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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inaction and complicity- Sierra Leone, Israel Palestine

There have been a few instances this week in which I have thought about this topic, so I guess I'll pour it out here.

Today, I was talking about the conflict with someone and they mentioned that it would never end, so why would a Palestinian who lived here and had it pretty good want to go back home and be hassled at every turn? On the one hand, I can see that, but stepping onto someone else's shoes brings a few issues to mind. First, we are free to move wherever we want, so we generally don't think too much of moving. If someone banished you or made your life increasingly miserable in the area your family has lived for hundreds of years, moving would be giving up and giving in to injustice, not simply a choice of job or climate. I mean, why should Palestinians be the ones who had to move out because of what Hitler did. Like when not so long ago white people in this country wanted black people to move out of certain neighborhoods. It could be dangerous, but it could be necessary depending on what you want to leave your children, what you want to teach them, etc. Maybe if you stay, you can be a part of some solution or future justice served. If you move, you will be safe, but can no longer be a fact on the ground for Israel and the international community to face.

In the past, I have thought about getting more involved in activism. How far would I go? Obviously, I've only written some letters and gone to one protest, so I've made my choice- armchair activism. I have thought about what danger I could bring to my family or myself before that. What are the dangers of putting a bumper sticker on? Of going to a protest? Of standing in front of an (American made) Israeli bulldozer. Of monitoring voting in Palestinian election? Would it be selfish of me to bring harm to those I love in order to persue justice for Palestinians- whether they agree with the cause or not? Even though I'm not Palestinian myself I feel the injustice deeply for whatever reason. The fact that one party is so wrong and yet so supported and loved is mind boggling to me. My country is supposed to be all about equality and justice and I just can't see why we're always on the wrong side on this.

I also asked myself this question when worries started circulating about the government watching what you read via the library and being able to subpoena your history without your knowledge. I read a lot on politics, the Middle East and some on terrorism and Islamic extremism, so I was a little worried and thought maybe I should stay away from the library at least while Bush was in office. I finally decided if this was true and as bad as some report I heard, I'd be almost happy to serve a prison term for simply reading a book. I'd view it as military service in the draft.

This week I also listenend to a Diane Rehm Show featuring Aminatta Forna and she said something that really hit the nail on the head. I may have to read her books, but anyway... She was talking about her family's experience in Sierra Leone. Her father studied abroad and married and had kids. She was raised in Sierra Leone and told about how her family was watched and in so much danger (her father was killed in prison) because her father ran against the man who would introduce the one party state.

She said that people told her (and this is a very rough transcription):

"It's a shame your father got involved. I kept thinking how can you
say that? Surely that's what everybody should have done. And if
everybody had, this would be a completely different country."

Her new book is apparently about those people who did nothing and at what point doing nothing makes you complicit. Another interesting dilemma.

She talks with a woman whose parents she interviewed for another book. The woman gets angry about how her parents didn't do anything and her father defended himself this way:

"I had five children. How could I? I couldn't do anything else."

Interestingly, Forna's father, who died opposing dictatorship, could have defended his actions with the same words, Forna said.


I thought that was a brilliant way to illustrate the two sides of the coin in this conflict and also the Israeli Palestinian one.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Palileaks: Jerusalem and refugess...so far...

What we have learned:

  • Palestinian leadership wants to give away East Jerusalem and part of the West Bank and only allow 10,000-100,000 refugees out of millions back for nothing except the glimmer of hope that Israel will agree to a deal.
  • US has been twisting Palestinian arms more than anyone seemed to believe (in the US). Rice even told Palestinian leaders that there would be no deal unless they gave up the above items
  • Israel is proven uncompromising and demanding far beyond what anyone in the US would ever state publicly. It will probably still be considered anti-Semitic for stating this even though it is a proven fact (provided these leaks aren't fake documents). Rice was wrong on the above point-Israel wanted ALL of its demands, not just nearly all.

