First, Robert Fisk puts Saddam Hussein’s lynching into a perspective that only he could provide. If only we could have more Robert Fisks and fewer Anderson Coopers and Katie Courics, our ‘democracy’ might offer the world something other than the freedom to get fat.
Second, it appears that my brother and his wife are filing for divorce. Damn. Very little shocks me anymore, but this is a nasty surprise. If the situation truly is irreconcilable, I hope they can eventually work something out that will allow their wonderful children to have meaningful access to both parents. I know, as does my brother, that growing up a child of divorce becomes exponentially tougher when one of the parents is effectively absent. While I can imagine that the frustration and disappointment that brought an 11-year marriage to the brink of destruction must be quite profound, I am hoping that the two imminent divorcees soon tire of swinging the battle axes long enough to fashion a working relationship regarding the children. My brother and his (soon-to-be-former?) wife have years of anger and frustration ahead of them, and their kids will witness it all (and absorb most of it). I don’t envy their respective situations, but I hope they can manage to work through this difficult time with whatever grit and determination allowed them to work through their differences for 11 years and still come up with three beautiful young human beings.
Finally, the bigotry and mean-spirited arrogance on display in the Occupied Territories of Palestine came to my mind as I was reading James W. Loewen’s latest book, Sundown Towns. The following blurb sums up what I’ve read so far quite nicely, though it fails to capture the depth and breadth of the moral depravity Loewen has painstakingly recorded:
No blacks allowed, especially after dark. This was the unwritten rule in a “sundown” town. In his trademark revelatory style, bestselling author James W. Loewen explores one of America’s best-kept secrets as he unearths the making of sundown towns and discloses the fact that many white neighborhoods and suburbs are the result of years of racism and segregation. Anna, Illinois; Darien, Connecticut; and Cedar Key, Florida, are just a few examples of the thousands of all-white towns established between 1890 and 1968, many of which still exist today. White residents of these towns used any means possible — including the law, harassment, race riots, and even murder — to keep African Americans and other minority groups out.
Powerful and unprecedented, Sundown Towns tells the story of how these towns came into existence, what maintains them, and what to do about them. It also deepens our understanding of the role racism has played and continues to play in our society.
Imagine what would have happened if blacks had made up roughly half the population of the U.S., and white people had tried to use such tactics against them. I suppose a better analogy to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict would be if Native Americans had been present in such numbers, but the resulting dynamic would be quite similar. The Eurocentric racism that leads to the actual and implied brutality of sundown towns and sundown suburbs isn’t all that different from the self-righteous bigotry at the core of Zionism. The belief that God has given you something that clearly belonged to someone else; that such divine blessings make you better than those from who you have stolen; and that those whom you oppress are to blame for your brutality, are indicative of a massive tumor of injustice that lies at the core of both the U.S. and the Zionist experiments. While both enterprises have long benefitted from fortuitous timing and ruthlessly effective applications of violence and subterfuge, they are not sustainable. Nor will they achieve sustainability until they acknowledge and work to remedy the injustice that is their birthright.