Where the focus should be

a view of Amman
Originally uploaded by marcynewman.

There are many people who died in the bombings in Jordan whose names you or I may not recognize. Of course their loss is significant as members of their families and society, but one particular death stands out for me, Moustapha Akkad. He is someone who created films like the Lion in the Desert and the Message. These films were a part of his effort to create Hollywood epics that would not demonize Arabs or Muslims. It saddens me that someone like Akkad, whose vision and spirit we need in Hollywood so desperately died. He was a rare one indeed.

I suppose things are back to normal, or as close to normal as possible, now that the weekend is officially over. Although today was the late King Hussein’s birthday so it was another sort of a holiday. I heard there was a silent march today, but the last two days took too much out of me so I chose to stay in bed and work from home. Tomorrow university campuses are coordinating rallies on each campus. But the hotels are now open again, each equipped with metal detectors as parliament passed a new law sometime over the past few days requiring every hotel, bank, government building to have one at its entrances. I went into a restaurant yesterday afternoon to drink a coffee and they had a security guard at its front door checking everyone’s purses and bags before entering. Is this the new normal? It reminds me of walking around in West Jerusalem.

Through all of this I really can’t help but see the irony in it. The effect of the crime here that everyone focuses on is the innocent civilians who died, especially in the wedding. Certainly one should think about these lives, but what of the phrase “innocent civilians”? I’m struck by the international cries of solidarity and support for all of the innocent lives lost. But why is it when Israel kills innocent civilians, which they do every single day, is there no international outrage? Why is it when states participate in terrorist acts there is no questioning of their motives or acts nor any sympathy for the lives lost? Does anyone recall, for instance. , the wedding in Afghanistan that U.S. forces attacked in 2002? This particular memory of this horrific event seems to me to be quite similar to what happened at the Radisson Hotel in Amman.

These questions about who the U.S. kills in Iraq and Afghanistan and who Israel kills in Palestine leaves me to my final point for the day: I know what happened here is horrific, but these are events that take place on a daily basis in the lives of Iraqis and Palestinians. The occupation in both of these countries is what precipitated the events in Amman. Our focus as writers, thinkers, intellectuals is to end these occupations. Period.



18 thoughts on “Where the focus should be

  1. Marcy,

    If the Israelis had no guns, there would be no Israel.

    If the Palestinians had no guns, there would be peace.

    your father

  2. Marcy,

    Well at least you got your father to comment on your blog:) I’ve been trying to get my father to comment on my blog, and he refuses.

  3. re your father’s comment: A thought about peace: The moon is a very peaceful place, because nothing lives there.

    re Moustapha Akkad: Maybe I will try to rent “the Message.” Unfortunately I saw “Halloween” when it came out in 1978 but I guess I can forgive Akkad for making that film.

  4. Dad,

    Is it possible for you to speak without spouting uninformed and inaccurate propaganda from the Zionists? If you were to actually pick up a book and read it and learn the reality of what’s going on inside the Occupied Territories (let alone see it for yourself) you would think quite differently. I saw many Israelis this summer who were transformed once they saw the Occupation up close.

    If you want to read about the reality of the situation you don’t even have to read a Palestinian writer or historian (God forbid!), you could read Amira Hass (Israeli) or Robert Fisk (British).

    You can’t have opinions if you don’t know what you’re taking about. Most Palestinians DON’T have guns. It’s the Occupying forces who have the guns and they are often using them on unarmed people, including your daughter. I wish you could get out of your Zionist mindset and see the reality. What would you do if an invading force came into Boston and Occupied it and no one in Boston had weapons? If they took over your homes, bulldozed them to the ground and rendered you homeless, if they rounded up Bostonians and put them in jail for years with no charge and no trial…what would you do? Would you be passive and just sit there? Or would you fight for your home? For your right to live in a place that you love and feel connected to?


  5. Marcy,

    I’m sure most Palestinians don’t have any weapons.

    However, enough do have guns or bombs that too many Israelis have died. From where do the suicide bombers come? How can they allow children to be suicide bombers? What values they must have.

    Does anyone you have met talk about the money given to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority that has disappeared? That is the major reason the people in the West Bank and Gaza have no housing or jobs. If they had used the money to build housing and an infrastructure, they would have an economy and maybe even peace.

    Keep up your good work. I tried to raise you to be independent and I sure succeeded and am very proud of you, even with our disagreements.


  6. Salam, Shalom, peace:

    Dr. Newman, a well stated reply to your father. I think many Jews today are torn between being pro human rights and pro Israel. The Washington protest on 9/24 showed that America is waking up.

    When we Americans incinerated thousands in Fallujah we called it “collateral damage”. There are many other examples. Did’nt Al-qaeda say that the hotel was used by Americans as a staging ground to Iraq? I had more to ask but for some reason it is hard to post here.

  7. Most Jews realize that pro-Israel and pro-human rights are the same thing, so they are not torn at all.

    If Bostonians started becoming suicide bombers, you find many in jail.

