Tuesday, June 20, 2006


An article that DesertPeace posted on his blog resulted in the following reply, which I decided to post here. At the end of the next paragraph it mentions a poem that it reminded me of, which I wrote back in 2002. This is posted at the end of the message. Please go read the article at DP by clicking here (it will open in a new window). The article is about Israel covering-up the real cause of the deaths on a Gaza beach.

I am not sure what is sadder about this entire scenario: that the world (read: west) seems so apathetic to what is happening outside of its immediate sphere of influence that it doesn't want to know the truth, or that upon hearing the truth (on those rare occasions that it happens to trickle out one way or another), they find it too inconvenient to pay attention to (reminds me of a poem I wrote).

It would seem that if something is going to interfere with their enjoyment of their double-no-fat-frappachino with soy, not milk, well, that just won't do. That's the problem with the becoming aware of the ills of the world: it doesn't do you much good unless you try and do something about it. We find it very easy (here in the west) to turn a blind eye to what is happening in the middle east because we don't believe it will have a direct effect upon us.

The flipside of that is what happened five years ago. In a way, what Osama bin Laden and his friends did was to galvanize the world's focus on the middle east. I can guarantee that a single day won't go by without every western leader receiving a full and detailed briefing about what has happened in every major nation of the middle east (especially Israel, Iran and Iraq ... and Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon ... and ... well, you get the idea).

This is one of the main reasons that we need to strengthen the cry for a boycott of Israel and Israeli products. If you begin to have an effect on the economy while saying it's because of their policies towards the "Palestinian Question" (with due deference Marx), perhaps that's when Israel will be forced to look at what they are doing from a different perspective.

Some people say you can't force people to live as neighbours, I don't accept that at all. What we have to understand is that it isn't a race issue at all, nor is it an issue about land. It is an issue of ignorance and misunderstanding: what you do not know you are afraid of, and what you fear, you lash out at. Can you feel animosity towards the person living next to you after they have helped you carry your groceries or some other mundane act? It is the isolation we maintain as individuals (communication being made so available by this nice sterile environment called the internet) that we don't interact with the people living right next to us.

If you know your neighbours, know their hopes and dreams, know what their children want to be when they grow up (likely not Intifadah members or martyrs, but doctors, soccer players and rock stars ... just like anywhere else in the world), then you develop into something with them, regardless of whether you pray the same way: you become part of a community, and a community is about unity, not strife.

the poem ...

(In)Convenient Knowledge

With a single touch
great forces are harnessed
giving life to the devices
we take for granted

one person is carried
from one floor to another
by a machine – gears and pulleys
hydraulics — thousands upon
thousands of parts and pieces
coming together to carry us
when we are weary —
or cannot go any further — but —

on the other side of the button
there is a price
for such convenience
how often do we
allow ourselves to ask
the difficult questions?
or do we care — are we
unconcerned with the
cost of convenience —
the price that others pay
is so easy to push to the
back of the mind
(to study in obscure courses
in university that nobody really
pays attention to — do they?)

The people movers —
the Jumbo Jets and other planes
spewing out pollutants
to rescue those who can
afford to pay
from the drudgeries of
seasonal changes
(why have winter when you can
bask in the sun on a distant beach?)

— just make sure you
don't leave the resort and
explore the city —
see where the people who work in the hotels live
know where your money is going —
(and don't drink the water)
(what do they make the ice cubes from, anyway?)

You don't want to know�
really —
you don't
the price is too high
the ransom too great —
we cannot afford to pay
another day —
but we will
with blood money and
consciences seared by

Still another day will pass
without the hard questions being asked

Copyright 2002 / 2006 by Peter Amsel (SOCAN)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Extra fine comment and a very fitting poem to go with it.
Keep it up!