That is what I learned. All anyone seems to want to talk about is how not ready the Palestinian public is for what the leaders were going to propose. The upside, they believe, is that now Palestinians can get ready to give these things up for peace now that it's out in the open. ??? What about the arm twisting and neglect of international law and bias toward Israel?? What about how everyone in the US is under the impression that Israel has been bending over backwards for peace with no Palestinian partner for 10 years and that has been a big fat lie? I think what warrants some thought and/ or discussion.


http://www.france24.com/en/20110124-mideast-negotiations-leaked-documents-reveal-palestinian-concessions-jerusalem-refugees

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/24/133172401/leaked-documents-show-palestinian-jerusalem-offer

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/24/papers-palestinian-leaders-refugees-fight



What else can they give up?? There are supposed to be several more revelations.


I'm not Palestinian, but I feel a bit like I've had the rug pulled out from under me. Ripped off. I fully expected the US to be firmly in Israel's camp, fighting Palestinian independence and Israeli concessions tooth and nail. What I didn't expect was for Palestinian "leaders" to be giving away their peoples' rights and state. In the US, we expect leaders to stand up for our rights and act in our interest- not so in other countries.

We in the US speak rather figuratively about our leaders not doing what's best for us, I believe. Obama's a communist. I mean, really, who believes that honestly? There is a beef in there somewhere, but we all know he's not a communist. And we all talk doom and gloom about the opposing party becoming president, but we in this country know that there will be a peaceful transfer of power and whoever is president from whichever party won't change things very much, won't give away the ground from beneath our feet, we know we will be a democracy, our borders won't change, etc.

Leaders in this country tend to be more well off than the rest of us and run in elite circles, but we know there is less corruption than in other countries probably due to the fact that we are eager through the press and other means to seek it out and lay everything out in the open.

I say all this to explain how I can't fathom where the Palestinian "leadership" is coming from. They stay pretty insulated and isolated from the average person's struggle and will reap any small benefits a solution might offer. For instance, the 10,000 refugees allowed into Israel. You better believe those slots will be for any and all government officials, ex-PLO, and the like and not regular folks. I guess if you are one who will certainly get a slot, it is pretty easy to "negotiate" away everyone else's place.

Points of international law should not be up for negotiation. Israel must go back to pre-1967 borders. Evacuate settlements on Occupied Territory (or be under Palestinian rule). Get rid of the Wall. Allow right of return. That's the law. If Palestinians can't return, Jewish immigration must also be cut- that's negotiation. Jerusalem should be a shared or international city, as proposed in the UN.

As far as prospects for peace in the future... I hope Palestinians seek new leadership and avoid the US as a mediator. I think getting (or continuing to get) other countries to recognize them (so far in South America) has been a positive, encouraging thing. I also hope people see the US and Israel for what they are and have been- uncompromising, biased toward Israel, unsympathetic to Palestinians, indifferent to international law.

People are saying these revelations might slow things down for a bit and make life difficult for Palestinian leaders. Some say at least now Palestinians know what their leaders have been doing and they can now get the population ready for what they will have to give up for peace. I say Palestinians have given up quite enough and now they know what their leaders were doing behind their backs- time for a change. We have the UN resolutions about Jerusalem, refugees, borders. Israel has never complied. That is our problem.

When people have said Palestinians aren't ready for peace, perhaps this is what they were talking about. I had thought they were saying just that they thought Palestinians were terrorists or some ridiculous generalization like that. The leaders have been making deals, giving up land and rights while telling the public a tale of never giving up on refugees, Jerusalem, and the green line. That's what the public isn't ready for. We have heard various reports before about this Palestinian leader or that getting soft in a meeting. I refused to believe it. It didn't make sense. The Palestinians not being ready for peace meant that they weren't ready to give up even more land and rights than they have lost over the decades, more than they are required to give under the law. That's not peace. That's throwing out the law and might makes right. In a country that ostensibly values justice as we do, you'd think that we'd want to do right by Palestinians so that might doesn't have to make right.


