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     Volume 8 Issue 71 | May 29, 2009 |

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Writing the Wrong

Obama has emphasised on a two-state solution.

And Here We Go

Sharbari Ahmed

Just an update, as some have expressed interest in the state of my project: I have finished shooting and started editing, another emotional process, where you see everything wrong with what you have done and are suddenly afraid that now everyone will know you are a charlatan. And then you take a step back, look at the forest and not just focus on the gnarled trunks of the trees and breathe a huge sigh of relief and go back to your previous state. My previous state was: I don't know if what I have done is intrinsically good, whatever good means, but I know that it was a wonderful experience and that everyone else executed their jobs perfectly. It has cemented my confidence in the potential of this country and the next generation's contributions will be instrumental in the realisation of this potential. Especially in the arts. A friend and I are already working on how to facilitate young filmmakers and give them access to resources they would never have. But I digress. I have been so overwrought I have not been paying attention to what is happening in the world. But, I am back and I have to say: here we go again! Sigh.

I am preparing to return to the US in a little over two weeks and trying to figure out what is awaiting me there (a futile endeavour the Dalai Lama would tell you as all we have is “now”, and even the reality of that is questionable). My friends have told me the country is in a cautiously happy state being that the Dickensian winter is over and the air is warm, but of course the recession is hurting many.

Obama's leadership abilities are on full display and, thus far, most feel he is doing a decent job given the circumstances. There are numerous issues that seem insurmountable for the White House but one has always struck me as utterly impossible to tackle in any way that will lead to positive results. I am sure Dr. King would disagree with me, but I fear that changing American sentiment (the only way to perhaps lessen AIPAC's chokehold on Congress) towards Israeli policy is not going to happen in my lifetime.

The love affair between Israel and the White House might have hit a bump in the road

Information is power and in the hands of a malignant person or persons, with an agenda, it can be manipulated and used against you in the most insidious way. Those given the power of spin look like innocence and goodwill incarnate--even saintly--and the actual innocents (less adroit at inveigling) are cast as the villains. The Likud Party and its lobby have elevated this ability to manipulate information into an art form.

So, this takes me to one Bebe Netanyahu (as he is affectionately known by his admirers.) who visited the White House the other day and a foiled bomb plot that occurred, conveniently, mere days after the said visit.

You see, the visit perhaps did not go as cosily as Bebe might have liked. Unlike the past eight years, he was not greeted with the pomp and circumstance befitting war heroes or the Messiah. In fact, it was a sombre (ish) meeting with President Obama, who urged Israel to open its borders, stop the expansion of settlements on the West Bank and emphasized the need for a two state solution. On May 25, Netanyahu stated that expansion should continue, further indicating that the love affair between Israel and the White House might have hit a bump in the road (the map to peace notwithstanding).

Make no mistake, the Israeli right wing which now includes Joseph Lieberman-- has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state to exist. Their agenda is and most likely always will be a genocidal one. But this is the first time they may not have a willing, blind deaf-mute partner in crime. It appears that the concept of Carte Blanche where Israel is concerned might be eluding the President of the United States.

And then a few days after the visit, a random Haitian fellow and three cohorts decide to bomb a synagogue in, you guessed it, 9/11 ville, New York City and then follow it up with downing a few military planes! They are all black and consider themselves Muslim, whatever that means. Of course I know a few people who consider themselves Muslim as well and yet seem to lack that most basic of Islamic principles: compassion. Forgive me: do I sound like those crabby cynics I so disparaged in the past? Well…

These men were caught, of course. They are not affiliated with any foreign organisation with an appropriately guttural and fearsome Arabic name. I started laughing (thank God no one was actually hurt, but why would they be, considering this whole thing was FAKE or at least smacks of a totally hare brained scheme concocted in a drunken stupor in someone's moist basement?) at the fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here we go again, I thought. I was not as interested in footage of these made-up Muslim men being led away in handcuffs as I was in the reactions of New Yorkers to the news. Because, after all, that is why this elaborate pantomime was staged in the first placeto keep American sentiment solidly unwavering and to undermine our President's courageous position. Obama should do more where Israel is concerned, especially in relation to the genocide in Gaza last February, but I think this is a start. It is a behemoth of a problem…obviously. An aside: a friend pointed out that I have a tendency to state the obvious, like I once said to him, in a rather revelatory way, “you know, heroine is very addictive.” He did not seem surprised by the news.

In general, I have to say, most New Yorkers seemed less shaken up than I have seen in the past but it was hard to gauge. The point is: the players may have changed but the game remains the same, especially with Dick Cheney huffing and puffing resentfully for a GOP comeback. All stops will be pulled out to ensure that the scourge of liberalism is routed once and for all from the hallowed halls of the White House. The only way the game can change where Palestine and Israel are concerned is if the American people decide to come into play in a fair and rational way and admit that Israel is not just a victim and Palestinians are not merely evil aggressors, that--to use a Bengali expression, you cannot clap with one hand and that it is impossible (no matter how hard you try to justify it) to tango alone.

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