Tough topics that still need to be addressed (Mar 20, 2013)

About Me Forums Scorpio! Tough topics that still need to be addressed (Mar 20, 2013)

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    Michelle Young

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 20, 2013
    Tough topics that still need to be addressed…

    Ever since the horrific news about Nirbhaya inundated all of us, I’ve had a lot of feedback that seemed at times complacent and, at other times, guilt-ridden, as if the writer felt guilty because the writer was expected to do or not do something. Please, everyone, understand, that this series of topics that will be covered in this thread are not in any way intended to reflect on any of you or your characters. But if we merely bury our heads in the sand for fear that others will blame us somehow for things in which we not only did not do/participate, but find us somehow acquiescent by our having done nothing.

     In all fairness to those of you who wrote about this, please understand that this thread is not here to blame anyone. It’s more a matter of knowledge. The more we are aware, the more we have the ability to do something about the situation.It in no way reflects on you. 

    The first stories I’m putting in here are especially of concern to me: I’m coming to India this year. I have been told not to travel by myself, and I have no intention of doing so.The list of cities I’ll visit is now set up, I think. Murali is planning the route for me for the shortest travel. I’ve begun, to my surprise, to receive word from some people there who want me to do readings for them while I’m there. So, to my surprise, I guess that too will be happening. lol 

    Most of my time in India will be spent in South India, I guess, or rather I think it’s the Southern portion of India from Mumbai to Bangalore. I’m still somewhat confused about the directions there. What seems like East and West to me is not necessarily the case. 🙂 

    Anyway, this is still related to the thread. Like I said, tough topics that still need to be addressed. The starting topic in this thread is on women, and several more will be covered. Do not feel that’s all! This is intended for all tough topics, not just on women. Please, therefore, be patient with me. I am sensitive to you, and I do understand! 

    19 March 2013 Last updated at 13:12 ET 

    UK tourist jumps from Agra balcony ‘after massage offer’

    A British woman has been injured after jumping from a hotel balcony to escape from alleged harassment in Agra, India, local police say.

    The woman, in her 30s, told police she asked for a wake-up call at 04:00 but when the hotel owner knocked on her door then, he offered her a massage.

    She told police he would not leave so she locked the door and jumped from her balcony to the level below, injuring her leg, before fleeing the hotel.

    Police have arrested the hotel owner.

    They said he was still in custody and would be charged with sexual harassment in a local magistrates’ court on Wednesday.

    A spokesman for the British High Commission in India said UK consular officials in Delhi have spoken to the woman and to the local police.

    A consular team is travelling to Agra to provide assistance to the woman, he added. The city is home to the Taj Mahal.

    The senior superintendent of police in Agra, Subhah Chandra Dubey, told the BBC the woman’s injury to her leg ligament had been treated, and she had been moved to another hotel.

    She also had two women constables with her for her security, he said. 

    Female assaults

    According to Supt Dubey, the hotel owner claims he had gone to wake the woman up because the hotel staff had tried ringing her on the intercom and when she did not respond, he went to her room.

    The Foreign Office recently updated its advice for women visiting India, saying they should use caution and avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night.

    It added that reported cases of sexual assault against women and young girls were increasing and recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women were also at risk.

    Following an alleged gang rape of a Swiss tourist in Madhya Pradesh state last week, police arrested six people.

    The woman was attacked with her husband as they camped in woodland near a village in Datia district.

    The arrests came as India’s politicians prepared to debate a new law against rape, after the outcry over the fatal assault on a female Delhi student last year.
    BBC © 2013

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 20, 2013
    The same story from The Telegraph
    Wednesday 20 March 2013

    British woman ‘screamed for help for an hour during attempted Indian sex attack’
    A British woman backpacking across India has told how she screamed for help for more than an hour before jumping from her second floor window to escape a hotel manager who she claims tried to sexually assault her. 

     By Dean Nelson, New Delhi

    8:00PM GMT 19 Mar 2013

     The 32-year-old from Greenwich, London, spoke as the Indian parliament passed a tough new anti-rape law in the wake of the gang-rape and murder of a student last December.

    She told police she was due to leave the Agra Mahal hotel, near the Taj Mahal, on Tuesday morning for Jaipur, when the manager knocked on her door at 3.45am, and said he wanted to give her an oil massage and a shower.

