Today is my birthday according to the Hebrew calendar. 42 years ago, I was born on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). My family tells me I always felt connected to Jerusalem as a child and wanted to visit often. Over time, I started to understand the significance behind the day, the tension, the politics, etc. and eventually, the peaceful warrior within me began to feel like maybe I was born on this day for a reason, even by “choice”. I thought there was some higher purpose to it, something I came here to do, or help with.
I wanted Jerusalem to be a universal sacred space; a safe haven for all faiths and all cultures. I wanted it to be an example for the rest of the world. I never even considered myself ‘religious’ but I always understood it’s importance. Once during a random meditation, I had an extremely vivid “vision” (I don’t usually get those, though I wish I did). I saw planet Earth from afar, and a soft light started to emanate from our little corner of the world. It became brighter and brighter, and soon it was so bright that the rest of the world could not help but stop everything they were doing to turn their attention to it, almost squinting as they tried to take it all in.
For years, I would carry this image with me. It was a metaphor for what I wanted for this country. Those were the days of hope and naïve innocence, but the older I got, the harder it became for me to see this vision, or my purpose, clearly. With each passing year, and with each passing news headline, it became more difficult for me to relate to the current state of reality, or to envision a better one.
Today, I still want to keep the vision alive but I’m starting to forget how or even why. Sometimes I wonder if the light show I imagined was just the Middle East self-destructing. (That would be an interesting spectacle, too.) ??
Government: “We need to shut down the economy in order to protect ourselves from a deadly virus.” People: “F*ck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” Government: “We need to shut down the economy in order to atone for our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.” People: “Where do I sign?”
Just once, I’d like to see us all agree on something. Anything. Like, “Yes, I agree, drinking water IS good for you.” And then we’d all chug a glass of water together and be like, “Ahhhh.”
“Of all the things I hold in high regard, rules are not one of them.” – Frank Underwood
When I was in 3rd grade we were asked to write a letter to the POTUS. I recently came across this letter and noticed the little edit that my teacher decided to add in red. I don’t know if to be mad at the teacher for trying to force her political views on me, or to thank her for trying to open my eyes at such an early age…
“Decades of failed peace talks have led nowhere; but do not lose hope just yet. Join Robert Foster as he attempts to host the first ever Middle East Peace Raps, using rhyme and reason to bring together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, and a representative of Hamas. We investigate the key arguments, counter-arguments and ad-hominems from both sides. But the picture would not be complete without a thorough discussion of “America’s last taboo”, as Edward Said once referred to it: the USA’s role as Israel’s best (and only) buddy in the world (Ok, together with Australia). Featuring special cameos from prominent American Jewish scholar, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, and Palestinian rap legends, DAM, this is an episode for the ages. Join us as we bravely (or perhaps stupidly) take on one of the most bitter, divisive and controversial conflicts of our times: Israel & Palestine.”
The problem begins when we set “peace” as some future goal, and then expect someone “out there” to achieve it for us. There is no path to peace; peace IS the path. It begins with me, and it begins with you, and it has nothing to do with governments, or politics, or false promises of a better “tomorrow.” The sooner we all realize that, the faster we can start creating the kind of world we want to see.
You’re good people and all…
BUT your government is repressing and violating the human rights of millions of people, killing thousands of innocent civilians, breaking countless international laws, promoting racism and religious fanaticism, all in the name of “security” and “peace”, and you’re letting it happen because they have got you living in fear.
The kitten is only here to get your attention.
NOTE: It took me over 30 years to open my eyes to what is happening. Now we wait patiently for the rest of us…