Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Fierce Urgency Of Now

"We have ...come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of ... justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of ... injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." 
--- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

All of us are moved, in one way or another, by the power of the vision of Life in our society as expressed in this well revered speech of Dr. King. Most of us can identify with the promise of an America, and indeed a World, in which the sacred space created by Justice is a reality. And while we long for that sacred space, there is an ever present hallowed spot in which we find ourselves. It is the immediate circumstance of our lives. It is the place with the many challenges that must be attended to in order for our lives to be all that they can be. In the days when the Reverend Martin Luther King walked among us, one of those challenges was the issue of Justice for all.

Doctor King raised his voice in a call for this Nation to live up to that most noble tenet of its vaunted creed... That all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That call... that raised voice still resonates among us these many years later. Not that it has gone unheeded. Indeed there is much to be celebrated in terms of the advance of Justice among us, but there is still important work to be done to make the ground we occupy together a more righteous place. Ferguson, Missouri, is a stark reminder of that; and so are places like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Illinois... Every place in which we are victimized, and in which we victimize each other.

It is not just Justice among us that we must be concerned about. Something deep inside compels the declaration that we must desist from the convenient pointing of the finger at the historical sources of injustice in our society. Our problems have an often ignored, but very intimate origin that we would be hypocrites to ignore. We cannot continue to claim that we are created equal while we apportion disproportionate reasons for the corruption of our sacred space to "others". Regardless of the disadvantages that are facts of our lives, there comes a moment when we must admit some fault, every single one of us, for the problems that continue to haunt us. And in so doing we must give due attention to the reality of the imbalance that is present within us as individuals. We must face the issue of the absence of Justice within us. If our social environment is to get better ...WE must become better. Better men. Better women. Better parents. Better citizens. Better sons and daughters. Better neighbors. It is time to recognize the gravity of the moment that is NOW. Now is when we are called to be better.

We are all very familiar with the tragic moments when we are forced to recognize that we cannot continue to give expression to the worst instincts in and around us. These are the moments when LIFE speaks with a profound echo, one that is hard to ignore. In those moments when we lose loved ones to the proliferation of vices in us... and all around us. You name them. These are the moments when we become inconsolable in the face of the brutal wrath of our shortcomings as individuals and as communities; when no shallow explanation can speak to the fact that WE must change our circumstances. It is when the thumb and index finger of our grief are indicted by the other three digits of our own complicity. This is the Moment when we all come to know in no uncertain terms what Dr. King meant when he uttered the salient words... The fierce urgency of now.

The fierce urgency of now demands that we stop putting off the need for change... Change in ourselves and in our society. It demands that we end our addiction to "the tranquilizing drug of gradualism", and the jaded spirit of our procrastination. Our society will begin to see real change when we all become more invested in the currency of Justice not just as a responsibility of others... But as an internalized dynamic of our individual lives.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Of Dicks And The Protrusions From A Horse's Ass

The story is told of a country preacher who was well known for speaking in very ostentatious terms. Never mind the fact that his congregants were for the most part simple country folk, most of whom were more accustomed to the forthright and culturally recognizable thoughts and expressions of their everyday lives rather than the imposed circumlocutions of “learned” men.
One Sunday, after embarking on a rather drawn out sermon, the preacher mercifully indicated the coming end of his protracted embellishment of a not so well known text with the phrase “And so, in conclusion…”; after which he proceeded to speak for another twenty or so minutes. Wearied by the length and verbosity of the sermon, the congregation let out a collective and impatient “Amen!” on what they all knew had to be his final words.
Approaching the preacher afterwards, an elderly woman remarked to him about her lack of comprehension of his use of the term “conclusion”. “What” she asked, “did you mean by that word given the fact that you just kept going on and on after saying it. Not grasping the obvious exasperation of this congregant, the man started to explain the meaning of the word in terms he thought the old woman might understand. “Well”, he said, “conclusion means the tail end…” at which the old lady just shook her head, smiled, and walked away.
Not too long afterwards as the congregation dispersed, the preacher mounted his horse to depart for home. Indulging a sense of being mischievous upon noticing what could be called a rather remarkable protrusion from the rear of the parson’s horse, the old lady declared quite loudly: “Preacher! Preacher!… there is something protruding from your horse’s conclusion.” At which the whole crowd burst out laughing. “Well said sister!”, came an anonymous endorsement from the crowd.
Brings to mind the meaningless dribble of so many of our public figures who can't recognize the fact that their time has past. In the absence of their being held to account for their...indiscretions, they continue to wear us out with the circumlocutions that they believe will serve their still nefarious ends. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014


And how do we confine
The wanderings of a violated soul…
Can we alter the constitution of the human heart
By policing the passions of our estranged selves…

Look at the tragic tales of folk
Who walk the stage
Of time
And hopes
And dreams
In search of wholeness
Only to find themselves more divided
By a morality unfounded in any true sense of right
And laws that have no abiding place
In our hearts.

From the book “Of Paradise Despised...” by Roy Alexander Graham

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Out Of The Huts Of History's Shame..."

