These are the random thoughts of Francine Russelle in Belenistan, 30 miles south of the Middle of Nowhere in New Mexico... Hoping that I can be a Hundredth Monkey whose BFO's (blinding flashes of the obvious) change the World we share.
Doing my best to stay out of the election fray this time around, but some things just can't be ignored: The fake outrage at Obama's 'lipstick on a pig' remark when it was obvious that the 'pig' to which Obama referred was the Bush policy and the 'lipstick' was the McCain camp's spin; the irresponsibility of McCain's choice of VP ... someone who will be one heartbeat away from the presidency chosen because she brings in 'the base' while having no understanding of international issues or relations and whose speech borders on warmongering with every declarative sentence; the deference of the media (McCain's true base) and the kid gloves worn around McCain (the war hero) and Palin (the little woman), refusing to call a lie a lie even as McCain's drawers go up in flames.
But I digress, as usual. In an era when a person's patriotism is measured by the size of his flag lapel pin, Palin's red, white and blue rhinestone broach is as large as her head! Is this supposed to be a measure of her love of country? The thing is so over the top, so tacky, so shiny, so ongepatshket (sin brechen) that I fear if it had one more rhinestone, the sheer weight of it would topple her over backwards!
It's not about the lipstick. It's not about the pig. It's about the damn flag pin!
The MSNBC crawl caught my eye this morning. Civilian casualties from a US air strike in Nuristan Provence, Afghanistan, now number 47, all members of a wedding party -- including the bride. The US military is investigating the incident.
Incident? Incident? We used to refer to collateral damage, e.g., when we dropped bombs on a wedding party in western Iraq in the first year of the war and tried to white wash it. Now, it seems, civilian casualties have been downgraded to "an incident" ...
If this had happened on a college campus in the US or to a Christian wedding party in Lebanon, it would be reported as a massacre.The press would be all over it for days with a CNN reporter rushing to the scene.
Incident? How cheap other peoples lives have become.
The 60th anniversary of the Nakba and I'm on another steroid rant. Bush 43 is celebrating in Israel while Gaza does without water and power and the Palestinians in the West Bank are on virtual lock down. How can a group of people be oblivious to the plight of its neighbor? It's too painful.
As I grow weaker, my ability to feel the pain of others only becomes more painful: the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the victims of the cyclone in Burma, the earthquake in China, the genocide in Darfur, the never ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan only add to the pain. I need to learn to differentiate between personal pain and Weltschmerz.
Listening to the news, even the 'real' news (Democracy Now, Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart), only creates exacerbation. Which leads to being back on steroids. But there is the occasional laugh along with the heartache, like when the local news anchor out of Albuquerque spoke of two troops killed by an IUD and didn't even realize her mistake.
Imagine, soldiers killed by contraceptives. Now that's an argument for the religious right.
God bless the people of Gaza. While the American media talks about Gaza being closed since the Hamas takeover (read election) last June, Gaza has been a prison for over 40 years. With the withdrawal of the settlers, the IDF totally surrounded this narrow strip of land and its 1.5 million citizens, bombing and bulldozing and terrifying children with nightly sonic booms. They've reinforced the walls on the north and east, the gates of which are rarely opened while the west is patrolled by the Israeli navy. As for the south, the wall separating Gaza from Egypt was built on the Palestinian side so that the area between Palestinian Rafah and Egyptian Rafah has been a no-man's land in theory. The Israelis have actual control of who comes and who goes, who lives and who dies. And countless innocents have died awaiting crossing and transport to hospitals and clinics outside of Gaza.
The fuel freeze of the last week was not the first. Gaza has been down to one working power plant for some time so electricity is scarce, the water pumps don't work and the sewage problem has actually killed women and children.
So watching the news of the women of Gaza trying to storm the Rafah crossing only to be turned back by the Egyptian army spewing water cannon and firing live rounds was disheartening, to say the least. But then, Tuesday night, reading the news of the wall tumbling down was breathtaking.
If only for a day or so, the people of Gaza will have had a taste of freedom. They will have petrol and medicine and flour and pride. And they will have the illusion of control for however long it lasts. God bless the people of Gaza. Allah Ma'kum.
After months of doubt about the success of the American surge in Iraq, today the Iraqi Parliament produced its first sign that the parties are reaching an agreement -- they've agreed to a new Iraqi flag. Although the new flag is considered "interim", pending a better flag within a year, agreement was reached to remove the three stars which originally symbolized pan-Arab unity and, when that didn't pan out, was changed to promote the ideals of the Ba'ath party. The new flag will retain its original colors but will include the Arab script inserted by Sadaam Hussein in 1991 in response to American threats over Iraqi's annexation of Kuwait. However, rather than looking as it did from 1991 through the fall of Sadaam, the script will be changed to the new and improved Kufic type font. The message remains the same: "Allahu Akbar".
At some point in the not too distant future, the Coalition of the "Whoops-Where-Did-Everybody-Go" will find an Arabic speaking translator to let them know that the phrase on the new and improved flag translates as "God is Great".
So the Pan-Arab flag, which was replaced by the Ba'ath Flag, which was replaced by the post-1991 flag promoting Sadaam's attempts at pacifying his Muslim citizens will now be replaced by a temporary Iraqi flag containing the Islamic rallying cry of "Allahu Akbar" (in new and improved Kufic type face).
Score one for the American Surge and its progress. Now if the Parliament can only agree to convene once again in the American-protected "Green Zone" and find a way to get the power back up and running, get potable water to the people, clean the streets of streams of sewage, find jobs in reconstruction for unemployed Iraqis, put the oil industry back in Iraqi hands, reopen safe schools and well-stocked hospitals and clinics, get the 2 million Iraqis who have left the country to return and find homes and jobs for the 2 million internally displaced, the Americans can claim that the Surge actually worked! And the Parliament can ask the Americans to leave.
Somehow, I don't find great hope in this. It's beyond FUBAR -- it's a tragedy of errors in cosmic proportion.