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"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

 

"We are more alike than we are different"v  Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

Making Connections in Israel's Stategy

2014-07-21

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I really can’t comprehend what the long term intent of Israel’s current military action is. But I’ve had a most discomforting thought, namely that Israel’s short term aim is based on earlier developments-- the success of the boycott and divestment campaign—and to put the U.S. Congress on the spot.

Perhaps months ago Israeli strategists, noting how world opinion in their favor was waning, asked: “Will American lawmakers remain loyal? Could there be a crack in the Washington fortification we so carefully nurture? Are ‘they’ as solidly behind us as we demand?”

Of course, from the start of the attacks now underway on Gaza, the US media and U.S. leaders rush to affirm their allegiance: “Israel is justified-right or wrong”; “We must support them.”

But Israel might have needed reassurance from Washington well before this crisis erupted. Possibly months ago, Israel began to worry about the mandate it’s enjoyed for decades, and wondered if it remained beyond economic and moral censure. Because on other fronts it was facing serious threats to its immunity.   

Had you noticed how things hadn’t been going Israel’s way? During the past year the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement has made significant gains in securing pledges by institutions and individuals to divest their funds from Israeli companies and to boycott events there. Notable among those joining BDS’ call is the respected British physicist Steven Hawking, Microsoft’s Gates Foundation, the American Studies Association, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. Rock stars’ cancellation of their concerts and academic sanction indicate this is serious stuff.

BDS’s successes are augmented by the Palestinian lord of the ocean leadership applying directly to the United Nations for recognition, and most recently, a hard won union with Hamas. If things continued this way, some U.S. leaders might reconsider their stand and find the courage to join the global chorus for justice.

Could the successes of BDS have so worried Israel that it needed to test its status with Washington?

What was Israel to do in the face of all those peaceful initiatives? Surely not re-enter peace negotiations in good faith. Nor halt illegal colonialist settlements. Release hostage prisoners, recognize the Palestinian right of return? You’re joking.

Israel is doing what it knows best:--stepping up the violence and terror, pressing ahead with ethnic cleansing, rounding up thousands, deploying its inexhaustible lethal arsenal while pleading danger from terrorism, crying that Syrian and Iranian arms for Gaza militants assault its cities and homes.

What better way to achieve assurance than to precipitate an event that obliges the U.S. president to reaffirm what he has done so consistently and loyally. If the virtue behind the boycott and divestment strategy reached the hearts and minds of any of our elected officials, now it may have been subdued. 

 One thing I’ve learned over the years of closely observing Israeli policy is that no action is simply a response to an alleged provocation. Israel’s moves are part of long-term strategies and careful control of their U.S. partnership. END

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