Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is It For Freedom?

Mourning the Innocent Lives Lost in Gaza

Sara Thomsen was one of the musicians that sang at our Peace Island Picnic in September. Although she originally wrote this song years ago in response to the suffering of the children of Iraq, its lyrics are again so applicable, sadly enough, to the children who have been killed, wounded and starved in Gaza.

Is It For Freedom?

Rulers of the nations as you fuss and fight
Over who owns this or that and who has the right
To design, build, sell and store and fire
All the bombs and guns to defend your holy empire

There are children hungry, children sick and dying
There are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers crying
They're only pawns in your play of power and corruption
Slowly starve them, your new weapon of mass destruction

And prove to me, America, that you care
And prove to me, America, that you're aware
Who's dying for your freedom in this land
Who pays the cost for the liberties you demand?

Is it for freedom, or our comfort and convenience
Is it to profit for big business we pledge our allegiance?
Are we prisoners in the land of the brave and the bold?
Held by indifference or hearts grown hard and cold?

Children of the world, you have the right
To sing and dance, run and play, let your dreams take flight
As the innocent die, you rulers carry the shame
And if we stand idly by, we share in the blame.

And oh America, do we care?
Oh, America, are we aware?
Who's dying for our comfort in this land?
Who pays the cost for the convenience we demand?

Let's not forget the quote (from Israeli historian Yahuda Bauer) that hangs on a wall of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.:
Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
Especially with the U.S. voting to block United Nations’ action for a ceasefire, it is important for Americans to show they care. Please write and speak out wherever you are. If you are in Minnesota, please come out to the MN State Capitol, 75 Rev ML King Blvd, St Paul on Monday, January 5th at 1 pm, and wear all black to mourn the innocent lives lost in Gaza and urge the U.S. to support diplomacy instead of violence.


  1. Vigilante: It's difficult for me to talk about Israeli-Palestinian. It has to be one of the most intractable problems on earth. But I do appreciate Presidents Clinton and President for trying. President Clinton worked on this issue until the very day he left office. Then Bush came in and did nothing.

    Now, I pray for the children the families in Gaza.

  2. Difficult for me, too MacDaddy. In order for me to open up on this "intractable problem", I have to lay down foundations, principles, structure, analysis, qualifiers, etc. Coleen? She just jumps in and says what rightfully bothers her (mightily!), for which I'm immensely grateful.

    I am given to be cerebral and symmetrical in assigning shame and blame to this historical knot called Palestine.

    But visceral reaction of Americans to the injustices abroad caused by their foreign policy - if only in part - is rare. So when politics over this issue goes into the streets, I'll go with it in full support. I have always believed the street brings heat and heat bring enLIGHTenment.

    Barack Obama needs to feel some heat from the Left, since it's always going to be there on the right.

    I'll have more to say on this subject as my time permits. In the meantime, hats off to Agent Rowley for her continuing service to her country.

  3. For a much more cerebral and symmetrical view--that only turns slightly asymmetrical near the end, you can read Marty Kaplan's blog piece: Eyeless in Gaza.

    And altho’ I think it favors the neo-con point of view, National Journal Experts discuss the (harsh, cold) Realpolitik and Machiavellian reality that currently prevails amongst almost all U.S. leadership: Is Israel A Strategic Liability For The United States?

    What is truly a no-brainer, however, is how wrong the bloodshed of children and civilians is. Ultimately war is always a racket that does not benefit the people, it only benefits the elites.

    I'm a firm believer in the idea that all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.

  4. As long as the dying is out of sight (because you can always turn off the television), for most Americans it completely out of mind.

  5. I agree with everyone that posted here today and that is rare indeed. Secondly Vigil we have to stop duplicating subjects:-)

    I posted a piece written by Dreyfuss that speaks to this same issue. This is the last of George Bush's war crimes. As MacDaddy said he did nothing until the last several months of his presidency to try and fix the problem. He did less than any of this recent predecessors. While it may not have mattered given the history of the region he should at least have tried to do something to resolve this terrible conflict.

  6. Since Coleen thoughtfully introduced this group of statements under the auspices of National Journal Experts, let me quote comments of Michael F. Scheuer since they are brief and to the point:

    Israel is not only an unnecessary and self-made liability for the United States, it is an untreated and spreading cancer on our domestic politics, foreign policy, and national security. America has no genuine national security interests at stake in either Israel or Palestine; if they both disappeared tomorrow the welfare of Americans and the security of their country would not be impacted a lick. The Arab-Israeli religious war is a war that properly belongs solely to Israelis and Arabs; let them fight each other to the death with no interference in favor of either side from the United States. The continued, automatic, and idiotic identification of U.S. national interests as identical with Israel's made by our bipartisan political elite, the media, and those U.S. citizens who prefer Israeli to American security is only earning Americans deeper hatred and more wars with Muslims. There is no question that Israel has every right in the world to militarily defend itself to whatever extent it deems necessary, but neither Israel, the United States, nor any other nation has a "right" to exist. Nation-states survive if they can vanquish their enemies. The democratically elected Israeli govermment is right to try to vanquish Hamas; and the democratically elected Hamas regime has every right to try do the same to Israel. The point to keep squarely in view is that it does not matter to America's security who emerges the winner.

    I approve of this statement. It reinforces what I have been saying:

    Hamas' and Israeli leadership deserve each other. But the populations of both nations deserve better leadership. Let me add that just as we don't send billions of foreign aid to Hamas (a failed state), we shouldn't also send billions of foreign aid to Israel (also - obviously - a failed state). In short, until Israel does the right thing and returns lands seized from West Bank Arabs after the end of the 1973 war, we have no business reward its ethnic cleansing policies, whether official or unofficial.

    Thanks again, Agent Rowley, for this post.

  7. Vigilante, just a question:
    If the goal is to allow these two states to fight it out to the death, then why the call for Israel to return land won in a war in which they were attacked? If the standard is, "Let it happen" then let's accept that that's what happened. Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur--the holiest day of the Jewish year--and lost land in their defeat. How is it Israel's responsibility to give that back if--as you agree--no nation has a "right" to exist? That also means, I suppose, that no nation has a "right" to land it lost in a failed battle. Right?
    Just wondering.

    And you know we're still pals even though we'll never agree on this. :)

  8. E.:

    We both have strong feelings on this issue E, and we both have, I trust, high esteem for each other, so I am especially careful to make myself clear.

    When you raise the possibility of

    allowing these two states to fight it out to the death

    my first reaction is that the USA has so-far demonstrated no capability of disallowing this ongoing fight.

    Secondly, I took care (not enough as it seems) to specify West Banks lands taken by Israelis after the results of the 1973 war were defined/delineated. I do believe the 1973 Yom Kippur war results in favor of Israel are legit. It's what Israelis have taken since the conclusion of the war - and continue to this very day taking - which sticks in my craw.

  9. "Secondly, I took care (not enough as it seems) to specify West Banks lands taken by Israelis after the results of the 1973 war were defined/delineated. I do believe the 1973 Yom Kippur war results in favor of Israel are legit. It's what Israelis have taken since the conclusion of the war - and continue to this very day taking - which sticks in my craw."

    Well said, Vig!

  10. It's just so hard to stand by and do nothing. Regardless of which side you're fighting for, the killing of innocent children and others is saddening and beyond unnecessary. This has got to stop!