Welcome back everyone. Hope all is well. Well, at least on a personal level.
It seems like not much else is well in the world. People are dying and fighting and arguing. Protests and counter protests, fueled by hate and anger. Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong, and everyone’s to blame and to pay the price.
To be honest with you folks, it’s getting rather tiresome, don’t you think? Hate, that is.
We see a bunch of celebrities tweet and post their opinion about the fighting in Gaza (though we don’t see them chime in on the massacres in Syria, Iraq, Sudan and other places around the globe). Some go to great lengths to explain why they’re on this side or the other.
The websphere has been divided into three main groups:
The “Pro-Israelis“, The “Pro-Palestinians” and the “people who don’t really care“.
These first two groups launch endless arguments about “Who’s right”. And the arguments vary in terms of length, depth and volume of hate and racism. Photos of varying degree of reliability are smeared on Facebook, Videos of Israelis-criticizing-Israel and Palestinians-criticizing-Hamas are posted as the absolute proof of “this side” or “the other”‘s righteousness.
This has been amplified with the recent feud between the outspoken Russel Brand and Sean Hannity (Both of whom I like, for their tenacity, both of whom I disagree with, for pretty much the same reason).
I have yet to see anyone convinced that one was wrong, as a result of these endless spats.
Which leads me to my point.
I’m participating in the Peace Factory initiative (again – I encourage everyone to join us), and one of the things we agree on there is that there is no “other side”. We simply refuse to see each other as enemies. Why should we? What’s to be gained? And by who?
After spending some time with us, one might ask oneself a few questions. For example:
Is it OK to care for casualties regardless of their nationality?
Is it OK to want your family and friends to be safe, while wanting the same for people on the other side of the border?
Is it OK to wonder and question the effectiveness of violence as a solution for violence?
Can we view each others as individuals, regardless of the flag flying over our heads?
Can we avoid vilifying each other?
And if the answers to all of the above is “Yes”, then how do we do that?
Well, for one – one can stop participating in the “Pro-Israel/Palestinian” propaganda.
One can be “Pro-Peace” instead. This “title change” is not cosmetic though, be warned. It means that we’re not out there to show how the Palestinians are the root of all evil. We’re not there to show how Israel is the root of all evil. We’re out there to make a connection. To make friends. To communicate.
Because we can either spend our time arguing, trying to prove each other wrong.
Or, we can spend our time trying to build as many bridges as possible between the people.
It’s as simple as that – you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.
The problem these days, as I see it, is that in the heat of conflict, hate dominates the “discussion”. It’s not a discussion at all. It’s fuel for more conflict. It’s firewood for the furnace we’re all stuck in for a very long time. It’s just another turn in the cycle of violence.
If you’d like to help break this cycle, you can do many things:
Join the Peace Factory (See at the bottom of this post).
Listen to some of the interviews, presentations by some of our organizers (See at the bottom of this post).
Resist the urge to argue and fight. In war – e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e loses, so really… what for?
Remember – we want peace. The politicians may have their interests in mind, but our interests are to live and let live.
FREE YOUR MIND – The media is telling you only what their agenda makers tell them to. It’s always nice to read the paper that echos your point of view. But are you getting any real value from it?
REFUSE to see others as enemies – Talk about media – do not buy the propaganda. “Israel” is made of millions of people with many different opinions (Know that joke about every argument between two Jews involves 10 different opinions? It comes from somewhere 🙂 ). They are not all Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian population is not all Hamas. In fact, even Hamas is not one homogenized group. People are people…
Do not support the vilification of a nation. Since we don’t buy the propaganda, we know that “Israel” is not evil. We know “Palestine” is not evil. Be part of peace making, not the extension of the cycle of violence.
Go out and make some friends! You just might be surprised how it can change your perspective.
Well, I hope that made as much sense as I hope it did. If not, feel free to tell me about it right under this post.