*** *** ***
Duh...

Instead of at least being appreciated by their own people as savvy negotiators constructively working toward the achievement of Palestinian political sovereignty and self-determination, Abbas, Saeb Erekat, Ahmed Qurei and others involved in 2008 talks with former foreign minister Tzipi Livni and former prime minister Ehud Olmert have been castigated by the Palestinian street as traitors..

Of course they are traitors. Savvy? Are you kidding me? Since when is giving away your land and rights guaranteed by international law savvy? And look where it got them! Livni said thanks, but no thanks- you didn't give us all of our demands, just giving us most of them won't cut it. At least we see Israel's true colors. Give and inch and they will take a mile. Haven't some of us been saying this for quite some time? Whatever. They should have stuck by international law. The same amount of progress would have been made, but at least they'd have their principles and dignity.

The story of Esau selling his birthright comes to mind... don't read too much into that...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flotilla raid inquiry- results are in!


There are the leaked Palestinian papers and in another unsurprising news, Israel clears itself in any wrongdoing whatsoever in the Gaza flotilla raid (contrary to the UN/Goldstone report).

It's basically just all of the stuff the Israeli government said before they really looked at anything. Now, they are claiming they looked into it. Who actually expected Israel to tell the truth or even scratch the surface?

Just one more link in the chain. Par for the course.

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/knau/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1752941/World/Israel.inquiry.clears.government.and.navy.in.Gaza.ship.raid

Khalidi talks about this after the Palestinian papers on Democracy Now:
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/24/rashid_khalidi_leaked_palestine_papers_underscore



I think I predicted this result in another post....

Maybe not a prediction, but another inquiry...

http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2010/06/gaza-flotilla-are-weapons-or-video.html


From this entry:
Israel wants to investigate itself without international involvement. Not only that, but the investigation is not to assess guilt or compliance with international law, but just to see if the operation worked. ??? Perhaps we should have let Hitler and Milosovic investigate themselves- not to assess guilt, but just to evaluate the operation. When you put it that way, you see the absurdity. Criminals cannot investigate themselves.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Leaked Palestinian Papers Raise Questions For U.S. | KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Leaked Palestinian Papers Raise Questions For U.S. KQED Public Media for Northern CA:

"As Crowley, the State Dept. spokesman argues, New York is not the place to resolve the conflict.
'The best and only way to fundamentally resolve the core issues, reach an agreement and end the conflict once and for all is through a negotiation not through unilateral statements, unilateral actions,' Crowley says."

Khalidi's got some interesting things to say about this on Democracy Now. In 2008, Palin called him a terrorist associate of Obama and people were terrified he's have a position in government. He isn't a terrorist, but rather a scholar (the same in some people's eyes) and a lot of good could have been done in the Israeli Palestinian issue if he were invited to help the Obama administration.
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/24/rashid_khalidi_leaked_palestine_papers_underscore



Did Israel need Palestinian agreement, blessing and permission for going to the UN and declaring itself a state with borders it made up?

Why on earth is it no ok for Palestinians to take the crumbs from their table and claim for their own what everyone already recognizes as their territory? And after listening to the contents of the leaks, you will see the crumbs are a lot less than usually referred to.

The UN is not the place to solve the issue?? We've got to ask ourselves why that is. Because normally it would be the perfect place. It is only not the place when the US will veto anything of consequence that doesn't directly benefit Israel whether it's just words or a resolution of substance that partitions and makes things clear.

Unilateral action is not the way to go? That's what negotiations are in this case. Israel gets exactly what it wants or the "deal" falls through. As these leaks have shown, there is no room for negotiation in Israel's demands.

No unilateral statements? I guess Congress didn't get that memo! They have at least one resolution at a minimum every session about how much they love Israel and it's our duty to protect them no matter what, Palestinians must try harder, Israel's committed to peace, etc... oh and by the way, we hope this thing ends in peace somewhow.

flotilla

Against Goldstone investigation into flotilla raid

Gaza incursion

bipartisan support for Israel, not international law


Neither did Israel for that matter. Unilateral is business as usual for them.

