palestine journal: september 29
palestine journal: september 29
ok....i'm really concerned now. first i hear the news item that congress just
passed a bill suspending habeas corpus -- essentially taking away the right of a
prisoner to challenge their imprisonment. this means that people can be held
without charge, tortured, and essentially 'disappeared', legally, in the U.S.
people who are innocent!! people who have done nothing wrong. and there will be no
trial, no day in court where they can prove their innocence. and no way for them to
challenge their imprisonment.
here's an oped from the new york times:
and now i hear that today the house has passed the 'warrantless wiretapping' act,
and the senate is likely to soon follow. in this bill, the government can listen to
anyone's phone, read anyone's email, demand records from telecom companies, and
here, too, there is no legal way to appeal.
umm....now, i'm no legal expert (nor am i a big fan of a so-called 'democracy' built
on genocide and slavery), but isn't there supposed to be something called 'checks
and balances' in the american government? you know, that thing that I learned way
back in grade school was 'the basis of american democracy'.
as a bumper sticker i once read said: "the constitution ain't perfect, but it's
better than what we have now".
some american congressmen apparently have also just accused the United Nations
Refugee and Works Association, currently the only provider of food and drinking
water to over 80,000 Palestinian refugees, of somehow 'sponsoring terrorism'.......I
guess because they give food and water to a starving civilian population that is a
civilian population considered 'terrorists' by these guys.
I wonder......is every palestinian a terrorist? is that the reasoning behind this?
i guess that some people believe that.
it's strange though.....the population in palestine is a young population - nearly
40% of the population is under 18.....and so mainly what i see here is kids -- kids
riding bikes, kids playing basketball, babies laughing and gurgling adorably in
their mothers' arms.....toddlers waddling after their brothers to try to join in
their games....young girls skipping down the street hand in hand to the neighborhood
and i wonder to myself, how could anyone look at the palestinian people, almost half
of them kids, and see nothing but terrorists?
yes, there have been some isolated incidents of violence by palestinians against
israeli civilians. but far more palestinian civilians have been killed by israelis
than vice versa. so who is the terrorist? and what is terrorism really?
if living as palestinians do, under curfew, locked in one's home 24 hours a day for
months on end, with electricity cuts that invariably mean aerial bombardments
occurring night after night, with tanks invading one's neighborhood on a daily
basis, with one's kids getting shot for coming too close to the 30-foot high
concrete wall that surrounds their town -- if that is not living in utter terror,
then I don't know what is.
but i guess that is what the new 'american dream' looks like. that's what it's
beginning to look like in afghanistan and iraq anyway, the latest conquests of the
with these new laws (which it appears are being rushed through before the midterm
elections), the u.s.a. (or, to begin with, its prisons) is very quickly going to
look the same way.
and this new terror regime is not coming from some fetishized islamic culture that
many americans seem to have developed a stupefied stereotyped view of.......no, this
is a home-grown american regime of "look the other way and don't notice when they
take your neighbor away".....a regime of "why would you refuse to let your
government read your email, tap your phone, or install cameras in your bedroom?
...unless you've got something to hide. what are you hiding, hmm?" a regime of
secret government lists and a mafia-run government waging resource wars throughout
the globe to 'preserve the american way of life', while americans get microchipped
and racially profiled, retinal scanned and blacklisted, and blindly put their faith
in their consumer economics and the power of their property to protect them from the
undercurrent of fear that is rapidly surpassing all other dreams they might have
had.....ignoring the secret prisons and rumors of torture (rumors which are
vehemently ignored by a media which prefers to focus on hollywood weddings and which
star got a nosejob, while furiously feeding the frenzy of fear that keeps people
suspecting their neighbors and scared to go out alone).....
because after all, as sinclair lewis so succinctly put it back in 1935: "it can't
happen here". (or....... can it.................?)
you can buy his book (called, you guessed it: _it can't happen here_):
....or borrow it from your local library. if it is indeed worthy of being called a
library, it will have this book......
here's a review:
"Surprisingly, Sinclair Lewis' darkly humorous tale of a fascist takeover in the US,
"It Can't Happen Here," is not merely out-of-print, but also quite hard to find. As
dated as it is (1935), its themes will be quite familiar to Americans today. It
starts with the highly contested election of an oafish yet strangely charismatic
president, who talks like a "reformer" but is really in the pocket of big business,
who claims to be a home-spun "humanist," while appealing to religious extremists,
and who speaks of "liberating" women and minorities, as he gradually strips them of
all their rights. One character, when describing him, says, "I can't tell if he's a
crook or a religious fanatic." After he becomes elected, he puts the media - at
that time, radio and newspapers - under the supervision of the military and slowly
begins buying up or closing down media outlets. William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert
Murdoch of his times, directs his newspapers to heap unqualified praise upon the
president and his policies, and gradually comes to develop a special relationship
with the government. The president, taking advantage of an economic crisis,
strong-arms Congress into signing blank checks over to the military and passing
stringent and possibly unconstitutional laws, e.g. punishing universities when they
don't permit military recruiting or are not vociferous enough in their approval of
his policies. Eventually, he takes advantage of the crisis to convene military
tribunals for civilians, and denounce all of his detractors as unpatriotic and
possibly treasonous. I'll stop here, as I don't want to ruin the story -- I can
imagine that you can see where all this is going."
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article