    “I refused and asked him to leave but he was insistent,” she said. “I had to push him out with the door, and then I bolted the door. He remained outside my door trying to get in with his keys until 5am. I was shouting at him to stop harassing me, I told him I wanted him to go.

    “I was too scared to leave my room as he was waiting outside. I was kicking the door and shouting for help but no one came,” she said in a police statement, a copy of which was read to The Daily Telegraph by a senior officer.

    After 45 minutes, a second voice, believed to be that of the hotel’s security guard, joined the manager outside her room calling for her to unlock the door. “I shouted at them to stop harassing me but it continued,” she said. 

    At 5am, the woman, who is now under police guard, escaped from a second-floor balcony by jumping more than 15 feet to another balcony below, narrowly avoiding falling more than 30 feet to the ground.

    “I ran into the road but no one would stop,” she said, until an autorickshaw driver eventually slowed for her. “I begged him to take me to the tourist police station. A man approached him and tried to make him bring me back to the hotel. So I jumped out of the rickshaw and ran some more. The driver caught up with me and said he understood and took me to the police station.”

    The hotel manager, Sachin Johan, and his guard were later arrested and could be jailed for seven years for sexual harassment if convicted. Both men deny the charge. Mr Johan told police he was simply knocking to wake the woman for her rickshaw ride to the train station.

    Under the new legislation, rapists will face a minimum sentence of 20 years, while they will incur the death penalty if a victim dies or is left in a vegetative state. A rapist faces seven to 10 years in jail under existing legislation.

    The bill was passed against a backdrop of unrelenting reports of gang rapes which have put India’s politicians under pressure to tackle sexual violence against women.

    The attack on the 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi, which provoked nationwide outrage, as well as the gang-rape of a Swiss tourist cycling in Madhya Pradesh, Central India, with her husband, have heightened fears among women and intensified demands for greater safety.

    Women’s rights campaigner Ranjana Kumari said the backpacker’s decision to jump from her window reflected the “environment of fear” in India now.

    “It is a really sad statement on the insecurity of women in this country. It is becoming a fear psychosis. And it will only change when people are being arrested and punished. she must have read about what happened to this woman in Madhya Pradesh.

    “She had a sense, women know, and I’m sure she knew what he intended. she tried to protect herself and I can understand that because there is a whole environment of fear in the country.”
    ©2013 Telegraph Media Group Ltd

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 20, 2013
    ‘Men have gone berserk’: India outrage as Swiss tourist is gang-raped
    Indian women’s rights campaigners voiced their despair today over the gang-rape of a Swiss tourist who was attacked with her husband as they rested overnight during a cycle tour across Asia. 

    The next three articles are brought together for a more complete story, all from The Telegraph:

     By Josie Ensor and age

    2:07PM GMT 16 Mar 2013

    The attackers are said to have tied up and raped the tourist, believed to be in her 40s, in front of her partner on Friday in the impoverished Madhya Pradesh state.

    The incident comes three months after the fatal gang-rape of a woman aboard a New Delhi bus outraged Indians.

    Authorities detained and questioned 13 men in connection with the latest attack, which occurred Friday night as the couple camped out in a forest in Madhya Pradesh state after bicycling from the temple town of Orchha, local police officer R.K. Gurjar said.

    The men beat the couple and gang-raped the woman, he said. They also stole the couple’s mobile phone, a laptop computer and 10,000 rupees ($185).

    The couple were on their way to the tourist destination of Agra, home to the iconic Taj Mahal monument, in northern India. 

    The woman was treated at a hospital in the nearby city of Gwalior, Gurjar said, adding that she and her husband apparently suffered no major injuries.

    A photo showed the woman – her identity concealed with a hood – walking while being escorted by police to the hospital.

    Police detained 13 men and questioned them, he said. Six of the men were released after questioning. No other details were immediately available.

    “We are deeply shocked by this tragic incident suffered by a Swiss citizen and her partner in India,” the Swiss foreign ministry in Bern said in a statement.

    The Swiss ministry said its diplomats in India were in contact with local authorities and that it hoped the attackers would be “swiftly identified and would appear before a court to answer for their actions”.

