Wednesday, August 22, 2012

For the past few days there has been much in the US news  about the "lynching in Jerusalem". Four Arab boys, simply because they were Arabs,  were attached by Zionist teens who beat them, dragged them, kicked them, cursed them.  One boy was beaten until he lost consciousnesses, he was taken to hospital and didn't regain consciousnesses until the next day. (did they want to kill them?) 

The boys attacker told the press; if it was up to him, "I'd have murdered him." He didn't care if the boy died, "he's an Arab" 

The attacker, age 15, joined the chorus of his peers, "Death to Arabs" they sang. And no one intervened. Not  the policeman who watched the action; he didn't even call for assistance .....he left the scene having done NOTHING! A crowd watched and cheered on the Israeli teens....someone did call the police but no one tried to help the Palestinians or stop the Israelis. The brave took photos and film using their phones. Their blogs and facebook pages documented the action. 

Where does such hatred come from? Blame the parents? Blame the schools? And why is it tolerated; even encouraged. The victim, because he's an Arab, a Palestinian, is fair game and has few, if any rights or protections. Isn't Israel a democracy? 

From Israeli news: Nimrod Aloni, the head of the Institute for Educational Thought at a Tel Aviv teachers college, said, “this cannot just be an expression of something he has heard at home.”

“This is directly tied to national fundamentalism that is the same as the rhetoric of neo-Nazis, Taliban and K.K.K.,” Mr. Aloni said. “This comes from an entire culture that has been escalating toward an open and blunt language based on us being the chosen people who are allowed to do whatever we like.”

Finally someone is talking about the elephant in the room!


It's difficult to understand why I have deserted my blog. The bottom line is that I miss writing; I need to write and write about my involvement with Palestine. Does anyone reads this blog? That's a good question. It's been without a post for so long those who kept up with it have probably given up. I'll try to improve and write on a more regular basis.

"A Child's View from Gaza" continues to travel around the US and Canada. For those of you who are new to this space, after returning from Gaza in 2009 I organized an exhibit of children's drawings from Gaza.The project involved finding children's center in Gaza to participate. From all reports, the children were excited to have their drawings travel to the US. They worked hard and did a wonderful job.

Getting the drawings to the US involved a plan A, plan B , plan C, finally plan D worked and they were sent to my home in Pennsylvania. I was overwhelmed viewing them. The children in Gaza told their stories of Operation Cast Lead using crayons, markers, chalk and other materials.....the drawings are amazing!

The drawings were matted and ready for circulation. The first showing was in the fall of 2010 when the exhibit traveled to Vermont .Since then exhibits have gone from coast to coast in the US and Canada.Friday I shipped one to Albuquerque. New Mexico where it will be displayed through the month of September.

Please if you're interested in hosting A Child's View from Gaza, email me at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where have I been?

Begun July 2011
Where have I been? That's not such an easy question to answer. Since my last post I have been home... doing little to keep myself busy. Rarely is that a good mode for me. I can't seem to become interested in anything....not even the things I know interest me. I just don't engage. Sliding into a depression is never fun! For me depression is always hanging over my head like a black cloud.

I've just returned from a three week trip to "the heartland" Had it not been for the children's art exhibit, I would probably still be down. "A Child's View from Gaza" was scheduled to be exhibited at Grinnell College during the Friends Gathering. Once again I drove halfway across the country to talk about Gaza; this time to show the children's amazing drawings.

The exhibit didn't draw as much attention s I'd anticipated.the location could have been better. We were in a large hallway area in front of a very large room accommodating the "book-sale" A huge book sale with thousands of books. The people passing had their minds on books and couldn't be distracted.

However.... young couples, college students, teens and pre-teens were captivated by the drawings. They were given a history of the exhibit and a program providing background information and answers to many questions. Quakers are a bit subdued any way so

 Whose  soldiers. are they? I  replied they were Israeli soldiers. "Well, where's the other soldiers, you know who's fighting them?" I explained that Gaza has no army', navy, air force. "Well then, how can they win?" I told them I didn't know, that  the two sides were very unbalanced . Gaza militants did have rockets which they shot towards Israel but the rockets went up and came down...They guided themselves.