Here are some of the links I promised in the above:
See you Monday with another “Monday Chat” shenanigans! Until then, Peace out,
Today, a midst the darkness that descends on the middle east yet again, while the spirits are low and the nerves are irritated, I wanted to share a few small, but significant rays of light.
It’s very easy to despair. It’s very cozy when you’re entrenched in traditional paradigms.
But even when the cannons roar, one must remember that one is never alone. Even when it seems from one’s small corner of the globe that everyone hates the other, this is not the case. Even when the bombs are falling, it’s important to remember Martin Luther King’s simple, but so true quote:
We must learn to live together like brothers, or perish together as fools.
In the past few days and weeks, every facebook account in Israel and Gazza is filled with anger, hate, despair.
But I wanted to show that there are those who still believe that war is not the answer. People who refuse to view their neighbors as enemies. People who will not surrender to hate and despair, and are looking to reach out and touch people “on the other side”.
I highly recommend visting the links at the bottom of this post. I also wanted to share a few examples (out of many) of people who reach out to their so-called-enemies with love and compassion. I wanted to show that not all hope is lost and that people as opposed to politicians are sick of war, death and suffering.
As I wrote above, these are but a few examples.
The people in the middle east, the “silent majority” for the most part, want to live and let live. These folks are not silent. They speak up so Israelis and Palestinians know they are not alone. We all suffer from war and we all could only benefit peace.
Here’s what we are all asking our leaders:
Some interesting articles about the Peace Factory:
Welcome back folks. It’s nice of you to drop by again.
Today, I want to share a conversation with you. Just a normal Q&A, back and forth, chitchat between two people.
One of them is me. The other one, we will call M.I.F for reasons which will become apparent as you read.
This conversation took place in Facebook, as many these days do. Between two friends who have never met in real life. In light of this, the nature of the conversation is of course, trying to understand who the other person is. What he likes, dislikes and to try and get a peek into his views of the world. Just 2 guys talking here. Also, please excuse some grammar and spelling errors. Both of us speak English as second language.
Gil: Please recommend three places to visit in your country.
M.I.F: To Americans, Israelis and perhaps British, I recommend the following. I said America and Israel cause they have a bad image (perception) of Iran. Not all of them but I know many of them do. These three countries can meet the real Iran. We like guests. We’d especially welcome Israeli people, because in the past, before the Islamic revolution of 1979 many Jews lived in iran and also thousand years ago there was a really good relationship between Persians and Jewish people. Even now in Iran, there are many Jews, Muslims, Christians, many atheists and then Zarathustra live in Iran. We want peace with America and Israel, don’t listen to the media outlets, maybe about 70% Iranians are the friends of peace and they do not agree with this Islamic republic of Iran, and about 70% of Iranians disagree with these Islamic rules and this regime in Iran. They are not happy with that because before 1979 Iran was a free country like the west and we NEVER, EVER had any Islamic rules in Iran and these Islamic rules came to my country from Arabic countries. You can read about this also and make sure my words are correct. Any way, I would welcome all guests to Iran and i hope to see a good relation again between Iran, Israel and America.
Gil: What kind of music do you like? Any favorite artists?
M.I.F: I love sonati (traditional Persian music). I listen to rap, rock, Reggae, and all kinds of music. I don’t hate any kind of music, If that music gives me a good feeling i will listen to it (lol). My favorite artist is Homayoun Shajarian, a Persian singer who sings sonati, and also the Persian rapper (hichkas). I like 50 cent, Bob Marley, Eminem, and many other artists.
Gil: What sports do you like (If you do)? Any favorite teams? Athletes?
M.I.F: I love cycling as I was a cyclist, cars racing, swimming and many kinds of sport, my favorite team is the biking team of Astana, lotto, Columbia htc team etc. My favorite athletes are Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador, Mark Cavendish, Lance Armstrong etc.
Gil: What was the last movie you watched? Would you recommend it?
M.I.F: As i love comedies, my favorite movies were Dictator, Ted, The hangover, American pie etc. I recommend these movies if you didn’t see them (lol).
