As I sit here in a tiny alcove off the kitchen of my home staring out of a large bay window into the distance, having my first cup of coffee and just chilling as some in my neighborhood might say I begin to think of the events that are occurring in the world today.
I did not know James Foley personally, I did not know Michael Brown personally, and I did not know Officer Darren Wilson personally. I don’t know any of the protesters in Ferguson Missouri personally and I don’t know any of the members of ISIS personally, but these people have come into my life of late, and as I sit here grieving for some, being angry at others, I begin to realize just how much of an effect this is having on me.
Yesterday I got into a heated discussion with a friend over the events taking place in Israel/Gaza, so that also lingers in the back of my mind as I stare out into what I consider a beautiful garden. I get up early, so I have an opportunity to watch the daylight begin to brighten my yard, making objects I could not see a few minutes ago visible now. I marvel at the peace and tranquility. It is almost as though something in my mind expected to see something other than a peaceful garden, with trees , shrubbery, manicured grass and flowers, some flowers already open and ready to experience the onslaught of butterflies and bees that come to feed, and the glorious life giving sun that will make them stand to attention. The sprinklers were on, but have long since shut down, so everything although not wet is still as though it has had its morning shower, bright, shiny and ready for the day.
My mind goes back to my discussion with my friend, the discussion I told you about earlier and I continue to think of something he said, it just won’t leave my mind. His statement was “Is Israel creating recruits for ISIS?” “Are the police creating animosity and ill will toward themselves?” “Will the actions of the police in Ferguson and around the country cause citizens to become militant?” Very good questions I answered. I’ll tell you what I think, I said. I believe Israel is creating resentment and could be encouraging Palestinians to look more favorably upon the militant arm of Hamas.
Why do I say this? Let me tell you. I say this because of what happened to James Foley. James Foley? My friend asks what he has to do with this. My answer to him was the following: We were discussing how horrible it was that James Foley had died in such a horrible way in the hands of ISIS. We agreed on how horrible it was and how horrible it must have been for his parents and those that saw his execution on video. Neither of us has watched the video, and my personal opinion is that I will never intentionally seek out the video to watch it. I continued with my theory. Think about this I said, if we both feel this upset about a man we did not know personally, if we are saying to each other how horrible it was and what action should be taken against this group because of what they did, what might the people of Gaza be thinking?
During decades in Gaza and the West Bank human beings have watched their children blown to pieces in front of their very eyes. Children have watched their parents blown up, grandparents mutilated by Israeli bombs, they have watched their pets be slaughtered, their homes be leveled to the ground, and that during an outbreak of hostility. Once the hostility is over they get to go back to occupation where their daily lives are restricted by Israeli troops who guard checkpoints so that they cannot move freely, they cannot fish the Mediterranean pass the two mile Israeli blockade. This limits their livelihood and their ability to care for themselves and their families. They cannot bring in supplies medical, or any other type without the permission of Israel, their very sustenance, their daily bread is rationed by Israel so to speak, their land is confiscated by Israel, and settlements are built on the confiscated land preventing them from ever returning to land that they once owned. So yes I do see Israel creating recruits for Hamas.
And yes, we can’t forget those Hamas militants, the ones who fire rockets into Israel causing anxiety and unrest. That does not in my opinion help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, it only gives Israel an excuse to continue to do what I believe they have had in mind since they arrived in the Middle East….carve out a nation of their own and like the immigrants to the U.S. did, eliminate as many of the original people who were living there when they came, or control them to a point where their very existence is no longer a problem and does not prevent them from reaching their goal.
My friend laughed and said, you know I could say the very same thing about Ferguson MO. The people are restricted in their movement by the police; they are captured in a section of town that allows high police visibility which monitors their every move. They have little to no representation in local government; there are a lot of similarities in that manner. No, the police are not bombing their neighborhoods yet, but it appears they have them just as corralled and controlled as the people in Gaza. And, to add insult to injury, it appears they are just as violent and condescending as the Israelis appear to be toward the Palestinians.
So what do you think we could do in this country to alleviate the problems minorities are having with the police and politicians I asked? We thought about this for a moment, kicked around a few things that we later realized would not/could not work, and dropped the subject. So now I am back on my window seat, I’m on my second cup of coffee and have decided to ask the members of PlanetPOV to help answer the question for us, or at least give us some ideas on the topic.
Can we as individuals and groups brainstorm this issue? Can we as citizens of this nation have an influence on policies that could help to alleviate some of the pain/strife that we see in this nation? Should we be trying to make this country/this world a better place or should we just be spectators, observers and reporters, who watch the events taking place comment on them how wonderful or how horrible, how unjust, or how just etc., and then go on back to our daily lives? We are citizens, we are human beings, what can we/should we be doing? Does anyone have any suggestions?