Now, let's talk about the contents of the leaked documents. Wow. Palestinians giving away some of the West Bank and most of E. Jerusalem? What?

The first thing that comes to mind is is this legit? Who would make it up, though? Certainly not Israel. It makes them look pretty bad, rejecting such huge, unpublicized concessions because it didn't meet Israel's demands for complete capitulation. How they refuse is very polite, but if this is real, it says volumes. Volumes to be moved (for most) from the conspiracy theory/ left wingnut shelf firmly to the valid, factual, historical shelf.

Livni reportedly replies to the offer: "We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands, and probably it was not easy for you to think about it, but I really appreciate it."

They really appreciate it. Niiiice. They already have more than intended by the UN. More than is fair. Palestinians offer to make the 1967 land grab and most of it to recent times legal (to name one item) and Israel rejects it because one settlement is left out.

Would Palestinians? It makes Israel look bad, true, but would they sacrifice the consequences of making public giving away all of that land for nothing?

The US surely wouldn't. It makes Israel look bad. That's enough. But, it also makes the US look bad by pressuring Palestinians to make these huge concessions to get nothing in return except making talks succeed. Rice essentially said they had to give up all of that in order for any deal to be struck. That's bleak and maybe Palestinians fell for it. This is in support of violation of international law which states that the settlements are illegal due to the 4th Geneva Convention. Surely we wouldn't want to be seen on the other side of the law, would we?


I say, on to the UN! Or preferably a method the US can't veto...

Clearly, the US and Israel are not interested in anything but Israel's demands.

As dismal as it seems to not deal with the US and Israel, it seems Palestinians have at least as good or maybe better chances if they go it alone or find other business partners.

Another thing the leaks make clear is that all those times we slapped Israel on the wrist, got embarrassed by them, expressed our displeasure, called settlements unhelpful, etc were just feeble attempts at making us look more even-handed. Israel has been in charge of this thing from the beginning and our role of mediator is to get Palestinians to agree to whatever Israel decides it wants.



Monday, January 17, 2011

Inspiracell text scam!

!/15/11-1/16/11

Deja vu. We had this happen with our phone bill courtesy of Residential Email. Now it's hapened with texting. Yay.


Luckily this came in the evening, so I heard it.


97956: U requested daily inspirational texts. Sub service is $9.99/mo +
Msg&Data rates may apply. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for HELP. Enter
on web 8876.

Me: STOP

97956: Inspiracell alerts: You have been opted out and will receive no
further messages or charges. Support: 877-874-3564

(No, I didn't request anything of the sort. I have a Bible- and a library card for that matter.)

This one came the next day early in the morning. I didn't hear it come in. So I unfortunately got the incredibly creative inspirational text.


97956:Enjoy your daily Inspiration texts, alerts billed at $9.99 per month!
To quit, send STOP to 97956. For help text HELP.
support@inspiracel.com.

97956: Enjoy the day. Think of the good things, forget the bad ones.

Me: STOP

97956: Inspiracell alerts: You have been opted out and will receive no
further messages or charges. Support: 877-874-3564

Yeah. Right.

We called the carrier, got charges removed and a purchase block on. So hopefully this is over!

My husband and I had a debate going. I thought I was already signed up and had to text STOP to not get charged $9.99. He thought I signed up by texting STOP. I don't know. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

I don't think I've even done any surveys or signed up for anything in years. Apparently, companies can put in the fine print that it's ok to send your names to 3rd parties who may or may not charge you for random pointless garbage you won't want. If charges apply, I want a checkbox. Otherwise, it's a scam! Or entirely legal dishonesty. Whatever. Scummy.


Report it!

http://www.bbb.org

http://www.smswatchdog.com/text-message-from/97956

Palin the victim of blood libel??

