Saturday, August 05, 2006

Smart Ass/Spectator and the heat

I am such a smart ass.

An old teacher came into the Royale. She taught me in sixth grade. I have had several teachers from grade school and high school come in. It has always been good to see Ms. Olendorf, Mrs. Zoellner and Doc Mueller.

My sixth grade teacher who came in taught social studies. I liked that class.

I remember reading in class about post WWII through modern day Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Egypt. The book described relations of Israel and these countries over the years as "quarrels". I knew this wasn't right and ask my this teacher if "quarrels meant shooting people with a gun."


I have been watching/reading/listening to this part of WW III in Lebanon and Israel as a spectator. That is a gruesome way of thinking of it, but that is the way it feels from where I sit.

I read a couple weeks ago when this first started to begin the Israeli army had been calling people in their homes in southern Lebanon with a pre-recorded message to evacuate their houses because they were inside the fire zone and homes were to be bombed from house to house. The army also dropped leaflets on towns warning them that driving trucks would be considered bombing targets. You can see the Flickr of the results of this here. This Flickr is amazing.

I heard on the radio earlier today, that an Israeli family was killed. They had been watching a horror movie on their VCR. They shut their metal shutters as directed by the government, but they ignored the warning that they should stay in their structurally reinforced safe room. They were killed by a rocket fired by Hizbullah.

Unreal lives in these enviornments.

So I watch the Fox News. CNN is okay, MSNBC is a little better, but for the punch, glitz, blood and guts it is Fox News. I usually just grab the simple news reports, but I occasionally watch parts of the "pundit" shows. It is unreal at just how much they support Israel in this war. Unreal.

Hey, it still kind of hot outside. Not quite as hot as it was the other day, but it is still humid. I think I am going to turn off the AC.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't FOX support Israel. We all should. I'm no hawk, but If we had a terrorist army such as Hez. on our border, like in say Mexico, sending in suicide bombers instead of landscapers, we would be in there faster than you can say Kosher Deli. All these people want to do is live in a barren, rocky scrap of land nobody wanted, without having to worry if that guy who just got on the bus is going to blow up. And to be a little selfish I'm glad the Israelis are taking care it, I beats having our guys die for that miserable scrap of land.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Check out even more from this scrap of land here. Kevin Site's Hot Zone has been a great resource.

I don't think Anonymous is a good student in history. Lebanon is a rich country and hardly a miserable little scrap. Lebanon is a lush, democratic, economically forward and culturally forward country with a lot of negative outside pressures and interests from Israel, Syria, Palestine and Iran. These interests hold back the country. I could take that arguement for a miserable scrap for Gaza perhaps, but not Lebanon.

That Mexico reference is more weird than misinformed. We are a very different country than Israel when it comes to working with people of different faiths and backgrounds thank goodness. We have a secular government that takes pride in very different people of different faiths, cultures, language and beliefs working together not only peacefully but to our economic and cultural advantage for Americans. The rest of the world could learn something from our country.

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"World War III" "Fox News" - Watch out Steven, the republicans will brain wash you. You are playing with fire.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm talking about Israel being the scrap of land. And I'm pretty sure lebanon's forests are about gone. And I'm pretty sure my knowledge of history is on par with yours. You just reguritate whatever you see on the news or from the paper. You are cocktail party smart.
And as far as our good old country being tolerant, you Steve more than anyone should know that is hardly true. Go to your beloved Memphis and see how tolerant they are about say Jews or Homosexuals.I'm not talking about the juke joints you go to or the barber shop. Hang out with the white guys at the sherifs office. How tolerant of a country are we when up until about 40 years ago blacks couldn't drink from the same fountains as you white folk. We are not a good example of tolerance. I just think you root for the Palestinians because the are the little guy. You didn't appreciate the reference to our border with Mexico, how about Cuba. You saw how fired up we got when the Reds started up there.
The country was a mess. People were building bomb shelters and buying gas masks. This threat was over in a month or two. Israel has to deal with it every day. They have to strike first or they will be wiped of the map. They are backed into a corner.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Playing with fire. I have always loved fireworks.

Fox News is like a candy that is really bad for you. But it can taste so good. Bang pow explosion.

I used to always read the editorials from William Safire, William Buckley and such. I was really rather young then. I don't as much anymore. The ability to listen/watch Fareed Zakaria or David Brooks is easier and more accessible.

I am curious if there is anyone who reads this who knew me in high school. That would be funny.

On a side note to my passionate anonymous fan- w/o doing research, Lebanon is considered sort of the California of the mid-east. Fairly developed and diverse. The attractive land of the region. Israel is fairly developed, although the diversity is a point of contention to be sure under the rule of this religious state. Neither is a scrap like Gaza or Afghanistan. They are fairly developed countries.

I guess I may be regurgitating the news, but that is really the only way to discuss it. I am not directly involved in the conflict. It is not that complex. I link to pictures. I link to articles. While the situation might be complex, the information is straightforward. The kind of writing I do here on these subjects are pretty much the kind of conversations we would have in history class. And by that logic that is all regurgitation of old news.

Our country is not as tolerant or accepting as it can be, but again, it is far ahead of many European countries, Asian countries etc. Look at their refugee policies. Look at their immigration policies. Talk to them about what they think of the Bosnians and how they allowed them to live inside their borders when they were refugees. While the Jim Crowe laws ruled the land over a generation ago, the south has made huge, huge huge gains since then. It is common knowledge that most of the south has made more progress in race relations than the north has in that same period of time. We have so much further to go (a lot further), but in relativity, we can easily recognize that we have moved a great deal forward and we are better off than places like Japan(in terms of women and minorites), France(in terms of immigrants) etc in many ways of tolerance. Besides, those white guys at the Sheriff's office will be dead soon. That is one of the advantages here. You can track the changing of attitudes as generations pass. Time will heal by the cruel culling of the old mentality. As long as we don't devolve into a war.

I have hardly taken a position of pulling for the Palestinians, but they are not exactly the little guy considering the numbers. I do know that peace is possible, the kind of peace that does not require people to live in safe rooms with metal shutters. The kind of peace that does not require cyclical wars. The mid-east has had long stretches of peace when Jews and Christians and Muslims had lived together in general peace without stripping each other of human rights and regular violent behavior.

Unfortunately every time one of these wars breaks out it pushes back the possibility of a sustainable long term peace for another fifteen years. It is a little more complex than self defense. Long term peace is supposed to be the goal, like in WWII, not a constant state of war. Nowadays it looks like a sustained state of war is acceptable by many around the world. Are we going toward a safer place? Are we headed toward peace?

I do like that term cocktail party smart. I think I will use that. All I do is read the papers, watch the Sunday morning shows, the nightly news, some online pubs and read some journals. I also talk to people from these other places who live here, whether it is Lebanon or Belfast. I don't think that this makes me smart, but I would say it makes me better informed than if I did not do this.

What other levels of smart are there? Book smart. Um. Counting smart. Smart ass. Cocktail party smart. Funny.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what realtor is telling you that Lebanon is the Cali of the Mid-East. All I have to say is do they have a Gap? Or a Starbucks. Only then will I admit that it is a up and coming country.

Also Isreal is a scrap of arid land. The Jewish people make it what it is. Not the topography.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

I heard the "California" reference from families I knew when I was a kid. There are a lot of Lebanese in this town. The families would talk all the time about Lebanon. I also talk to guys from Saint Raymond's too. And some friends who have visited. And from articles I have read over the years.

So maybe I have it wrong. Here is the wikipedia reference:
Until the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war, Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, was noted for its wide boulevards, French-style architecture, and modernity, and was called "the Paris of the Middle East". Lebanon as a whole was known as the Switzerland of the Middle East (Swisra Ash Shark), enjoying a similar conflict-free status as Costa Rica in Central America and (until recently) Uruguay in South America.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know what else was a nice town? And I don't need Wick....East St. Louis. So was kabul, bagdad, and machu pichu

4:17 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

I can't help myself.

I guess it is up and coming. If Starbucks is your barometer of Cali comparisons, then I guess Lebanon fits into your neatly filled category. I personally don't think a Starbucks means anything other than it is a coffee shop. I mean Cali by diversity, vibrancy, beauty, destination point.

Cocktail party smart ass. I will take that title too.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you got me...I love that Lebanese vibrancy sprinkled with a little shrapnel and C4 no foam please.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Little green footballs? You have to be kidding me. That site is giving real conservatives a bad name. Please keep using sites like that as a reference tool. It is becoming a comedic situation.

This exchange is making me look much smarter than I really am.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Keep the peace

aka "the Mean Kramer"

4:11 AM  
Blogger Nuance said...

We all root for peace. At least, I hope we all do.

My only (minor) bone of contention with your mis charcheterizion of Israel as a homogenous religious state. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most Israelis are secular.

Over a million Israeli citizens are Muslim and/or Arabs (don't forget about the Arab Christians)

And there is a dizzying array of diversity within the Jewish population. From Russian to German to Moroccan to Ethiopian. Ever shade under the sun. Countless languages. Visit sometime and you may understand that Israel is as complex as Lebanon, if not more.

Give Israel a little more credit than that. Besides, if Beirut is the Paris of the Middle East, than Tel Aviv is its New York.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

I would agree that Tel Aviv is the New York.

Israel is a diverse place- which I did state, but did not elaborate. But the government of Israel is based in religion. There is a Jewish star on the flag, and citizenship is rooted in Judaism. Yes, the majority of the citizens are secular, but they are also Jewish in a state that is Jewish. It is a democracy too, which is a good thing. A very good thing. It is not repressive on its citizens like Saudi Arabia- a strict religious state, but there is that other thing- that whole Palestinian thing which is very large serious situation.

It sort of reminds me why the Vatican was relegated to just a few acres of turf after ruling Italy and influencing Europe so heavily through economics and religion. Italy is no longer a religious based state. It is in a much better position now.

It is all so sad. There is a peaceful solution. I feel sorry for the people getting bombed every day. Collateral damage. So unnecessary. So sad. We can celebrate and defend religion without getting caught up in wars and violence. It is done in many other places all over the world. We have to.

I really want to visit the area. I want to see for myself. I want to understand it better. You wanna go Ran?

4:08 PM  
Blogger Nuance said...

Actually, I'm planning a trip for either September or October (right before or right after high-holidays). You're welcome to come. I haven't been back to Israel in two years and I miss it.

London and Jerusalem are on the itinerary. I have family in both places to crash with. I'm sure you'd get a kick from my grandfather, on old army and security guy.

I can give you a tour of Jerusalem and show all the best places to get street food. There's a hummus joint in Haifa that is quite possibly the best in the world. Smooth, rich with a touch paprika -- make me hungry just thinking about it.

5:22 PM  

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