take the land from its rightful owners. the stated purpose of hamas and the palestinian authority is to dsstroy israel they clearly state this in their charters.

Doc’s friend #2:  Sorry, you can’t just come in after a 2,000 year absence, and just take people’s land based on your own Holy Book…And the Balfour Declaration was just a “British statement of support for a Jewish homeland”, hardly a legally binding document…And since Jerusalem’s founding 5,000 years ago, the Hebrews or Jews have only controlled it for about 100 years, before the modern era…So, sorry if it conflicts with their religious texts, but since God didn’t tell it to anyone else in the entire world, we have no way to verify it…And most of the Jews causing all the problems are Europeans who converted around 800 years ago, and have zero historical connection to the region, at all…None whatever!

Fundie #5:  First off, there never was a country called Palestine for there to be such as thing as a Paelstinian. The region, while under the Roman empire called Judea, referring to Jerusalem and the territory of the Jews, was renamed Palestine by the Romans in 70AD following a perceived rebellion, which caused Rome to destroy Jerusalem and rename the territory to erradicate reference to the Jews. Palestine simply means occupied land, it is not a true name. Second, the area was unihabitied, again, look at pictures of it from the late 1800s and early 1900s, it was a barren wasteland, no houses, no cities, no villages, so any claim of ancetral homeland by the so called “Palestinains” is false, no one lived there. Third, the Balfour document is relevant in that, it was written in 1917, not long after World War I, when the allies, who had defeated the Ottoman empire that had controled the land for almost 800 years (basically following the collapse of the Roman empire), were dividing the land into the countries that now exist in the middle east. Those countries did not exist before the 1900s and were create by the western nations. England was in control of the Ottoman empire’s land, they were in a large part responsible for helping form the new countries, including, setting aside land for the creation of a Jewish state, now known as Israel. The Balfour document set the stage for htis to happen and to establish the boundaries of that land. The League of Nations ratified the Balfour document and the plan before is disolved. The plans were put on hold due to the depression, then World War II, following WWII, the United Nations again ratified the pland, England pulled out of the area, leaving the countries, though with new borders resulting from WWII and who supported the allies during the war (they gotr more land), tro form the counrties, in 1948, Israel declared itself a country, was recognized by the United States, then by the United Nations as such. iIn 1967, during the six days war, Israel won the war and traded the land once belonging to Syria, and Jordan known as the old city of Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank in exchange for cessation of hostilities. When ISrael was founded, their original declaration stated they would extend citizenship to all arabs living in the aream but, the arab nations around them told those arabs to get out, so they could get in and started a war with Israel, which Israel won. Those who left had gone to the lands Israel received at the end of the six days war, the host countries, Syria and Jordan would not let them into their countries, instead, they were left straded there in the land that now belongs to Israel. So yes, the Balfour document is relevant, and the land belongs to Israel, not the so called “Paelestinans”. They had moved into the land when Israel started building cities and farming the land, looking for jobs, and ended up left behind by their own countrymen following the war, pure and simple.

Doc’s friend #2:  I call bullshit! These Palestinian homes that are being confiscated, have been in those families for generations…And Israel is currently a war criminal nation, which every other country, except the Israel ass kissing USA, agrees with!! And the Romans first used the term Syria Palestina in the 2nd centurty, so that kind of blows that lie out of the water too!!

Doc’s friend #2:  you chauvinists who try and dehumanize these people are the real problem!!

Fundie #5:  I said Rome had renamed the area. no those homes have not been in families for generations, again look at the old photos of the area nothing was there. learn your history

Fundie #5:  I am to dehumanizing anyone just pointing out the land belongs to Israel. the alleged palestinians are in fact jordaians or syrians there was never a country of palestine.

Mon amie:  you may want to sit down for this 😬:

500+ = # of years my family has lived in Nazareth 🇵🇸 (yes, we have proof)

70 = # of years Israel has been in existence (They just celebrated their birthday on Monday 🎉🇮🇱

242 in July = # of years since America’s Independence was declared/established 🇺🇸

Conclusion: If you’re implying that Palestinians don’t exist, then you’re also implying that AMERICANS don’t exist, because my family has lived in Nazareth more than TWICE as long as our country has been in existence.
How does that make you feel 🤔???

 

Five days ago…

Fundie #5:  there never was a country or tribe called palestine for there to be palestinians, those living in the region are syrian, jordanian, arab, or egyptian.

