Friday, July 27, 2007

Headlines, Part 2

This will be an ongoing post taken from headlines in one of our National Newspapers. I read today yet another example of the sort of absurdity that has been brought to my attention quite a few times over the years. The caption read, 'Two versions of history', and the article was referring to the differing textbooks now being published in Israel for Arab and Jewish third-graders. The books written in Arabic now mention the Nakba (catastrophe), referring to the Palestinian exodus from Israel following the Arab-Israeli war. OK. However, the textbooks written in Hebrew will not be revised to include this event even occurring, only that the war was justifiable "because of Jews' historic roots in the Holy Land and their need for a permanent refuge from persecution." How ironic, since there are now some 4 million Palestinian refugees who have lived for decades in refugee camps surrounding Israel. Now, again, I am not passing judgment on either side, you may, but I'm not. What is of far more interest to me is how there is so little room for the acknowledgment of our collective past and so much energy spend twisting 'what has been' according to our passing beliefs and self-centered needs for momentary security. Why are there two, if not many, many more, versions of history? The definition of history is "an account of related natural phenomena based on observation and investigation" or "the past events of a period in time." Clearly it is subjective, determined by the one observing and investigating the said period in time but when we actually teach, as if it is the whole truth, different versions of what happened or how it happened or to whom it happened, how can we except to live with one another? Native Americans have a verifiable 4,000 year history here in America, how much of it are you familiar with? Japan has yet to acknowledge any wartime atrocities to the people of Korea or China even though millions died and survived through that painful period in their shared 'history.' Are we ignorant enough to believe the children of the original 700,000 Palestinians driven from their homes do not have first hand accounts of what their parents actual experience was of that period in history? It is SOOOOO absurd I think it would make anyone directly effected by such ignorance boiling with animosity inside. And then we attempt to live together, we attempt to form communities, bridge gaps. Is it any wonder we fragment into isolated support groups of race, creed, gender and religion? Is it any wonder we war with each other? It is such a slap in the face, it is as if we are saying, 'you, whoever you are, you are not intelligent enough to understand what happened in the past or why, so just move on, get over it, forget about it, or like this article points out, maybe we can just indoctrinate peoples differently and keep us isolated enough so that we never find out! Well, how do think it's working?
WAR says, act on that base emotion and when it comes up again, act on it again. PEACE says, acknowledge that base emotion and when it comes up again, acknowledge it again. Where do you stand? Thank you for your time. I promise I have not intentionally twisted any of the "facts" presented in this blog for purposes of making a point, saving my skin, or appearing more intelligent than you. I'm not.