    Indian television stations showed scores of police searching the forest where the attack occurred.

    India has seen outrage and widespread protests against rape and attacks on women since December’s fatal gang-rape of a young woman on a moving bus in New Delhi, the capital. The crime horrified Indians and set off nationwide protests about India’s treatment of women and spurred the government to hurry through a new package of laws to protect them.©2013 Telegraph Media Group Ltd

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 20, 2013
     By Dean Nelson, New Delhi

    4:26PM GMT 17 Mar 2013

     The couple were attacked as they camped by the roadside in a village in Madhya Pradesh by a gang of eight men wielding sticks and a hand gun. The woman was raped by several of them while her husband was restrained by the others.

    They had met villagers earlier on Friday evening in Datia district, where they were camping in the forest close to a police station, and the men had returned later to attack them. They stole their laptop, mobile phone and around £125 in cash.

    Campaigners said they were angry that such an attack had taken place while the country was still in shock over the Delhi gang rape in which a 23-year-old student was raped, beaten and mutilated on a city bus.

    Her death in hospital two weeks later provoked protests throughout India and promises from the government that it would do more to curb the increase in rapes and sexual assaults.

    This latest attack on a Swiss tourist, however, had highlighted that no woman was safe in India and that the government’s pledges had failed to change men’s attitudes towards women, campaigners said. 

    Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research think tank said there had been 127 rape cases registered in Delhi alone since the fatal December assault on the student.

    “It is absolutely shocking and speaks volumes on how Indian society is treating women. The men have gone totally berserk. We’re feeling frustrated and in despair. What must we do to change their mentality? Women are becoming more vulnerable,” she said.

    Women were being attacked even when they were with their husbands or male friends – and foreigners, previously regarded as less at risk, are also being targeted.

    Swiss officials were reported to be furious over the attack which follows the rape of a Swiss diplomat in 2003 by two men who kidnapped her in the car park of a popular Delhi concert hall. She was driven away, raped in the car and thrown out nearby.

    Tilman Renz of the Swiss Foreign Ministry said the latest incident was “deeply disturbing” and demanded the Indian police “do everything to quickly find the perpetrators so that they can be held accountable”.

    This latest gang rape is one of dozens reported in the Indian press since the December rape and murder shocked the nation and plunged it into a period of national soul searching.

    It came just days after the Indian cabinet supported a new law to impose tougher sentences for rape and sexual assault, including the death penalty for cases where the victim dies or is left in a persistent vegetative state.

    Photographs of the Swiss victim, believed to be a 39-year-old teacher, showed her being escorted by women police officers, with her face covered.

    Police officers said despite the brutality of the assault, she had not suffered serious injuries and was able to walk.

    She and her husband, a plumber, had been cycling from Orchha in Madhya to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal, in Uttar Pradesh, and had earlier cycled across Iran.

    They are now believed to be on their way to New Delhi.

    Deputy Superintendent of Police R.S Prajapati told The Daily Telegraph his officers were still combing a local jungle for two of the culprits he believed were in hiding. Seven men remained in custody after they were arrested among 13 suspects, but six had been released.

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 20, 2013
    Wednesday 20 March 2013

    Tourists putting themselves at risk of rape, India minister warns after attack on Swiss woman
    Foreign tourists are putting themselves at danger of rape by not informing the police of their travel plans, an Indian state minister said today after a Swiss cyclist was gang-raped and her husband beaten as they camped in a forest in Madhya Pradesh. 

     By Dean Nelson, New Delhi

    8:36AM GMT 18 Mar 2013

     The attack, less than three months after the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old Delhi student on a moving bus, caused dismay among women’s rights campaigners in India, who said its men had “gone berserk”. It also increased concerns for the safety of foreign tourists in India.

    But the state government’s home minister today suggested tourists were putting themselves at greater risk by failing to inform the police of their travel plans.

    The attack on the Swiss woman and her husband was “unfortunate”, Uma Shankar Gupta told the television news channel NDTV, but tourists should closely follow the rules for foreign travelers.

    “What happened is unfortunate for our nation. When foreign tourists come, they should inform the SP (Superintendent of Police) about their plans.

    “This is the system but it is not being followed,” he said. 

