Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bad Stuff Continues to Go on in the World

Ah, dear readers, what's there to say about the world?
Here is a cartoon about imperialism that my pen-pal sent me.
When I got home today I had new issues of the New Yorker and The London Review of Books on my doorstep and a copy of Jean H. Baker's Votes for Women: The Story of Suffrage Revisited had just arrived. I am excited for new periodicals, as I had actually gotten so caught up in my subway reading recently that I started polishing off three year old copies of the NY Review of Books on the train this week. There were some pretty fascinating things in there, including an essay written about whether the Israelis were really going to erect that apartheid wall that would so expand Israel's land at the expense of the Palestinians. Sadly, the author was correct.
I've been thinking about Israel recently because the particular piece of the past I'm teaching right now so evokes it. The week's highlight for me was a stimulating conversation with two groups of students on the question of "what do we do with the terrible, shameful events of history?" spurred by the playing of Sarah Vowell's excellent radio documentary of "Trail of Tears."
I was thinking today that the ongoing disaster in Israel/Palestine is exactly what we all deplore and shake our heads over in American history: the story of removal, murder, displacement, arbitrary exercise of power. And yet, we are not all up in arms, and following in Rachel Corrie's footsteps as if we held the lessons of history close enough to see the significance of current events. I know I am not up in arms enough. Every time I think about it, I want terribly to do something...but I don't want to terribly enough apparently. There are enough ongoing crises and disasters that we should all be up in arms all day long, and most of these disasters are much worse than the Pope being a Nazi ass and Tom DeLay being a criminal, though of course those things are bad. I mean global warming and constant war, bad stuff.

No comments: