Sunday, July 13, 2014

Inhumanity and unexpected humanity

...If a gang of neo-Nazis had kidnapped a 16-year old boy in a London Jewish neighborhood in the dark of the night, driven him to Hyde Park, beaten him up, poured gasoline into his mouth, doused him all over and set him on fire – what would have happened?

... The chain of events was as follows:

Two Palestinians, apparently acting alone, kidnapped three Israeli teenagers who were trying to hitchhike at night from a settlement near Hebron. The objective was probably to use them as hostages for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The action went awry when one of the three succeeded in calling the Israeli police emergency number from his mobile phone. The kidnappers, assuming that the police would soon be on their tracks, panicked and shot the three at once. They dumped the bodies in a field and fled.

When the bodies of the three were found by tourist guides, the chorus of hatred reached a new crescendo. Soldiers posted tens of thousands of messages on the internet calling for “revenge”, politicians egged them on, the media added fuel, lynch mobs gathered in many places in Jerusalem to hunt Arab workers and rough them up.

Except for a few lonely voices, it seemed that all Israel had turned into a soccer mob, shouting “Death to the Arabs!”
So now we have Israel shooting residents of Gaza in their open air prison and bulldozing Palestinian houses in the West Bank, while Palestinians try to assert their agency under siege by shooting their ineffectual pop guns at Israeli cities. There can be no equivalence: this is a ruthless, modern state armed to the teeth with fancy weaponry (with US connivance, remember) bent on destroying a people whom they have dispossessed and wronged.

A letter sent out by Jewish Voice for Peace asks how long will the vicious notion be allowed to persist that :
Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian lives?
Just children, at a vigil for migrant justice
Meanwhile, in Texas (!), a Dallas judge is promoting a novel response to the mass influx of children crossing our southern border fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.
Clay Jenkins, a Democrat elected Dallas County judge in 2010, has a controversial plan for handling the recent massive influx of unaccompanied child migrants coming to Texas. Instead of immediately sending them back to where they came from, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry supports, or blocking buses from transferring migrants to local Border Patrol stations, as protesters in Murrieta, California, did recently, Jenkins wants to provide them shelter. ...

Clay Jenkins: I first saw media reports, and in my family we discuss what's going on with our lives. So I was telling my eight-year-old daughter that I was struggling with this because I felt that we needed to do something for these children. But at the same time it was a very complex problem.

She was asking why all the children were being detained on the border, and I was explaining it was for her security and protection. She explained to me, "But daddy, these aren't people, these are children."
Read the entire interview at Mother Jones.


Rain Trueax said...

My concern is what is the long-term plan? It's all very well to provide humanitarian housing for children and migrants but for how long and what comes next? I'd like to hear responsible leaders on both sides with more than partisan words where each says the same old, same old, but now what do we do as this is not a temporary problem; and if Central America continues on its path, this will grow. The amount of aid Obama is suggesting won't touch what's happened down there with the gang violence and the kind of poverty that breeds disease which will impact us, migrants or not, given how Americans love to travel to such places.

And it's not the only region with such issues. Africa is full of the problem. So what next? Platitudes don't solve problems and that's what the Statue of Liberty has. After you get the poor and sick, what do you do?

The hardest part of this is the impact on American poor as those in upper echelons who have good pensions or savings, it won't be hitting them. In fact having more low wage earners might help them.

The thing is platitudes feed nobody but they sure do sound good.

Hattie said...

Jan, Your thoughtfulness when dealing with these issues is so admirable. I got some "hate" e-mail on the subject of Palestine and won't talk about it any more, just work for justice and understand that there is no reasoning with the unreasonable. Above all, this is not a contest of equals. So any kind of on the one hand but on the other hand argument does not work here. BTW: The idea of the violent and diseased immigrant who will contaminate our country goes way back to the turn of the 20th Century. The subject: Your ancestors and mine!
I guess they sent the little kids in a plea for mercy. As if that would work on Americans! We went through a period of relative kindness toward the unlucky, as I remember from the 80's, when I was an ESL teacher, but that is all over. I never heard anyone make negative comments about Mexicans and Central Americans then, but there has been a real campaign against them going on for the past few years.
I'll bet that tales of American racism, gun violence, mass incarceration and STDs are being told in foreign countries. That might be the best way to keep immigration down. Who'd want to live in such a place?

Rain Trueax said...

It's been interesting on the Palestinian issue to talk to my Jewish friend. Her local community, including their Rabbi, is not happy with Israel. It's hard to say how much American Jews elsewhere support what they are doing. It's most fundamentalist Christians... or so called Christians who support them totally for reasons other than knowing they are right.

As for diseases among the impoverished, that is an issue here too with TB on the rise last I heard among our homeless. It's not paranoid. It's a fact. With the climate change, we're seeing some of that here with our antibiotics less effective. I think it's just the future.

janinsanfran said...

The chestnut about the dangerous diseases spread by immigrants was hauled out during the campaign in 1994 against California's attempt push back the immigrant tide at the state level. Prop. 187 was a vile initiative to deny immigrants without papers medical care and education. It was the *defenders* of migrants -- professional message consultants -- who thought this was the way to talk about people.

As you can imagine, the actual migrants, their relatives and their friends were not amused.

Moral revulsion turned out to be a force: Prop. 187 rode on to victory, but its Republican backers became emblematic of viciousness to Latinos and the children of that immigrant generation have swept them aside in the state. Ignorant cruelty can spark a backlash too.

Rain Trueax said...

I think the problem with ignoring diseases like say ebola is it assumes all illnesses can be cured and nothing can ever do again what happened in Europe in the Dark Ages. My son-in-law is a veterinarian with a second doctorate in virology. He says that there are dangerous diseases but it's not so much the ones that kill instantly as cholera used to do but the ones that let the patient travel and kill without any way to fight it. With cholera man learned it was water sources and did a lot to end the plague as it was one with the migrants in the US but it did kill fast, which with a plague is a good thing.

I don't know anything about what California was told but what I am talking about is poverty, disease and our failing antibiotics. Poverty in this country can do the same thing. You cannot bring thousands of kids up here, house them in a building like an orphanage and not expect some consequences unless you were born when I was when every disease had a solution. They don't anymore. And ignoring poverty here with some vague concept that we are too smart for plagues is asking for it. It's not scare talk. it's a fact that when you ignore pockets of poverty, things grow that you might think you can keep away from you because you don't live next door to it, but you really cannot.

Being a moderate, I am a practical person which means if you tell me something should be done, like the Statue of Liberty says, "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "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, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Then I want to know what is the plan? If we are taking in children with no parents, where do they go? If we really mean the world's poor and not just those from Europe, which is what that poem said, then how do we do it? I am no idealist and most extremists on the right or left are. What I am though is a voter and when someone wants something done which clearly will cost money. I want to know it benefits, in this case, of these children and doesn't just put them at the mercy of predators (which from what I heard was the reason for the 2008 law) and how do we pay for it. I am not against it as such. I just want more than platitudes which I do hear from many on the far right and far left who are idealists and stop short of the plan. So let in all migrants but what next? Most of the time it stops with 'let in.'

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