Doc’s friend #2:  And all those Jews there are Europeans with ZERO connection to the area whatever! And Christi already told you her family goes back at least 500 years in Nasareth! So explain to me once again how a bunch of Europeans, who converted to Judaism 800 years ago, are entitled to ANY of that land..And don’t bring up the Balfour declaration again…You’ve already worn out that argument!!

Mon amie:  I appreciate your efforts, but since Fundie is sticking to the “Hasbara Handbook”, he’s just wasting our time. He’s argued with my friend  about things he knows nothing about. One would think that Fundie would pause and think about the fact that Jews like my friend don’t just spend a lot of time defending Palestinians and other Arabs via social media and in person, they organize, protest in the US, Gaza & West Bank with their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Why would they go to all of that trouble if Palestinians didn’t exist? Since Fundie literally argued with a Jewish person about this, I’m not exactly optimistic about the chances he’ll be swayed by my nonexistent arse 😁. But the good news is there’s nothing Fundie can do about the growing support and advocacy for Palestinians. Our movement has never been stronger, and every crime committed by Israel’s racist government only adds more supporters 💪🏼✌🏼💕.

 

Four days ago…

Moi:  Fundie, sorry, but that is hasbara spin. You recite it very well, but none of it is true.

Fundie #5:  Jacques d’Nalgar what is untrue? That there never was a tribe or country called palestine, that part is historical fact, the land of Judea was renamed palestine by the romans, palestine means occipied land and does not refer to any particular people or tribe. Thus there is no such thing as a palestinian. The fact that the land was for the most part barren is also true, look at old pictures from the late 1800s and early 1900s of the area, there is almost literally nothing there, mostly because there is no fresh water and little vegetation to survive. People travelled through there but not many lived there.

Moi:  Fundie, every bit of it. It’s all hasbara bullshit.

https://www.independent.co.uk/…/gaza-palestine-israel…

Fundie #5:  It is historical fact not a spin. I have seen the pictures, and read historical documentation, that was peer reviewed as part of a research project.

Moi:  Fundie,  if I showed you the official Palestinian agriculture exports records from the 1800s would it make any difference? I suspect not, but figured I’d ask anyway. I would very much like to see/read your peer-reviewed research project… And have you now read Mr. Fisk’s most recent article? If so, what particulars did you find most objectionable? Have you read anything by Israel’s “new historians”? If so, what are your objections based on?

Fundie #5:  I posted many, though not all of the articles in response to another question, that were used in my research. As for the “Palestinian” argriculture reports, what area are they from, as what was called Palestine encompassed a rather large area? The photographs I saw were mostly from the area around Jerusalem, Rachel’s tomb, etc. Also, in the 1800s, this area was owned by and part of the Ottoman Empire, not an independent country, which again goes to the fact that there never was a country of Palestine, an area named Palestine, yes, but not a country.

Moi:  Here’s an 1851 map of “Modern Palestine” – zoom in and see for yourself how many towns, villages, and cities there were (Zionists have been busy destroying all traces of as many of these as they can). Unless you think the map is Ottoman “fake news” in which case it is pointless to continue this conversation. I’ve noticed your argument has now switched from “there were no people there when the Zionists showed up” to “yeah, well Palestine was never a REAL country, so there!” Sorry, but this becoming ludicrous. Facts and history do not mesh with your hasbara/eschatological fantasies…
https://upload.wikimedia.org/…/Modern_Palestine%2C…

 

Three days ago…

Moi:  Source: McCarthy, Justin, The Population of Palestine, Columbia University Press: New York, 1990, pp. 10, 35.

Fundie #5:  A., it was not a country, it was a territory, B. Palestine simply means occupied land and is not the name of a country or people, C. It is a large area, so there may have been people scattered about, but the specific areas e.g. around Jerusalem, Rachel’s tomb, etc. as of the late 1800s, early 1900s had nothing there. Pictures taken at the time do not lie. They show barren land and little else.

Moi:  Oh, and now it been turned green by the magic of Zionism and ethnic cleansing?! By the way, pictures lie – all the time…

Moi:  A detailed accounting of the agricultural production in Palestine for the season of 1944-1945, by the British Mandate for the United Nations in 1946-7.

Source: Survey of Palestine, prepared by the British Mandate for the United Nations, p. 323-327. Notes:

* Value in Palestinian Pound.

