As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, so does the season’s first hurricane, thoroughly rearranging many plans. Among the plans being rearranged is the plan to have an Alliance for Palestinian Freedom float in the Provincetown parade. That parade has been cancelled and the group has gotten permission to be part of the Wellfleet parade, which as of 4pm Thursday is still scheduled to take place on July 4th. If you are on the Cape, check it out. They could use your support.
The Fourth of July is always a hard holiday for those of us who are distressed by both the militaristic behavior of our government and by the shallow patriotism the holiday brings out. Hats off to those of you who find ways to put forward a vision of another way of solving conflicts, a vision of shared security, a vision based on our interdependence. In Worcester there was a reading on July 1st of Frederick Douglass’s “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro”. Perhaps you can add it to some gathering you join. Or perhaps you could take a moment to write a letter to the editor of a local paper asking the media to really do their job and ask the important questions about the U.S. use of war/military tools to the many conflicts around us. AFSC makes it easy – just click here.
It has only been seven weeks since I returned from an AFSC staff delegation to Israel/Palestine. Watching the horrifying events of the past few weeks has been intense. No mother, anywhere, ever, should lose a child to violence and hatred. I have found profoundly troubling the way the U.S. media has valued Israeli life over Palestinian life, many telling the stories of the Israeli youth but telling little or nothing of the nightmare that was unfolding every night as Israeli military forces burst into homes, taking over 500 people (many of them children) in the middle of the night and placing them in detention with no charge. Gaza has been bombed nightly. There have been multiple deaths and more injuries. Only when a 16 year old Palestinian was killed in revenge and some Israelis were marching through the streets yelling “death to Arabs” was there attention to the loss of Palestinian life and a bit of attention to the massive military assault on the West Bank. At times the violence there feels so complicated. At others it feels quite simple: stop. Now. Dial down the rhetoric. All life is precious. Honor the losses by making sure that no one else knows that pain and working to bring justice to the wounds of injustice. Only then can there be true peace. You can learn more about AFSC's work in Israel/Palestine here and here.