  8. ibrahamav, On the issue of suicide bombers: Is it okay to kill civillans as long as you don’t kill yourself in the process? Is it acceptable to kill non-combatants if it is done with an air to surface rocket rather than C4 in a vest?

    Given the fact that so many Israeli pre-adults are running around with uzzis’, is there reason to think that possibly all of the “martyrdom” targets were legitamate? Shalom.

  9. “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of it’s Arab population.” – Israel Koenig

    How many of Israel’s founders agreed with Mr. Koenig?

    I found that quote on a website, http://www.voicesofpalestine.org. I am sure that it is all just propaganda, … right? Shalom.

  10. Sorry Global – You can’t make up facts in the hope that someone might actually believe there is a justification in palestinian suicide bombing.

    It appears, from the record, that the palestinian desire for martyrdom exceeds their other qualities.

    Your shalom is hollow.

  11. Dr. Newman,

    You hallucinations of genocide are, no matter how much propaganda you spout, mere hallucinations. You need to go to a place where there really is a genocide, rather than screaming self-righteously at the entire Israeli nation and boycotting coffee shops for their ‘pro-Zionist’ attitudes. The minute that Israel begins exterminating the their Arab population or Starbucks begins funding the Janjaweed, I’ll be right behind you, putting my ‘body on the line’. As it is, you need to wake up to reality.

    P.S. 3,710 deaths, while horrible, are not a genocide.

  12. Typical American – She believes if she shouts Genocide, someone will understand her, when all they are really doing is just looking at her, puzzled.

  13. Marcy,

    It’s too bad people like us don’t always get intelligent comments to our blogs. I’ve actually had one or two intelligent comments from people who think differently from me, but I find on most blogs these are a rarity. Usually, people just spew propaganda that’s been force-fed to them. Sometimes I can’t even figure out what they’re trying to say, like with ibrahamav. It sure would be nice to have more INTELLIGENT conversations with people with different views!

  14. It’s funny how the people on the ‘other side’, whichever one that may be, are always the ones who are propagandizing, while one supporters are just spreading the truth.

  15. If you take a look at the statistic counter at the left hand side of my blog, you will notice that the Palestinian casualties of the Occupation are exceedingly higher than the Israeli casualties. Let me be clear: I am not at all saying that one group of people’s lives are worth more than the other. But what I am saying is this says a lot about who has weapons and who is using them. Theories, which is all they are because speaking in the asbract leads one to be hypothetical at best, makes it sound a lot like George
    W. Bush when he made claims about WMDs in Iraq; of course, Bush may have had more reason to speculate about Hussein’s access to weapons because the U.S. sold them to Iraq.

    I also want to be clear that I am not at all torn between a position of being pro-human rights or pro-Israel. First of all I don’t see such a binary opposition as necessary or effective. Second of all, I am pro-human rights for ALL HUMAN BEINGS. I would not define myself as pro-Israel, but if they moved to the 1947 borders (yes, that’s right 1947 not 1967, when Ghaza and the West Bank were a contiguous territory), then I could begin to think of myself as pro-Israel. Maybe. But in any case, I agree with Condoleeza Rice when she hints at the idea that Palestinian soverignty would be the best way to ensure Israeli security.

    I don’t believe in violence of any kind. But I do understand the context from which it arises. What I was trying to explain to my father is that when one group of people occupies another and that occupying power has all of the military might at their disposal, the group under occupation will likely resort to whatever means necessary. I’m not condoning this, I’m merely stating the reality.

  16. Marcy,

    When do you think will be a good time for groups like hamas (can’t capitalize it), to stop talking about “pushing Israelis into the sea?”

    Arafat never took it out of the Palestinian Charter; do you know if it is still there?

    Imagine the uproar if Sharon said his goal is to push all Palestinians into the sea. Yet the Palestinians had it (or have it) in writing in their Charter, and the rest of the world said nothing. They just gave Arafat money, and no one knows where it went. Why don’t you ask your Palestinian friends what happened to the billions (not millions) of dollars Arafat and his govt received?

    Are there two sides to this problem?


  17. Dad,

    I might not have as difficult a time with your opinions if they came from an informed place. Why is it, for instance, that when you think of Palestine you can only think Hamas? Why is it that when you think of Palestinians the only name you ever know is Arafat? This is one of the best indications that you’re speaking from a place that is incredibly ignorant and uninformed in terms of the facts, but it also demonstrates the reality, which is that you have never known, nor have you ever even made an attempt to meet or know, any Palestinian person. Add this to the fact that you only read propagandist news, you never read historical material from either side, and you have a recipe for an amazingly dangerous perspective.

    For the record, the PA does not say any such thing in its charter; that was left over from 1964, though Jews love to continue citing this as if it somehow vindicates their self-rightousness. This was written when the PLO was still in exile. Should we cite examples of U.S. laws or policies from 1954 to discuss the nature of race relations in the U.S. today? This is what you do when you make such innacurate claims.

    There are certainly multiple sides to the problem, but when will you ever be able to know any side other than the American Zionist one?


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