We are all Palestinians

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, it’s February in the land of milk and Honey Boo Boo, the ruling class is ruling, the working class is barely working and the middle class, well let’s just say it was fun while it lasted. One of the more well received posts at Deconstructing Myths has been The giant and the boy who threw stones which discussed the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied territories in Gaza and the West Bank. When I consider my present standard of living in relation to that of the Palestinian people who have been livin’ la vida loca of modern day concentration camp conditions for decades, it’s like that feeling you get when you walk by a homeless person on the street. The recently granted United Nations non-member observer state status is a small step toward making the Velveteen Palestinians really real. Consequently, it is within this context of in plain sight, state sanctioned oppression and human rights violations that I have discovered a correlation between the policies of the Israeli government with that of our own American handlers, er, distinguished states(wo)men. The conclusions that can be drawn lead to the uncomfortable realization that most of us have more in common with the Palestinian people than we care to admit and a sobering acceptance that their struggle is our struggle. What we do with knowledge once it is gained hopefully leads one to, as Kindergarten teachers like to say, “make a good choice“. But before any decision can be made we have to first acknowledge that the sides have already been picked on the global playground and that the games have already started without us.

(Photo credit: Thristian)

(Photo credit: Thristian)

There is a biblical passage that speaks of how we are limited in our ability to see ourselves fully and truthfully, “For now we see through a glass, darkly…now I know in part.” I believe the writer of this verse was alluding to a spiritual deficit as much as a physical one. It is human nature to deny and obfuscate, politicians aren’t the only ones who do it, the difference is they at least get paid for it. The whitewashing of history and myth of American exceptionalism and superiority by proxy has left many Americans disconnected and adrift because they have lost their authentic connections to their past. For many years of my younger life due to my shame and self loathing for growing up Vietnamese in a country that had waged a war with my people, I denied that I was even Vietnamese to friends and strangers alike but most of all to myself. This leads to a disassociation and identity crisis similar to those of victims of Stockholm syndrome, PTSD and other trauma based events. Because I could not face myself, I could not see anyone else through the glass and it remained dark. The truth of the American condition is the reality that until the entrenched institutions of government, media and education fully acknowledge the historical record of genocide and colonialism this country and the fortunes of its ruling class were built on, its people will continue to only see in part. Thus, we will still be unable to see ourselves in our brothers and sisters in Palestine because we prefer to cling to myths and falsehoods rather than truth and reality.

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As my transformation from passive to active learner has taken place, I have had to acknowledge painful truths, namely that the government that “saved me” from an orphanage and life under Communist rule was the same governement that carpet bombed my homeland with Agent Orange and napalm manufactured by U.S corporations. As the spell of my captors was broken the next link in my evolution was actualized, like all of the pins of a tumbler lock falling into place, and I began to move from self-centeredness in my worldview to others-centeredness. Gradually, the full horrorshow began to dawn on me that if they did it to my country then they probably have done it to others also. The latter part of the verse says, “but then face to face…then shall I know even as also I am known.” Finally, I am able to see others through the glass because of the light that has been let in and can strive to interact face to face with another human being. Even though I may not have known myself before, others knew me and clearly saw the carefully constructed conceits my stunted sense of self and worldview was built upon. So now I can choose to analyze the events taking place halfway across the world based on an ability to relate to my fellow captives rather than on a perpetual state of fear and insecurity generated by my captors and designed to ensure my compliance.

Internationals Plant Olive Trees

Internationals Plant Olive Trees (Photo credit: PSP Photos)