So, I wasn't going to make a post on this, but I guess I've got a few extra things to say. Besides America made the right choice when she was on the ticket. :)

She's in the news again blaming the media for jumping on this. Some people wonder why people insist on picking on her and others wonder why bother. I do believe that if you have run for the highest office or intend to, that you have to answer for certain things. More than that- Palin, unlike some, who go into radio silence after office or unfavorable election, has done her best to stay in the public eye with a book, reality show, social networking, inflammatory remarks on every major news story, etc. She can't claim to be a victim, here. If she'd tried to stay private and busied herself with raising money for charity or something and the press still tracked her, sunk their teeth in and wouldn't let go, I'd say she was a victim. But she's not only dangling the bait, but manufacturing it at pretty high speed- maybe she thinks it will help her presidential bid or maybe her book and TV deals, but she really can't claim she's singled out. She did that all on her own.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_01/027454.php

I've shared this link elsewhere already, but here's the flap. She had a map with crosshairs on races she wanted ot win for the Tea Party or Republicans or whoever. Giffords reprimanded her for the tone. Giffords and others are shot by a possibly mentally unstable man.

"We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," [Palin staffer Rebecca
Mansour] said.

"It's surveyor's symbols," the interviewer Tammy Bruce suggested. [...]

"Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!"

With all of Palin's hunting analogies and love for the 2nd amendment, surveyor's symbols was pretty lame. She clearly didn't murder anyone. Why the backpedaling and defensiveness? She could have acted like a leader and taken the high road. She could have spoken about healing and using the tragedy to examine ourselves and stolen Obama's thunder. Even during the election season I guess she wasn't too fond of hope and change, though.

While she's not responsible for Giffords' murder, an apology for the tone regardless of the fact that a tragic coincidence happened (and everyone else may indeed be participating), would have been the gracious, responsible thing to do.

I agree with the author that she sould have said - "In retrospect, those crosshairs were inappropriate. I regret it."

*****

Here's a friend's link:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/01/palins-test.html

****

Palin's response to critics of her crosshairs and the violent tone in politics was not to lead and take responsibility, but to respond with more violent rhetoric- blood libel. In classic Palin form, she digs herself deeper. Yikes.

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/12/132866209/palin-warns-journalists-pundits-against-blood-libel

She tries (maybe she wasn't trying, but this is what blood libel is; maybe she meant libel) to compare herself to Jews who were accused of killing Christian children for their blood and who were persecuted and killed for the false offense. Instead of standing up and being one of the first to take responsibility for the pervasive violent tone in politics and using it as an opportunity to push for change and civility and lead by example, she chose to try and paint herself the pitiful victim. She didn't miss the opportunity to blame the media, either.

No, I don't believe she's guilty of murder or accessory or any of that. In that sense, there is one (I think) person to blame and the police are looking into that. In another sense, I believe public figures have a responsibility to use their fame for the common good in a tragedy or when they can. They are role models whether they like it or not. People who are, were, or want to be president, especially if you are intent on staying in the public eye, have a greater responsibility. It shocks me that she was on a presidential ticket had any political aspirations at all. Leaders make speeches like Obama did in Arizona. Palin was much more concerned about her image in the same way she was more concerned that people knew the crosshairs were surveyor's marks rather than the greater issue of the appropriateness of the crosshairs-like symbol in the wake of the shooting. As much as I still see her as unfit to lead the country, I wanted to see her take the high road for once. Respond and act as though you know those who accuse you of murder are wrong and acknowledge that most Americans are smart enough to know this, too. No luck, there. She's said her share of offensive and factually incorrect statements. This was pure coincidence and I was waiting for her to be gracious and accept fault (as a leader, not as the only one at fault) and call attention to a tone that needs to be dialed down. All we got was petty argument and defensiveness and zero apology or recognition of a problem. Except with the media. Aren't they always to blame?

Obama's remarks:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/us-politics/8256760/Barack-Obama-Tucson-Speech-in-full.html

Now, that's what a leader says.

***

This talks a bit about the contrasting nature of the Palin and Obama ractions and speeches.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/obama-and-palin-a-tale-of-two-speeches/?nl=us&emc=politicsemailema1

****

I've seen this bumper sticker:

How's That Hope & Change Thing Working For You ?

