"He's a disaster...everywhere he goes he causes disaster..."--Brazilian protestor
Can there now be any question about the hatred this man has spawned, all around the world? Can Congress continue to treat him as if he actually has a scintilla of leadership in him? The people of South America, it is clear, are not fooled. Nor should we be any longer.
But I'd like to close out the week with a few thoughts on the Mideast, in the context of our look at Jimmy Carter's book. Like Carter, we have had plenty of criticism of Israel in this space, yet it cannot be denied that Israel is a democracy. In fact, their democracy may be more vibrant than ours has been these past few years. In his book, Carter talks about the loud and raucous debates that commonly broke out in the Israeli parliament, and the pleasure that even Begin took in these demonstrations.
Their press can be a real pain in the ass to the powerful, too. That, after all, is what a free press is all about. Today, one of their newspapers reported that Olmert had planned the invasion of Lebanon months before there was any attack made on his soldiers; so that it is now clear that the Israeli government did not respond to a provocation, but simply consummated a plan that had been on the drawing board for a long time (does this sound familiar, America?).
So today, I feel more united with the Israeli people than I ever have. Yesterday, I mentioned that the people are not represented by thugs like Olmert and his ilk. The BBC report mentions another Israeli news source, which did an opinion poll on Olmert. This survey found that 2% of respondents said they trusted the PM. Two per cent! Shit, that makes Bush seem like Barack Obama by comparison!
This is the wisdom of the people; the same grassroots insight that we are seeing evidenced in South America and even here. Next weekend, we will mark the 4th anniversary of the Iraq War, and organizations like UFPJ are gearing up for nationwide protests and events that will reveal once again the depth and breadth of public discontent with this tyrannical regime in Washington.
I truly hope it's as non-violent as it is enormous in its scope and expression. I've been roughed up by cops in my younger days, and I can tell you that it's a lousy, dehumanizing experience. Oh, and it hurts, too. But more to the point, it detracts from the message of public protest and civil disobedience, which is to assert the people's will for peace and true democracy on the smug power of corporate government.
According to most polls, nearly three-quarters of Americans are now either partially or totally disgusted with the Bush tyranny. In Israel, well above 90% have had enough of the murder and slavery practiced by the Olmert regime. In his book, Jimmy Carter describes clearly much of what has so enraged the Israeli people against their government:
In addition to cutting off about 200,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem from their relatives, property, schools, and businesses, the wall is designed to complete the enclosure of a severely truncated Palestine, a small portion of its original size, compartmentalized, divided into cantons, occupied by Israeli security forces, and isolated from the outside world. In addition, a network of exclusive highways is being built across even these fragments of the West Bank to connect the new Greater Israel in the west with the occupied Jordan River valley in the east, where 7,000 Jews are living in twenty-one heavily protected settlements among about 50,000 Palestinians who are still permitted to stay there. The area along the Jordan River, which is now planned as the eastern leg of the encirclement of the Palestinians, is one of Palestine's most lucrative and productive agricultural regions. Most of its inhabitants were forcibly evicted in 1967, and the Israelis have not allowed these original families to return.
The people know that their security is not furthered by tyrants; it is only endangered the more a tin pot corporate junta like the Halliburton presidency or the apartheid paranoia of the Olmert regime is allowed free reign.
Joseph Wilson spoke for many of us in his interview with Keith Olbermann in the wake of the Libby verdict, when he mentioned the "abuse of the public trust" that is the common element to all these depredations by corporate, fundamentalist governments against humanity and justice. This week--in South America, in Israel, and here in America--the public is raising its voice and demanding an end to that abuse of its trust, and a calling to account of all those who, for the sake of power and profit, betray the responsibility that comes with public service.