I have never been to Palestine or Israel and I have not returned to Vietnam since that Army C-130 cargo plane Fedexed me to Pennsylvania and delivered one big ass care package to my adopted family’s doorstep 38 years ago. But I can imagine the olive trees in bloom and the sound of children playing tag on the streets of Tel Aviv and Hebron. I can also visualize the sight of the bulldozers rolling over someone’s childhood home in Ramallah or the buzz of the Predator drone before it delivers another DOJ white paper taped to a Lockheed Martin Hellfire missile to a family’s doorstep in Gaza. A country that claims “self-defense” when it crushes dissent in the occupied territories has resorted to knocking down tent cities erected in defiance of the continuing expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Maybe the Palestinians should have sold tickets and invited Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead and called the event Woodstock II. Hippies from around the world would have shown up making it much harder for the IDF to crack skulls and, at the same time, deal with really poor hygiene. The mainstream media might have even showed up hoping to get an exclusive interview with Wavy Gravy.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One final choice to mention is the imminent death of Ayman Sharawna and others who have been on a hunger strike for more than six months in Isreali prisons. No, Ayman is not a contestant on Survivor: Benghazi, he was rearrested after being released with other Palestinians in a prisoner swap for an Israeli soldier. I can barely go six hours without a meal so the courage of convictions these men possess is otherworldly to me. If I could guess as to one of their motivations, I would propose that their final act of protest is not merely for themselves and for one another who have they come to know fully but for the futures of their loved ones, their children and their children’s children who they will one day know again face to face. May their efforts and lives not be in vain and may we remember, we are all Palestinians and Iraqis and Libyans and…well, you get the point. Once upon a time, Martin Luther King, too, made a choice from a jail cell to tell the world “For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Peace to all readers.

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77 Responses to We are all Palestinians

  1. madiirenee says:

    I am a political science student, so I have to read A LOT of articles. But this is without a doubt one of the best things I have read. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. day3of says:

    I felt comforted and given hope reading this. Wouldn’t it be nice if our reality were such that you could have spoken to me in Vietnamese and I understood–and I answered you in English, and you understood. The consolation is that you are a brilliant thinker and writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. unclerave says:

    Fortunately, there is a growing movement, right in Israel, to end the Palestinian land grab! — YUR

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      True, there are many in Israel who disagree with the policies of their government. Unfortunately, they are marginalized in their society just as like minded people in the American public are trivialized.

      Like

  4. This is stunningly well-written, Jeff. Thank-you very much.

    I’ve been thinking about the fact that there are certain regions of the “neo-colonized” world in which (depending on how you position yourself) it is a real safety advantage to be an America.
    A line of thousands of Americans occupying the border whereever it is most congested would be welcomed with joy by the Palestinians. Then – let these thousands of Israeli allies stand up and join us.
    Who are the Isrealis going to shoot? The Americans? Their own youth?
    And the Palestinians will somehow be insanely driven to shoot Us ? Ha. I don’t think so/

    I just pray that people will be thinking along the lines of quickly organized direct action – and not waiting to have those conversations. Having them now.

    Thanks again, Jeff. “See” you soon.

    Claire

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      It’s always good to hear from you, Claire. I agree that collective action is needed on behalf of the Palestinians. They shouldn’t have to fight this battle alone especially against two of the most militarized nations in the world. Unfortunately, the IDF has shown no restraint when it comes to dealing with activists, i.e., Rachel Corrie or the current situation regarding the tent cities. The international community needs to make a unified, consistent stance that includes boycotts, sanctions and divestment similar to apartheid era South Africa. But that would mean standing up to the U.S.

      Hope all is well in your corner of the blogosphere. :-)

      Like

  5. jafrirabab9 says:

    It’s so refreshing to find someone that can see the truth. Sadly in America people can say things based on the media without even searching for the truth. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Toadfish says:

    So much of this post resonated with me. First of all when you said that the struggle that Palestinians face is one that we all face, I’ve been thinking about that recently as well. Perhaps for Palestinians, this struggle is laid out in the starkest and (with a few exceptions) the most painful terms faced by societies in the world today, but many of us are facing an oppressor seeking to control our behavior for their own benefit. I have also had a number of Vietnamese friends in my life and I’ve often wondered how they balance their own national/ethnic identity with the life that they are enjoying after having been “saved” by a government which directed the thorough destruction of the country of their ancestors. Most of all it is so interesting to me that you used the phrases “self-centeredness” and “others-centeredness” in referring to your worldview, because I had come to use those same terms in my own thinking in the last few years. It’s really pitiful just to live for your own gain, and it’s also not very insightful. There is much more to be learned when you shift your focus outward. Your post was both personal and factual. Very enjoyable to read, keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Many Vietnamese I have known, both adopted and migrated, have struggled with the transition. In some respects it was easier for me than for others because I was so young when I arrived that I didn’t have much, if any, of my original culture to begin with. I respect the journey you’re on and I’m glad our virtual paths intersected.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes I can imagine that would make it easier to adopt a ‘foreign’ culture. And yes, I’m glad our paths have intersected too. I look forward very much to reading more of your writing.