    “They had their tent in the outer area of the city but the incident should not happen, so we will think what more can be done for foreign tourists,” he said.

    His comments emerged as police in Madhya Pradesh paraded six young men aged 20 to 25 who have been arrested for the gang rape and will appear in court later today.

    The 39-year-old teacher and her 30-year-old husband were resting overnight on their journey to from Orchha in central Indian to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal, when they were attacked by a gang of men carrying sticks and a hand gun. The husband was tied up by two of the men as four others took turns to rape his wife.

    Detectives had recovered a laptop computer, mobile phone and around £125 stolen from the couple and a handgun they said had been used in the attack to threaten the victim.

    They were attacked at around 9pm on Friday night in Jhadia village on the outskirts of Datia town, where they had stopped in the village on an epic cycle journey through Asia. They had earlier been cycling in Iran.

    Dilip Arya, deputy inspector of police in the area, said that the victim had said four men had raped her, and all had confessed to the crime. If convicted they face life imprisonment.

    Switzerland’s ambassador to India, Dr Linus von Castelmur, said the victims were now recovering from their ordeal in New Delhi but will stay in India to help the police. “The couple expressed their readiness to fully cooperate in the ongoing investigation and identification process. They will continue to stay in India for the moment,” he said.
    ©2013 Telegraph Media Group Ltd

    Michelle Young

    Michelle Young – Mar 21, 2013
    Correction:  But if we merely bury our heads in the sand for fear that others will blame us somehow for things in which we not only did not do/participate, but find us somehow acquiescent by our having done nothing.

    Obviously that wasn’t the most well-composed sentence! lol Trying again now: But if we merely bury our heads in the sand for fear that others will blame us somehow for things in which we not only did not do/participate, but find us somehow acquiescent by our having done nothing, we open the door to more and more of these crimes taking place, and more and more of these tragedies continuing to paralyze us into silence. It’s a vicious cycle. 

    So please don’t be afraid of the discussion. I know it hurts. It’s excruciating! But let’s use this process to become better educated on this so we have a means with which, through which we can begin to fight back and regain control over this cancer that has bullied us into silence!

    Michelle Young

    Sireesha Inturi – Mar 23, 2013

    what can I say? probably nothing, as i cant find any word that could describe my sadness and pain. Changing the attitude of men should start from the basic level. Right from the childhood, in the family. That’s how it can changed forever. No law can change behavior.  It can only induce fear, which is temporary solution. I feel so ashamed to be in a country, where, women even though are citizens of this country, the government doesnt change laws until the country people are outraged. What a pity! 

    Michelle Young

    Michelle Young – Mar 24, 2013
    I agree with you about the government’s failure to change laws until people are outraged and protesting. But I feel it’s not just a problem we’re seeing in males, but even among females. I know that might sound contradictory, but consider:

    The male child is often being valued as the better, stronger, wiser, more intelligent, more prized, fill in the rest of the words for this gender. And this is taking place even by women! It baffles me. How can a woman put down her own gender??? I think of one person (and I haven’t heard this just from Indians, but in this case it was an Indian female who said it) who told me she wouldn’t want children if she couldn’t have boys! Where does that kind of thinking come from??? For starters, her grandmother couldn’t accept that her first grandchild was a female, as if this was some kind of sin! Not intending disrespect, but what was her grandmother, androgynous??? She wouldn’t be the first, I suppose, but…………seems odd, as if there’s a rejection of self-acceptance among females in that case. I don’t know how else to explain it or wrap my mind around it. In fact, I even went to see this video to try to get it, and I couldn’t:

    Sorry, it’s not on YouTube. Hopefully those of you in India can see it. It’s from ABC News in Australia about a person whose birth certificate lists as unspecified gender, the only person in the world with this classification.

    But if a woman can lower her own gender to being treated as worthless, as we’ve seen through female genocide, the acceptance of rape and abuse as it’s been through the years (not just in India!!!), it is any wonder why this problem exists in the world? And even the question of changing laws, even this is a global issue. It seems to me that we become less likely to have such problems arising when we can confront those issues head on.