That speech kind of sums it up. America made the right choice. I'll take hope any day over the usual toxic political tone. I hope it will change. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome Republicans

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/3/incoming_gop_house_chairs_plan_to

I'm all for some of the changes like eliminating votes on national pi day and silly things like this that apparently make up a large chunk of Congressional business. I'm for eliminating some pork. I don't think you can get rid of it all since it might be used in bargaining and the Congressmen have to represent their constituents as well as do what's best for the nation.

What I don't get is the investigation of climate scientists. It is a waste of time. On one hand, even if climate change is bogus, there is an attitude of science vs religion in this country that the evolution debate should tell you what the result of this will be and hence how much time and money will be wasted trying to prove only that you are right.

Even if climate change is bogus, the Christians above all people should understand that we were given all of this by God and we are to be good stewards of everything whether it is nature or money! That would translate into supporting climate change legislation, limits on carbon emission and pollution, and encouraging people to reduce reuse an recycle. Yes, you'd be on the same side as liberals, but I think it's more important to be on the right side. Comfort yourself by realizing you may have different reasons for the position. Whether you want to save the planet or use and preserve what God gave you in a respectful and wise way, we should all be on the same page!

Those Bible quotes various Republicans like to quote in Congress miss the point! So lets say they are using the scriptures correctly and let's say hypothetically that Gen 8:21 proves climate change wrong (I don't really think that). Should we then go on to waste resources, use more oil, scrap electric and hybrid cars, windmill projects, hydroelectric power, nuclear power, solar technology, stop recycling, stop reusing because buying new will help the economy, and all of these things just because they won't cause the earth to be destroyed before Jesus comes back and the final judgment occurs (after which the earth will in fact be burned up- but let's leave 2 Peter 3:10 out of it- bet they won't quote that one on the floor!) ? Anyway, NO! And even if the Bible didn't have a lot to say about wisdom and being a good steward, one would think you'd be so grateful (Christians especially) for what God gave you that you'd want to take care of it rather than waste, pollute and destroy. One would think.


On another item, there is talk of impeachment if Obama makes it to a second term. And I thought we were looking to cut waste? Impeach Obama? Really? This is as stupid as the Congressmen who have made it known they will oppose Obama and want him to fail from the beginning. They are probably the same people. Bush actually did a ton of things that would have made a really good case, so if that didn't happen, Obama has no worries.


Republicans also plan to investigate Muslim "radicalization". I wonder what's in store for Muslims, Arabs, people with Arab names and of Arab heritage, and people who generally look Arab, like Pacific Islanders and Indians? I feel like we're going to be turning back the clock on understanding. Will the net be wide again? Will the junk paranoid racist email start flying? I hope it isn't so, like the feeling in the back of my mind after 9/11 that said internment happened once, it could happen again. Maybe Republicans will be able to reign in their own radicals so that freedom and civil liberties will be preserved.




Morning funny: Judith Miller assaulting Assange ?


I just heard this this morning, but I think it's old news. Good stuff nonetheless.

Judith Miller criticizing Assange. Funny stuff. The very definition of the pot calling the kettle black!

Assange "...didn't care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out or determine whether or not it would hurt anyone."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/20110104/ts_yblog_thecutline/judy-miller-responds-to-criticism-over-assange-slight


Hmmm. Why does this seem familiar? Bad reporting on WMD and exposing Valerie Plame?

I guess she verified all of that and made sure it didn't hurt anyone, so we're good. Never mind that she was very wrong and she did.

She leaves us with this inspiring statement in the Yahoo article that should clear up all of her inconsistencies:

"Whatever I have to say I shall say at the time and place of my choosing," Miller said.


Everyone else has to answer to her, then? ;)

***


Here's Democracy Now's headline:

Question: "Why is he a bad journalist?"

Judith Miller: "Because he didn’t care at all about attempting to verify the information that he was putting out, or determine whether or not it would hurt anyone."