"Boy oh boy, this isn't fair. Why don't they just go somewhere else?" The boycott and siege were explained....very simply! When I told them Gaza's borders were closed. Gazans were basically locked in. Even their harbor was closed and Israeli ships were always on patrol. "Well, that's not fair! It must be against the law. It has to be!"

"How did you get to Gaza?" My journey into Gaza was shared. I said we were very lucky because some people never get in; as an example I used the doctors from Ireland who were never allowed in. "They won't even let doctors go to Gaza? This is really bad!"

We chatted a bit longer and one of the boys said, "How do they get away with this? Why doesn't someone help Gaza?"

We had spent maybe 10 or 15 minutes together. They asked all the right questions about things that are quite obvious: look at the drawings they tell volumes about life in Gaza under Israel's occupation. It those boys can "get it," why can't our leaders?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Obama needs to seriously and strongly challenge and bring a halt to Israel's hold over the US. Money and votes to our elected officials from AIPAC are Israel's weapons as they control the US support to the only democracy in the middle east. It's clear that Israel's benefits from US support much more that the US benefits from theirs.

US aid to Israel includes  over 3,2 billion dollars in military aid yearly ...that's right 3.2 billion That does not include additional aid, millions of dollars to assist Israel! One has to wonder why Israel receives aid when they are not a third world country? Where does this benefit our country? It doesn't seem to add up...even though numbers are involved.

"Stand by your friend" is the US motto where Israel is doesn't seem to matter what Israeli says or  does; they can count on the US support and protection. They can break the International Rules of Iaw during their Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The law says an occupying country may not populate the occupied territory by moving people into that land.

What does Israel do? They encourage this practice. They establish settlements through out the West Bank...approving the addition of more "illegal aliens" daily. What does President Obama say? "Stop building settlements" What does Israel do? They continue to build more settlements.....even announcing an expansion the day before Vice-president Biden is to arrive for a visit. Does that show respect for your best friend? How about for respect and appreciation for the country who gives you billions of dollars in aid? Isn't that just a tad defiant? Yet the US receives this type treatment consistently from Israel and does nothing publicly to show anger...let alone displeasure. This does nothing for the US image throughout the world. Other countries wonder about the US.

When are elected officials and their staff going to put the USA needs and interests before those of Israel.We Americans need a wake-up-call!

Who do I have a problem with? Israel and the Israeli government! It's one country's exploitation of another country.....Israel exploiting the USA! It's one country's blatant  discrimination, inhuman treatment and military actions against another country.... Israel's deplorable and evil treatment of Palestine and Palestinians.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pink Parasols ,Moving Over AIPAC

AIPAC is one of my least favorite groups in the whole world....ask me and I'll gladly give you at least 100 reasons they should be outlawed. I am justified in wanting to see them disappear....which will never happen. AIPAC stands for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee What does it do? Lobby our lawmakers on behalf of Israel. That's only the tip of the iceberg!! More about that later.

This week end in Washington there will be a new group in town MOA. It's no accident MOA will be there at the same time AIPAC is having their yearly conference. MOA stands for Move Over AIPAC. It's the brainchild of Code Pink and other sensible organizations.

Code Pink was created by women who think beyond the status quo and outside the box as they support causes they believe in...and they "act" in the most creative ways imaginable. Their "uniform" is pink...very hot pink. It includes, but is not limited to: pink dresses, skirts, blouses, shoes, hats, gloves, flowers, parasols....the parasols are my favorite. What a feminine group of women....all decked out in frilly pink.

I was introduced to Code Pink in Washington DC years sgo while participating in a march in opposition to the US invading Iraq. They certainly were noticeable....most people in the march were wearing rather ho-hum, drab, boring attire. Then along comes a group of women all decked out in hot pink....strong women wearing strong pink .....energetic and oh my gosh...they were having fun. Waving signs, chanting cool chants not the usual boring ones, doing little dance routines with their parasols waving in the air. They even unrolled a giant banner from windows in a large building.

Watch for Code Pink....they'll be in Washington this week end and should be on the national news. That is unless AIPAC pressures our free, un-biased news media to ignore thrm. (which they are very likely to do

Friday, May 13, 2011

Influencing the students; it was easy!

