Howard Zinn was interviewed during his visit in Greece (as posted by Nicholas Stylopoulos). He spoke about having voted for Obama. The disappointment, because he started with what his predecessor was doing: killing suspects and innocents - no change at all. Willingly to believe he's a good guy, surrounded by bad people. Obama having no spine to follow his prime instincts.
I'm not sure which idea is more frightening: a president not keeping promises or a president not having spine! It makes me thinking of George Carlin commenting the American Dream: ... and they call it a dream because you have to be asleep to believe it ...
It was one of my Athenian experiences. I wasn't there. Blogs and articles drew my attention to Athens. Still, it touched me!
It was the blog of Kostas Beveratos that cited Howard Zinn People use violence when they are too lazy to organize which Brian Small thought beautiful. I questioned the value of that statement. Kostas, commenting on my question, wrote I fear saviors equally to how I fear oppressors. But since many people know how to deal with oppressors but none with saviors, I fear of the saviors more.
Perhaps inspired by his Athens experiences.
Not exactly an answer to my question, but I love it. I could have said that. Actually, I say things like that always, and I keep it saying, now and then changing the words. My favorite of putting it nowadays is Those who bring us good tidings leave us with shit.
Kostas Beveratos wrote also Any act of violence is an act that practices authority. That's beyond ideology. It's an axiom. Is it his? Or one of the Zmag guys. Howard Zinn?
My question is: Why?
Why is an act of violence practicing authority, and why is writing a good article in Zmag, or delivering a good speech in Athens not such an act. Because violence is not involved? That doesn't seem a criterion to me.
And who says so? Is saying that, defining violence beyond ideology, as an axiom - isn't that practicing authority too?
Well, I can only speak for myself. I know exactly why I am against violence. Because I don't like it. And because I think it doesn't resolve problems. But my point of view is very comfortable. My pacifism is very sophisticated.
I am not living in Gaza where the IDF has assumed responsibility to keep law and order. I am not living in Iraq where the US army has assumed responsibility to make daily life a lot easier and enjoying life an all-day experience!
So we have Abdallah al-Ajmi. Prisoner of Guantánamo. After 4 years of brutal interrogation - not TORTURE, for heaven's sake, please, enhanced interrogation techniques - they said to themselves: an innocent boy, of no use. And let him go. He found his way to Iraq, and drove a truck, loaded with explosives, into an Iraqi military compound. He killed 13 soldiers ... and himself.
Now, was that an act of practicing authority? Was it desperation?
Who of us is to judge that man? I wouldn't dare.
I prefer the dry comment of Noam Chomsky: All much as a reasonable person would expect.
Howard Zinn is a bringer of good tidings. About seeing a world with chalk lines dividing us and we, little by little crossing these lines, rubbing them off (according to Brian Small). He can tell a good story. I saw his talk on The Three Holy Wars at the anniversary of Progressive Magazine. An enchanting way of speaking. Jesus could do that. He brought us good tidings too. And Mohammed. Well, Jesus is perhaps the best example to learn that it can take a long time before dreams come true! It was my brother in law who learnt me, when I was still very young: that's all fine with Jesus, and we can wait for another two thousand years, but I'm living now. So I want the blessings now! And when Justice will be delivered when I am dead, well, that's a bit to late, isn't it?
Now, let's forget Abdallah al-Ajmi. He is dead. But what are we going to suggest to a Palestinian boy, who has some severe casualties around him, family of course, after the IDF have established again law and order.
To wait some time? Another 60 years? Perhaps 1300 years? Perhaps another 2000 years?
That we know some good guy in America who is telling good stories to a lot of other Americans, who still believe in arms, who still produce arms ... but one day, believe it or not, one day ... WE SHALL OVERCOME.
That we have a nice president whose prime instincts are to change the world, but doesn't know where to start, reason why he doesn't start at all.
And speaking about rubbing and crossing chalk lines, know what happened at Harvard? A student organization of Harvard Law School, Justice for Palestine, has invited Finkelstein to discuss his Beyond Chutzpah. I think you could call that rubbing a chalk line, more so because they invited also Dershowitz.
Almost predictable, the Harvard Law Record, the independent(!) newspaper of Harvard Law School asked in the headline of an editorial Justice for Palestine or Jew-baiting? and opened with urging JFP to reconsider the invitation for Finkelstein!
Howard Zinn wrote also an article (as part of a book) on Sacco and Vanzetti. I marked it as a favorite.
There are Palestinians in America too. And again there's a Sacco and a Vanzetti. Their names are Shukri abu-Baker and Ghassan Elashi. Both sentenced to 65 years. Three others have had sentences between 15 and 20 years. But you could say that Shukri and Ghassan have got a death sentence.
Howard Zinn writes There must be good reason why a case 50-years-old, now over 75-years-old, arouses such emotion.I have not seen much emotion in the case of those two fundraisers of The Holy Land Foundation.
I wonder if Howard Zinn, with his authority, could do Shukri and Gassan a favor. Is it possible, Howard Zinn, not to wait for 50 years, and certainly not to wait for 65 years, but to write an article now, on this particular case - in order to arouse emotion, to arouse anger, as an act of practicing precisely that much of authority that some guy in Washington knows: we cannot enjail these people.
Giving that guy a starting point for real change!
And drawing a line that no one will cross, that never will be rubbed off.