I am having difficulty writing an opinion with simplicity about events last week in France which require not simplicity but complexity of thought to make sense of the senseless.
Je Suis Juif literally and Je Suis Charlie idealistically because I am Jewish in form and I am Charlie in spirit. I have always thought free speech the most important freedom without which the other freedoms our Founders Constitutionally etched could not exist. At a very young age I knew the civil libertarian uniqueness of the land of my birth. I thought I was lucky to be born here and I was. I questioned everything according to my birthright and my right in the place of my birth. In 5th grade I was in awe of my free speech ability to ask any question I chose and its importance in overcoming the stagnation of myth for the advancement of man. Without questioning everything, including religion, man sits where he is and becomes stuck in non-truths, anti-science and error-filled assumptions.
I knew I was a Jew at an early age as my very first memory of self at three years old was that I was a Jew. I wrapped my three year old body in my father’s talis (prayer shawl) and was sure then at three years old that I would become a rabbi. Being female did not matter. The fire of the historical monstrosity of the Holocaust perpetrated against the Jewish 6 million in an orgy of anti-Semitism, burned later indelibly in my 10 year old brain. That fire, to this day, decades later, has never been extinguished.
To continue: It is rarely reported in western media except by Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” and a few others in print seen or read by a few that there can be no doubt of western complicity for the Middle East quick sand in which we, the west, have been sinking. It is vital that it is noticed by the west, admitted and stopped. It is, in pertinent part, responsible, at least initially, for violence against us and others all over the world. Muslim resentment of western colonialism and its western wars of lies waged in the oft perceived by Muslims holy land for its oil makes many Muslims wax furious. The west supported the haves to the detriment of the have nots forcing the anger of them to burn in a fire now almost impossible to stop.
Bad western foreign policy decisions over decades, no centuries, have been responsible for the well of much anger-driven violence waged because of them. The arc of perceptual injustice prevails and bends not towards justice but away from it. The cauldron of Middle East anger seethes in response to the indignation of western perpetrated death as its collateral damage drones fly over the Middle East killing many uncounted innocents and producing retaliatory violence against their exuding product – death.
But we cannot stop there in our analysis of the events that took place in France. Islam is not a violent religion, so many say, but there can be no doubt when the prolific Wahhabi-like violence in extremis is in front of one’s eyes the violent religious extremist part of that religion is what is seen. It reflects in the western eye a part of Islam that is, in fact, very violent, uncompromising in belief and very extreme. If one loses an innocent loved one because of it or if one is crippled by it a part – albeit a small part of Islam – is perceived as very lethal and responsible. Moreover, it can be said Muslim violence on fellow Muslims has meant thousands perhaps hundreds of thousands of deaths occur in the name of the faith they share. The killing has been brutal and extends all over the world.
The Cretans of psychopathology like an Adam Lanza of Newtown fame or a Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma notoriety means, in part, sick minds perpetrate this evil but are no one’s fault except, perhaps, a mutant strain of one’s DNA making the prediction of violent events all the more difficult.
Violence everywhere is complex and the rationales for it are different. It is limited to a small percentage of religious, political and psycho-pathological violently irrational fanatics but if the violence happens to you or your loved one it is as if it were 100%.
Finally, Palestinian policy in Israel must be addressed or the conflict will continue in the form of never-ending war. I do suspect if peace could reign tomorrow in that tortured part of the world there would be fanatics on both sides that would ruin it. And even if Jews were magically not there I suspect groups within Islam would fight for control of, as Aaron David Miller entitled his book, “that much too promised land.” The proclivity for violence among them cannot be denied with or without Jews. Jews, though in reality will remain in Israel and Palestinians will remain there too. Therefore, if one wants one’s children not to grow up in a madness of mayhem then peace must be forged through the compromise of both. Compromise is not a dirty word but it is a lifesaving one if one wants to, indeed, save lives.
The American electorate and the west will sow the seeds of their own destruction if they elect leaders who are uncompromising and extreme. Our Constitutional Fathers gave us a golden document filled with free speech and human rights guarantees. If it were up to me compromise would be easy and peace in sight. It can be if people of good will take a seat at the round table and as King Arthur at his Round Table once said "I am King Arthur and we are the Knights of Justice! We pledge fairness to all, to protect the weak and vanquish the evil!" Baruch Ashem (Please God,) let it be so!