Saturday, June 5, 2010

At the Sound of the Beep

At the sound of the beep I will have been pain free for twenty four hours.

I'm sitting in my dorm room now, a girl sleeps on a bunk across from me while her boyfriend sits on his, directly across. He types away on his laptop, as I type away on mine. The Kooks sing about falling in love by the sea side, and I question the meaning of songs, something for the younger generation to be sure.

But then they can make the best recommendations as well. Dealership takes over with California, and it strikes me that before I know it August will be upon us, and I'll be back over on the west coast. Music will, in theory, be back in my life. The creation, the practicing, the writing – not just the listening to of canned prerecorded bliss.

Today started differently than others. Notably, I was not shivering as I stepped from beneath the covers. I was warm. The room was warm. The sun looked warm, and were we a few miles closer probably would have felt that way too. But the day was beautiful.

Never mind that the clouds were grey, and everything looked a wee bit upsetting. I was walking into the world without needing to pop a pill, or look at my drugs wondering. I could feel a dull beat in my side, but it was nothing more than an echo of once was. Still – I'd been fooled before, and knew that the drugs from last night (only one pill to get to sleep, rather than many) might be in the process of wearing off.

I made my way down to McDonald's to put some food in me, and connect to the internet. I don't really like to get political, but every now and then I care about things that straddle the lines of acceptable table talk and unacceptable. And what I was looking into today falls on that line. I'll try to make this brief.

A few days ago the Turks sent ships to Gaza, they were boarded by Israelis, and nine people were murdered. The IDF would probably use the term killed, but since I believe it was the founding people of Israel, in it's modern form – back in the forties - that decided that the term for civilians killed by soldiers was to be murdered I figure I'll keep that going here.

This was a terrible terrible thing to happen. Even if the people on board were terrorists, even if they did attack with knives first, to murder nine of them is a terrible terrible loss. And aside from the news agencies trying to report on it, the internet flew into flames. Some of the best parts of the CNN webpages were the comment sections. If you've never read these, you really should – or never should.

It quickly became a breading ground of pro-Israelis screaming, “I'm glad they were killed – all the ships should have been destroyed!” They weren't all that bad, some simply claimed that, “if a ship gets through it means Hamas has won!” The rational voices, as in most public forms, crying, “the loss of life on any side is a tragedy. And while Hamas may have control over Gaza, all sides should be thinking of the civilians.” This voice is quickly quashed by people screaming about how, “maybe Israel would care if they stopped firing rockets!” as if the babies being murdered were pushing in the launch codes themselves.

I quickly turned from the comments, and tried to read the posts from both the Isreal post, and the American and foreign press.

People have asked me why I don't go to Israel, and they talk about how beautiful it is. The answer to this question shouldn't be a hard one – it's the same reason I didn't go hang out in Dubai. Going to a country ruled by a crazed religious party terrifies me. Few things scare me more than religion ruling a country, and yes I recognize that America has strong ties with Christianity. And yes, America does worry me now and then. I've mentioned that more than a few times.

But the difference between America and Israel is this – you can speak out against the actions that America takes without people screaming at you that you're anti-Christian and that you hate God, and that you are pro-terrorist. It seems that when you speak out against the actions, especially these current ones, but there really have been so many to choose from over the years, it's not Israel's governing body that you're attacking. No it's the entire Jewish people, and culture – as if religion is in any way connected with citizenship. It's hard to voice an opinion when people are so quick to mention how back in the 1940s six million people were killed. (I guess I've switched terms again. This is more the word I'm in line with anyway.)

So what has happened today? Today the Irish ship, MV Rachel Corrie should [[BEEP!]] have entered into Gaza. Not having net access right now I'm not sure what has happened. But a number of terrible things could have gone wrong. I can only hope that at the worst they have been taken to a port in Israel where their humanitarian goods will be held for years without people who need them ever seeing them. But, as we saw a few days ago, sometimes things go wrong.

With a twitchy trigger finger the IDF could have destroyed the ship. With the eyes of the world on them now, though, I'm thinking they'd rethink that option.

But, my stance here is one that things need to change. The common cry from Israel itself is that no change is required, and that no other country gets treated this way. Every other country is allowed to treat it's territories how they see fit. Never mind that no country in our time as such auspicious origins as Israel, look past that and see that their leader's claim simply isn't true. I seem to recall a lot of protest about Taiwan, and Tibet. I seem to recall that that is ongoing.

