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Another fire, another pail of water…

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I’ve posted some things re Yassin and the good times, went to sleep feeling good that I’ve set the train on rails outgoing to uncharted lands, and woke up to see that trains of thought have taken some people back to their pre-set destinations.

Since Al, my dear friend and colleague here introduced me as “one such person”, it might be a good idea to do the introduction here myself, loud and clear.

Especially so since Al chose to cover with some veils my cherished and not that easily gained identity.

Prepare some champaign (don’t break it on my nose, it’s not polite) and follow/don’t follow me to the unveiling ritual:

My name is Corinna. First person, singular.

I am an Israeli Hebrew writer. By genes and choice it means also that most of the time, when writing and in my dreams as well, I am a prolific listener.

I’m atheist since age nine, if not earlier. By which I mean that I took upon myself the responsibility of listening to my own moral ethics, mine and not the cricket’s (unlike Pinochio).

I am an Israeli as naturally as I breath, and from the first moment I was born far away from my birth rights back in 2nd WW Romania. Which means that I have thrice a good memory – the writer’s, the atheist’s, Zion’s.

Believe me, it’s often heavy, as I have no right to say, ME, ME, ME and close my five senses to reality or to The Other’s suffering.

I love and am grateful for living in a time in which I can have a passport and a place to call and experience as home sweet home.

I can appreciate it even more thanks to my childhood which lasted less than four years, owing to thriving racism of some of our best friends and boyfriends.

By mistake, I was given the right to vote.

Sorry for that, sweet Mr. Ripper. Please keep your voice down, otherwise our democracy might rightfully suggest we shouldn’t have elections as long as we are under terror, or find me and the not that silent majority, Unfit.

I find your arguments most power-full. Can you imagine how much more persuasive and well listened to those could have been – if only were they expressed in civilized, respectful, rhetoric?

Actually I would like to get to know you better (not right away, wait a bit to sort your feelings before expressing them). Who are you? Identity, vote rights notwithstanding, profession and vocation? I’m sure your personality is not that one-dimensional. Courage!

I’ve been living in Israel since July 7, 1948 – the day we were freed from the British detention camps for “illegal” immigrants, in Cyprus and set right away in Jaffa. Hence, I happen to have some in-depth knowledge unseen from far away.

The killings are not a sane, life-enhancing solution. The idea that there is no choice but to go down into this abyss might not be a rational one, but one fed by extremist “political” manipulations. It has not worked up to now here as we happen to be cousins and share the same similarities of character, between us and with you as well. We are all human, and no matter what religion or misinformations we have been fed – we all, when left alone, will chose life and sanity upon death and self/mass destruction.

Can you paradoxically declare all or the majority of Palestinians/Israelis as, to say the least, unworthy of your empathy and respect because They/One of them, to say the least, do not show empathy and respect to each other?

Is the Israeli Palestinian conflict some kind of game where you have to choose the team you’ll cheer to and the one you’ll spit upon?

I do appreciate the huge amounts of empathy and caring, either for my people or for the Palestinians. But why hold on to your identifications and not share them one with the other. Think of this: How different the world and our reality might become when you let your empathies encompass both the Israeli and the Palestinian.

It’s not a game, we are not two football teams let loose but regular people yearning for peace and sanity, as most of us on this planet.

Since we are not about to resolve peacefully the Middle East conflict to-night, let’s experiment with reaching such a noble goal at Planet Blogcritics, for the time being.

So, what team are you on?

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About Corinna Hasofferett

  • Eric Olsen

    Corinna, you are very wise, as I have ever thought, but other than reaffirming the humanity of all involved (which is no small accomplishment, by the way), I still don’t feel any closer to a solution. What IS the solution?

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    What is the solution when two kids fight in the kindergarten over a toy or seat? The teacher sits between them and mediates an understanding.

    We need a commited mediator, as it’s clear we cannot manage on our own. Carter is for me a model of a committed mediator, he was clearly/so I hear, actively involved in the process and did not leave his post until an agreement was reached which both sides agreed to and found satisfying.

    Was Clinton such a mediator? Is Bush?

    Maybe the job is too much for politicians committed to their exclusive itinerary. Maybe we need an international group of sane spiritual leaders (religious and non-religious alike), to serve as an advisory board to the mediator and the political representives of both sides.

    Above all we need a committment not to leave the negotiation camp until the conflict is resolved rationally.

    It might take shorter than the decades it took to create it.

    How can we break the vicious circle when animosity is not only constant in our region, but also mirrored abroad?