The following is an excerpt from the article "Redefining Ourselves... A Season For Breaking The Mold."   Read the full article at

Recently I sat with my wife in an audience at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, as Congressman John Lewis gave the Convocation Address to the thousands of incoming students and their families and friends gathered there to mark the start of their careers as college students. The Congressman is a great example of someone who refused to live in the mold prescribed by the prevailing socio-historical circumstances into which he was born. He had to overcome much in his own experience…  And he did. The following is an excerpt from the biography published on his website:
“He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama.  He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama.  As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.  In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.
As a student at Fisk University, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons.  He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.”
I listened, overwhelmed by a substantial empathy, and I observed the rapt attention being paid to this man by an audience currently reflective of the American demographic landscape. His resounding message: “Never give up! Never give in!” And as I sat there in that audience listening to Congressman Lewis, the words of Dr Maya Angelou came to mind :
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” 
Dr. Maya Angelou… Wow! Say it with me… WOW! A woman who “phenomenally” refused to be defined by adverse circumstances, the scars of which she carried in her own being. Even now she “rises” … and she lifts us with her to new heights of consciousness and being! I hear her wonderfully commanding and beautifully distinct voice in my head constantly. It speaks with a powerful eloquence that stirs in us a mixture of memory and emotion that cannot be ignored.

Out of the huts of history’s shame … I rise!
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain … I rise!
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, 
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. 
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear … I rise!
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear … I rise!
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, 
I am the dream and the hope of the slave. 
I rise! I rise! I rise!”

There is a life-proliferating quality to the work of Dr. Maya Angelou. Her literary offerings and the emotions they elicit plant themselves in our consciousness almost effortlessly, and they thrive there as if they have always been there… though unnoticed. In an act of cultural and spiritual intimacy she draws us to a most sacred place on our life-journey, and we experience a mating of ideas and ideals that leave us pregnant with the expectation of something greater for ourselves and the other selves connected to us. Her creative genius reaches deep within us and calls forth the memory of our sacred obligation to “be fruitful and multiply”. Hers is a call echoing from the Eden of our very beginnings. It is a call to new dreams, and new hopes, and a new vitality. She encourages us to revise and refine and redefine who we are and who we would be. In that respect Maya Angelou joins the Jesuses and the Kings and the Mandelas and the Oprahs and the Marleys, in engendering an ongoing work of renewal among us.

Monday, September 22, 2014


To move forward in a positively creative way in our lives we must recognize and speak the truth about our experiences. By that I do not mean complain. I do not mean wallowing for attention in what I have called “the muck and disgraces” which are always there if we look honestly enough into all our experiences. Such activity in many instances become an end in itself. There is no denying the pain and grief that is a part of our lives, but if we are to heal we must find the wherewithal to identify their sources and effectively address them. Some people may gain notoriety from an overindulgence in self-pity, but it is ultimately an exercise in futility.
There are items of our lives that are sources of pain and shame. Some we are complicit in, and some we are victims of. Some we remain unclear as to what part exactly we may be accountable for. The path to authentic living helps to bring clarity where needed. Where necessary we must seek forgiveness… And we must also learn to forgive. A most empowering meditation in this regard is to be found in The Lord’s Prayer… “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. The absence of forgiveness as a vital part of our attempts to heal becomes a wall between us and the authenticity we seek. To leave the past behind and grant ourselves the power we need to move ahead, it is necessary to climb over that wall. This is how we gain the needed perspective our renewal demands… By acting to remove the barriers between us and our futures.
Taking charge of our lives is about being purposefully creative. We potentiate the process with acts through which we call ourselves to a spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual housecleaning. This requires us to truthfully unburden ourselves of those experiences that weigh us down in the miry clay of pain and regret. The objective is to rid ourselves of the hurt and guilt associated with bad experiences we have had, and or caused. This is absolutely necessary before we can embark on the journey of renewal.
As we continue this journey we must walk away from the psychological, spiritual, physical, and social instruments and actors that are complicit in the sordid episodes we want to turn away from. Talk is cheap. This is where the “rubber” of the commitments we make meets the “road” of our willingness to act out those commitments. This is where the demands of our renewal become real. It may mean new friends and associates. It may mean moving away from your familiar environment. It may require a new way of eating. New ways of thinking and acting and behaving are required for the renewal we seek. You may have to go back to school as you give up your old job in the club…or at the investment firm. The new you that you seek will need a new foundation from which to grow and develop.
Our personal journey to renewal demands that we commit ourselves to new habits. As humans we have come to think of ourselves as “creatures of habit”. Habit formation is a function of the repeated practice of the skills and behaviors we need in our improved selves. It is believed, and often said that, “practice makes perfect”. The remaking or redefining of our lives demands that we become new creatures through the renewal of our minds that come from the repeated practice of acts determined to speak with clarity about who we are and who we want to be. No longer must we be defined by the old habits, but by our new ways of seeing, and believing, and behaving.

Excerpt from the article "Redefining Ourselves... A Season For Breaking The Mold ".

Saturday, September 20, 2014


We have the power, each one of us, to cast off the definitions by which our potentials are limited. We acknowledge that power in declaring our right to name ourselves and thus determine who we are and what we will become. The recognition of this right and this power ushers in a new reality for anyone so inclined. It begins the process of breaking the molds that sabotage our ability to live authentic lives. It makes us available to the empowering possibilities of liberated living.
The responsibility to define who we are and what we will become is a sacred trust. It is the foundation on which we build the futures that beckon us away from the distresses of the imposed impotence of a mimicked existence. The authenticity of our being should never be determined by anyone else’s prescription, nor for that matter, anyone else’s proscription. The process of naming ourselves is an exercise in the kind of courage that takes for granted that we will make mistakes. Our imperfection however, should never be a deterrent to acting out our sense of who we are… Or what we want to become. Let us always keep in mind that we are works in progress. To the extent that perfection carries with it the connotation of being finished, it is a claim we cannot even pretend to make… None of us.