It was spring 1960, in Rock Hill South Carolina. I already knew spring wouldn't compare with spring in the Philadelphia....I was right. When I heard, "did yall see thad paink tree?" I just remained quiet with a smug look on my face.

During my time at Winthrop I came to the realization that Tennessee, where I lived until I was 14, was a border state...not a true southern state. Living in the deep south was a shocking experience. Dixie and the Confederate flags were an accepted part of everyday life....the flags were seen in dorm rooms, cars, public buildings and proudly waving over most occasions.....southerners singing Dixie with sounds of love and pride in their voices. It was now 1960 ..didn't they realize their side had lost?

The depth of opposition to integration was surprising to me....the fact that this opposition was so intertwined with hatred was a shock. It was an issue people fought against without any doubts in their conviction...jesus and the bible were on their could it be questioned? ...amazing! I was
certainly expecting a negative reaction to integration but not from  90% of the people I encountered.

Meanwhile, I was horribly bored! I could have studied but I don't think I thought of that as an option. Then I caught wind of, what I believe was called, the National Student Association.Winthrop was a member of the association but because the student association had endorsed a statement supporting integration they were withdrawing. In its place, they were joining a southern organization that "knew what the south stood for" I was disgusted and decided to see what I could do to stir things up in favor of the national organization.

Why do this? Boredom. For fun. A bit of  "the devil made me do it" What would be the reaction be? Could I start a ball rolling? What would the dynamics be? Was it possible to manipulate the facts? Could I be convincing enough to be listened to? Most importantly, would students believe what I wanted them to believe....and take action?

The more I thought about it the better it sounded.

The issues involved in withdrawing from the National Student Association
     Winthrop remaining in the national association..or joining the southern association. 
     The students who will be most effected by the decision were ignored...had no input in the situation and were not allowed to vote on the matter.
      The seniors were putting something over on us...power play...abusing their power...our rights were taken away

There would need to be a targeted audience, especially at first. The appeal would be made to underclassmen...freshmen, sophomores, maybe some juniors. No seniors.

Visiting in dorms was the route to take, starting with my own dorm. I was testing out the.. voice of reason and persuasion...sense, sensibility, no sense and nonsense. Seniors were to be avoided...the less they knew the better.

Why did the executive of seniors decide to give up and move to the southern association rather that stay and fight for what they believed in?

We found most people didn't even know about  "the problem....being deceived and excluded."  Which was in our favor, we could present things how ever we wanted to, with in a certain amount of reason.

Why were lower classmen excluded from the issue and not made aware of voting?   Was there deliberate exclusion?  Only seniors were involved, why?

Why were the seniors so involved and secretive? Weren't they exerting power about something that wouldn't effect them because they would have graduated?

We went on and on making up numerous reasons for lower classmen to be furious. Our petitions were filling up rapidly. There were four or five of us in the core group; we were amazed how simple it was to have people "join" our side, want to stay in the National Association and become convinced  the seniors had deliberately deceived them. It was the most fun I had during the nine months I was there.

It took the seniors about two days to realize something was happening; they tracked me down and were none too happy with the yankee troublemaker. Why in the world was I doing this? They couldn't understand.

They' become more their good names. A new vote was called for but not until the senior council had met with students in each dorm explaining why it was better to stay with southerners  and promote segregation, which they knew was the right way to believe. We lost, which I was certain we would; the vote was closer than expected.

Groups are much easier to influence than I'd thought.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

no whistling Dixie

Okay Susan, it's your decision, choose a college! Forgetting the fact that I lacked decision making skills....I'd never been allowed to make a major decision in my life, I did as I was told!

My choice, sight unseen:, Winthrop College in South Carolina; a Southern Women's College (which I'd been led to believe was the proper thing for me to do) It was exactly what I wanted, especially since Pennsylvania was far away. So, in August 1959 I left home; flying to Charlotte NC, traveling by bus to Rock Hill SC where I spent the next eight months, miserable but discovering much about myself, north/south, human nature and group process.