    Isn’t empathy only to Israel or only to the Palestinians, actually paying attention only to one’s own distresses?

    Otherwise, how come the same people condemning violence and animosity are so violent and show such fiery animosity online here on Blogcritics and all over the net?

  • Eric Olsen

    Anger makes us angry?

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    yes, of course Eric.
    Let’s say Pat says, You bastards, why can’t you believe there is room for hope?! (followed by a rational explanation why hope is realistic);
    Now Pattashon has a choice to make:
    a. Listen to the rationality in Pat’s argument;
    b. Listening to what hope/curses have brought upon him in his own life and get really angry and ready to fight Pat to the end of his life, which of course Pat won’t suffer in silence and so on.

    The second option might result in anger

    is If somebody responds to your post in anger and curses you and calls you names (all this because instead of listening to your message s/he got triggered by something (examples abound)

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    the two last paragraphs in my previous comment (4) are leftovers. Sorry.
    I won’t get angry at whoever gets angry at me for this misdeed…

  • sheri

    Corinna, you are a very brave person. In no way can I even begin to know the answers to a situation I do not live in, and can’t speak from experience.

    With that said, I’d like to offer my view of the situation, from over here.

    My youngest son was told to go sit in the time out chair one time, because he was being very bad. But the teacher had no idea how strongwilled my baby was. In theory, this type of discipline should work.It doesn’t involve harsh punishment.

    Except the teacher couldn’t get him to SIT in the time out chair. Hmmmm, now what.

    I’m not saying that the answer is more violence.I think you do have an answer, but it appears that the Palestinians don’t WANT to sit down and play nice.

    Yesterday, three women came to Atlanta. One was Jewish, the other two Palestinian, one a Palestinian christian. I believe they were an organization called Partners for Peace, in Peace, I’m not sure. I didn’t get to hear them speak, but am looking for information, I’m very interested in what they have to say.

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    well, Sheri, this is the point – his teacher applied a mild punishment and his only way to reciprocate was not to cooperate with it.
    Now, if the teacher undertook the responsibility of a mediator and listener – which is what is done a lot in my granddaughter’s school – the outcome might have been more effective and far reaching.

    Apart from this kids also choose mediators from among themselves, or discuss the issue in a special class session. Since we live in such violent times, a lot of attention is invested here in the education system to counteract trouble.

    Let us know about the meeting, please do.

  • sheri

    Ty Corinna,and your right.In my son’s case, if the pre-school had laid one finger on him,they would have found me crawling their backside.So there has to be other solutions.
    I found the web site for the organization called Partners for Peace, who have organized a speaking tour in the U.S. called “Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision”.

  • Ripper

    This is not an argument between children. Yassin, Hitler and Stalin each made war on Jews, and were killed during that war.

    You stand outside your people during this war, as Carter did during our fight with the Evil Empire. We will always hate Carter for his treason, and as our war on terror is against all terrorists, you become a traitor to us also.

  • Ripper

    Do you know where the modey for the Carter Center comes from? Why do you dirty you soul by associating with his evil blood money?

    The Real Carter

  • sheri

    That couldn’t possibly be right. Carter is from Georgia=southern-fried=bible-thumping-christian right-jew-defender.It must be a conspiracy.

    At any rate, I for one, believe that there comes a time when drastic measures are justified. Somtimes taking the higher ground is just too high a leap. Back to my usage of children as an analogy to this situation, someone harming my children would constitute such a moment.

    But the crisis here is one where there is only going to be more retaliation. Suicide bombings. Where oh where does it all end?

    I’m not speaking for Corinna, but I feel that this is what she is trying to say. Where does it end?

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    Oh sweet Ripper, why do you work so hard to persuade me that you are not to be persuaded into non-violent communication?

    Let’s try again, and this time more directly:

    Suppose someone calls you a traitor, while you are such a sweet mildmannered

    You have at least two choices to make:
    to use even worse retribution.
    to ignore the pattern of judgemental communication and address only the non-ripper it stiffles.

    Now, may I note that this second comment of yours is much much gentler than the first? How would it have been if I responded in-kind unkindly, with brutality, rudely, dripping accusations and not exactly friendly?

    As for Carter, all the participants at the negotiations with Saadat/Egypt tell us that without Carter the Peace Accord with Egypt could not have been accomplished.

    Look, Stalin murdered Also Jewish people, among them all the spiritual leadership – yet for me the Russians are the ones that liberated us in Romania from the Nazis. I know, I know how and why, yet why not pay thanks where they are due?