Excerpt from :  Redefining Ourselves… A Season For Breaking The Mold

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What We Can't Ignore In The Adrian Peterson Story

  • "The behavior of the oppressed is a prescribed behavior, following as it does the guidelines of the oppressor."---Paulo Freire

It doesn't matter how much money the descendants of an oppressed people have. Money can't buy us new minds. It can't replace the broken spirits that are part of our unfortunate inheritance. We have a history, and that history is filled with experiences that continue to inform our behaviors. Much as we ourselves would like to forget. Much as the guilt-ridden descendants of our oppressors would like us to forget that part of our experience is there. I don't hear anyone telling Jews to forget about the holocaust. How dare they demand that we forget ours. The fact that it is an uncomfortable and ugly scar is a burden we all must share... and bear.

All of us in the experience called America share in a tragedy that we struggle to escape. That experience is a history of oppression that continues to have an impact on our shared experiences. The dynamic of oppression traps both the oppressed and the oppressor. Both become victims and perpetuators of the process of dehumanization that characterizes every relationship in this dynamic. That dynamic gets played out in our marriages. It gets expressed in our relationships with our children. We implement it in our experiences as employers and employed. It continues to wreak havoc in our lives until we recognize it and call it out for what it is. 

Charles Barkley may be right in his note that most families in the South beat their kids; but he misses the larger point. Adrian Peterson learned his abusive responses in the context of the history of that South. He came, as many have, to regard his out of control reactions to his children as the norm. That is tragic. It is however a tragedy that afflict many... Blacks and Whites. Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama has not gotten as much press for beating up his wife while in a hotel in Atlanta; but his actions cannot be separated from the same dynamic that informs the behavior of Peterson. Maybe he hasn't been as exposed to public critique as Peterson because he is a "powerful" white man. Maybe he is, but he is just as vulnerable to the dehumanizing history of oppression that still stains the South. He may have friends who shield him from the public scrutiny that black athletes have to suffer, but he can't hide from the fact that his behavior is just as despicable.

There must come a time in our experience as individuals and as a nation when we pause and recognize the need to seek the remedies for the afflictions that ail us and cause so much damage to those who share our lives. On that day we must stop treating others as property to be exploited. We must stop treating those who share our beds as objects to be used for our self-gratification. We must stop treating our children as owned extensions of our battered egos. On that day we will be fortunate enough to escape the trap of an oppression of our own making. Let us be clear, the change that must come to liberate us from the trap of the dynamic of oppression is part of our work to make this a more equitable society. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Football, Militarism, and The Glorification Of Violence in American Society

"... life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean one half step too late or too early you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our fingernails for that inch, 'cause we know when we add up all those inches that's going to make the ... difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING." 
--- Excerpt from: Al Pacino's Inch By Inch speech from the movie "Any Given Sunday"

The coach in the drama noted above expresses in graphic terms the dilemma of a culture consumed by the vision of life as a constant battle for survival. In American Football, life is presented as the next ten yards in front of us. It is territory that must be captured and secured at all cost...and that means at the cost of our own lives and limbs, and the lives and limbs of those who dare to get in the way of our territorial objectives. Make no mistake about it... Football is the most graphic representation of the blatantly gross militarism that has come to define American political and economic culture. None of us are spared the "draft" into this war. On "any given Sunday" during the "Season", in every major city in this country, we all get to go to war. As in so many actual wars we become consumed in the grafting of territory by any means necessary, and to hell with those who stand in our way. The mayhem that ensues, and which we all cheer on, provides an outlet for the violent lusts that have become engrained in our very DNA as a national entity.

This entrenchment of the culture of violence as something normal in our society has resulted in a national psycho-social problem. We have become socio-intellectual schizophrenics, at once celebrating and bemoaning the consequences of our preoccupation with a philosophy of living that does not pan out in light of our presumed higher moral aspirations. It should not be surprising then that we re-present the violence we assume to be integral to our very survival in our lives and in the various relationships we develop.  But, wearing the mask of our moral selves, we act all discombobulated when confronted with this reality... The reality that we are socially and psychologically conditioned to be a violent people. The hypocrisy is nauseating.

The Doublethink that characterizes our society's attitude to violence is featured in our popular Media's coverage of recent episodes of domestic violence involving some NFL players. As a society our acceptance or mental capacity to accept contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of political indoctrination, is nothing short of appalling. Consider the fact that a certain beer company has voiced its outrage at the issue of domestic violence in the League while touting the moral high ground which it thinks is a part of its own culture as a corporation. We are talking here about a corporate entity that makes its profits from selling a brew which potentiates the expressions  of intemperance and its subsequent violence at stadiums. It peddles a product which serves to "pumps up" the vicarious warrior much like gang members who "shoot up" with, or snort narcotic substances in preparation for their turf wars.

The descent into the bottomless pit of  moral contradictions, driven by the predilection to live out our existential insecurities, is shocking. Instead of reasonable dialogue about our predicament, what we witness are attempts to use the tragedies that arise as opportunities to bolster profits by Media houses and their corporate sponsors. Constantly bombarded with information that drives us by our insecurities, our moral duplicity morphs into a convenient cultural and political complicity. And so we try to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of  Iraqi citizens and thousands of American soldiers; while we condemn Ray Rice for knocking out his fiancé in an elevator. We keep quiet when our "friend" Israel unjustly expropriates large portions of Palestinian land; while we loudly condemn Russia for its incursions in Crimea. We insist on "law and order" in Ferguson, Missouri;  while we hide the rogue cop who murders a black teenager causing the
uproar in the first place.