        Like

  7. A says:

    Wow! Beautifully written & very thought-provoking. I, too, am from a foreign country, although not one that has had to contend with the level of stryfe that Vietnam has. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  8. hjfoley says:

    An uplifting blog thanks a lot. Being Irish with a sense of history it sure as hell strikes a cord in my mind

    Like

  9. Pingback: We are all Palestinians | Young Canadian Voice – Hopeful?

  10. Virginia says:

    I worked for 5 yrs in the West Bank, Gaza Strip & Israel- a very confusing place to be at times, for sure! What gives me hope are the people of courageous faith for peace on both sides of the conflict – unfortunately, many more Are Needed (desperately!) …& in Palestine, when people lose hope, there’s not much to lose – as in most places of oppression.

    Really like your blog! i, too, am an Isaiah 58 groupie – it’s what motivated me out into the world of international relief & development Many Years Ago…

    grace, peace & myth-breakers – Virginia : )

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Your perspective is informed by first hand experience rather than sound bites. We need to hear more voices like yours rather than what passes for pseudo-objective journalism and cultural competence in our media. Thank you for visiting, I wish I could learn more from you about your experiences in the Middle East.

      Like

  11. stanito says:

    Thank you very much for this. Very genuine and full of hope.

    Like

  12. “…humane humans are, and probably will remain, a minority. But it is precisely for this reason that each of us is challenged to join the minority. Things are bad. But unless we do our best to improve them, everything will become worse.” Viktor Frankl . Beautifully written , Jeff,and thanks for your visit to my blog as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That was very stirring. You are an amazing political writer. Though I was not adopted, I am an Asian American person and thus also face similar identity crises, though not nearly to the same extent. Being Chinese in America feels like an odd second skin. I speak English, think in English, but I am able to speak Cantonese, not all that fluently. When I taught ESL in South Korea for 2 years (I know, I’m an instrument of globalization), no one could tell I was not Korean unless I spoke, and then when I did, the reactions ranged from pop star novelty to run away from this monster fear. While my parents are Chinese, China herself doesn’t feel like my mother country, even though I have been back there a few times. I do know that I cannot relate to anyone actually from China. I also cannot relate to the people around me who are much more American. It’s hard to rise against oppression when feeling so alone, but I see your point about sympathizing with other sufferers.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I feel that because America as a collective country has not dealt with its own racial “issues”, it feels at times more like a boiling pot that’s about to spill over than a melting pot. I’m sure your situation is more difficult in some ways than mine because of generational expectations from your parents, elders, etc., that are derived from a culture you are not bonded to. I do appreciate your taking the time to visit and share your response.

      Like

      • I am sorry to be joining the conversation at this late date, but I feel compelled to agree with you that America is more like a ‘boiling pot’ than a ‘melting pot’. When we have so many people who still feel that others who are not the same complexion as they are, are inferior, we have a problem, a big problem. When the U.S. is still using military might all across the globe to topple ‘dictators’ in other countries when we ourselves are ‘dictated’ to makes no sense. The U.S. can ill afford to assess just who is a problem when we ourselves haven’t a leg to stand on. As you say, ‘we have not dealt with racial issues here’ and yet we have the audacity to look at another country and claim that their ‘ruler’ is any worse than the mess that is ‘ruling’ over here? The arrogance of the U.S. government is appalling!

        In addition to the above, what was done in Vietnam by the U.S. government was an atrocity! You have only to look at Iraq and Afghanistan to see that we are continuing to inflict pain, suffering, and torturing innocent people, denying them the right to due process and we have the nerve to take the high road? For the love of…!!!