    And then there’s the question of when we’re buying into the media hype that may be offered with a situation: have publishers, editors and reporters allowed the reportage to become emotionalized, inflammatory rhetoric that can spawn more of the fury and the outrage? I’m not saying we shouldn’t be outraged. We should. But at times, perhaps it’s best to step back and consider whether we’re really seeing the whole picture. As I pointed out somewhere recently, when you’re standing in the middle of a war, and the bullets are whizzing by your head, you’re not going to have an unbiased and clearer opinion any more than if you’re standing on one side or another. It’s impossible to see the whole picture. It’s why I was so specific in my book on multiculturalism to show the general mental state of the German people as they entered WWII. And our taking sides based on that reportage or what we think we’re seeing even in the news is a fallacy since war and divorce are friends: the he said/she said game becomes the method through which you’re making the judgment calls even when photos and videos are offered.

    It brings to mind another very hot topic that I know I’m going to have to bring up here. But I want to finish my thoughts first on the subject of the so-called gender war in relation to the abuses of women in India. It’s far deeper and broader than that, and it’s unfair to blame men alone. We’re in this together. Men didn’t get here without women, and women didn’t get here without men. That’s a team to me. You cannot bring new life into this world without both genders. So the dysfunction lies in the promulgation of the ideas themselves–in the daily world, in our interactions, in our philosophy itself perhaps. As involved as I’d like to think I am, I’m not always, I guess. I cocoon a lot, as those of you who have known me any amount of time know I can do. I don’t know how to turn off this thinking machine inside me, but sometimes the thoughts are rushing so quickly, I can’t slow them down to make any kind of sense from them. Hopefully, that makes me human.

    Seems like I’ve already expressed what I was going to say to make my point on this in re to its not being just the male of the human species that’s to blame but the female of the human species as well. Asking ourselves this question of who did what first might be like asking the age old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg. We just can’t blame one side without considering the other as well. And that’s true whether we’re talking about these gender issues related to the exploitation of women, the abuse of women via a society that may skirt issues by creating ineffective laws, as all countries have been known to do, that may violate all of our sense of decency and what we understand as morality and ethics through the acceptance of inequities we simply cannot stomach.  

    When I lived in Arizona, I saw so many inequities related to racism. I was downright ill from these things. And people who should have been outraged because they were subjected to these racist attitudes directed even at them, were not. I was. Those attitudes were also directed at me for what I was as an invisible minority as much as I was for my role at home and in society. I was outspoken. I was in their faces, and I was getting death threats. So understand that this does worry me as my trip draws near. That’s why I spoke as I did to the editor at The Hindu Business Line. I don’t like that people have said I’ll be fine, that foreigners are safe there, that no one would bother me. Obviously, that perspective is no longer valid. I’m still coming, but I am worried/frightened, and I wish I weren’t worried or afraid. It was bad enough that I decided to do this in the midst of blasts there. But so many of you are there, and you have shown me that life continues and that there’s just so much fear one can have perhaps. I was also afraid going to Brazil, but I’d already faced death. I’ve begun to live again since the cancer 8 years ago, so that fear of a shortened life has returned. Still, I’m coming. This trip is in my every waking moment, in my thoughts and dreams…I’m coming.  But yes, I hope I’ll be safe while I’m there.

    These problems will continue to exist throughout society, not just in India, not just in the USA, but throughout the world. And this is where I remind you–all of you–that we are indeed a family and we need to think for the good of all. The denigration of women is not for the good of all. The violation of women is not for the good of all. That’s Mars, selfish desire–not Pluto, for the good of all. We need to use a lot more Pluto to the good, starting with this community. After all, Pluto rules Scorpio. 🙂 So instead of being skittish about these topics, we can and should address them head on.

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 24, 2013
    sigh… Neptune is within orb of my Mercury, and I keep seeing the reminders. Here’s another!  

    But if a woman can lower her own gender to being treated as worthless, 
    as we’ve seen through female genocide, the acceptance of rape and abuse 
    as it’s been through the years (not just in India!!!), it is any 
    wonder why this problem exists in the world? And even the question of 
    changing laws, even this is a global issue. It seems to me that we 
    become less likely to have such problems arising when we can confront 
    those issues head on.