Gil: The lonely island scenario. What book would you take with you?
M.I.F: (lol) Weird question. If i was there, I think i wouldn’t need Quran(koran) or any holy book cause there is no Allah or god in that time to help me or any different god from different religion. This is my belief. I’d want a book about: how can i live in The lonely island and what can I do and what do I need and how can I run away from this hell (lol). Also, to spend my time with other books, I prefer to read the beautiful Persian poems from Maulana Rumi, Saadi, Hafiz, Omar Khayyam, Ferdowsi etc. I love Omar Khayyam and I think his book is good to spend my time. Let me write one of his poems:
Khayyam, if you are intoxicated with wine, enjoy! If you are seated with a lover of thine, enjoy! In the end, the Void the whole world employ Imagine thou art not, while waiting in line, enjoy!
Meaning: In life devote yourself to joy and love Behold the beauty of the peaceful dove Those who live, in the end must all perish Live as if you are already in heavens above
Gil: Who was (or is) your greatest inspiration?
M.I.F: My inspiration person is Cyrus the great father of Persia (Iran) from 2600 years ago. When he said respect to all people with any beliefs and anyone is free to choose his/her religion or way and many beautiful words he said on his first charter of human rights in the world about 2600 years ago. He was a great man. I also love Maulana Rumi the Persian (Iranian) poet when he said: Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or in the next, did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story. My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being. or one of other poems of him is:I profess the religion of love, Love is my religion and my faith. My mother is love My father is love My prophet is love My God is love I am a child of love I have come only to speak of love. Etc.
Gil: What did you (or do you still) want to be when you grow up?
M.I.F: Well I am happy with what I have and so it should be. I have my 2 shops as I’m 21 years old. It’s true, we say people have many dreams to have all they want and each one of us has different wishes. Some can and their dreams will come true as they work hard for their wishes and some can’t because they didn’t try, or maybe their life changed by other things and they couldn’t do something to make their dreams come true. This world is too weird. My dream is peace between everyone. Each one of us, different countries, and I’m trying to help this world to be in peace. A big/hard wish but I hope slowly this wish will come true too, and many wishes I have which are not just about myself, but rather about the world or even my land Iran. I’m not selfish so i don’t have too much dreams for myself. I am happy with my life.
Gil: If a movie was made about you, who would be playing your part?
M.I.F: I’d prefer that I act in that movie (lol) because I think I can be a good actor and that movie will be more appealing, as it’s my life and I can act all feeling so true, and it will be just the true feeling in each part of my life in that movie.
Gil: What do you value the most about your friends?
M.I.F: Friends always help each other. With my good friend, we help each other, we have fun, When he or she is sad I’m sad, the valued thing with the real friends is that they don’t leave you alone and in the lonely moments they are with you.
Gil: What do you consider the most important lesson life taught you?
M.I.F:As I’m silly sometimes, I do stupid things. Don’t laugh (lol). I’m sure you did too because we are all human and each one of us do the wrong things sometimes. All of humans, even the biggest persons. Experience – that’s what we get, sometimes. When I make mistakes, I will not be sad about it, maybe you can’t believe that, but I will be happy because it will be experience and is like a medal for me. Or an achievement (lol). It’s true and I’m not kidding. We should never be sad for making mistakes because any mistake is a step towards victory. I believe that we should never give up.
M.I.F: Which places do you like to visit? which place you choose for living (except the place you living now)?
Gil: I appreciate the greatness of nature Vs. the contrasting humbleness of men. For that reason, places that interest me are places where that contrast is evident. Examples include the grand Canyon in the US, the Amazon, Antarctica. I will likely not make it to most of these, but would be happy to see some. If there’s one place I’d like to live it’s the Golan Heights at the north of Israel. A beautiful place.
M.I.F: Which pet would you like to have? which pet wouldn’t you like?
