Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2 of my recent letters to the NYTimes RE Israel/Palestine & Freedom Of, and from, Religion

"I’d been reading up on comparative religion. The thing is that all major religions have the Golden Rule in Common. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Not always the same words but the same meaning.–Norman Rockwell, The Norman Rockwell Album.
... From photographs he’d taken on his 1955 round-the-world Pam Am trip, Rockwell referenced native costumes and accessories and how they were worn. He picked up a few costumes and devised some from ordinary objects in his studio, such as using a lampshade as a fez. Many of Rockwell’s models were local exchange students and visitors. In a 1961 interview, indicating the man wearing a wide brimmed hat in the upper right corner, Rockwell said, “He’s part Brazilian, part Hungarian, I think. Then there is Choi, a Korean. He’s a student at Ohio State University. Here is a Japanese student at Bennington College and here is a Jewish student. He was taking summer school courses at the Indian Hill Museum School.” Pointing to the rabbi, he continued, “He’s the retired postmaster of Stockbridge. He made a pretty good rabbi, in real life, a devout Catholic. I got all my Middle East faces from Abdalla who runs the Elm Street market, just one block from my house.” Some of the models used were also from Rockwell’s earlier illustration, United Nations." Rockwell's "Golden Rule"

Dear Editor,

Freedom of, and from, religion: American taxpayers should not be forced to fund a new Embassy in Israel- or Israel's supposed "Jewishness".

Israel, a heavy armed sovereign modern nation state, wants the land, but not the native non-Jewish population of that land.  This is not at all like long ago when America was settled.  People of every race and religion came to America, many to escape religious persecution.

America's settlement by Europeans was a less enlightened, dangerously primitive era. Slavery (and inequality) was part of life for most every nation on earth, and had been since before biblical times. But even so, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution and our Bill of Rights laid the foundation for real freedom, justice, respect and opportunity for all, regardless of race or religion.

172 years later, the very same year that modern Israel was established in 1948, after the Nazi Holocaust, The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights made it quite clear to all the world that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world"

Israel's sovereign choice to perpetually persecute and impoverish Palestinian men, women and children has made the Israel-Palestine conflict and refugee crisis what it is today.... and that is huge tragedy for everyone.

Anne Selden Annab


RE Trump Is Making a Huge Mistake on Jerusalem, By HANAN ASHRAWI

Dear Editor,

Good to see the marvelous Hanan Ashrawi again speaking out at a crucial time, doing all she can to help more Americans understand the very real plight and suffering of the Palestinians.

It is a huge tragedy with devastating consequences that so many Americans, including Trump and his son-in-law, don't see how wrong it is to force tax payers (here and there) to fund Israel's religious "scholars" and schemes including Israel's land grabbing "Settlements" in the illegally occupied territories.

Anne Selden Annab

Friday, December 8, 2017

My 12-7-2017 letter to The Guardian RE Freedland: Donald Trump’s Jerusalem statement is an act of diplomatic arson

‘The place that represents the nuclear core … the site Muslims call the Haram al-Sharif and Jews call the Temple Mount.’ Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images
RE: Freedland: Donald Trump’s Jerusalem statement is an act of diplomatic arson
Donald Trump’s Jerusalem statement is only arson because so many journalists, pundits, religious extremists, hate mongers on all sides...etc... provide the kindling, the match, pour on the gasoline and enthusiastically fan the flames of the fire.

Why not calmly call for every one, no matter who they are or where they live, to peacefully, compassionately, and quite reasonably insist that Trump also recognize East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital.

And why not remind Trump of America's cherished ideal of freedom of (and from) religion: Religion should be a private personal matter, not a state funded project. 

Why not peacefully, compassionately, and quite reasonably point out how sovereign Israel has been consistently violating the basic human rights of the native non-Jewish population of the Holy Land?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Radio Greetings, a story about 1967 in Palestine by Mike Hanini Odetalla

Jordan, 1955. Refugees form a line for food at a camp in Amman. In the aftermath of the 1948 war, many Palestinian refugees relocated to neighboring countries -- Syria, Jordan and Lebanon -- as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Three Lions/Getty Images 

Radio Greetings...

I was listening to the radio a while back during a long drive, when I heard people relating greetings to fellow co-workers and friends...A "shout out" to use the slang of today!

My thoughts went back in time. Back to the time when I was a child in Palestine. Back to the time when there were no telephones or electricity in most of the rural villages. This was the time, just after the 1967 war. There was no cell phones, TV's, or computers. Also there was no regular mail service between Israel and the Arab countries.

We had an old radio that was sent to us by my father who was in Venezuela, South America at that time. This radio was our prized link to the outside world. We used to listen to the broadcasts from the surrounding Arab countries. These included News, Music, and other forms of entertainment. On Friday afternoons, there would be broadcasts of taped greetings. Palestinians living in the refugee camps outside of Palestine (the Diaspora), would go to the radio stations and tape a short greeting that would be broadcast over the airwaves, and hopefully heard by their relatives. Sometimes they knew where their relatives had ended up, other times they were more of a plea for information...Hope!

My mom and the other neighborhood women would sit silent and listen to these taped greetings with tears pouring down their faces. I will never forget my mother sitting there and crying along with our people on the radio. These people were usually women sending greetings to mothers, fathers, and other siblings. There were also sons and daughters sending greetings to their parents.

Most of these people had no contact or any other means of contact with their loved ones. So they would go and record a short message in the hope that their loved one happened to be alive and listening.

These messages were absolutely heart wrenching, especially when a mother would come on and start saying," Ya Ibni Ya Habibi ( My son, my love) and then they would start crying as they say how much they love him and miss him. Or when a daughter would come on and start by saying," Ya Oumy ya rouhi ( My mother, my soul) and start telling her mother how she misses her, loves her, and how her kids keep asking about her and so on. They would almost always break down in tears as they were delivering their message. The emotions were just too much...

Being a child of 6 years of age, I truly didn't understand nor fully comprehend the importance of what was happening. I hated these programs because they made my mother cry for hours on end. I blamed theses poor tortured souls for causing so much sadness to my mother. Not until I was older, did I fully comprehend the pain and anguish these refugees were going through. This was their only way of trying to contact long fractured families. This was their only outlet to send a message to their loved ones.

They were in essence casting a bottle, filled with the message of their loneliness and hope, into the sea of their exile from their native land and the people that were left behind, or exiled elsewhere...

Mike Odetalla 3-2012 All Rights Reserved!