MOTHER’S DAY IN TOONS

Images by Carlos Latuff

In Palestine ….

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In Gaza ….

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In Syria ….

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In Turkey ….

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In Brazil …. (and Palestine)

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A MAY DAY OFFERING

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Happy Holiday and enjoy!

The Billy Bragg version of the international socialist anthem.

And a poem by Tom Karlson …

The Forgotten

in Texas,

independent, slave loving Texas

was born Lucy Gonzalez

Mexican, African, Indian

mothered and fathered by the whip and chain

freed by the Great Emancipator at eleven

a slave of Gathings for one thousand  nights

liberated again by

former Confederate Captain Albert Parsons

they married

the KKK forced husband and wife to Chicago

where they worked and organized for the 8 hour day

May 4th, 1886 Lucy and Albert were at the Haymarket

protesting a police shooting the day before and

demanding eight hours of work ,eight hours of sleep, eight hours of play

police charged the crowd

a dynamite bomb was thrown

sending seven police and four workers

to the promised land

Albert and seven labor leaders were executed

Lucy fought and won    

full exoneration

the  eight hour work day arrives

carried in by an army of

wobblies, socialists, communists, and trade unionists

 

Lucy Parsons gave her long life to

labor rights civil rights and women’s rights

she died in1942, 89 years old

Lucy Parsons, Presente

May Day lives

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A POEM FOR THE SEASON ~~ A QUESTION YOUR CHILD WILL ASK FOR PASSOVER

First, let me wish all of my Jewish readers, family and friends a Happy and Kosher Passover.

Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

“Your Child Will Ask”

By Rabbi Brant Rosen

Your child will ask
why do we observe this festival?

And you will answer
it is because of what God did for us
when we were set free from the land of Egypt.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might hold tightly
to the pain of our enslavement
with a mighty hand?

And you will answer
we were set free from Egypt
that we might release our pain
by reaching with an outstretched arm
to all who struggle for freedom.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
because we are God’s chosen people?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
so that we will finally come to learn
all who are oppressed
are God’s chosen.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might conquer and settle
a land inhabited by others?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
that we might open wide the doors
to proclaim:

Let all who are dispossessed return home.
Let all who wander find welcome at the table.
Let all who hunger for liberation
come and eat.

Rabbi Rosen blogs at Shalom Rav

*****

Now enjoy the following ….

How Passover would be reported in today’s media

ISRAEL NEEDS A GOOD CLEANSING

Not this kind ….
Image by Carlos Latuff
latuff-deportation
Jewish mothers used to go into a cleaning frenzy a week or so before the Festival of Passover. All traces of leaven (chametz) had to be removed from the home before the onset of the holiday.
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Modern folk have determined that dust is not chametz, so there is less madness involved in the cleaning process, but Israel has added a new dimension to the situation; Arabs must be removed as well as the leaven.
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CLEANSING THE LAND OF BREAD AND ARABS

My maternal grandmother was a simple Shtetel Jew. She came from a place not much different than the small town portrayed in Fiddler on The Roof.
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Traditionally the womenfolk from those areas were uneducated in matters of anything other than home making and child raising, while the menfolk studied their Holy Books for hours on end. Life was simple for them, and they themselves were basically a very simple folk.
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I remember my grandmother going through the frenzie of cleaning the house this time of year…. the traditional Passover cleaning. All traces of leaven had to be removed from the home before the start of the Holiday. To her, that process included the removal of any trace of dust or smears on the window panes. The house sparkled when she was finished. Most of our non Jewish neighbours were going through the same process, but simply called it ’spring cleaning’, ridding the house of all unwanted matter, including broken furniture and junk.
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I remember asking my grandmother why she was going through such a frenzie…. her answer was simple and to the point…. “If a Jew eats bread during Passover he will die!” That was what she was taught, that’s what she taught us….
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In Israel today, things are not much different than life in the Shtetel when it comes to Passover preparations. But today there is a growing number of non observant Jews as well as a growing number of non Jews. This is a threat to the lifestyle of the self imposed Shtetel Jew living here today.
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Christian Pilgrims from abroad, as well as local Christians are denied access to their Holy Sites. Where is the uproar against this?
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Where is the uproar against the Neanderthal rabbis that have recently called for the expulsion or the genocide of the Palestinians? WHERE??? As in previous years, the Palestinians living on the ‘other side’ of the great wall of apartheid will be sealed in for the duration of the Holiday (8 days), literally making the State of Israel Arabrein for that period of time. Where is the uproar against this? WHERE???
Israel does need a cleansing… a good one; not only of bread during the Holiday season but also of hatred. Both are violations of the Holy Teachings.
The above is a repost from the archives