As for our Media, their demonstrations of fake outrage is exactly that... Fake! They live for this stuff. Look at the obvious glee which drives their unnecessary replay of acts of violence. They "warn" us that the images are "disturbing" knowing full well that they are feeding the insecurities that pull their audiences to them. This is about economic territory for them. It is about conquest and their "market share". It is about profits. Ratings. They are the enthusiastic drum majors for wars. Wars make them richer. Casualties be damned! Domestic violence victims be damned!

The unfortunate truth of the "game" we are playing as we engage our insecurities for profit is one that we must all sooner or later face. The difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING... is sometimes just inches. We are that close to being the reapers of the harvest of the violence that we continue to cultivate. One half step away... One half second. One argument. One beer. One unfortunate incident, and we will be the feature of that next gratuitous replay on one of those bottom-feeding networks we call Media.

The Challenge To Break The Mold And Truly Live

(This is an excerpt from the Fall issue of "Figs In Season "... You can read the full article by clicking on )
Life has many lessons to impart to us daily. The great challenge for us as Life’s students is in identifying what nugget to extract from each experience and applying it appropriately in our lives. We are all prone to getting bogged down in the potential quick-sand of life’s sometimes treacherous path. We all stumble along the way. That is because our path does not always present itself as a classroom, and so wisdom dictates that we hone our abilities of discernment through developing habits of meaningful reflection. Without these habits we may become weighed down with guilt and anger and the consequent frustrations of an existence woefully lacking a dynamic perspective. And so, to our great angst, we become what we have done…and what has been done to us.
In the face of the challenge to live in a prescribed  mold, let us call to mind the great examples of individuals whose stories inspire us because they refused to. These individuals demonstrate to us the truth that the vilest sinner can become a saint. The persecutor can become an advocate for those he once victimized. The addict can rise above the afflictions of addiction and be a witness to what it can mean to live an empowered life. We have seen the abused overcome the dehumanizing stigma of being a victim and become examples of what taking charge of one’s destiny can produce in one’s world. We have seen the slave become a liberator. These are a few examples of what is possible when we refuse to be defined by the gross violations of our experience.
Saint Augustine who went on to become one of the most important theologians of the early church, had his own challenges to overcome before he could attain to the levels of philosophical prominence he achieved.  Exhausted by his own moral, spiritual, and intellectual struggles, he eventually cried out: “And Thou, O Lord, how long? How long? Is it to be tomorrow and tomorrow? Why not now? Why not this very hour put an end to shame?
Oprah Winfrey, the most wealthy woman of color in the world, rose above the life-inhibiting experiences she has so courageously shared with us to establishing, among other things, a school for young black girls in South Africa that seeks to expand their horizons. Her life and example serves as an inspiration to all of us. She continues to grow, and she constantly reminds us that there are new heights to be achieved no matter how wonderful our achievements. In her regularly featured signature article “What I Know for Sure“, which she writes for O The Magazineshe recently noted the following:
We have to make ourselves over daily, consistently, in order to keep moving forward. We are not meant to stagnate. If change is the one thing you can be sure of, the goal is to figure out how you can use that certainty to your advantage, to modify, transfigure, and transform your day to day being.”
Jesus of Nazareth asked his Heavenly Father to forgive his persecutors their moral/spiritual ignorance. His life remains an eternal symbol of grace with which we are all acquainted. We are constantly drawn to his example of empowered living, as he showed us how to resurrect our lives from the grips of oppression and crucifixion.
Nelson Mandela emerged from 28 years of imprisonment at the hands of the servants of Apartheid in South Africa to call for “truth and reconciliation” in a country torn asunder by a desperately hateful ideology.
These giants of moral and philosophical achievement  will live forever through the lives they continue to lift up by their great examples.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Israeli Intelligence Veterans' Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu

(You will hardly hear anything of this in our American Media ...Why?)