    I don’t care that the formatting won’t be right as I note the error. But I put the error in bold to show. That should be “is it.” Sorry. I caught it after the post was made despite my having read this before posting. So here’s the corrected paragraph:

    But if a woman can lower her own gender to being treated as worthless, as we’ve seen through female genocide, the acceptance of rape and abuse as it’s been through the years (not just in India!!!), is it any wonder why this problem exists in the world? And even the question of changing laws, even this is a global issue. It seems to me that we become less likely to have such problems arising when we can confront those issues head on.

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 24, 2013
    A friend of mine posted a question to a mutual friend the other night, and it caught my attention:

    As much as I liked his music (Mostly with Pink Floyd), I Hate his attitude. Music & Art has nothing to do with political views. What do you think?

    So did the following story:

    Roger Waters Calls for Boycott of Israel
    Pink Floyd rocker accuses government of ‘running riot’
    By Jon Blistein
    March 20, 2013 2:15 PM ET

    Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters says a boycott of Israel, similar to the one implemented against South Africa during apartheid, is the “way to go.” He accuses the Israeli government of running a similar regime by occupying the West Bank and Gaza territories in a new interview with the Electronic Intifada.

    Waters became an outspoken supporter of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel after visiting the West Bank in 2006, where he spray-painted the lyric “We don’t need no thought control” from Pink Floyd’s famous anthem “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” on the Israeli West Bank barrier.

    “They are running riot,” said Waters of the Israeli government, “and it seems unlikely that running over there and playing the violin will have any lasting effect.”

    Waters currently serves as a juror on the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which seeks to bring attention to how Western governments and companies assist Israel in what they perceive to be violations of international law. The singer plans to publish an open letter to his peers in the music industry asking them to join him in the BDS movement.

    In the interview, the musician also spoke about reaching out to Stevie Wonder before he was set to play a gala dinner for the Israeli Defense Forces in December. “I wrote a letter to him saying that this would be like playing a police ball in Johannesburg the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960. It wouldn’t be a great thing to do, particularly as he was meant to be a UN ambassador for peace,” Waters explained. “It wasn’t just me. Desmond Tutu also wrote a letter.”

    “To his eternal credit,” Waters continued, “Stevie Wonder called [the gala’s organizers] up and said ‘I didn’t quite get it’ [and canceled the performance].” Waters went on to criticize the lack of media attention given to Wonder’s cancellation, as well as discuss his own speech to the U.N. about the conflict last week.
    ©2013 Rolling Stone

    And then my friend posted to me:
    Umm.. What’s your opinion, Michelle Young?

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 24, 2013
    I was ready. It might surprise some of you, but we’ll see…

    I should be sleeping, so bear with me, (name). I’m not opposed to anyone having opinions within reason. I’m stating that because there’s a difference between informed, knowledgeable opinion that can speak from personal experience and that which can or at least may be colored by the media’s perspectives of what’s going on, even more so by the mood of the day.

    An entertainer has no more business being involved in political statements about which side is getting it worse, which side is at a disadvantage, etc, than the publishers, editors and reporters do. You’re getting the WYSIWYG version and no guarantees that it hasn’t been put there in your dubious honor.

    I’m reminded of a not-so-pleasant memory of someone who, some years back, was living along the border on the Israeli side and who painted a chilling verbal portrait of life along the Israeli border in which Israeli home dwellers in those villages were trying to live, work, get educated and play like anyone else living supposedly normal lives. It’s a bit hard to do that when you are fearing sending your child to school or trying to hope and pray your spouse will get back home safely from work later in the day because of random–or perhaps targeted–shelling from the other side.

    Now there are people who can argue that this is how the settlers live in Gaza, and perhaps that’s true. I don’t know for sure about the other side (“other” being the operative word here since I’m not there and don’t have the knowledge or experience from either “other” side). Either side refers to whichever side is perhaps receiving the most shelling. Either side is whichever side feels like sitting ducks. I’m saying this because people outside of Israel and the Gaza Strip or any other part of the disputed territories in that region–INCLUDING myself–are not seeing the whole picture.

    I’m reminded of my own observations of war through several eyes as I wrote a couple chapters in my first book and my realization that it’s impossible to see the war through the eyes of both sides much less one side. One side’s view will always be skewed. So will the other side’s view. And even in the midst of the war where you’re standing in the center most point, it’s impossible to know who, what, when, where, why as the bullets are whizzing by your head or the accusations are flying. It’s the same in a divorce, isn’t it?