WHEN EASTER MEETS ESTHER

It’s not every year that these two wonderful Holidays meet on the same calendar …

So,

To all of our Jewish readers, family and friends,

A VERY HAPPY PURIM!

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And to our Christian readers, family and friends,

A VERY HAPPY EASTER!!

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THE PLIGHT OF OUR BETTER HALF IN PALESTINE TODAY

On this day we celebrate International Women's Day. 
Below you can read of the situation and plight of women 
in Occupied Palestine.

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International Women's Day
Prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

The struggle of women here continues unabated. Many people like me believe
sincerely that had women been in charge here, we would have had a free
Palestine by now. My mother who is 84 years old showed us by example what
giving and self-sacrifice and love of people and land means. My wife and
three sisters are likewise examples of what we all should aspire to do:
kind, dedicated, and hard-working human beings. Like millions before them
and millions contemporary with them, these women make life livable while
many men (and a few women) engage in hurting others and pushing for
conflicts and war. Words are too mediocre and inadequate to express our
feelings but I simply want to say to all the women working for peace and
justice: thank you and to pledge that we will work with you for more
progressive change in our societies. As males, we must challenge the system
we inherited of giving privilege to men (Patriarchal societies we live in).
This must be in deed not in words.


For the local situation of Palestinian women today, I urge you to read this
remarkable new issue of the excellent magazine “This Week in Palestine”
dedicated to our better half.
 

THIS VALENTINE’S DAY TRY LOVING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

And in honour of Black History Month, formerly National Brotherhood Week and Negro History Week 

As Tom Leher sees it …

Finally, From Russia With Love

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FROM ALL OF US TO ALL OF YOU ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!

DesertPeace and Associates wishes all of our readers and friends the best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2016!

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latest-happy-new-year-2016-photos

Enjoy …

Wherever you are, whoever you are… here’s hoping that you and yours have the best in the New Year. Let us hope that 2016 will usher in a lasting peace and justice for all of humanity… a year of love and understanding for all of us.

