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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Telling the Palestinians to Wait, for How Long?

The Obama administration is urging the Palestinians to hold off on applying to the U.N. for statehood this month.   It thinks they should wait for new peace talks with the Israelis to begin.

A lot of things have recently become badly unstitched for many people in the world today, and the reason is that they are suffering from a grievous lack of common sense and also the lessons that even recent history is supposed to have taught but obviously that teaching didn't take, and B. Obama is suffering from this disability no less than is the Republican Party, the Israelis, a large number of so-called "white" Americans, some erstwhile Progressives, and even too many Rainbows, as I think "black" Americans should be called.  Nowhere is this malady more clearly focused than in the person of Mr. Obama.

People blithely keep referring to him as the "first black President," when in reality he has only a quarter of the essence of his Kenyan father in him if even that much, and instead he is mostly so-called  "white," unless one is stupidly willing to totally ignore the huge importance of environment in shaping a person, though that actually counts for much more important than do genes, and in his case that factor was overwhelmingly "white."   He spent his formative years with his Euro mother and grandpatents way off across the great Pacific Ocean, in Indonesia and in Hawaii.   He wasn't raised anywhere near the American South, which has been the great battleground where the validity of the American "experiment" has been most often discussed and determined, in battles fought over and over again, most often in the form of how the European "white" majority has historically chosen to treat first the slaves brought over from Africa and later their descendants.   I would even say that that issue centering on the Rainbows  is the main measure of how much American virtue has always stood or fallen.

Unlike the great majority of Rainbows, B. Obama has no grounding in that struggle, even of the unconscious type, in the experiences of his forebears or in his own experience.  There is no slavery or Jim Crow in his background, so that what he got of those things is merely second or third-hand at best.   If he did have those experiences and the thoughts that they engender in what we might call his racial and political memory or resume, he would never have been elected President, so badly are the majority of American "whites" hobbled by fear and guilt when it comes to the people their forebears treated so badly while the country was being hammered into its present shape.   But also he would never have gone along with the advice given him by the Israelis and others who are as heedless of many things as he is, to blindly and callously ask the Palestinians to keep on waiting for their country to be recognized.

If Obama were better equipped and prepared to face this issue in a honest and forthright manner, he would understand a couple of things that are as clear as can be.  One is that the Palestinians have already been waiting for a very long time,  longer than he has even been alive.  Another is that as far as the Israelis, the stronger party and the oppressors in the matter, are concerned, the wait is open-ended, and their current leaders are fully prepared to let things go on as they are today, indefinitely.   They will speak of how their ancestors possessed the "Holy Lands" 2,000 years ago, and they have waited that long to regain this land that they deem to be theirs and theirs alone.  So Netanyahu, Lieberman, and the others are quite ready to have these constant attacks and reprisals sprinkled with occasional empty negotiations go on as they already have for more than 60 years.

History informs us that at a critical point in the Civil Rights struggle, during Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 Birmingham campaign, when a hardcore segregationist law officer named Bull Connor had thrown him into jail for the umpteenth time in an effort to end a determined civil rights protest in "his" city, King was asked by the noted evangelist Billy Graham and others in the clergy to hold off on his campaigns, in order to give the "white" majority more time to come to terms with the Rainbow desire to become full citizens in the American society -- or in short because he was starting to make "white" people mad.   But King, in his usual eloquent fashion, decisively rebuffed and refuted that pious suggestion, in his famous "Letter From the Birmingham Jail."

There, or elsewhere, King made the very true observation that usually in these cases, "waiting" means "never."

Telling the Palestinians to wait in this year of 2011 or in any of the others to come is just as obscene and unthinking as it was in the case of the descendants of the slaves in 1963, because among things it is demanded with complete disregard for older generations that these go-slowers, believing themselves to be the rational and reasonable ones, are ready to see die without ever seeing a better day, and I always want to ask, "What about them, damn it!"

I wonder if the Obama people know anything about Birmingham in '63, or that letter that had to be smuggled out of that city's jail in a tube of toothpaste.  I doubt it, though they cannot have missed seeing at least the fleeting images of the police dogs and the firehoses.


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