        Very well written piece. Thank you for putting it out there and I agree with all that you stated!!!!

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Such insight, I’m speechless and very impressed. Thank you for a wonderful commentary, I look forward to reading more from you.

    Like

  15. Reblogged this on thepoliticalvagina and commented:
    Just so impressed with this guy and what he has to say here. We ARE all Palestinians in this world, the way it stands right now.
    Let’s unite and change it to something better eh?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. gpicone says:

    Excellent Post!

    Like

  17. inkygatta says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. It’s so well-written, and unites us all in a similar kind of feeling- that underlying struggle and disconnect in some ways not being country specific. Have you see 5 broken cameras? It’s a very personal film about a family’s struggle living in palestine on the border- all filmed by them.

    Like

  18. beingserbian says:

    Honey Boo Boo…we’re watching that here too. What a world!
    Thank you for stopping by my blog, come back again when you have a chance. :)

    Like

  19. Reblogged this on Social Justice is Needed and commented:
    Amazing Blog I just read and I had to share!

    Like

  20. jmu9 says:

    I’ve been watching the world for a fairly long time, and during most of that time working in various ways for peace with justice. This piece is beautiful and painful to me in just about equal measures. All of those things are there for the world to see, especially including the people of the USA. Tell me again what we call willful blindness and self-deception…?

    Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    Peace to you too mate. When we Palestinians get together for a better, more loving world, that will also mean making peace with the violent dictator in all of us. I am Palestine, yes. But I’m also Netanyahu.

    Like

  22. lawman83 says:

    I agree with you that the Israelis are oppressing the Palestinians with the support of the U.S. government and the settler movement is criminal. However, the conflict is more nuanced than is reflected in your post. The Palestinians are not blameless. For a disturbing and more balanced take on the conflict, watch “Prisoners of War,” http://www.hulu.com/prisoners-of-war, and “The Promise,” http://www.hulu.com/the-promise. Both series are extremely well produced and thought-provoking.

    Like

  23. JennB says:

    Compelling and thought provoking. Thank you.

    Like

  24. midnighthues says:

    Bravo Jeff! Heart felt and well written!! I feel that American Exceptionalism is rather narrow when the GOP uses this term to emphasize American superiority. That is what isolates US from the rest of the world today. Feeling the pain of the people (from these war torn nations face ) and doing something humanistic would bring out true Exceptionalism I guess.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I am grateful that you took the time to read this post. I remember reading a book about a child who lived through the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. She lost most of her family and eventually fled to Canada. It made me realize that suffering and war is a universal affliction and made me want to do something, anything to make it stop. Unfortunately, things seem to be getting worse rather than better but there is beauty in the world. Poetry like yours helps to remind me of this.

      Like

  25. Check this site out for pointed discourse on the plight of the Palestinians. http://electronicintifada.net

    Like

    • Craig says:

      Electronic Intifada is a vehemently racist website dedicated to demonizing Jewish people. The owner, Ali Abuminah has been caught retweeting outright lies and posting articles of incidents that never happened. He is very adept at telling only the part of the story that serves his agenda to cast Israel in a negative light. Abuminah recently alleged that a french diplomat was attacked by Israeli soldiers, however video footage shows her attacking the soldier (who does not even retaliate!)

      Like

  26. lawsonsotherdog says:

    I live in a wealthy country, even when I was homeless I was looked after. Here we still demonise our aboriginal brothers & sisters & now as I write we demonise refugees who come here in a leaky boat. We are afraid of the afraid, afraid of other, afraid of things that go bump in the night! Palestine I find sad, I find it sad that two races can’t live together. I find it hard that the Jewish nation once persecuted are the now the persecutors!

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Fear of the other is a major stumbling block on the road to peace. I would caution to keep in mind that as in America, the actions of the Israeli government are not always the will of the people. Like here, the voices in Israel calling for peace are marginalized.