Gil: As far as pets, I’m a dog person. I had a few and loved them. Currently taking a break from pets as I have enough on my plate. I don’t particularly like cats (Sorry internet :)) and I’d never keep a wild animal captive.
M.I.F: Out of the books you read, what are your favorite books?
Gil: Good thing you asked in the plural form, as I have quite a few. The books that really had an impact of me include: 1984/George Orwell, The Man In The Maze/Robert Silverberg, Lord Of The Rings/JRR Tolkien, Otherland/Tad Williams and Foundation/Isaac Asimov among others.
M.I.F: Which behavior don’t you like with people?
Gil: I will phrase it that way, people who do not have capacity for compassion. I feel sad for these folks. No matter what happens in our lives, there’s always someone who might have it less fortunate.
M.I.F: Which person is your biggest inspiration person? and why?
Gil: I’d have to say that on a personal level, my father was and still is my biggest inspiration. A person who’s done his best to be positive, honest and hard-working, who put his family’s needs ahead of his own. A person who fought Cancer for years, so he can see his kids reach a stage in their life where he could let go. A person who did not need anyone’s approval to be a good person. Another person who I’ve always thought highly of is Martin Luther King who showed that non-violence can achieve great things and overcome great wrongs.
M.I.F: What kind of music do you like to hear?
Gil: I love Rock music of many kinds. Some of my favorites include Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and many many more. I’m also a big fan of Israeli singers who mix rock, and other western styles with middle eastern influences. Look up ‘Ehud Banai’ (Who I believe is from a Persian descent) in YouTube 🙂 Another Persian Israeli singer is Rita. Whether I like her style or not, her voice is simply amazing.
M.I.F: What are your dreams and wishes?
Gil: I am very modest in that regard. I believe I share the great dream of being happy. I do my best to be happy at all times, regardless of circumstances. I find that negative feelings tend to invite more such feelings into our lives. Outside of myself, I hope that people will find a way to live with each other in peace. So many lives, so much energy, money and resources are directed towards hate… it makes me wonder how can we not see that directing these to peaceful and productive existence would make this world so much better.
M.I.F: What is your purpose in life? And tell me about ultimate goal in your life.
Gil: This is a question I am still trying to answer myself 🙂 My ultimate goal in life is to try to live in peace with myself and others.
M.I.F: Which person did you want to be? and why?
Gil: As a youngster I wanted to be a DJ on the radio. I love music and always wanted to be the one to share it with people. These days I just want to be the best me I can possibly be.
M.I.F: Tell me about the biggest and important thing you learned from this world.
Gil: There are many great lessons I learned (and I have plenty of room for more). Perhaps the most important thing I learned was to understand that I’m responsible for everything in my life. To realize that nothing in the past could be changed and that the future is not here yet, therefore, I can only change what I do in the present. Because of that realization, I choose to avoid falling into the pitfall called regret, forgive myself and others and do my best at present time.
I hope you enjoyed our conversation. To complete Buddha’s quote in the title
Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
I hope you did not find any of these word hollow. Each one of these, and so many more that are spoken every day, are meant to bring about the goal of many in the middle east – Peace.
My Iranian Friend could not be named in this forum to avoid persecution in his homeland.
I’m grateful for your cooperation my friend!
We both met on Facebook as part of the Israel-Love-Iran group and one of the goals of this group is to encourage communication between people of these two countries. I wanted to share this, and encourage others to have more of these! We are not our leaders, we are not politicians, we’re people and as you could see above, we have no problem with each other.
Feel free to share this post, spread the word. Hopefully one day, we could meet in Tel Aviv or in Tehran and chat over some coffee. Until then, Peace, Shalom, man solh raa arezou mikonam.
Come on and ride on the peace train!
What have you done for Peace lately?
Until next time,
מאז שאני מכיר את עצמי אנחנו ביחד, עם הפסקות פה ושם, אבל תמיד היא בליבי.
בתחילה, כל חיי היו מרוכזים באיזור הזה שבשיפולי בטנה. משולש צחיח.
