I have no time for you today, Bush. I'm in transition: from one house to another, one city to another, one computer system to another... Yes, we're finally giving up on PC here in my house, and swtitching to Apple. Lots of glitches to be taken care of. I'm anticipating a week of computer horrors. Anyway, I imagine you're pretty busy yourself Bush, so you won't miss my ramblings. I am pleased, though, to have a post from Cardozo to share with you. He's still in Israel, and it's good to hear first-hand from that part of the world... So here's
"Walking Toward Peace"
Posted by Cardozo
One of the best things about travel is that it has the power to put your convictions to the test. If, like me, you fancy to yourself that universal truths do indeed exist, travel provides an opportunity to witness firsthand if such "truths" apply in a pratical setting, thousands of miles from home.
Over time, I have become convinced that human beings quite naturally develop compassion and love for the members of their community. Let's use Katrina as an example. Many heroic stories emerged of individuals risking life and limb for the sake of their pets. I'm sure you can relate, Bush.
Why should this be so? It's just a dog, right? But that's exactly the point. Pets are alive and worthy of love, just like Americans and Scandinavians, Eskimos, Brazilians and apple trees. But you don't love the apple tree growing in somebody's backyard in Boston, and you don't love the puppy in the tub in the photo above. In fact, you didn't know the puppy existed until confronted with visual evidence, and how can you love something you don't know? With rare exceptions in cases of extreme hardship or mental illness, you love the members of your community - the creatures that are witness to your life, and vice-versa.
I've always felt that inside this simple truth lies the solution to the severest plagues affecting human beings. To take the idea to its logical conclusion: if the entire world existed in a single community, love and compassion would prevail over hatred and impatience. This is not such a touch-feely concept, is it Bush?
To return to the idea of putting your convictions to the test: one of the most essential nuggets I've come away with since arriving in Israel is being reminded of the many nuances in the term "Arab." The average American, I think, thinks of an "Arab" as a muslim from a middle-eastern nation such as Jordan or Saudi Arabia, or the Palestinian territories. But if you are an average Israeli living in Haifa, for example, an Arab is your next door neighboor. He is a patriotic citizen of Israel. He is the doctor that repaired your punctured lung. He is Christian or Muslim, or Druze, or Jewish. Increasingly, he is a part of your community.
It seems to me that whatever small steps toward peace that have occured here since the war of 1948 have occured because of the gradual emergence of community, the degrading of stereotype, the shattering of myth. It's an important lesson to heed, Bush, as you contemplate the consequences of your xenophobic foreign policy. Though the road be a long and dangerous one, we need to walk toward, not away, from the Other. Otherwise we are only treading water and acceding to the institutionalization of war.