Miller once said, "My job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of the New York Times what the government thought about Iraq’s arsenal."


http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/3/headlines



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Home

I should say after writing this that this is simply a passing (recurring) thought about something that's normally simple. There are many things one can say about home. I could have gone into religious thoughts very easily, but this is more concrete and real and less controversial for me. I guess I tend to write about stuff that produces dissonance either in myself or in society that I just observe, not that I feel is most important. This is more of a diary entry, but since it's here in print, I'll put it up even though I kind of feel like deleting it now.


Where are you from?

A simple question. Common small talk. Most people probably don't think much about it. It's a question I sometimes stumble over, though. Do I say Texas? North Carolina? Ohio? Mostly I just say here, Durham, or Durham since 1990. But sometimes I'll elaborate because saying I'm from Durham kind of implies that I'm a native and that would be a lie, though I do like grits and sweet tea. I was born in Texas, but I'm not from there, either. I've lived in Ohio and Indiana and North and South Carolina, but I'm not from those places really. My family is from Ohio on both sides- my grandparents on both sides never lived anywhere else. My parents moved away when they got married, but they can still claim to be from Ohio. I fell kind of silly saying I'm from there. I'm not. This is not to say I don't have fond memories of visiting Ohio for holidays, in summer or for a week without my parents. I will always remember the landscape on the drive up, playing with my cousin and seeing relatives, grabbing a piece of cheese on the way to or from the basement, everyone gathered in the kitchen talking, the smell of my grandparents house, going downtown or out to town to shop, going to the Unusual Junction, Dutch Run, eating at The Barn or my grandparents' latest great place to eat, going to the cheese house, seeing Amish buggies, watching Amish kids stare at you. I mean, where else can you go to Berlin, Hebron, London, and Dublin in one day? Good times. I'm still just visiting, though.

I could also say I'm from Alsace, but that would be wierd considering no one in my family has lived there since before about 1830. I have had a few people ask me where I was from "originally" (with my very German maiden name) which was funny, especially since I'm now an Abdo and no one asks.


Mostly I would have to say that I'm from here. Wherever I am. Some say home is where you hang your heart or your hat or whatever and maybe that's true or maybe it's something cute people just say. Is it wishful thinking? Because I've always wished I could have had that feeling of attachment to a place I grew up, coming back to old friends with whom I shared a decade or two with. I try to be content with what I have and where I am- and I've done a good job for the most part. This isn't really a rant, but I do wonder what would have been different had we not moved so much.


I guess there are good points to my memories being scattered across several states. I wouldn't have met my husband if we had stayed in Ohio or Texas, so that's a biggie. Also, being transplanted several times has maybe made me more observant or introspective. Maybe some would say I'm more shy and that's bad, but I'll take my previous description, thank you. What I mean is, seeing how several different areas think, live, etc made me wonder about the wider world. I want to travel and see how my American ideals differ from peoples' in other countries or how my religious beliefs are the same or differ with those in a different country practicing as I do. I guess you don't have to move a lot to wonder these things, but I can't help but think moving around kind of helped. I wish we'd gotten to see other countries, though, rather than just the US. :)

This is going to sound really ridiculous, but my interest and affinity to the Palestinian cause may be influenced by my moving a lot. We weren't a military family, so we didn't know that we were going to have x number of years here, then go somewhere totally different (or similar). We never knew when my dad was going to drop the next bomb. So, I guess I can relate somewhat with refugees in that I don't feel at home and that I got moved around a lot at times and to places beyond my control, if in no other way. I realize that's a bit of an extreme comparison, but I'm dealing with memories of 10 and 12, and at that age, everything is a crisis- and so it fits.

So, I'm not blaming my parents for anything or even saying I had a hard or bad childhood, here. I'm just talking about old memories and a concept many more people than I probably ponder. In my grandparents' time, practically no one moved; now, everyone's on the move. I don't claim to be special or unique. Home and moving and such and how these things have changed and impacted people just an interesting thing to think about. Maybe it's just a case of the grass being greener on the other side. Maybe people who've lived their whole lives in a place are dying to get out and wish their parents would have moved around.

I wonder what my kids will have to say about home.