מקום אלוהי ביופיו, שהיה לי גן עדן עלי אדמות.
שעות שהייתי חוקר ומשחק בין הגבעות והעמקים הלבנים שם, ועד היום אני חולם עליו בגעגועים.
את הבטן הקשה שלה אני מכיר שנים רבות, והלב שלה שהוא מצד אחד קורן אור יקרות, ומצד שני קשה ומסובך, תמיד נישא בפי.
המותניים הצרות שלה, תמיד בסכנת הצרה נוספת, קריטית? נושאות משקל עודף?
נמנעתי מלגעת בהן. מצטער.
אבל יותר מכל אני אוהב את הקודקוד שלה. גבוה ויפה. לעיתים מלבין. שנה שלמה תהיתי על קנקנו.
בעשורים האחרונים, יוצא שאני עוזב אותה לזמן מה ושוב חוזר. קשה לי איתה אבל אי אפשר בלעדיה.
קשה לי לפעמים עם הכיוון אליו היא הולכת וגוררת אותי איתה – בניגוד לרצוני.
לפעמים אני גאה בה מאוד, אבל לא מבין מה עובר בראשה.
אני לא יודע אם היא אוהבת אותי כמו שאני אוהב אותה,
אם כן, אני מודה שיש לה דרך משונה להראות לי את זה.
היא בדמי. המשיכה שלי אליה… רבים ניסו להסביר אותה, חלקם הצליחו יותר מאחרים.
כן, היחסים בינינו לעיתים סאדו מאזוכיסטיים.
יחסי אהבה שנאה.
היא יפה, אבל לא תמיד יודעת להתלבש.
היא חכמה, הכי בעולם. אבל לפעמים עושה שטויות של בת טיפש עשרה.
אני לא אוהב כשמדברים עליה לא יפה, אבל לפעמים גם אני חוטף עליה קריזה
כי אפילו אם היא מפנה לי כתף קרה, או אפילו בוגדת,
אפילו אם היא קשוחה, מתנשאת וצינית,
אפילו אם לעיתים נדמה שנגמר בינינו הרומן…
כנראה שרק היא תמיד תהיה שם בשבילי, כמו שהיא או אחרת.
יום הולדת שמח לך, ישראל אהובתי.
Hi all and welcome back to my humble site.
You know, being an Israeli in the US, I repeatedly find myself functioning as an unofficial ambassador. I’m not sure that the Prime Minister would approve of everything that I say. In fact, I’m pretty darn sure he’d fire me at once.
The most common thing I’m asked to comment on is, of course, “the conflict”. You know, that seemingly never-ending conflict of interests between the state of Israel and it’s neighbors, mainly the Palestinians.
So first of all, nothing from what I’m writing about today is the official government line, by any stretch of the term. And secondly, It is not my intention in this piece to start a “whose fault is it?” or a “Who started?” debate. I think this is done on plenty of other websites which, unlike this one, promote division and well… conflict. In addition, I don’t want to be part of the problem. I hope to be a humble part of the solution.
What’s my opinion about the conflict? I would dearly want it to end. Today. Right now if it’s convenient to everyone.
The point of today’s post is that, surprisingly enough (well, not to me. I knew this all along) – so do most of the people (and I’m talking about people here, not politicians) involved in this.
Last Friday, while reading an interesting column on an Israeli newspaper (LINK – It’s in Hebrew… sorry) I was pleasantly surprised to see that what I thought all along, is validated by some pretty interesting numbers. The columnist dedicated a good paragraph to a survey, conducted by researchers at The university of Maryland and presented at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and highlighted some really important points.
Now, it’s a good thing that the writer had read through the whole survey, as statistics could be interpreted and manipulated so easily. One would read through this survey and get the feeling that all is lost, if one didn’t read between the lines – which the writer did.
Here are the points I wanted to bring up:
- 54% of Israelis and 41% of Palestinians expressed support of a defined agreement that was presented to them. This agreement is based on existing offers that are on the table. Nothing significantly different to what was discussed so far!