Prime Minister, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu
Chief of General Staff, Benny Gantz
Military Intelligence Director, Major General Aviv Kochavi
Commander of Unit 8200
We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.
It is commonly thought that the service in military intelligence is free of moral dilemmas and solely contributes to the reduction of violence and harm to innocent people. However, our military service has taught us that intelligence is an integral part of Israel's military occupation over the territories. The Palestinian population under military rule is completely exposed to espionage and surveillance by Israeli intelligence. While there are severe limitations on the surveillance of Israeli citizens, the Palestinians are not afforded this protection. There's no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence. Information that is collected and stored harms innocent people. It is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society by recruiting collaborators and driving parts of Palestinian society against itself. In many cases, intelligence prevents defendants from receiving a fair trial in military courts, as the evidence against them is not revealed. Intelligence allows for the continued control over millions of people through thorough and intrusive supervision and invasion of most areas of life. This does not allow for people to lead normal lives, and fuels more violence further distancing us from the end of the conflict.
Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state's efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.
In light of all this, we have concluded that as individuals who served in Unit 8200, we must take responsibility for our part in this situation and it is our moral duty to act. We cannot continue to serve this system in good conscience, denying the rights of millions of people. Therefore, those among us who are reservists, refuse to take part in the state's actions against Palestinians. We call for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end. We believe that Israel's future depends on it.
  • Senior Academic Officer Or
  • First Sergeant Ori
  • Sergeant Ella
  • Sergeant ***
  • Sergeant First Class Amitai
  • Captain Assaf
  • Lieutenant Assaf
  • First Sergeant Ariel
  • First Sergeant Guy
  • Sergeant First Class Galia
  • Lieutenant Gilad
  • First Sergeant Doron
  • Captain D
  • Professional Academic Officer H
  • First Sergeant T
  • First Sergeant Tal
  • Sergeant First Class Yair
  • First Sergeant Yoav
  • First Sergeant Yuval
  • Lieutenant Yonatan
  • Sergeant First Class Lior
  • Sergeant Liron
  • Sergeant Maya
  • Sergeant Michal
  • First Sergeant Menahem
  • First Sergeant Nadav
  • Sergeant Noa
  • First Sergeant Sa'ar
  • First Sergeant Eden
  • Sergeant Idan
  • Professional Academic Officer Amir
  • First Sergeant Amit
  • Sergeant K
  • Sergeant Keren
  • Sergeant First Class Regev
  • First Sergeant Roi
  • Sergeant R
  • First Sergeant Rotem
  • First Sergeant Shira
  • Major Shmulik
  • First Sergeant Schraga
  • Sergeant Sheri
  • Senior Academic Officer Tomer
- See more at:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Falling Forward

I am fragile
A fragility that functions
As my hardness…
A façade masquerading as strength

I am strong…
I know my vulnerabilities 

I am human
A humanity that functions
As my reason
For every awkward fact about me

I am divine…
I recognize the limitations of my humanity

I am a poet
Beyond my hardness
It is my humanity that gives volition to my fragility
I am god-like…I create my world

My life is a process of falling forward…
My future is inevitable

* From the book: “Of Paradise Despised...”  By Roy Alexander Graham

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What Color Are We In The Dark?

The history of racial strife in America and recent events in places like New York and Ferguson, Missouri have led persons of color and moral persons of every shade to ask the question ..."When will the plague called white racism be eradicated from our life as a nation?"  When will America act definitively to rid institutions such as our police forces of the stain of racist behavior, which in some cases has resulted in the murder of black folk, and gross violations of our human rights? For those who ask these questions what is at stake is the very viability of our Society as a cohesive social and political entity. We are wondering when will our claim to "civility" and "exceptionality" be matched by the social, economic, and political virtues that give REAL meaning to these words in the arena of race relations.

For the last four centuries we have been struggling with this SCOURGE... this DIS-EASE... this rotten DYSFUNCTION called white racism. To be clear, RACISM has always been a disingenuous way to rationalize the moral imbalance of a society built on Injustice, and very specifically, the Injustice inherent in the  exploitation of Native peoples and Africans by European colonizers. The idea of "white supremacy" was NEVER anything other than a LIE  intended to explain why it was OK for Caucasians to plunder their way to the economic advantage that bought them political hegemony in a world that defined Power in the crudest, and most inhumane terms.

I would highlight the fact that Africans were building Empires when many Europeans were still struggling with the rudimentary aspects of civilized living. I would point out that the impact of the version of White  "civilization " that we saw from the Spanish and other colonizers brought nothing more than death and destruction to the Native peoples of the "New World". Our World would be better off without this kind of "civility". The Arawaks would still be around today if not for Christian conquerors and their "gifts" of swords and syphillis. A culture that engages the most profound expressions of ignorance to justify and perpetuate itself is destined for the garbage heap of History.

Our world continues to embrace CHANGE. Change is a fact of our lives which is more durable than the despicable aspirations of those who bet their futures on the oppression of others. It is this CHANGE that has given the USA it's first Black President. It is this CHANGE that forced Donald Sterling to part ways with his prized NBA team. It is this CHANGE that is causing a Firestorm in places like Ferguson, Missouri... A firestorm threatening to burn down every existing assumption about white supremacy.  It is this CHANGE that now forces RACIST POLICE OFFICERS to resign from their positions when their misdeeds become public. It is this CHANGE that is forcing political correctness upon the unwilling tongues, and down the throats of otherwise racist public personalities, including candidates for political office.

Consider the following for a moment. How does one account for the contradictions in the fact that the same white man who teaches his white child to hate "blacks"  based on his assertion that Black people are "animals" and should be treated as such... this same white man has had no problem forcing himself upon a black woman. He has no problem impregnating a black woman. He has no problem "falling in love" with black women despite his contradicting lie. This same white man finds himself in a situation where he must now hide his black children from the "light" of his self-contradicting lie. He is forced to cover himself  with the cloak of his own inhumanity, and suffer the afflictions of the daggers of the cruel existence that he has perpetuated. Such a man is haunted by the many questions that arise from the exile of his own making. Not the least of these questions is... What color are we in the dark? 

Nighttime may provide some cover for our behavioral indiscretions, but there is no place to hide from our ignominy... Our shame. After much heart-rending reflection we may appropriately wonder ... Does it really matter what color we are? In the face of Racism we must all agree that Color is of no consequence when we are forced to face down the perils present in the dark night of Ignorance.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Of Glass Jars And Purpose

My wife and I were on one of our morning walks some time ago when we came upon a mother with her three young children by a lake. They were excited about something, and in my usual inquisitive manner I approached them to see what their excitement was about. "Good morning!" I said, "What are you guys so excited about this morning?" "Good morning!" they responded enthusiastically, and all turned to show us the little frogs they had placed in the glass jars they were holding. "Wow!" I said,  "Look at that!".  They were obviously very excited about the prizes they had gathered in their jars and were about to take home, until I decided to continue my conversation with them.