    I’m blessed with friends from around the world, including the Middle East region. My own heritage belongs to one of the sides, and I have desperately tried to maintain a clean, level footing that addresses the issues without getting into the politics. I’m far from a dispassionate person, however, and my feelings can get really embroiled by the hostilities that ooze onto the pages of every newspaper in the world as those periodicals try to make some semblance of war. But tell me, how do you do that if you’re taking sides without understanding what you’re seeing??? I don’t think you can.

    My heart, like any other person whose roots are intertwined with the region, tugs at me. My humanitarian side pleads with me to recognize which atrocity where is going on, and my cognizance of the photoshopped pieces that will crop up time and again with the next outbreak keeps me alert that this is when my emotions can get in the way of pure logic based on the history, a history my heart has been actively involved in for most of my life.

    Were we talking about the conflicts between India and Pakistan, even about–more specifically–Jammu and Kashmir, I’d be forced to answer the same way because what I see and what is actually going on can be two different things. Whether or not we like it, people lie. They lie in the courts: ask any lawyer (not intended as a joke), and s/he will tell you “Justice isn’t about justice. It’s about who tells the best lies.” I’ve had that said to me far more often than many would care to admit. Well, when we’re talking about war, isn’t that also a demand for justice?

    I’m not there. I do know that my heart is involved because of my roots. I know that the hearts of millions are involved even when their roots aren’t tied to the region except for the Western religions in which they may be feeling those bonds, but if we’re not there, if we haven’t seen and experienced it live, first hand–and even then with a lot of attention to the challenges of seeing what really happened as compared to what we think has happened, will be skewed by the heart. I would trust my own observations and feelings and reactions to events there far more quickly than I would the same things in the words of a reporter. Why? Easy: I know what I’m feeling. I don’t know what you’re feeling. (You is generally speaking here.)

    I probably could have shortened it to the following quote I offer from time to time, but you asked my opinion, (name). My apologies for the length:

    Gnatola ma no kpon sia, eyenabe adelan to kpo mi sena. (Ewe-mina)
    A moins ce que le lion ait son propre narrateur, le chasseur aura toujours la belle part de l’histoire. (French)
    Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story. (English)

    5:30 am. Now I’ll sleep for a few hours. Excessive length…but perhaps the most important paragraph you were seeking (now that my sleepy eyes look back over at this) is the second brief paragraph with its mere two sentences. I’m going to bed. Sorry I spilled. lol

    My friend replied: I read the whole thing, btw. 

    Michelle - Orkut shot Michelle YoungMar 24, 2013
    I returned:  lol!!! Whew! Again, I’m soooo sorry for that ramble, (name), but you can see how deeply I feel about it–and why I kept trying to like the post. I’m going to remove yours and (name) names and re-post with a copy and paste on a note sometime this week because I think that’s the point people need to get…if you don’t mind, that is. People need to consider these things before jumping into the foray. It’s like some singer (last name of Shocker??? ) who went to San Francisco and apparently broadcast her hatred for gays there since she changed her life. The end result, of course, was a mob of furious people. I don’t see the point when one knows one has the captive audience there to listen to the music, not to hear rhetoric and hate speech or politics. For what???

    Music soothes the savage beast, it’s said, and certainly this is even what (name) is doing. And millions of people throughout the world listen to Pink Floyd as well. I think of Idan Raichel by comparison and wonder why the entertainer can’t get the same message the Idan Raichel Project gives in crossing borders, sharing the linguistic ranges, and letting the governments try to work things out without getting into the middle of it. Rebbe Soul does the same thing, as do a number of others, but Idan Raichel is the first one who comes to mind because I want to see him at some point when he comes to New York on tour again. 

    The other friend replied then: I like political songs, but I really dont agree with calling for boycotts and my own opinion is that the region is a mess and I feel bad for all the people involved 

    I answered: Love that word you used in your comment, (name): “all.”

    Well,it’s a long time since Alice’s Restaurant, isn’t it?

    Tough topics… Feel free to start on either or both of these, or another one

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