- When the people who disagreed with the above were asked for their support, assuming “the other side” accepts the deal, the Palestinian support rate jumped up by 18% and the Israeli by another 9%! Making it – 63% of Israelis and 59% of Palestinians!
- Past experience shows that the support of an agreement rises even further after signing, so we’re talking about roughly 2/3 of the population.
If you ask me – THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.
So why is peace eluding the region?
And no, Mr. Lieberman, it’s not because “The Arabs” don’t want peace. They do.
It’s plain as Yogurt, reading the above, or simply living in the middle east – PEOPLE want peace!
It’s because someone is making money off of our backs! Someone is pulling the strings that bind the politicians on every turn.
Now, we may look at this and do what we always do – nod our heads and say “well, so what?” it’s only a survey. Who’s going to read it?
What’s missing in this equation are leaders with “testicular fortitude”… Leaders who don’t think about the loud and violent minorities who object to a compromise. Leaders who’re willing to listen to the people. The people couldn’t say it any clearer – we want to live in peace with our neighbors.
Let your voice be heard! Spread the word that the people have spoken! Let the leaders know they’re elected to benefit the people.
Speak for peace.
Here’s the LINK to the survey – read for yourself.
Until next time.
Hello everyone and welcome to the dot-com.
As of today, we’re still awaiting the verdict with regards to Syria, the possible attack and what it all means for the rest of the middle east and as it stands, the rest of the world.
My instinctive response to the news of chemical weapons use in Syria were outrage, disgust, fear and sadness. As many of us, I thought that this is something that cannot go unpunished. I thought of my ancestors who were in concentration and death camps in Europe during the holocaust, and my blood boiled. Surely the world can’t ignore the Syrian people‘s suffering.
Then, I thought of a few other things.
Impact. Should Syria be attacked by the USA or the UK, they would be under pressure to retaliate. Since they don’t have the military option to hit back at the superpowers, the obvious response would be to hit anything that’s associated with America in the neighborhood – Israel. So now we’re thinking about initiating an attack that might result in Israeli casualties? Is that a decision that would be taken by… whom?
Impact. Syria. Yes, that same country in question is in the midst of a bloody struggle and so many lives were already lost. Just saying.
Still, I stand by my initial statement. Use of chemical weapons, especially against civilians, kids, women… this cannot just go past us. It is outrageous. The international community has to stand up and DO something!
Then I saw Russel Brand.
In addition to being a hilarious comedian, it turns out that Russel is a very intelligent guy (not that comedians are normally not…).
So what should the international community do?
Take care of the living, that’s what.
Help the refugees, heal the wounded, feed the weak.
Attacking Syria will result in one thing. More loss of life. Who will suffer? Likely some people who deserve to be punished. Along with many more innocent bystanders and people who had nothing to do with this conflict to begin with.
What do we do about the chemical substance that was used (and here I disagree with Brand’s comparison, I believe we have solid proof that it was indeed used)? I honestly don’t have an answer for that. I can only speculate that Russia and the USA can work together to ensure that this never happens again. I can only speculate that the US armed forces have ways to take care of these weapons in a more “elegant” way (can’t think of a better word).
My hopes are that the Syrian people will find peace soon. I hope that common sense will prevail and the people of Syria go back to normal (as they define it).
Check out this Facebook page, I support their message.
Welcome back and happy Passover/Easter/Any holiday you might be celebrating these days. You know, I’m not a religious guy. Not in the “conventional” sense. I believe in god. It’s not necessarily what others perceive but I do believe that there is “something out there” and it’s higher than us in a sense. Born Jewish I celebrate our traditional holidays and tonight after telling my kids the story of the Exodus it kind of hit me. God is also a fantastic literary genius. I mean no disrespect to anyone, so please read the below with the understanding that it’s only a fun way to look at story telling. I’m not looking to “take sides” or to go out of my way to be “anti”. Continue reading