[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

8.13.2006

dc4free#11:activism

well, maybe "activism" is a bit of a stretch, but the woods got our feet wet a little bit.

ever since i developed a deep friendship w/ a palestinian guy during my anglican year of seminary, our family has been struggling to understand the political and human rights situation in israel/palestine (a year ago, i wouldn't have thought to say "israel/palestine," to be honest) and articulate some sort of a coherent position of our own. my bishop has been outspoken and visible in his support of the palestinian cause, but i'd never been to a rally or anything. so when a new friend told us about a rally in lafayette square supporting recently war-torn lebanon, we decided to check it out. a group called answer sponsored the rally, and no doubt i'd support some of their positions and oppose others (i don't know enough about the organization to know what they're really about), but the issues of the day were palestinian rights and bringing an end to the violence in lebanon, and i definitely can support those causes. we originally heard that 30,000 people were there, but the post reported official estimates of around 10,000. however many, it was a good experience.

you want to know what's weird? the thing i noticed most was how friendly the people were to us. that's obviously not what i went down there to find out, but despite the fact that we weren't bedecked in green, black, red and white (my st. paddy's sox cap notwithstanding), and we weren't carrying placards, the people @ the rally were so, i don't know, nice, i guess. sounds stupid, but that's something i noticed.

one other thing i did come away w/ -- this was the first time i'd attended a demonstration of this type and size, but it strikes me that despite how many good things may come from such events, they aren't optimal venues for gathering information and hammering out a position on whatever issue's got everybody riled up. issues like palestinian liberation, israeli military action in lebanon and hezbollah are too complex, too ephemeral to be decided or even really investigated on the basis of a series of 5-minute speeches yelled from a stage to a partisan crowd. maybe that's why i was moved more by the fleeting interaction w/ the people @ the rally than the speeches or the march. it seems i didn't care enough to put in the mental discipline to find a place to stand on the middle-east, @ least until i met a palestinian i came to know and love. sari's friendship spurred me to @ least get engaged, try to understand. maybe the people i brushed against yesterday will help me on my way.

(for some reason i can't upload pix of the rally to blogger, but there are a couple on flickr i can put in a separate post. sorry.)

5 Comments:

  • At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Mason said…

    I like your post. You sound like someone who really cares deeply about justice and peace - 2 things the world can never have too much of. Let me draw your attention to a different perspective. This is an article I found from a guy who actually lives in Lebanon, and is story is very different from the one I'd been hearing in the news. Check it out: http://www.menapress.com/article.php?sid=1479

     
  • At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Mason said…

    Oh, needed to use html to make the link work! http://www.menapress.com/article.php?sid=1479

     
  • At 3:52 PM, Blogger sammy said…

    interesting article, mason. thanks for the link. that's just what i meant by the issues being complex -- info is filtered, in the us, through all sorts of media, each of which has it's own "slant" (i'll refrain from saying "bias" b/c i just don't know enough to judge fairly), whether it's npr or fox or the nyt or cnn. i don't know messrs. behe and juffa or the metula news agency, so i can't really guage the truth of the article, but i'm sure there are thousands of stories from people in haifa, beirut, iran, damascus, paris, washington, you name it. lots of people smarter than me are flummoxed by the middle-east, and the temptation is great to throw up our hands and say "i can't do anything about it all, so why worry about it?"

    @ the end of the day, i pray quite a bit, for the suffering and the dead, for the combatants, for the politicians, for myself and other information-addled americans, and, most of all, i pray for peace. i come @ this as a christian, sure, but also as a father of two young children, and i can't imagine being in terror about their safety while bombs and rockets rain down around us, no matter who is launching them. i can say i agree w/ behe's sentiment toward the end of the article: "they should know that i weep with them."

     
  • At 1:11 AM, Anonymous mason said…

    I really like you blog, sammy. I'll admit that you're probably a better writer than I am over at turnleft. But please, if it wouldn't be too much trouble - could you change the colors? - Particularly where you do the green on green, as it's just impossible to read. I have to actually highlight that text with my mouse to make any sense of those sections.

     
  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger sammy said…

    i doubt the part about "better writer," but i'm looking into a change of format for ye olde blog. thanks for the comment.

     

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