** Non-citrus fruits. Note Citrus production=248,274 dunums of which 120,897 dunums were Jewish owned (Supplement to Survey of Palestine, p. 37).

*** One Dunum = 1,000 sq. meters.

Fundie #5:  The concept of there not being a Palestinian people or country had been part of my point all along, it was not a switch. And yes, there were small enclaves here and there, but not like what they are trying to claim, and most of the key areas they are trying to claim were vacant I refer to the pictures taken in the 1890s to 1910 or so which show these areas devoid of anytrhing.

Moi:  Fundie, so the population counts I showed you are bogus? If you know anything at all about agrarian society in the Levant (and I have my suspicions), “enclaves” have been the norm for millennia. Everything else is farmland or for grazing or too inhospitable for anything but wandering or self-discovery. “Enclaves” are not an open invitation for land theft and ethnic cleansing. Your continued attempts to justify Zionism are pathetic…

Moi:  Mon amie, I think we’re probably wasting our time…

Mon amie:  Agreed

 

Two days ago…

Moi:  Mon amie, not sure if you’re familiar with the Arabic word “tel” (it’s the same in Hebrew). Means “hill” or “small mountain” – in archeology, they’re artificial mounds left after successive communities (enclaves to some) built over the ruins and rubble of earlier ones. They’re all over the Levant (Al Mashriq) – arable Land was to precious for modern phenomena of urban sprawl. That’s another cultural indicator that European and American Jews are strangers in a strange land. They seem to think “their” Eretz Israel is supposed to be a giant suburb…

Fundie #5:  The areas in the photos were inhospitable as you call it then. And yes, as a Christian, I believe the land eternally belongs to the children of Israel. God promised them a return and they have. Also the Mosque on op of the temple mount is meaningless as Mohammed and his horse were never in jerusalem. So, the temple mount should be restored as well.

Moi:  Fundie, as a Christian, I respectfully disagree. Your ideas are hasbara horseshit peddled on a shaky foundation of piss-poor exegesis that was fabricated by a bunch of flim-flam grifters pretending to be fundamentalist preachers. These eminently un-Christian (dare I say anti-Christian) ideas are only a few hundred years old and didn’t reach their present rabid fever pitch until 1948. Go read a book or two. And not the “Left Behind” apocalypse porn. I’d suggest starting with the book below. Oh, and if you’re suggesting tearing down an ancient building (an architectural masterpiece, actually) just because it doesn’t fit your shallow theology, then you’re just a Christianist-Zionist barbarian – no different than the Taliban or ISIS…

https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Land-Testament…/dp/0801038987

Fundie #5:  I never read the left behind series, plus I disagree with the false teaching in them that Christ comes before the 7 years tribulation, the Bible is very clear, his return is after the 7 years.

Fundie #5:  But the book I do read is the Bible, which promises the children of Israel will return to their land, found in Ezekiel.

Moi:  Why don’t you spend about 8 minutes watching this and then get back to me? Good to know you’re able to decipher the Bible without any help…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=CQoxoZn3EpI

Moi:  And before you tear down a 1300-year old treasure in your bizarre belief that it will force Jesus to come get you for your magic rapture bus ride outa here, why not see what you and your fellow Christianist-Zionist terrorists are so desperate to destroy:

https://interactive.aljazeera.com/…/al-aqsa…/index.html

Moi:  I don’t know what Bible you read, but mine is a sprawling 66-book library, written over thousands of years by dozens of authors in multiple languages—professing to speak of the deepest truths about the creation of all matter, the beginning and end of life on the planet as well as beyond it, and about the Maker of everything and everyone. We’d better have some ambiguity about it all—or we’ve discovered a God who is small enough to fit entirely inside our three-pound brains or our current belief system.

Wish I could take credit for writing that, but it’s from John Pavlovitz, another Christian who probably thinks you’re bonkers:

https://johnpavlovitz.com/…/christians-need-stop…/

 

Yesterday…

Fundie #5:  I read the same Bible as you then.

Fundie #5:  I am familiar with the complex, however, it is built upon a false premise and had no real religious importance, the concept of Mohammed ever being in Jerusalem is ridiculous, he was never there, period.