"Very interesting" I continued as we got a little closer together with their Mom standing there, "but I want to ask all of you a question". At this point they became rather attentive. What had started out as a casual encounter that would normally be very brief had become an extended social moment. As they came closer I said, "Imagine that you guys were little frogs, would you like to be put into little jars like these, or would you rather be in the lake where you could swim and enjoy your lives?" Without hesitation they all agreed that they would rather be free to enjoy their lives in the lake. "There you go" I said, as they continued to reflect, and we said goodbye and continued our walk.

I can't say that they set those little frogs free because I did not see them do that. I hoped that they would... that was the reason for my calling them to reflection on their actions. Little frogs have as much right to enjoy their lives as little children do. We all have our purpose in the great ecology of Life. A glass jar is no substitute for a real environment that serves to enable us to fulfill our greater purpose for being here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why Zionism-Nazism Comparisons Are Legitimate

I find the following comment particularly interesting especially in light of the Israeli land grab near Bethlehem of the last few days. This is an act that has been roundly condemned by the International community including the United States and Great Britain and the EU. The piece was published in DESERTPEACE on April 16, 2008.

Comment by Khalid Amayreh
I strongly believe that Jews around the world, including those in Israel , ought to be constantly reminded of the evil crimes committed in Palestine under their collective name, as well as understand the close ideological similarity between Nazism and Zionism.
This, I believe, is a legitimate tool to get Jews, especially those who still value justice and honesty, to reconsider their identification and infatuation with this evil entity and its equally nefarious ideology and actions.
Jews all around the world simply can’t love Israel and support its wanton criminality against the Palestinian people while at the same time continuing to lecture the world about the evils of Nazism. Moral consistency is absolutely paramount.
Supporting oppression and racism is often as bad as practicing oppression and racism. Indeed, oppression such as occupation can’t persist for a long time without the material and moral support and backing by people who may often look nice and speak softly.  Many of the supporters of Apartheid in South Africa and Nazism in Germany also looked very nice and spoke softly, not knowing (or knowing) that they were tacitly backing evil, racist criminals committing ghastly crimes against humanity.
Zionism (the central embodiment of which is the apartheid Israeli state) is evil because of its racist evil ideology and criminal actions and behaviour in Palestine .
Zionism has declared all Jews a distinct ethnicity, just as the Nazis had declared all Germans a distinct ethnicity.
Both Zionism and Nazism strove to build a ‘state’ that would be ‘redeemed’ through violent purification (in the case of Nazi Germany) and ‘an Iron wall’ (in the case of Zionist Israel).
In both instances, ethnic cleansing was the main tool used to obliterate the ‘inferiors,’ the ‘water carriers and wood hewers’ in order to create ‘German-only’ settlements in Europe and ‘Jewish-only’ settlements in Palestine .
In all honesty, there are no fundamental differences between Jewish national socialism (Zionism) and German national socialism (Nazism). The Nazis preached the  ‘Master Race’ to justify Nazism while Zionists adopted the ancient myth of the ‘Chosen People’ to justify Zionism.
Moreover, we can’t really ignore the absolute similarity between the Zionist ethnic conquest of Palestine and the implanting therein of ‘Jewish settlers’ at the expense of the native Palestinian Muslims and Christians, and the Nazi drive for ‘Lebensraum’ in Poland and the importation of  ‘Aryans’ at the expense of the indigenous population.
Yes, there in Europe , the Nazis sought to steal the Sudetenland and here in Palestine , the Zionists are stealing the West Bank . The arguments are the same, the lies are the same and the means are nearly identical.
We need to highlight these similarities and the ‘common ground’ between Zionism and Nazism, irrespective of how many people will be upset by these comparisons. The truth is always a paramount value in itself.
There is no doubt that the Third Reich committed monstrous crimes against helpless Jews far greater than those committed by Israel against the equally helpless Palestinians.  Yes, we all know about Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen Belsen, Treblinka and the other detention camps where many Jews, mainly non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews, perished at the hands of the Nazi exterminators.
However, let us ask ourselves the following question: Were the Nazis ‘Nazi’ only because they created and used gas chambers to incinerate their Jewish and non-Jewish victims?  Would the Nazis have been less evil and therefore ‘less Nazi’ if they had annihilated their victims by way of bullets instead of ovens, or by starving them to death as Israel has been doing to the Palestinians?  Besides, if Jews had the right to call the “Exodus Ship” a floating Auschwitz, why is it wrong for the Palestinians to describe as “Nazi” the ongoing extirpation of an entire people from their ancestral homeland? Do Jew have an exclusive right to call their critics and enemies  “Nazi” while others, e.g. the Palestinians, don’t have  a similar right to call Israeli crimes and criminals “Nazi”?
Besides, should we refrain from using the Nazi epithets to describe the racist criminals of our time, wherever they happen to be and regardless of what religion they adhere to, until and unless they start using gas chambers to exterminate their victims?
More to the point, by what logic are Israel and its supporters using the Second World War (a cruel war in which a few million Jews as well as nearly 50 million non-Jews perished) as a justification and cover-up to dispossess, dehumanize and ethnically cleanse the indigenous Palestinian people?
Well, Israel could theoretically annihilate most Palestinians with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, or simply through a sustained campaign of massive artillery bombardment and air bombing.  Would such an act make Israelis less ‘Nazi’?