      Like

      • lawsonsotherdog says:

        i see your point, of course i imagine there are many voices calling for peace but one has stay vigilant otherwise a Stalin, Hitler can easily come to the fore. The biggest killer is apathy, & often societies that are so called powerful become apathetic which leads to downfall of societies, breakdowns which lead to trouble

        Like

  27. Wow, thanks Jeff! i for one think the real fear is the fear to simply live. everybody suffers from this fear :) thanks again

    Like

  28. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely Perfect! So very well said…my fellow captive.

    Like

  29. I loved this post and it made me want to relate an exchange I had yesterday on huffington post. The article mentioned Sec. State Kerry’s trying to help the Palestinians with their economy.

    I found this laughable. The Secretary of State for the country that arms and supports Israel, and their medievally-cruel siege of Gaza, trying to help the economy of the Palestinians…wow.

    A couple of hostile posters “informed” me that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, and the mess in Gaza is simply the bad rule of the government there. They believed Israel’s actions were defensive (despite the 100+-to-1 kill ratios in their favor). One poster complained that Israel had no choices in dealing with “…the terrorists living next door”.

    I guess if you view an entire people as bloodthirsty terrorists, any actions can be justified, which is very convenient.

    The power of propaganda is breathtaking.

    Keep up these great posts!

    Like

  30. Shainbird says:

    Jeff, reading this post has left a lump in my throat that was previously stuck in my heart. Equality for all must be delivered to all and not be an exclusive commodity or a claptrap in speeches. You deliver this message in a manner that is so eloquent and sadly in today’s world, so brave. Thank you. Thank you also for liking my recent post, which is so meager and fluffy in comparison. I am honored. I look forward to reading more.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Thank you for your kind comments and for sharing your response to this post. I enjoyed your poetry as well, every voice is needed in the struggle to bring forth a conscientious awareness of the diverse world we live in. Especially as certain institutions would prefer those voices to be marginalized, if not silenced completely.

      Like

  31. Anonymous says:

    Powerful post Jeff – NosyAss.com Thank You

    Like

  32. I agree with every word, and I also love your writing style

    Like

  33. You are an excellent writer, and I was captivated by your personal story. I would love to have a long conversation with you about the history of the USA. You are correct to observe that the US has not been righteous through and through; no political entity ever is. You bitterly close your eyes to some truths that would be inconvenient to your worldview. One wants to ask where you think you would be today if Americans were truly as evil as you seem to think they are.

    Most important, you should read the real history of how the Palestinians came to be residing in those refugee camps. If the Arab nations who incited them to leave their homes in the land within the boundaries of Israel had welcomed them as brothers and helped them to make new homes in the Arab countries where they fled, there would today be no camps and no refugees who never lived in Israel at all. The Arab countries made them believe that they had to leave, even though the Israelis begged them not to leave.

    The Arabs with homes inside Israel who ignored those who were inciting hatred and fear toward Israel are living today in peace in their homes. All those refugees who wound up in refugee camps are there because the people who tricked them into leaving Israel failed to show hospitality when the refugees showed up in Arab countries.

    That truth doesn’t change today’s situation, but it does shed light from a different perspective. I would love a conversation with you about this situation as well.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I’m not sure where you came to the conclusion that I “bitterly close my eyes to some truths that would be inconvenient to my worldview.”, it took years for me to find a place of healing and peace which no one can usurp. I did not in any way infer that Americans are evil but I do allege that they are complicit as we all are when injustice is perpetrated in our name and we do not speak up and speak out against it. But that would require a level of honesty and self-reflection wholly absent in our national and religious discourse.

      As for the Palestinians, the Arab countries may share some of the blame for not doing more to support the people in the occupied territories but I’m pretty sure if America were invaded and its citizens herded into open-aired prisons, we wouldn’t expect the “white” European countries to take us all in. You may want to take a look at my take on the asymmetrical warfare taking place in Gaza and the West Bank: http://deconstructingmyths.com/2012/11/17/the-giant-and-the-boy-who-threw-stones/