Moi:  Fundie, you are no different than a hasbara troll, and a barbarian. How much archaeological evidence is there in your precious Israel that most of the stories about its many revered relics are anything but myth? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way…

Fundie #5:  There is considerable evidence of the truch of the Bible in the archeological history of the land there

Moi:  Fundie, most “biblical archaeology” is unscientific research intended to support a foregone conclusion. So no, there is not considerable evidence. Your response is bullshit.

Fundie #5:  archeological evidence is ar heological evidence there is no Biblical versus nonBiblical archeology. Unless you mean just because it does not match your ideology that the Bible is not true it is wrong If you do not believe it, why read it or be a Chtistian to begin with

Moi:  Because something deeper and more profound than a literalist reading of a supposedly inerrant Bible compels me to be a Christian.

Moi:  By the way, I used to be a strict literalist with an elaborate eschatology. I regret the years wasted in that intellectual/spiritual straight jacket…

 

Today…

Fundie #5:  Never said I am a strict literalist.

Moi:  Fundie, no need to: “…the false teaching in them that Christ comes before the 7 years tribulation, the Bible is very clear, his return is after the 7 years.”

Fundie #5:  yes, he comes after the 7 years, which Jesus himself taught as in Matthew and Mark, however he does not return to whisk the believers aways, instead it is to set up the mellinial reign on Earth.

 

Photograph of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, by Berthold Werner, 10 November 2008.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jerusalem_Dome_of_the_rock_BW_3.JPG or http://bit.ly/HGOQdS

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/05/28/suffering-fools/

A wrinkle in time

Sometime in the mid-1930s, when my dad was about 12, a Ford Tri-Motor (aka “The Tin Goose”) flew onto a cow pasture just outside of Holdenville, Oklahoma.  For the next several days, for the mere price of a bread wrapper and fifty cents, a person could buy a short flight.  Bereft of even a half-dollar in those Depression days, my father spent every afternoon and evening at that pasture, watching as the airplane took off and landed.

On the last day of this rare barnstorming visit, after it was already dark, he felt a hand on his shoulder.  When he turned and looked, it was his father (my grandfather).  Fearful that he was about to be scolded for neglecting his studies and chores, the question instead was a gentle, “Would you like to go?”

The unspoken answer was “Yes!”  My father bounded onto the airplane, the first passenger of that last flight.  Four flares were ignited, one on each corner of the pasture.  The pilot moved up to the cockpit and checked the condition of the tires with a flashlight (the totality of his pre-flight safety inspection).  My father sat on a wood crate next to him and recalls he was smoking a cigar.

The pilot looked down at him and winked and off they went into the night sky.  As they circled over Holdenville, the only thing my father recognized was a brightly lit downtown grocery store.  For 15 minutes or so they circled the area and then finally returned to that flare-lit cow pasture.  It was only after they landed that my father looked around and noticed that my grandfather had been sitting behind him all along…

Today was one of those moments when two generations connect via the touchstones of a shared experience.  A 1929 Ford Tri-Motor came to Hot Springs, Arkansas this week.  If only for an hour or so, I caught a glimpse of what the world must have been like through the eyes of a wide-eyed boy, now my 93-year old father, in a simpler time and place.

— Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar, Samedi 12 mai 2018

PS — my father first told me this story about fifty years ago, when I was assembling and painting a plastic model of a Ford Tri-Motor.  Over the years I seem to have embellished my memories (an old family tradition) with flotsam and jetsam from books and movies about those early decades of powered flight.  For example, I was certain he had helped carry cans of fuel for the pilot in exchange for that final ride.  This retelling of the story, based on his still vivid recollection, returns it to its original simplicity.

His fascination with aviation has never waned.  When we talked this morning, he recalled another incident, when two “brand-new” military aircraft landed in that same pasture.  Or at least tried to.  One was successful, and he still remembers the pilot’s high leather boots, tan tie, and flared riding pants.  The other pilot overshot the pasture and landed in a cotton patch.  The airplane somehow remained upright, and my father and other boys crawled through a barbed-wire fence and ran to see what had happened.  All he remembers now is that the plane was significantly damaged, and the pilot was so agitated his mustache was “going up and down.”  My father went on to fly in the last months of WW2 as a B-17 navigator (there is more on Levantium about that), and then later spent decades in Beirut as a Baptist missionary and educator.  Those were the years when I crash-landed onto this bloody little planet, in a forsaken piece of paradise called Lebanon…

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2018/05/12/a-wrinkle-in-time/