Sunday, January 4

Silent on Gaza?

My response to the situation in Gaza: I am getting quiet. That does not mean I have no human concern, outrage, worry, or sense of what is right and wrong. Hardly. Specifically, I want the one side that has dominated our foreign policy for over half a century to stop doing so. I sense with real anguish that things much get much worse for that to happen.

The awful violence in the Middle East is being reflected in the tiny insignificant mirror of certain blog comment threads. Lots of typists screaming and name-calling with no consciousness of their own addiction to outrage, self-righteousness, and moral superiority.

Incidentally, the entire Bush Administration has been a real meth lab for those addictions.

I'm waking up to a sense that all the noise has to stop, at least here in my own head. That's the place I can at least try to control.

A couple of resources I'm finding helpful: J. Brent Bill's Holy Silence (Quaker perspective), and David Cooper's Silence, Simplicity, and Solitude (Buddhist perspective).

Along these same lines, I have no interest in arguing with those who feel prayer and meditation are "doing nothing."


  1. prayer, medatation, vibes...

    they all work wonders.

    and they have the added benefit of not raising one's blood pressure of saying something regretable.

  2. I think this is one of the most thoughtful posts I've seen on the topic so my bit of art work.

  3. Anonymous5:45 PM

    In my house silence on this discussion isn't a matter of choice, it's a matter of necessity. So far I've been shutting my eyes and hoping for the best, but now I can't ignore the issue as it's all over the news. Still can't discuss it, though.

  4. Ah! I knew it! It all makes more sense now. Chimpy the tweeker. I could just tell there was something not right with that boy.
    I agree with your take on Gaza, mainly because I'm not there and can't really know much except what someone else wants me to know. I am generally not in favor of taking the bait. My informed opinion is likely all I get concerning this situation (and many others) so perhaps I should take care where and how I get it. That is, if I really do give a rat's ass about it as I claim to. About the doing of nothing: more and more I find nothing is all I am qualified to do about this issue or that, especially since the stroke I had last spring. So I agree with Sherry's comment about the raising of one's blood pressure, and thus the general tone of the post. Thank you for the calmer perspective.
    -Doug in Oakland

  5. BG,

    I have had a pen pal for about 8 years in Amman. She doesn't answer the emails anymore, she was very pro American but the last few years that has waned. No I don't hear from her. I know that prayer works, I've seen it work. So tonight I will add this human situation into my prayers. I'd be remiss not to mention something else I strongly believe in, Charter For Compassion. Look it up. Peace to all ...

  6. I feel strangely quiet about this seemingly intractable war. I remember back to 1970 (I was 11) -- which war was it ... I forget, but I know it was in the Middle East. I was terrified one day while in the car with my parents while they listened to some ominous radio-news reports ... Even my father sounded rattled as he made is comments ...

    Now I sincerely wonder if the entire Middle East will eventually combust due to all the heat ... It's an aridly hot region to begin with, and for years now, countless rockets, bombs and other weapons have been bringing constant fire and adding to the already oppressive heat ... I also wonder if the heat's gotten to people over time to the point that they never get relief from it ... and inescapable heat can drive a person quite mad ... What happens when a brain overheats and stays overheated ... ?

  7. Silence- yes, in the quiet.

    I feel similarly.

    This is exactly the sort of post that makes this blog so brilliant. Thank you.

    It says more than any long essay or post. Much more.

  8. Anonymous11:33 AM

    please read this
    and please re-post

  9. I'm posting the permalink to Jim Reed's blogpost so people who read this later will find what he's talking about. Thanks, Jim.

  10. What is the Liberal & Quaker take on Ezekial 38 and Daniel 11? I already know the Fundamentalist-Hal Lindsey take which relates those two books of Scripture to this situation. Not being a Protestant myself, I have become curious about this situation.

    I don't exactly think this is the Armagedon Scenario, but it does suspiciously look like the precursor situation analogous to Armeggedon that Fimbulwinter would be to Ragnorok.

  11. Anonymous2:06 PM

    "Along these same lines, I have no interest in arguing with those who feel prayer and meditation are 'doing nothing.'"

    Thanks for saying that.

  12. what the palestinians are experiencing is Karma,reap what you sow, all that hate,killing, shooting, etc, is now coming back to them
    The same can be said about the U.S. economy, the banks, etc, all that greed, lies, cheating, etc, Karma, reap what you sow,
    It's unfortunate though that it affects everyone,
    I agree, prayer, does work wonders

  13. Anonymous12:09 PM

    It is what it is, systematic ethnic cleansing at it's most efficient. Bombing hospitals?

  14. I wouldn't even begin to talk about karma in this situation, but then I don't own a pet viper and let it run loose in my house, either. Might come back to bite me, you know?

    Hush now Blue Gal, back to holy silence...

  15. The kind of story Israel does not want told...

    This story in Britain's "The Independent" should be read by all who support what Israel is doing in Gaza. I'm printing a couple of clips here, but the whole story is worth reading.

    Don't get me wrong, I support Israel and its right to exist and I am absolutely against Hamas and its anti-Israel policies. But that is not an excuse for the Israelis to create their own Holocaust by killing innocent Pakistanis.

    Gaza: The death and life of my father
    For Fares Akram, The Independent's reporter in Gaza, the Israeli invasion became a personal tragedy when he discovered his father was one of the first casualties of the ground war

    The phone call came at around 4.20pm on Saturday. A bomb had been dropped on
    the house at our small farm in northern Gaza. My father was walking from the
    gate to the farmhouse at the time. It was our beloved place, that farm and
    its two-storey white house with a red roof. Nestled in a flat fertile
    agricultural plain north-west of Beit Lahiya, it had lemon groves, orange
    and apricot trees and we had recently acquired 60 dairy cows.

    My father, Akrem al-Ghoul, was no militant. Born in Gaza and educated in
    Egypt, he was a lawyer and a judge who worked for the Palestinian Authority.
    After Hamas took over, he quit and turned to agriculture. Dad's father,
    Fares, who had been driven out of his home in what is now Israeli Ashkelon
    in 1948, had bought the land in the 1960s.

    During the second intifada and until the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the farm was taken over by Israeli settlers, but after 2005 we went there every holiday. In Gaza, the only escape is the beach or, if you are lucky enough, the farmland. My father hated what Hamas was doing to Gaza's legal system, introducing Islamist justice, and he completely opposed violence. He would have worked hard for a just settlement with Israel and a better future for Palestinians. When the PA gained control over the West Bank, he moved to Ramallah to help establish the courts there.

    My grief carries no desire for revenge, which I know to be always in vain. But, in truth, as a grieving son, I am finding it hard to distinguish between what the Israelis call terrorists and the Israeli pilots and tank crews who are invading Gaza. What is the difference between the pilot who blew my father to pieces and the militant who fires a small rocket? I have no answers but, just as I am to become a father, I have lost my father.

    When you have read all of the article, start thinking about what we, as Americans who support Israel should do if the Israelis don't listen to the complaints of the civilized world. They have been very good at keeping reporters out of the fracas, and this story reveals that there is more going on than they allow us to hear or see.

    It is a lot like us in Iraq.

    Under The LobsterScope


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