In fact, there are a number of contested countries, and a number of governments that are being criticized for their actions. And you can be sure that in America murdered any aid workers that the whole world would come down on them hard. But, unlike Israel, they would probably bow to political pressure, and apologize rather than standing firm and cutting themselves off from an important ally. Sometimes taking the political route isn't a bad thing.

What bothers me is that no country aside from Ireland seems willing to make a move. The UN has made motions, but nothing has happened. Nothing will happen. America and Canada remain silent or seem to back Israel, urging the Irish ship to change course, or to bow down.

It's hard to imagine a country formed out of rebellion, bloodshed against external and internal enemies, would dare to tell another country that they should back down in their effort to take a stand. Especially when taking a stand is delivering construction materials, medical equipment, and toys to people who have been trapped, living in poverty, under a terrorist government for decades.

How millions can be raised for Haiti, and how actors can speak for the children there, while every top musician in North America is willing to get together and sing a song about how we need to bring peace to the world because of an earthquake, and then stand silent while this goes on is just beyond me.

It's as if a gag order has been slapped across the world. Do not criticize Israel. They're the one stable voice in the middle east. Really? They run over American relief workers (whom the Irish ship is named after) with Bulldozers. I remember the Chinese doing something like that, and being lambasted. In fact it's impossible to step foot in Tiananmen square an not think of that. Believe me, I was there. They answered a few rockets with hundreds. These were killing civilians. The Israel government claims that they need the terrorists to know they'll answer in force. That would be like decimating a village because the mayor killed one or two of your friends. In this decimation the mayor would be far away on vacation, as well.

Do not criticize Israel? Please. If any country was acting like this we would all rally against them in force. It seems to me that it was blockade runners, and first aid relief forces, and people willing to step up to the terrorizing actions of a seemingly crazed government that allowed for the creation of their country in the first place.

I'm not saying that I dislike the people of Israel. The few I've met, they seem like good people. Solid military training, not crazed, some play in great bands. Not the type I would picture murdering aid workers. I'm not saying I have a problem with Jewish people (I don't know where that idea would come from – but, you know – I did talk about Israel, and that seems to be enough some times). I'm just saying the actions of their government terrify me. And in recent hours have been most distressing.

That's it. I'll climb down off my soap box now. I am not in line with the terrorists. I certainly don't want them grabbing any more power, and I understand the awkward position that Israel is in. But if one of Canada's territories – say the Yukon – were taken over by terrorist forces, I'd like to think that we'd try and do more than put up a fence around them, and hope for the best. And when the world tried to bring them aid, I'd like to think we'd let that aid in. And if we didn't? Well then I'd have a problem with my own government as well. In the voice of Reverend Lovejoy's obnoxious wife, “won't somebody please think of the children?”

So that's what I did for a few hours. I read the news. And I read some comments. And the comments terrify me. But you get that everywhere. Someone posted on my video taken at the Oslo sculpture park that it wasn't beautiful art, it simply proved how perverted Norwegians were, and how all they want to do is slaughter marine life. It's the internet, and people aren't answerable for what they say. Looking for logic there is a fools errand, and like pulling slots – if you win once, you're only destined to keep at it, until you've fallen further behind once more.

I made my way to the library after that point, and spent some time reading children's comics about Anne Frank (very informative actually, although since it was written for kids, it had a terrified Anne saying things like, “ice cream is delicious.”) I also read the story of Shackleton's antarctic expedition where his crew was trapped in ice. It too, being for children, had them saying things like, “we are better now that you have returned! Our pain is forgotten!” This is after months on no food, killing and eating their dogs, and watching their fellow sailors suffer terribly. But, you know, what can you do? I also read the history of Wolverine.

When I made my way back to the hostel I grabbed a large pizza from Hell's and then booked myself on a day trip for tomorrow.

In the TV room I watched The Hurricane (who knew he lived in Toronto? - seeing the CN Tower did make me a wee bit sad to be away) and then Avatar. It was the first time I was able to read the Na'vi speak. And to be honest – it was better when I just had to guess at what they were saying. The translations? A little silly.

This makes the fourth time I've seen it on my travels.

Alright then – time to sleep. Big day ahead. twenty four hours, and twenty two minutes without pain. By the time I wake up I'll be a full day drug free too. And that will be wonderful. I felt the haze lift today, and no longer were all my thoughts and actions clouded. I quite hope I don't need to take the painkillers (which, apparently should not affect people like that) again.

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