I want to ask those who might rave and rant against me  the following question:  At what point should we start calling  Israel  ‘Nazi’? When the number of its victims reaches one million? Two million? Or perhaps six million?  Or when the Zionists start introducing Zyklon B to kill us? Or when 90% of Palestinians are packed into detention camps, surrounded by 8-meter high concrete walls fitted with watchtowers that are manned by trigger-happy Zionist Gestapo?
I know some Zionist apologists will be prompted, almost instinctively, to  argue that, unlike Israel , the Third Reich had devised a plan, a final solution, to exterminate all Jews in Europe and the world.
Well, regardless of the historical authenticity of such a claim, I would challenge the Zionists and their supporters and apologists to prove that Israel doesn’t harbour a final solution for the Palestinians.
Isn’t the brutal extirpation of virtually an entire people from their historical motherland tantamount to a kind of final solution? Isn’t ethnic cleansing a form of a final solution? How about the continuing starvation, encirclement and hounding of the Palestinians? Besides, is there a fundamental difference between attempting to destroy an entire people pursuant a plan and attempting to destroy them without a plan? Wouldn’t the ultimate outcome be the same?
Don’t invoke the calumny of terror.  We know and you know and the whole world knows that words like ‘terror,’  ‘terrorists,’  ‘axis of evil’ and ‘enemies of freedom’ are all ideological terms used tendentiously by the powerful and the arrogant, such as Israel and the United States, to justify their own true terror against the weak and the oppressed. Even Satan himself would call his enemies terrorists.
In the final analysis, ‘terror’ is the poor man’s war against the powerful and the arrogant, and ‘war’ is the strong man’s terror against the weak and the oppressed.
Yes, the scope of the Nazi Holocaust is greater than that of the criminal Zionist occupation of Palestine . But the mentality, the psychology, the malice, the hatefulness and especially the sheer evil intent in both cases are certainly not that far apart from each other.
There is no doubt in my mind that Israel would have exterminated, or at least tried to exterminate, the Palestinian people a long time ago had the ‘objective circumstances’ been available. Needless to say ‘objective circumstances’ here could mean a huge international event (for example, a nuclear war, a global national disaster, or a gigantic event of some sort) that would divert or shift international attention from such a genocidal feat.
It is true that Israel would prefer to ‘solve the problem’ without a campaign of mass murder and mass terror, like bullying and terrorizing the Palestinians, or the vast majority of them, into leaving their ancestral homeland.
However, there is no doubt that Israel would contemplate resorting to the ‘worst scenario’ in case the Palestinians clung to their homeland and remained steadfast in their homes and towns and villages.
In 2001, a few days after the 9/11 events in the US , then Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer bragged about how the international media’s preoccupation with events in the US enabled Israel to kill more Palestinians in the West Bank without being censured by the international community.
Similarly, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told students at Bar Ilan University in 1989 that “ Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstration in China (the Tiananmen Square events) where world attention was focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsion among the Arabs of the territories.”
Even today, Israeli leaders say brazenly that they wish to wake up to see all of us dead.
Indeed, the Palestinian national demise has always been and continues to be Zionism’s ultimate goal, this is why Zionism doesn’t really recognize our very existence as a people, and when it does or is forced to do so under the pressure of reality, it insists that Palestine is Jordan and that Amman , not Jerusalem , is the capital of Palestine .
In addition, there is no doubt that the daily acts of murder, terror, humiliation and savagery which ordinary Palestinians are routinely subjected to at the hands of trigger-happy Israeli soldiers manning checkpoints and roadblocks throughout the occupied territories are comparable in many aspects to the same acts of humiliation and terror Jews and non-Jews had to endure in Nazi-occupied Europe.
The Nazis imprinted serial numbers on the forearms of Jewish internees, and the Israelis have done the same to the Palestinians.
The Nazis treated Jews as mere numbers rather than human beings, and the Israelis have done the same with the Palestinians.
The Gestapo savaged, brutalized and starved Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto to break their collective will, and Israel has been doing the same to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank .
The Nazis practiced all kinds of sadistic behavior with Jews, like for example, forcing Jewish musicians to play music for Gestapo and Wehrmacht soldiers, and the Israelis have done the same in the West Bank at the checkpoints.
I don’t know if Jews were forced to drink German soldiers’ urine as Israeli border policemen on several occasions have forced their Palestinian victims to do.
During the years of the two Intifadas (uprisings), I travelled throughout the West Bank , passing through Israeli army checkpoints and roadblocks. There, I saw the extent to which Israeli soldiers, many of them grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, behave bestially towards helpless Palestinians.
I saw soldiers murder innocent people on the spot for no genuine reason. I saw soldiers force young Palestinians to strip naked and stand for hours under heavy rain. I saw soldiers relaxed and enjoying the pain and suffering inflicted on thousands of Palestinians, passengers and motorists, whose only ‘fault’ was that of being Palestinian and weak.
I saw face to face the obscene sadistic acts practiced by Jews against their helpless victims.  This behavior is not played out in isolated incidents.  This is the norm, not the exception.
The Nazi-like occupation of Palestine by Israel is not the act of a few Israeli Jews. It is not even the act of the military establishment alone.  It is the collective act of a morally desensitized society that has nearly lost its humanity and succumbed to a collective psychosis that is not unlike the moral blindness that struck the German people more than sixty years ago.