AFRIKAANS gelukkige nuwejaar
ALBANIAN Gëzuar vitin e ri
ALSATIAN e glëckliches nëies / güets nëies johr
ARABIC aam saiid / sana saiida
ARMENIAN shnorhavor nor tari
AZERI yeni iliniz mubarek
BAMBARA bonne année
BASQUE urte berri on
BELARUSIAN З новым годам (Z novym hodam)
BENGALI subho nababarsho
BERBER asgwas amegas
BETI mbembe mbu
BOBO bonne année
BOSNIAN sretna nova godina
BRETON bloavezh mat / bloavez mad
BULGARIAN честита нова година (chestita nova godina)
BURMESE hnit thit ku mingalar pa
CANTONESE kung hé fat tsoi
CATALAN bon any nou
CHINESE xin nian kuai le / xin nian hao
CORSICAN pace e salute
CROATIAN sretna nova godina
CZECH šťastný nový rok
DANISH godt nytår
DUTCH gelukkig Nieuwjaar
ESPERANTO felicxan novan jaron
feliæan novan jaron (Times SudEuro font)
ESTONIAN head uut aastat
FAROESE gott nýggjár
FINNISH onnellista uutta vuotta
FLEMISH gelukkig Nieuwjaar
FRENCH bonne année
FRISIAN lokkich neijier
FRIULAN bon an
GALICIAN feliz aninovo
GEORGIAN გილოცავთ ახალ წელს (gilocavt akhal tsels)
GERMAN ein gutes neues Jahr / prost Neujahr
GREEK kali chronia / kali xronia
eutichismenos o kainourgios chronos (we wish you a happy new year)
GUJARATI sal mubarak
GUARANÍ rogüerohory año nuévo-re
HAITIAN CREOLE bònn ané
HAWAIIAN hauoli makahiki hou
HEBREW shana tova
HINDI nav varsh ki subhkamna
HMONG nyob zoo xyoo tshiab
HUNGARIAN boldog új évet
ICELANDIC farsælt komandi ár
INDONESIAN selamat tahun baru
IRISH GAELIC ath bhliain faoi mhaise
ITALIAN felice anno nuovo, buon anno
JAVANESE sugeng warsa enggal
JAPANESE akemashite omedetô
KABYLIAN asseguèsse-ameguèsse
KANNADA hosa varshada shubhaashayagalu
KAZAKH zhana zhiliniz kutti bolsin
KHMER sur sdei chhnam thmei
KIRUNDI umwaka mwiza
KOREAN seh heh bok mani bat uh seyo
KURDE sala we ya nû pîroz be
LAO sabai di pi mai
LATIN felix sit annus novus
LATVIAN laimīgu Jauno gadu
LIGURIAN feliçe annu nœvu / feliçe anno nêuvo
LINGALA bonana / mbula ya sika elamu na tonbeli yo
LITHUANIAN laimingų Naujųjų Metų
LOW SAXON gelükkig nyjaar
LUXEMBOURGEOIS e gudd neit Joër
MACEDONIAN srekna nova godina
MALAGASY arahaba tratry ny taona
MALAY selamat tahun baru
MALTESE is-sena t-tajba
MAORI kia hari te tau hou
MARATHI navin varshaachya hardik shubbheccha
MONGOLIAN shine jiliin bayariin mend hurgeye (Шинэ жилийн баярын мэнд хvргэе)
MORÉ wênd na kô-d yuum-songo
NORWEGIAN godt nyttår
OCCITAN bon annada
PERSIAN sâle no mobârak
POLISH szczęśliwego nowego roku
PORTUGUESE feliz ano novo
ROMANCHE bun di bun onn
ROMANI bangi vasilica baxt
ROMANIAN un an nou fericit / la mulţi ani
RUSSIAN С Новым Годом (S novim godom)
SAMOAN ia manuia le tausaga fou
SANGO nzoni fini ngou
SARDINIAN bonu annu nou
SCOTTISH GAELIC bliadhna mhath ur
SERBIAN srećna nova godina
SHIMAORE mwaha mwema
SHONA goredzwa rakanaka
SINDHI nain saal joon wadhayoon
SINHALA suba aluth avuruddak vewa
SLOVAK stastlivy novy rok
SLOVENIAN srečno novo leto
SOBOTA dobir leto
SPANISH feliz año nuevo
SRANAN wan bun nyun yari
SWAHILI mwaka mzuri / heri ya mwaka mpya
SWEDISH gott nytt år
SWISS-GERMAN es guets Nöis
TAGALOG manigong bagong taon
TAHITIAN ia orana i te matahiti api
TAMIL iniya puthandu nalVazhthukkal
TATAR yaña yıl belän
TELUGU nuthana samvathsara subhakankshalu
THAI สวัสดีปีใหม่ (sawatdii pimaï)
TIBETAN tashi délek
TURKISH yeni yiliniz kutlu olsun
UDMURT Vyľ Aren
UKRAINIAN Z novym rokom
URDU naya saal mubarik
UZBEK yangi yilingiz qutlug’ bo’lsin
VIETNAMESE Chúc Mừng Nǎm Mới / Cung Chúc Tân Niên / Cung Chúc Tân Xuân
WALOON (“betchfessîs” spelling) bone annéye / bone annéye èt bone santéye
WELSH blwyddyn newydd dda
WEST INDIAN CREOLE bon lanné
WOLOF dewenati