Choosing a college without visiting first is not too smart. Winthrop's campus was pretty, nice buildings and grounds which I quickly learned were divided into front campus and back campus. There were many rules, way too many draconian rules with ridiculous punishments attached to them.

Most of the girls at Winthrop went home on week ends leaving it quite empty except for a few of us damn Yankees. It was horrible! Even more boring than during the week. Receiving mail was about the only thing to look forward to. I mentioned front campus and back campus...well the post office, even though it was in the back, was considered "front campus" where the wearing of a dress or skirt was required No slacks no Bermuda shorts were permitted on front campus. (Jeans and shorts were never to be worn by Winthrop girls.) So, I had on Bermudas and wanted to check my mail box...not wanting to change, I put on my raincoat  covering my shorts.As I opened the raincoat slipped open exposing my forbidden clothing! I was caught by a professor and restricted.: be in dorm room at 7pm. not allowed freedom until 7am...should use of the toilet be needed permission from thea  hall monitor. that went on for a week. And I didn't even have any mail!

1959 brought sit-ins to the Carolinas and much of the South. Segregation brought cries of "Dixie for ever" and "Integration?  Never, Never, Never!!" Right off the bat I was treated with suspicion; no southern hospitality for me! That was such a shock....I was being called a Yankee when I thought I was a southerner. And I'd been contending with suspicious from Yankees for the past three years because I was a southerner.

My first real encounter with "Dixie" was in Charlotte, I'd gone there to see a doctor. The bus trip was long, I was tired and very hungry when we pulled into the terminal. I went directly to the luncheonette...they weren't "serving."... I went to Woolworth's; they weren't "serving". I was starving and getting angry, There was no food being served anywhere... because they didn't, wouldn't, refused to serve Blacks! How could all these restaurants and people be so stupid?  I was mad at the south for being bigoted. Their bigotry was directly affecting me. Why hadn't I realized this before?

Next I hopped on a bus headed for my doctors appointment...hopping was slow and careful because I had a brace on my back and neck. The braces were quite viable yet not one southern gentleman, young or old, offered me his seat. The bus was packed except for one seat near the back. I sat in the available aisle seat next to a thirty-something black woman. She immediately began to vacate her seat.I asked her not to move because of me, explained all was fine and if anyone stood it would be me. She gave me a weak the next stop she left the bus.  I was angry at the ignorant  "white folks" on the bus. I'd shown them! Years later I realized I'd put the woman and the other Blacks on the bus in a terrible position, even a dangerous one. She probably got off at the next bus stop because she was afraid. I hadn't considered the possible consequences of my actions.

My lack of belonging was quite apparent. The fact that I'd decided I didn't really want to belong was probably apparent as well. I struck out on my own, to hell with the southern belles. I don't remember the chain of events leading to it but I organized an afternoon pre-school group for retarded children. My sociology professor was involved in the process. She was aware I'd worked in a camp for special needs children, was bored, with way to much time on my hands and in need of doing something satisfying.

A church volunteered space for the program. Word spread and mothers began to inquire about the "special class". One of the mothers I met with was black. She hoped her son could join the group which I said he certainly could. I met with my Professor to finalize arrangements. She gave a big sigh upon learning one of the students was black. "I'm not so sure you can do that."  Well I was going to do that....if he couldn't be in the group, there would be no group. She listened as I said over and over again it was wrong to exclude blacks and I'd have no parts of it. She understood, even agreed with me...but....

But...the church might not let us use the room if there's a black child in the group. That certainly isn't very Christian. We went to see them, after lengthy discussion we came away with permission to use the room.
But...what will the other parents think, the white parents? There were no programs for pre-school special needs children...if they wanted their child in the group it was an integrated group, it was that simple.
But...what about the college? what would they think? what would they do? The group wasn't affiliated with the college in any way (we'd forget about the Sociology Professor) If I was threatened with retaliation....That would be a shame, I have so many contacts with the media in Philadelphia and I was certain they would want to "cover the story"

The group flourished, The Rock Hill newspaper ran a feature story  about the city's first pre school group for retarded children and the Yankee who started it. There was no mention of the class being integrated. Years later I realized that little group was probably the first integrated classroom in the city, if not South Carolina.

My experience with group dynamics will follow/