      Like

      • I will certainly take some time to read your linked comments, but I need to reply immediately to your comment about Western Europe. If, for example, China announced it was taking possession of the US as part payment for all the money we owe, and simultaneously said that the takeover would require no change in the lives of Americans except to get Chinese passports, that situation would be similar to the creation of Israel. There would be no pressure on Americans to leave or change their lives, except for the passport, which means a change of citizenship. If at that point, Western Europe mounted a campaign to get all of us to leave in protest, and we did, then we would land on Europe’s shores needing homes. If Europe then offered us shipping containers to live in and built walls around the “camps” and told us it was our job to reinvade the US and take it back, then that would correspond to the Palestinian situation. If, on the other hand, Europe called on us to leave and welcomed us with places to live, jobs and a new European passports, that would correspond to what I think the Arab countries should have done, since they were the ones instigating the Arabs residing inside the borders of Israel to depart.
        I am unable to take the time right now to follow up on your link, but I will.
        Thank you for your response.

        Like

    • Karl Dallas says:

      Substitute the word “Jew” for “Arab” in your comment, Ms Harms, and you might begin to understand why the Palestinians want to retain their right of return to their ancestral homelands. Someone whose family has been there since the Phoenician immigration in pre-Biblical times surely has equal rights (to put it no stronger) to an Ashkenazi Jew from Central Europe whose ancestors converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages. When Muslims controlled Jerusalem, they guaranteed equal access to its holy places to Christians and Jews as well as Muslims, something the present occupiers refuse to allow.

      Like

      • With all respect, the Arabs who left Israel knew what they were doing. The Israeli government was well aware that the Arab nations were trying to motivate the Arabs residing within Israel’s boundaries to rise up and destroy Israel. Those who left, knew that they would not be allowed to return before they left, because Israel knew that they would return as aggressors. It is a little late to cry ‘foul’ on this issue, because the people who left made that choice in full knowledge of the consequences. To remain meant to accept the legitimacy of Israel’s existence, but it also meant retention of their rights to their property. To depart was a statement that the departee believed Israel to be illegitimate and that the departee would do all in his power to erase Israel from the map. The departee knowingly gave up his right to return, because Israel made it known right up front: stay here and stand with us and keep your property or depart and work against us, and you renounce your property. That is a pretty simple and clear proposition.
        Those who departed were told the truth by the Israeli government. They were not told truth by their Arab brethren. The Arabs who left Israel believed that the surrounding Arab nations would receive them with open arms and make them welcome and help them fight Israel. Instead, their Arab brethren locked them up inside disgraceful encampments and treated them like dirt and did not stand with them on anything. Their Arab brethren have locked them out of the countries whose spokesmen incited them to leave Israel. This problem must be laid at the feet of people who chose to leave and people who chose to refuse to welcome those who chose to leave.

        Like

  34. Your blog is exceptionally well-written—and I use that term advisedly, since most blogs these days seem to reflect the declining standard of literacy in our culture. And most are merely vacuous. Thanks for having the courage to comment on a very hot-button topic for Americans. And thanks for reading my blog chameleonfire1.

    Like

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  40. Jeff, I like the approach of looking inwards, at what America does. I think focus on the international community, and what ‘they’ are doing is sometimes a way of distracting from what the west is actually doing, both internally, and in other countries. Invading, bombing, imagining nuclear weapons and using them to send people to war, so that they can come back traumatized and upset.

    I don’t know an awful lot about the war in Palestine, but I worry (from a very different perspective) about the anti-semitism that this brings about. I know that the situation in Palestine is horrible, and I had a client who was so afraid of the check points and the continual fear of being in a war zone that the stress alone traumatized her. At the same time, the Isreali family she worked for wanted to do everything to protect her.

    Throughout history, Jewish people have always been constructed as a threat or a danger, and although Zionism and Jewishness are not the same thing, in the same way religious and political Islam are not the same thing, it hasn’t really been spoken about openly (although I know Judith Butler has done some work on that). There has been a history of blaming Jewish people for faults across Europe. Now, as America takes the role of invader, there is distraction from that possibly by using a lot of focus on the threat of Jewish people. And yet I remember, in early 2009, I think it was, the minute Bush went out of power, the rockets and invasions of Palestine, which caused such international outrage against Israel stopped immediately. Right then! Timing corresponded.

