“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading →
Though raised Catholic, my father was Jewish (Lithuanian and Romanian). The most WASP-ish Jew you’ll ever meet, though, he imparted none of his ancestral religion to me. My wife, who’s of Scot-Irish descent, likes to joke that she knows more about Judaism than me.
But whenever Israel launches an offensive against Palestine, it brings the Jewish in me to the fore. Continue reading →
There’s a rising tide on the rivers of blood
But if the answer isn’t violence, neither is your silence
– Pop Will Eat Itself, “Ich Bin Ein Auslander”
When all is said and done, nothing communicates the racism and knee-buckling stupidity of all-too-wide swaths of our nation quite like video. So if you don’t trust me to tell the truth about these folks, maybe you’ll trust their own words.
Listen to the victim, abused by the system
The basis is racist, you know that we must face this
In 1991 Pop Will Eat Itself produced one of the most damning comments on racism in society in the history of popular music. “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” was specifically aimed at anti-immigrant racism in Europe, but over the past 17 years it’s been impossible for me to hear the song without mapping its penetrating, undeniable truth onto our American context. Our black auslanders aren’t recent arrivals (although many of our brown ones are), but they nonetheless remain social, political, economic and cultural outsiders, and whatever progress they may have made in the several hundred years since they first arrived in shackles, only a fool can believe that the basis is no longer racist.
Five-hundred delegates from 122 countries converged on New Zealand this week in a bid to rid the world of cluster bombs. In the end, though only 82 states signed the Wellington Declaration — the draft of a treaty to ban cluster bombs, sweep lands free of them, and assist survivors — the conference was a qualified success.
New Zealand Disarmament Minister Phil Goff informed the Associated Press that more progress toward banning cluster munitions was made in the five days of talks than during five years of U.N. negotiations. Even Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work leading to the ban of land mines, told ABC in Australia, “We’re extremely pleased by the outcome of the conference.”
Earlier, though, she accused representatives of Australia Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan of “fronting for the U.S.” She feared they might neuter the proposed agreement to make it palatable for the US, which, along with Russia, China, and Israel, shunned the conference. Continue reading →