Political Weblogging

Amongst the peace bloggers

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I found an excellent essay, Vietnam War Retrospective that discusses photojournalism’s effects on the Vietnam protest movement. Among some of the events recalled by the author, Frank Cossa, is the following:

We saw a callow, fair young man slip a flower into the rifle barrel of a helmeted MP standing guard in front of the Pentagon; a literal demonstration of “flower power” in a gesture of perfect absurdist grace. (We never did see the Pentagon “levitate” as the Yippies promised it would on that occasion, but some of us are convinced that it gave a slight shimmy).

I remember these images very well — flower children, eyes glazed by love and peace (and liberal doses of grass), gently putting daisies and carnations into the rifles of very young guardsmen, most of whom hadn’t a clue how to respond to such action. The image was very powerful, and an effective companion to other photojournalist efforts that showed dead Vietnamese children and women and dead American soldiers as well as injured or dead protestors.

After all, without love, what were we fighting for?

Peace Bloggers speak out:

AKMA – BTW, thanks for trying in Doc’s comments, Rev

Jonathon – who really shouldn’t eat sardines and vegemite, followed by lamb and potatoes when sick

Eric – Off to jury duty next week, poor boy

Chris – My favorite chicken who clucks most elegantly

Kath – Who suggests we should send the current Middle East leaders to Pluto

Mike Golby who introduces us to a new South African, Nithia Govender as both discuss the choice South Africa made for peace. Gives hope.

Elaine – who has taken to peace blogging most passionately

Steve who, like Jonathon, specializes in the delicately subtle as compared to the clamorously loud (the latter being my own particular approach).

Rogi — who pointed out this interesting new bug that really looks like a bug and gets 1 litre/100 km.

And Karl – Who wrote the peace bloggers creed:

Read both sides. Get to the truth. Form your own opinions. And if you can – be courageous and speak them. But make sure you read both sides to the story. Don’t trust writers that do not declare their biases.

Don’t add to the data smog people – help cut thru it.


If you’re not with us…

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Mike Sanders says And the equivocation and silence of the non war bloggers is deafening.

Not only condemned for what we say, we are now condemned by what we don’t say. Weblogging now has a new owner and that owner is the war bloggers and those who believe that if we don’t write for them, we write against them.

Doc points to Death does not Justify Death, an excellent essay. However, Doc — you’ve now placed yourself in the camp of the Unbelievers. You’re going straight to hell, dragged there by the triple-headed hound of hypocrisy, vengeance, and bigotry. You spoke out, but you didn’t say the right words. You spoke out but you didn’t follow the script.

Doc, you also mention the National Post article about the UN document that supposedly condones violence as a way to achieve Palestinian statehood. So did several other people including Glenn ReynoldsMeryl, and Little Green Footballs.

Thanks to who carefully placed actual links to the documents into a comment at Little Green Football, we can read the offensive material for ourselves.

First of all, read the UN Council’s news release about the resolution — pay particular attention to the statements associated with the votes on this measure, as well as the wording of the vote itself and what the document is condeming. A draft of the document can be seen here. According to comments attached to the Little Green Football posting, this is the actual document that was passed, and the document numbers do seem to match.

I am assuming that the clause that generated comments such as “The United States should withdraw from the United Nations and evict these terror-supporting toads from Manhattan” is:

1. Affirms the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation by all available means in order to free its land and be able to exercise its right of self-determination and that, by so doing, the Palestinian people is fulfilling its mission, one of the goals and purposes of the United Nations;

Yes — I would say that this paragraph condones the Palestinian fight to support their homeland. Does it condone terrorism? Not unless you disregard every other document that rejects terrorism and that comes out of the UN. The UN — as a body — does not and will not endorse terrorism. This is implicit in every one of the UN documents. This is reaffirmed again and again.

However, the warbloggers will take the phrase “…by all available means…” to mean “terrorism”, and by this term I mean bombs against civilian targets. And many of the Palestinians will also, I’m sure. And the Palestinians will continue shooting at and bombing Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. And they will most likely continue suicide and other bombings within Israel itself. And not because of this document. Most of them will never even know about documents such as this.

Do I support these bombings? Of course not. The Israelis do have a right to go about their daily lives without fear of being blown up. But, as Mike himself has said, it is more complicated than that, isn’t it?

I have a question for all the pro-Israel fanatics out there. We support Israel as it does what? I mean what is the ultimate goal here? Do you all seriously consider that the efforts in the West Bank will stop the suicide bombings? Seriously? And if Sharon follows through on his statement that he won’t stop until the suicide boming threat is ended, where will it end? When every Palestinian is dead in the West Bank? When every Arab is dead in the Middle East? When every Muslim is dead in the world? Because the more that Sharon hammers with his fist of hatred, the more terrorists he creates.