Today, most Jews are more or less either enthusiastically supportive or silent and apathetic about the atrocities being perpetrated in their name in Gaza , the West Bank and Lebanon .
In fact, I would exaggerate little by saying that many, probably a majority, of Israeli Jews are even enjoying and benefiting from the occupation.
In some ways, Palestinians have fared far worse than Hitler’s victims; for the Palestinian tragedy is ongoing and Palestinians, unlike Jews, who still receive compensation for losses dating back sixty years, receive no reparations for lost personal property, not even an acknowledgment from their tormenters of any responsibility for their dispossession.
Sixty years ago Zionists demolished 438 Palestinian villages and poisoned or destroyed wells to ensure that their rightful owners would not return.  Today, Zionists keep on behaving more or less along the same traditions, demolishing homes, destroying farms, and narrowing people’s horizons, all with the goal of making them emigrate.
Today in every junior high school in America , students read Anne Frank, while in every high school Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ is requisite reading. This is the man who says brazenly that he readily identifies with Israeli crimes and that he couldn’t bring himself to say bad things about Israel .
The victims of the first Kristallnacht enjoy the world’s approbation and sympathy, while at the same time having succeeded in demonizing an entire people, for whom Kristallnacht still remains a night without end.
But, unlike the German national socialists, Jewish national socialists are falsifying history and reality to justify their crimes against humanity. The Holocaust narrative, which has been elevated to the status of a religion, allows Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, to invoke the mantra ‘Never Again’ while it sits on Arab lands stolen from Ein Karem and overlooking the unmarked graves of Palestinians massacred by Judeo-Nazi terrorists at Deir Yassin.
It is sad, really sad, that most Jews are now finding themselves in the shoes of their former oppressors, knowingly and consciously.
On August 23, 1947 , nearly one year before Israel’s birth, Harry Truman wrote the following to Eleanor Roosevelt, apparently in the wake of another Jewish atrocity in Palestine :
“I fear very much that the Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on the top they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath.  I regret this situation very much because my sympathy has always been on their side.”
Today, in light of Israel ’s Nazi-like behavior in Palestine , it is difficult to view Truman’s prophetic words with indifference.  In fact, it is a moral obligation of the first order to oppose Zionism with the same vigour and same determination the world demonstrated in the face of Nazism.
Some Jews, out of ignorance or tribal loyalty or both, insist that opposition to Zionism is anti-Semitism. Well, if oppression and racism are consistent with being Jewish, then, yes, the world will be obliged to be anti-Jewish in a certain sense. Indeed, if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, then anti-Semitism itself becomes a moral obligation upon all conscientious people, as Michael Neumann, Professor of Philosophy at Trent University in Ontario , Canada , so eloquently argues.
“Today, when Israel could have peace for the taking, it conducts another round of dispossession, slowly, deliberately, making Palestine unliveable for Palestinians, and liveable for Jews. And the purpose here is not to attain security, as Israeli propagandists and hasbara spinners would want us to believe. The real purpose is the extinction of a people, the Palestinian people.
“And Israel has enough PR-savvy to eliminate the Palestinians with an American rather than a Hitlerian level of violence. This is a kinder, gentler (creeping) genocide that portrays the perpetrators as victims and the victims as terrorists.”
“It is amply clearly that Israel is building a racial state, not a religious one. Like my parents, I have always been an atheist. I am entitled by the biology of my birth to Israeli citizenship; you, perhaps, are the most fervent believer in Judaism, but are not. Palestinians are being squeezed and killed for me, not for you. They are to be forced into Jordan , to perish in civil war. So no, shooting Palestinian civilians is not like shooting Vietnamese or Chechen civilians. The Palestinians aren’t ‘collateral damage’ in a war against a well-armed Communist or separatist forces. They are being shot because Israel thinks all Palestinians should vanish or die, so people with one Jewish grandparent can build subdivisions on the rubble of their homes. This is not the bloody mistake of a blundering but an emerging evil, the deliberate strategy of a state conceived in and dedicated to an increasingly vicious ethnic nationalism.  It has relatively few corpses to its credit so far, but its nuclear weapons can kill perhaps 25 million people in a few hours.”
I frankly don’t believe that the Zionists are morally fit to lecture the world even on the evils of Nazism, and the reason for this lies not only in Zionism’s Nazi-like crimes against the Palestinian people and other peoples in the Middle East . It goes much further than that.
Zionism cooperated and collaborated with Nazism, not necessarily to save Jews, as the paragons of lies would claim, but rather to fulfil  Zionism and Zionist statehood. And in order to expedite the evil goal, the Zionists quietly consented to the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews who could have been saved and sent to other parts of the world, especially North America .
In 1949, the Israeli intelligence employed Walter Rauff, an SS officer who is believed to have been responsible for the murder of at least 100,000 people and was wanted by the Allies as a war criminal. Israel, instead of bringing him to justice it paid him for his services and helped him escape to South America .  Rauff, who had devised a plan to destroy Jews in Palestine, was by no means the only Nazi criminal employed by Israel.

Yes, it is wrong to blame each and every Jew on earth for the crimes of Israel . However, Jews can make a difference if they wish to, by speaking up against Israeli criminality and racism.

Like Lilies In Spring

There is a bulb buried deep inside us all that longs for the end of the season of dormancy. It contains, and is the symbol of all our ...