REFLECTIONS ON A PALESTINIAN CHRISTMAS

"Israel’s Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve 
towards consolidating the separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, 
Jerusalem; the city where
Jesus was born and the city where he 
was resurrected"


tumblr_mfkc9jQMgX1qb1quio1_540
Le Petit Prince
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
How can we learn from children dealing with adversity? There were many
images that shock us almost daily. The Palestinian child splayed on the
beach in Gaza with his tiny body ripped by Israeli bullets. In 2015 it was
of a Syrian child with the same pose, face down in the sand having drowned
in the Mediterranean. About the same time, Palestinian children where being
killed (two were burned alive) How much pain can people take? How can we
think of the dictatorial leaders of countries like the very rich Arab gulf
states and Egypt closing their eyes to this suffering which they help
perpetuate. We can reflect on these painful episodes of man's inhumanity to
fellow human beings. We can focus on the greed and the corruption and the
cruelty that we face daily (five Palestinians killed here during the two
days of Christmas). But I really do not want to do that any more.  As this
year comes to a close and a new year begins, I reflect on value of good
deeds and then reflect on other living children.

When Israel demolished a Palestinian home in Nablus recently in an act of
collective punishment as they do routinely, good people (most of them poor)
donated thousands within 24 hours for rebuilding). "Good Samaritans" are
everywhere and I meet them every day. I am so grateful to them for making
the lives of people around them better. Those who give of themselves and in
so doing enrich themselves. It is hard to describe how motivating it is to
see hundreds of good people giving to good causes that try to better the
lives of fellow creatures on earth. Some challenge oppression  to the point
of sacrificing their lives to push for the freedom of others. Others donate
to help suffering people. Some gave up their careers to work with refugees
desperately clinging to life.  Sometimes we can lose faith in humanity. But
as a biologist, I find new adaptations and new life especially hopeful.
Spring is coming earlier today in Palestine (perhaps because of the global
warming). A small bird manages to survive a broken wing. A lizard
regenerated its tail. A flower blossoms. A new seed sprouts. A new human
birth (a miracle). One surviving child in particular gave us so much hope.
Every once in a while we see a video chronicling the progress in recovery
of the surviving Dawabsha child (he was severely burned, his mother,
father, and younger sibling all perished in the Jewish settler arson
attack). We see his grandfather able to solicit the beautiful smile and
even laughter and we say: there is hope in humanity. I see a hungry child
share his bread with another hungry child with a smile. I remember how one
child from Aida refugee camp whose mother was killed by Israeli soldiers
once told me and another adult that "Do not worry, Palestine will be free".
I remember and reread the story of "The Little Prince" (Le Petit Prince by
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; I have a collection of it in many languages) and
I am reminded when tough times fall (and they do more and more often) that
we need to tap the little child inside us. Children still have the
idealism, kindness, social connection, and hope that adults seem to loose.

For me personally, many people harmed me or tried to do harm to me in 2015
ranging from Israeli soldiers and settlers to deluded Palestinians. To such
all I hope we all say: we do not hate you and we do forgive you. It does
not mean we will stop working for justice or challenging oppression and
corruption. It is actually our (positive) way of doing so. We call on you
to join the ever increasing circle of people who light a candle instead of
cursing the darkness.  They know that doing good without expecting any
return is the most enriching experience in life. Working for a bigger cause
than one self is the best and most healthy way to live. It is the essence
of true happiness.

