Archive for March, 2009

Combatants for Peace Tour

March 17, 2009

From Sojourners:

Ishmael and Isaac, brothers of the same father and different mothers, together buried their father Abraham. Esau and Jacob, twin brother and rivals, reconciled. When they met after many years, Jacob said: “for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favor” (Genesis 33:10).

These stories tell of rival brothers, enemy brothers, who made peace. Every human conflict is a conflict between kin. We are all daughters and sons of the same Creator God. God created humankind in God’s own image and likeness. Thus, every human being carries the imago dei, the image of God. When we kill a human being, we are killing an image of God. When we lose sight of this, we lose clarity. We lose focus. We fall into deception and obscurity, into a dangerous shadow place where we understand the Other as altogether Other who may be, or ought to be, expelled or killed. We lose sight of their humanity. And the moment we do this, we forfeit a measure of our own.

Bassam Aramin is a Palestinian fighter who served seven years in jail for planning an attack on Israeli soldiers. When he left jail, he decided to dedicate himself to nonviolent solutions to the Israel/Palestine conflict. January 16, 2007, his 10-year-old daughter, Abir, was walking home from school with her friends in Anata near a border crossing. When an Israeli Border Patrol opened fire, a bullet found the back of Abir’s head. Three days later she was dead.

Yaniv Rashef was an Israeli soldier in the sabotage unit. He lives within range of missiles fired from Gaza. He has joined with Bassam Aramin in a group of about 600 former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters—Combatants for Peace—to work together for peace in Israel/Palestine. They are working together to build playgrounds (“Palestinian and Israeli Former Fighters Unite for Peace, Valerie Elverton Dixon“.

Too bad the tour is only along the East Coast. I’d love to see it. Hearing stories like these gives me some hope that that region might someday find peace.

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Jon Stewart: Real Journalism

March 14, 2009

Jon Stewart’s recent series of reports critiquing the CNBC and the financial media, culminating with the interview Thursday night with Jim Cramer, was absolutely brilliant. The satire in the segments over the course of the week was superb, which I expect. And by superb, I’m talking about keen insight and relevance. This was not an instance of cherry-picking honest mistakes by certain TV personalities, but a well-deserved indictment of the widespread dereliction of duty within the media (a regular theme on the Daily Show; here’s a transcript of a keen observation from the 2004 election). As Stewart showed, CNBC was one of the many within the financial media who had simply become cheerleaders for the financial industry, aiding and abetting the malfeasance of Wall Street through their complacency—at times even encouraging activity which was at least unethical, if not outright illegal.

But the interview with Cramer himself was a revelation. Stewart’s performance was a phenomenal example of what real journalism, financial or any other sort, should be. He asked very pointed questions, challenged Cramer’s statements, and held his feet to the fire. That is what the fourth estate is supposed to do; not act as a megaphone through which any given interest (the financial industry, the President, or anyone else) can publicize their message. Too bad we’ve had so little of that sort of journalism on the big stage this last decade.

Some fine essays on the topic: