Wednesday, November 18, 2009


[The island of Diego Garcia. A pleasant and beautiful place that experiences perfect climate. The islanders who have been there for 3 to 4 generations were exiled to Mauritius to make room for an American military base in the Indian Ocean. Photo taken by J. David Rogers. Website for his military service here.]

WWYD? A question that I love posing to myself when I am deep in thought about how messed up the world is.

My dear comrade, Jameson, has given me a book to read called Freedom Next Time. So far, it's a powerful expose of 5 different countries (not necessarily states) that the author, John Pilger, has researched for the past 50 years. Diego Garcia, Palestine, India, South Africa, Afghanistan. All located in different geographical locations. All experiencing a similar battle for freedom from neo-colonial powers.

I have rested on Chapter 2, The Last Taboo, because of the graphic nature of the content. Innocent Israeli civilians killed by suicide bombers. One young Israeli girl who studied hard to become a doctor went to the mall after school. She never went home. Young Palestinian boys of 10, 11, 12 years of age becoming suicide bombers because they watched as their fathers were shot whilst trying to take their grandmothers to the hospital. They feel helpless, hopeless. Die today, freedom tomorrow. Maybe.

That's not my overall point. I don't know who is right or wrong. I don't even think that terminology can exist in this man-made tragedy. Throughout the horrific stories, I tried to remain objective, rational and logical. No, no. Don't use violence to retaliate. Educate the masses. On the other shoulder: kill that asshole soldier! I was conflicted. I'm not even from a war-torn country.

On my book-breather, feeling utterly helpless and tears welling in my eyes, I got into a good discussion with my comrades Jameson and Maggy. Borders, protection, sovereignty. What do all these terms mean and how would you defend them? As a Canadian, who identifies with complacency, it's easy for me to say "educate people" or "fight with pens, not with swords". Most Palestinians in the Occupied Territories don't even have running water. They are just trying to survive. So, how would you protect youself and your family? What Would You Do?

As my comrades pointed out, it's easy to say "be calm". They posed the question: If someone came into our apartment right now, grabbed Maggy and stabbed Jameson, and there was a gun sitting on the counter, what would you do? My automatic response: shoot the bastards.

It's so primal, but in a situation of threat, sometimes someone has to listen to his/her instincts. The only problem is, the family on the other side of things is listening to its instincts too. And so the pendulum swings.

So, how does it stop? Not an easy question.

The hardest question yet: What would you do? Hypothetically?

(You don't have to really answer, it's just something to think about. Hypothetically. Because that's all we have. Unless you are being raided right now. Knock on wood that you aren't.)

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