Here’s your equivocation: Israel has military but no terrorists and Palestinians have terrorists but no military. I don’t call this equivocation — I call this hypocrisy.

If Sharon acts without hinderance, there will be no West Bank, there will be a violent Middle Eastern war that will eventually become a war fought throughout the world. I have no doubts about it, we’re already seeing the seeds.

I have said and I mean it, I would fight and die if I must before I allow the destruction of the Jewish people, and this includes the Jewish people within Israel. But I will not stand by Israel in its pogrom against the Palestinians.

Israel doesn’t deliberately target civilians right? No, it just sends in tanks to plow homes over that have civilians in them. It shoots gentle people on their way to ring bells.

People can you not see the hypocrisy in this? Are you so blind with self-righteousness that you don’t recognize the fact that more Palestinian civilians have been killed in the fighting in the last two years than Israeli?

I’ll be blunt — I bet the Palestinian people would prefer that the Israeli’s strap a bomb to themselves and go into specific restaurants and stores and on buses. This might be preferable to having entire streets bulldozed and not being able to leave their homes to buy food at all.

This fighting will never end — never end — until both sides realize their own crimes against humanity! Both sides!

The only way that peace will occur will be UN intervention. I have no doubt of this now, the hatred of both sides for each other is too strong. And UN intervention will not be without cost — to all of us. But we have to stop this fighting.

Doc also says “But we could use some peace bloggers. Other than Hanan Cohen, I don’t know any; and I don’t have the urge to become one, because I’d quickly become nothing else.”

Doc, what do you want? People have been speaking out for peace — they just aren’t in your sphere. You just haven’t been paying attention.

I had an email from Dean Landsman about whether he should post an email he had sent out. I won’t repeat Dean’s information — it’s up to him to post his own info — but I will post my response to his question about whether I had been harassed because of the views I have posted online about the Middle East:

You have to ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your weblog. Once you’ve entered the realm of the heavily emotional Middle East discussion, you will find it very difficult to back out and continue on with other topics.


So much of weblogging now is being taken over by the warbloggers. I think this is why blogspot is failing numerous times during the day (i.e. look where instapundit is hosted). And I think the issue has disrupted my “weblogging circle” and others.


Are these issues important? Yes. Should we all talk freely? Yes. But once you go this route, it’s difficult to indulge in light hearted camaraderie. At least, this is failing with me.


Personally, I think the fact that I brought this up is going to ultimately be responsible for me taking my weblog down. Not because I get nasty emails — these are from strangers, who cares? And no threats or anything like that — there enough people to hate, the nuts aren’t looking for new ones.


However, what was important to me with the weblog — the comaraderie with the other weblogs in the circle, the closeness — that’s all gone now. And at a time when I need it because of personal issues in my life.


Dean, I think you can open up an intellectual discussion on this and you’ll be loved by Mike Sanders (I know that one) and others, and you’ll get some negative feedback — this happens anytime you talk about difficult issues. For instance, I don’t agree with your letter and could possibly respond with my own weblog. And if you saw disagreement as “personal” (remember you are stating strong opinions) than you might want to hold on posting. However, if you wouldn’t take it personally (even if people call you Nasty Things), go for it.


Best wishes and here’s hoping you have better luck with this topic than I did

Mike, I haven’t been silent. And Doc, there have been weblogs who have paid a price and spoken out for peace, such as mine.

It’s just that neither of you wanted to hear what I had to say. So fuck you both.


California vigils

There’s been considerable discussion throughout weblogdom about the Berkeley protests yesterday. Personally, I thought it was one of the milder student protests I’ve seen at Berkeley.

What’s interesting is that there have been Jewish people within the pro-Palestinian side of many of these demonstrations. For instance, in yesterday’s protest, The Mercury News reported the following excerpt from the demonstration:

“Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism,” Micah Bazant, a pro-Palestinian Jewish community activist, told the crowd from the steps of Sproul Hall.

“Yes it is! Yes it is!” yelled a cluster of students, some wearing yarmulkes and holding up Israeli flags. Israel supporters booed Bazant for reading from the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

One thing I noticed about this demonstration and others like it is the use of Holocaust imagery. I really dislike the use of the Holocaust as a political weapon — by both sides of the Middle East conflict. Those who use the Holocaust in this manner demean the memories of all those who died. If people want to remember the victims of the concentration camps, they should do so with words of peace, not words of hate.

Though not as televised, there was another demonstration at Justin Hermann plaza just a few blocks from my home. It came about because a Jewish man, wanting to organize a vigil for peace, had put word out on the Internet to attract other people to join him. And among those that answered the call was a Palestinian born woman. Between both individuals, they had gathered a small group of people of all religions and races who held lit candles and joined hands and said silent prayers in hopes of peace.