Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Thursday, July 21, 2016

These Days

I don’t blog much because I am too busy reading, writing for hire, and generally just trying to live my life.  I never realize until I starting going to synagogue and actually attempting to live a Jewish life, just how much time it actually takes to live Jewishly. Even the simplest of tasks, like washing the dishes, become a herculean time eater.

I have literally hundreds of unfinished blog pieces, but time, ah there is the rub. And just where is my time best spent? Often, finishing those pieces is just too far, as in way, way, down the list of things I need to finish.

One of the reasons blogging lost part of its appeal was that I started to repeat myself. Saying the same thing over and over again is not compelling or particularly appealing to me.  So I am going to make some changes.  Instead of opining on whatever, I thought I would share what I am reading, whether it is a book or an article.

So what am I reading? Lonely Ideas by Loren Graham which asks the compelling question; Can Russia Compete? I am half-way through the book and am utterly fascinated by history of Russian innovation in science and technology while utterly failing to translate and apply that knowledge to improving ordinary life.  

I just finished Sebastian Junger’s ‘Tribe’. It’s a quick 2 hour read, tops.  Junger’s style is what makes it so easy to read.  I have a lot of thoughts about it but those thoughts are just churning around in my mind.  I do wish he had fleshed it out more and taken a tad more of a scholarly approach to it.

I just had a 54th birthday, and whether I have another 10, 20, 30 years of life left to live, I remain in the last third of my life. How I live the last third of life is one of the questions I grapple with. Tribe raises this same issue in the context of American soldiers returning home from war but offers few solutions and a stern warning that we need to figure this out - and soon.

Though, I have learned some interesting little tidbits. Bless, my ‘white privilege’, I never realized ‘going native’ was an actual issue in colonial America, much like the drug use and trade is today. This goes a long way in explaining the need to destroy, contain, and isolate Aboriginal life in North America.

Then there is Sapiens; A Brief History of Humankind  by Yuval Noah Harari. My Israeli friends have been raving about this man’s book and lectures for the last three years or so. Sapiens came out last year in English and was relatively successful, for a history book. I literally just started.

I have a biography on Rabbi Kook that I am half-way through which is curiously unsatisfying, and Caroline Glick’s The Israel Solution which is on my shelf just begging to be read.

Friday, July 8, 2016

in the details...

I am pretty much in agreement with this War on the Rocks argument for “Recognizing that Israel is Not an Occupying Power in Gaza is Good for Everyone.” And I do recommend the article….But, I have to quibble about a detail from the get go – only because I see this particular so-called historical fact used over and over. The Israeli- Palestinian conflict is long and complex, but we need to keep our eyes on the details or risk getting lost in subterfuge.

 Six years after Israel and Turkey had a severe falling out following the Gaza flotilla raid, the two countries have finally reconciled. The deal will allow Israel to maintain its blockade, which Israel established after its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

 The sentence implies that Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip and then imposed a naval blockade on the strip. This is simply not the case.  It is true, during the August 2005 disengagement operation, a brief naval blockade was imposed to prevent attacks from sea occurring during the disengagement, but it was not maintained after the disengagement was complete.

The actual navy blockade commenced after Corporal Galid Shalit was kidnapped from Israel and taken hostage into the Gaza Strip by the PRC (Public Resistance Committees – and ad hoc organization made up from members from local militant groups – Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad). 

 The Navy ordered a shutdown on Gaza for Tuesday night, and has increased patrols of navy ships along the Gaza coast. Palestinian fast boats have been banned, and only small fishing boats with limited speed are allowed on the sea.  

The Navy is preparing for the possibility of an attempt to smuggle the kidnapped soldier out of Gaza via the sea, and instructions have been sent to ship commanders.  The naval closure is similar to that carried out by the Navy during the disengagement plan, when the IDF worked to prevent terror attacks from the ocean.
 All of which means, I have probably been blogging far too long.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bullied Pride

What Wente said.  But I would add one more thing. 

No member of the Black community was denied a drink at the water fountain, refused aid or community based solely on their race or colour at 519 Church Street.

Meanwhile, it’s 2016 and Homophobia is still rampant, and often violently expressed within the Black Community.  

The self-appointed activists of the Black Lives Matter Toronto movement need to take the mote out of their own community eye before they attempt to extort and shake down the Pride community for their racial shortcomings.