In this same spirit, Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabbah wrote in the
Israeli paper Haaretz a meaningful message to Israeli leaders:  "Israel’s
Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve towards consolidating the
separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, Jerusalem; the city where
Jesus was born and the city where he was resurrected – the essence of the
Christian faith. Aside from the daily violations that the besieged
Bethlehem suffers as a result of the occupation, Israel issued a military
order last week announcing that it has confiscated 101 dunams of
Bethlehem’s northern lands. In the same week, the Israeli government
approved the expansion of the illegal settlement of Gilo - built on
privately owned lands of Bethlehem - by 891 new housing units....Despite
Israel’s claim that it is the only country in the Middle East where
Christians prosper, the unspoken message it sends on the ground is that it
has no respect whatsoever for their rights as Palestinians and for their
existence in their homeland....Bethlehem is now either a symbol for peace,
or war. I invite the Israeli leaders to make it a symbol for peace and for
a new just approach for Palestinians. Palestinians deserve the full
achievement of their inalienable rights..."

"But Jesus said, Allow little children, and forbid them not, to come unto
me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM THOSE WHO KILLED THE FAMILY OF JESUS

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What Netanyahu really meant …
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Don’t miss this 

A MUST READ from What Really Happened (Click on link)
KILLING THE FAMILY OF JESUS

CHRISTMAS IN THE LAND OF JESUS

Image by Carlos Latuff

Merry Xmas from Israel

Merry Xmas from Israel

 What if ….
Joseph and Mary were not allowed to enter Bethlehem?
What would the narrative look like today??
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The artist Banksky sees it like this in his annual Christmas card …
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banksyx-mas
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Text on Card:

The people of Bethlehem are asking for our help.

Towering walls and militarized fences now encircle Bethlehem, turning the 4,000-year-old city into a virtual prison for its Palestinian Christian and Muslim citizens. Bethlehem has only three gates to the outside world, all tightly controlled by Israeli occupation forces.

Israel has confiscated almost all the agricultural land in the area for illegal settlements, making it impossible for many Palestinian farmers to continue tending their land. Outside the town, the fields where shepherds once watched their flocks are being filled by Israeli housing blocs and roads barred to the descendants of those shepherds.

“It is unconscionable that Bethlehem should be allowed to die slowly from strangulation,” says South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Bethlehem’s residents increasingly are fleeing Israel’s confining walls, and soon the city, home to the oldest Christian community in the world, will have little left of its Christian history but the cold stones of empty churches.

Though most Americans don’t know it, we are directly involved in Israel’s strangulation of Bethlehem. Fortune Magazine and other analysts consistently rank the Israel lobby as one of the most effective special interests in Washington; Americans give Israel over $8 million per day. In its just over 60 years of existence, Israel has received more US tax money than any other nation.

As we seek peace and joy for the world, it is time to reconsider an expenditure that perpetuates injustice, tragic violence, and conflict.
Please help. OR THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTINUE
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From Sam Bahour ….

Dear friends,

In wishing you all a Merry Christmas, in these troubling times, and a Happy New Year, after yet another one of more death and destruction, I would like to share with you this profound Christmas message from Bethlehem by Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, President of the Lutheran World Federation.

Before viewing Bishop Munib and Reverend Mitri Raheb, whom also features in this service, as religious leaders, I view them as friends and colleagues in our struggle for freedom and independence.

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A MUST READ from What Really Happened (Click on link)
KILLING THE FAMILY OF JESUS
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Killing the Family of Jesus

Killing the Family of Jesus

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

To all of our Christian readers, family and friends 

Wishing you and yours the Merriest of Christmases …
And the Happiest 2016!
May we finally see Peace on Earth!

Tree on the wall at Bethlehem

Tree on the wall at Bethlehem

HAPPY CHANUKAH ~~ CHAG ORIM SAMEACH

DesertPeace and Associates wishes all of our Jewish readers, family and friends a Happy Chanukah

As you light your candles commemorating the great miracle, say a special prayer for Peace so we can see yet another great one!