    It seems to me that you see the world in black and white. I hereby give you the permission not to be always perfectly perfect… (does not apply to my posts…)

    By the way, do you happen to know who is the traitor who’s sending me these mosquitoes I’m fighting while typing here and now?

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    “At any rate, I for one, believe that there comes a time when drastic measures are justified. Somtimes taking the higher ground is just too high a leap. Back to my usage of children as an analogy to this situation, someone harming my children would constitute such a moment.”

    Of course, Sheri, I agree with you entirely. The problem is that we apply drastic measures upon a whole population (enabled in itself by blind generalizations) – which is wrong both morally and pragmatically: it only breeds anger, desperation, blind revenge etc and drives the chances for a just conflict resolution further away.

    I do hope that by the next elections a large number of Israelis will vote in favor of the Geneve Accords as the only place to bring this terrible and most dangerous conflict to a just and peaceful resolution is the at the table.

  • Ripper

    “Russians are the ones that liberated us in Romania”- I know what year the saved your lives, but what year did the liberate Romania?

    “drastic measures upon a whole population”

    The drastic measure I’m enthusiatic about is the three missles through the head of evil. We can joyfully agree that Yassin’s death is wonderful without endorsing a Jacksonian trail of tears for the rest.

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    Ripper, The Russians liberated us in Romania the day they liberated Romania – August 23, 1944. I remember vividly getting out of the dark shelters, the multitude of people on the streets (the fascists wore green so the Jewish jole was that the green tomatoes rippened overnight…), the tanks covered with flowers and the Russians soldiers smiling friendly. (Later on for a while they went about raping women by left and by right, so women went back into hidding… Jewish women as well…

    as for your second paragraph, does it relate to the quotation? I’m talking about collective punishment.

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    Ripper, The Russians liberated us in Romania the day they liberated Romania – August 23, 1944.

    I remember vividly getting out of the dark shelters, the multitude of people on the streets (the fascists wore green so the Jewish jole was that the green tomatoes rippened overnight…), the tanks covered with flowers and the Russians soldiers smiling friendly.

    (Later on for a while they went about raping women by left and by right, so women went back into hidding… Jewish women as well…

    As for your second paragraph, does it relate to the quotation? I was talking about collective punishment.

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    I swear the double posting is not my fault this time.

  • Ripper

    I’ve heard of Russians capturing Romania, and they were less obnoxious masters.But I am puzzled you don’t remeber noticing that slavery is not freedom.

    As for collective punishement, I haven’t advocated it here, I’m just so very happy about the indivdual punshment of Yassin. I hope we can look foward to celebrating as each individual Hamas noble is jellied, fractured and fed to the maggots.

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    Ripper, for us, as Jewish people on the run, it was freedom and so it was for a growing number of Romanian citizens and partizans. Otherwise, slavery started later (luckily we were out of there and so were the majority of the Jewish population over there). First a democratic goverment was established and only later the Communists (former partizans) took over, under the wings of Moscow… Now you can see why for me and for my people it was freedom. But we must keep in mind that what enabled the slavery was the division of power in post war Europe between the Allies, as if it was a cake… If only the Western Allied would not have given in to Stalin. The outcome indeed was that one form of slavery was exchanged for another, yet, even if your leaders then were responsible for this, I won’t say it is your own fault…

    I’m happy that you are not for collective punishment, but look: one day or two we are made happy with the killing of one terrorist followed by preventive collective punishment (closures and such); the day after we’ll be made unhappy by another terrorist attack (which is collective punishment) to be followed by…
    Not at all pleasant or even joyful.

  • sheri

    A light went on in my head last night as I settled down for the evening. This does happen to me from time to time. I saw that I had actually used my own child to make a comparison to murderous terrorists. It made me physically sick.

    Corinna, I believe with all my heart that your heart is in the right place.I can understand how weariness can leave you desperate for any alternatives.

    Still, Im not sorry that I don’t have to live (so far anyway) day to day in your situation, struggling to find ways to cope with the horror of it all, and in the process, losing clear lines of distinction.

    Strapping bombs to children and sending them off to die is not going to gain my sympathy in any way.

    But back to the question…where does it all end? I don’t know, but I know that I have problems aplenty in my own back yard.

  • Corinna Hasofferett

    Sheri, terrorists can be compared only to terrorists. The children in both our examples were involved in conflict resolutions and those are, as you say, aplenty in our front and back yards (which nowadays are indeed Ours, globally.

    I do not consider terrorists as partners in conflict resolution – it’s a leadership’s responsibility to pursue it, and our responsibility and duty to demand it.