Monthly Archives: December 2016

The UN and Israel

We have for years watched passively as Israel continued to build settlements in areas designated for Palestinian statehood since the Oslo accords. The US representative has vetoed many actions by the Security Council to sanction Israel for the illegal settlements, so it came as a surprise when Samantha Power finally abstained from the most recent resolution. It may have been too little and too late. With Donald Trump looming on the horizon, AIPAC and its allies can breathe freely again in the knowledge that it won’t happen again.

Lindsay Graham has called for the defunding of the UN and the new Democratic leader in the Senate has roundly chastised the Obama administration for allowing the resolution to stand. There is precious little reporting in this country of the violence and destruction being caused by Israeli “settlers” and their Israeli army protectors in the furtherance of the annihilation of hopes for a two state solution in the land holy to three major religions.

When Israeli “settlers” (I would prefer to call them terrorists or vigilantes) called a one-and-a-half year old child a terrorist after firebombing the house in which he lived with his parents and older brother, they showed how utterly lacking in humanity and reason they were in their actions. The crime of this family?  Living too close to an illegal Israeli settlement. The cost of the firebomb? The parents and baby dead, the older brother burned over 70% of his body. Two out of eleven Israelis involved in the action were charged, neither being held pending trial, and only one of them charged with murder.

Donald Trump doesn’t have any problem with the so-called settler movement. This should surprise no one. But people of good will may well wonder that our government has been so facile in refusing to chastise Israel for its support of the movement. Abby Mann, whom I have spoken of before, has two reports on the incident above and the history and current state of the settler movement. They can be found here and here. I will not repeat the statistics she has reported, but suffice it to say that the number of deaths, some of which she has videos of at the hands of the “settlers” and their military supporters, will shock and appall you.

It is not surprising that the Security Council at the UN has been trying to sanction Israel for years for the illegal settlement program. The program has displaced or killed thousands of Palestinians, destroyed their farms and their livelihoods, and left them in an apartheid-like state the likes of which have not been seen since South Africa. For it to be created by the victims of the holocaust would be ironic if it were not so outrageous. Now it can only be said that the United States for once did the right thing on this issue.

A Twisted Path to Poetry

I thought I was a novelist, mainly because stories came to me in big chunks. I wrote until I was finished, and would find a novel-length story had materialized. Then I was told by my helpful friends, that I wrote in shorthand, and needed to expand the descriptions in my stories, and they became series. This was not a welcome piece of news, because, well, when I finished writing one of these behemoths, I was done.

I took a creative writing course to see if I could understand my problem. The professor was a poet, so I learned more than I ever cared to about poetry. One of our assignments was to find a poetry form on the Poetry Foundation website, and compose a poem in that form. I found the form of the double dactyl and became notorious in my writers workshop for my skill at making fun of people. For a second assignment I found the pantoum, and used it to good effect on more serious subjects.

A funny thing happened on the way to the election. Donald Trump’s  pussy-grabbing statement raised all sorts of horrors from my past and made me a very uncomfortable person to be around. I snapped at people for no reason, yelled at other drivers and gave them the finger (not nearly so dangerous here in Vermont as some other places), and otherwise engaged in self-destructive behavior. Then one night, I started writing poems. They were helpful in getting some of the anger out of me and onto paper. I relived some terrible moments of my past, and turned them, for better or worse, into poetry.

I have now submitted poetry to a journal, recommended to me by a friend. It’s only one journal, it’s only 6 poems stretched over a couple of weeks, but it’s a start. And fiction finds a small home in my poetry, but not the sort I was writing and not the sort I would want to write a full story about.

In January, a local poet will be teaching a three session poetry craft workshop at my writers workshop. If I’m going to keep doing this, I’m going to have to figure out the rules. But who knows? I may get some burning hunger to write fiction again. Or maybe just get the right offer.