WE NEED IT DESPERATELY!

giphy (1)

Enjoy the immortal Theodore Bikel

THANKFUL FOR WHAT?

Hopefully you enjoyed your 
Thanksgiving dinner yesterday...
But what exactly were you thankful for?
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                        For This? 
                       Or This??

“I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is the dead Indian, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

Teddy Roosevelt

 

                    Thanks Giving

© By Tom Karlson

That original sin

Our original sin

Not a talking snake sin

No Adam or Eve sin

This original sin

This first holocaust sin

This First Nation

ten million

Double helixed

Chromosome

Long gone sin

200 languages silenced sin

This good, drunk, dead, jailed, Indian sin

as

310 million All-Americans

Sit at the table eating

Corn, sweet potatoes, turkey

Watching football

Giving thanks

                        And Now This ... 
             The Thanks We Get

© By Steve Amsel

When we came to this land

You were mere savages

Hunting in the bush

And praying to trees.

We brought you guns

And taught you how

To destroy each other

So there would be more food.

When you were cold

We gave you blankets

Covered with smallpox germs

So you would not suffer long.

We gave you our god

So we could tax you

Of whatever valuables

You may have had.

When you had children

We took them from you so

You would not have to worry

About raising them.

We killed off your menfolk

So your children would

Be born the same

Color as us.

All these things we did for you

And you show us

No appreciation

At all.

You speak now

Of breaking away

And self government,

Is this the thanks we get?

   All of the above could have been 
avoided if the Native People followed 
their instincts 
Thank to WRH for this one

Thanks to WRH for this one

On a lighter note, enjoy the following …

IMAGES TO THINK ABOUT ON THANKSGIVING

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Thank to WRH for this one

Thank to WRH for this one

TRUMP MAKES HIS DEBUT IN MEXICO FOR HALLOWEEN

Trump has become arguably the most hated man south of the border after describing Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug sellers and rapists. Trump masks sold in Mexico depict the real estate mogul with his mouth agape and a caricature blond hairdo.

 

Source

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING CANADA ~~ IF YOU CAN

Try to remember the time as you sit down to your festive holiday dinner ….

 

And to those south of the border that still celebrate Columbus Day  …. you too have things to remember

columbus genocide
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COLUMBUS DAY

© By Tom Karlson

Financed by Iberian Jewry

the Admiral, Christian or Jew, Spaniard or Italian

leads 120 men in the

Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

sailing south and west  

India bound

crewed by:

Milton Freedman and his Chicago University goons

     in charge of propaganda, interrogation, discipline,

     race and class consciousness  

Prescott Bush and George Armstrong Custer

     compose the voyage manifesto and mission

below deck are the sun-dried souls of

Rasputin, the Popes, Sylvester the Second and Benedict the Ninth 

     in charge of rape, incest, and family values

Pinkerton and J Edgar Hoover

     spying, pimping, and procuring stool pigeons

Kenneth Lay  

     finance, mergers, and loans

Edward Teller   

     munitions

Robert E Lee’s horse Traveler

will show the way home

where Ferdinand and Isabella’s bishops

find Jews to murder and maim, books to burn, Moors to exterminate

Columbus will trade

measles, diphtheria, small pox, and malaria

for gold and land

as he works out the science of genocide on Hispaniola

never forgetting the University’s tools of slavery   colonization

religious fanaticism   and free market capitalism                                       

 