    Jewish people will always feel identity threat. I remember Bono shouting at America about the glory of the IRA revolution, a revolution that ‘the majority of my people don’t want. Fuck the revolution!’ With this situation, I think it’s important to separate the people from the extremists, and to ensure that old discourses of anti-semitism don’t re-emerge, while ensuring that all people, Jewish and Palestinian, are given the right to dignity, health care, sanitation, the right to have a home, and to live in peace, with human rights valued above all.

    These are still very jumbled thoughts. Thank you, Jeff.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Your points are well taken. In all of my writings, I have done my best to distinguish between the actions of governments and the people they govern. There are many people in the U.S. who oppose our government’s unending wars of aggression in the past half-century. So, too, there are many Jewish voices of peace and restraint who, like their American counterparts, find themselves marginalized by the dominant/power culture.

      The harsh reality that the Palestinians are being brutally occupied and repressed at this very moment and have been for decades calls for an urgency and directness of speech that may make some uncomfortable. Those who espouse anti-Semitism will find any opportunity to do so but these difficult topics must be addressed and a meaningful discourse initiated so that authentic truth and reconciliation can be established. The hard right, Christian-centered ideological narrative on the Israel-Palestine issue that prevails in America has given Israel carte blanche to subjugate the Palestinian people and their land “in God’s name.”

      The Jewish people have seen their cultures and identities co-opted and compromised by the Zionist influences in high levels of the U.S. and Israeli states. You’re absolutely correct that the Jewish and Palestinian people both deserve dignity and basic human rights. The removal of the U.S. as an “honest” broker in any peace talks and the immediate cessation of money, arms and influence to the Israeli government and military would go a long way towards helping this process along.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Nicci. It means a lot to me.

      Like

      • It was a very sensitive post, Jeff, and reflexive. You share a lot of yourself, the struggles with America, and an ability to see from a different perspective.

        The Christian Centered narrative is such an interesting point though…and again, I’m separating the political church and ideology from people of faith.

        It seems so strange to me that throughout history, Jewish and Muslim people have been killed off, or in danger because of the political church. And now, like in the matrix, we are shown both groups as extremists or as threats via media stories.

        Good ‘normal’ (as constructed) people are asked to pick a side, instead of see people who live in a country/countries torn by war, and who are suffering and struggling.

        Which marginalized group of people are seen as evil all over again, and under what circumstances? and this is while we have the NEVER AGAIN narrative for both groups.

        America has a war on terror which has caused absolute devastation in the middle east. The focus on ‘them’ as extremists has caused absolute devastation.

        I think any need for deeper human rights should be explored as a problem, and that was why I liked your approach.

        The sensitivity to a complex issue was taken into account, because the danger of resurrecting old discourses which have been so harmful in the past (and particularly with two populations of people most vulnerable) worries me sometimes.

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      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Your recent article provided a powerful illumination into the thought processes and dialogues that lead to systematic discrimination and oppression of others based on the construct of ‘race':

        http://nicciattfield.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/never-again-why-we-need-to-dismantle-race-and-always-question/

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      • Hi Jeff, thank you. I’m honored that you linked the article here.

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  41. Pingback: Finding Common Ground | Voices from the Margins

  42. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Reblogged this on Deconstructing Myths and commented:

    As the POTUS fiddles and Gaza burns. it is (hopefully) a sign of hope that the global community is raising their voices in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The U.S. has no high ground to claim as it continues to provide arms and U.N. cover for the genocide taking place in the occupied territories. It appears that Netanyahu has taken ‘no child left behind’ to heart as the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, women and children are methods for suppressing future generations who must resist to exist. The flyers warning Palestinians of imminent bombings were employed by Germany in WW I and by the U.S. military in Iraq…nothing new under the sun (http://www.rochester.edu/in_visible_culture/Issue_7/Issue_7_Gabrys.pdf) .

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  43. Reblogged this on Fahrenheit 451 Used Books and commented:
    Left wing Books & Blogs fah451bks.wordpress.com / Leadership, Education, Solidarity, Struggle, Sacrifice; “Defend the People”

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