HOLIDAYS IN ISRAEL ~~ A TIME TO LOVE OR TO HATE

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Preparations are underway to usher in a week long holiday in Israel. It is called Succot, or The Feast of the Tabernacles. We eat all of our meals in little booths and the ceilings are usually made of tree branches, allowing the sky to be visible. It is a reminder of the 40 years we roamed in the desert and dwelled in such structures. It is actually quite a fun holiday and a very community oriented one, it is one of my favourites.
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A non Jewish visitor to Jerusalem this week might get the impression that the entire city stands in solidarity with the homeless Palestinians illegally evicted from their homes by settlers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
*
Tents have appeared (actually booths) in preparation of the Festival
.
*
*
Family homes were STOLEN, many families have been living in makeshift tents for over five years…. and neither the Municipality of Jerusalem nor the Palestinian Authority gives a damn. As winter approaches, a new meaning is given to the term ‘settlement freeze’ as these homeless literally freeze in their abodes. Sheikh Jarrah is no longer headline news, but the problems there remain the same.
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I had some flashbacks this morning to my Succot celebrations in Brooklyn as a child, they were much different than here. Here there is a Jewish community and an Arab community. In the neighbourhood I grew up in, there was a Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazi) and a community made up of Spanish Jews and Jews from Northern Africa (Sephardi). Both communities had their own traditions and practices, but basically both were members of the same religion. One of the major differences between the two communities at the time were language, the Ashkenazi Jews spoke Yiddish; a language with Germanic roots, while the Sephardi Jews spoke a language called Ladino; a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
*
What I remembered this morning was the following; The Synagogue of the Sephardi community was situated very close to the home of my grandparents. They used to build a large enough booth to accommodate their entire congregation. As a child, I used to help them with the preparations. I remembered my grandmother screaming at me from her window to get away from them, not to play with their kids…. I could never understand why. It seemed that part of her ghetto mentality was to distrust anyone that was in any way different. These people were different than we were, as mentioned; they spoke a different language and, for the most part, had darker skins than the Ashkenazi Jews. The younger generation, like myself did not see these differences as our common language was English and skin colour was never an issue with me or my immediate family. I therefore could never understand my grandmother’s logic, or lack of…. So I secretly maintained my friendships with the kids there.
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Today, I started thinking about prejudice, why it exists, how to overcome it…. It seems to exist because of ignorance and fear, two very real factors. How to overcome it? Learn about each other and the fear factor will be eliminated. Very simple! It worked in my case.Things are different today, in Israel at least. The Jewish community celebrates together. We have a common language, Hebrew. There are still some remnants of the old world prejudice, but for the most part it’s gone. Now to overcome the prejudices between the Jewish and Arab communities here. My way is to open my booth, as well as my home, to ALL members of the community, both Arab and Jew.  It’s the only way to guarantee an end to the hatred… live together! So, instead of fearing the differences of the others, my philosophy is to say
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VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!
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Let us all live together as neighbours and brothers.Shalom-Salaam!

ISRAEL HAS DIVIDED MY FAMILY

On this Eid al-Adha I present a poem that I wrote about 15 years ago  .. it is very fitting today as Palestinian families are divided both by an imposed closure and the wall itself.

06-19-2015West_Bank

MY FAMILY IS DIVIDED 

© By Steve Amsel

A wall has been built,

I cannot see my neighbor

I know not when he needs my help

I know not when he is hungry.

 

My brother’s child cannot come for an afternoon snack

I cannot bring it to him

The wall is in the way

Dividing families and loved ones.

 

“They” told us the wall is for protection.

From what?

Must our children go hungry?

Must we be jobless?

 

“They” say we are the enemy.

Is going to work a crime?

Is going to school a crime?

Try to tell a child that hunger is a good thing.

 

If the wall stays up

There will be an enemy

Uneducation and hunger leads to resentment

Resentment will lead to revolt.

 

Learn from your history my friends

Learn that walls are not the solution

Learn that unity is strength

And learn that justice triumphs over evil always.

EID al-ADHA MUBARAK ~~ G’MAR CHATIMA TOVA

To all of our Jewish readers, family and friends

May you have an easy and meaningful fast this Yom Kippur.

May you be sealed in the Book of Life!

gemarhayteemahtovah

And to our Muslim readers, family and friends

Eid al-Adha Mubarak!

Eid-Al-Adha-Wishes-2
May both sides of the wall realise a true and lasting PEACE this year!

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