Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Smith: A Bowl of Cucumbers and a Pot of Beans

Published on Wednesday, August 9, 2006
A Bowl of Cucumbers and a Pot of Beans
by Debi Smith

Maybe it was just midnight mind talking. You know, that tendency to get all worried, scared, panicky, stressed about things in the middle of the dark and silent night that wouldn't ordinarily bother you in the light of day? Or at least not as much.

I woke -- around 1:30 -- got up for a glass of water, went back to bed and was unable to get back to sleep for more than an hour. Laid there worrying, of all things, about my writing/blogging. Even considered getting up and deleting all my blogs.


Several reasons.

Maybe I should be more private. More "off the grid." Less involved with "the vast machine."

Maybe my friends will think I'm strange if they read what I write.

Maybe I suck at writing.

Maybe my opinion is irrelevant.

Maybe it's a waste of my time.

Maybe there are better/more helpful things I could be doing.

Maybe this, maybe that, maybe the other.

I eventually fell asleep. And here I am, the next morning, writing again. I am strangely compelled.

Perhaps it's because of a deep and acute need to push through the shallow and inane in search of deeper awareness and understanding that I am compelled. Yeah, sometimes I worry that I ain't got what it takes. That I'm not capable of diving any deeper than the surface. But no, that's not true. I can dive deep. I can take it all in. And it's not just true for me. We all can. But mostly we don't. Mostly we prefer the shallows. Perhaps it's the sheer scope of all there is to fathom (pun partially intended), that gives us the bends -- some of us even before we descend. For me personally, the problem intensifies back on the surface where I have an even harder time breathing and describing and processing what I've seen.

Once in a while, one particular thing/observation/idea/event will come along and grab my attention and focus and I am compelled to write. And suddenly I feel totally absorbed, connected, fluid, coherent. And the end result feels meaningful and useful.

But lately/usually I feel overwhelmed by everything going on in the world. There is SO much that needs our attention and focus. So damn much. Where to begin? And what have I been writing about? Dreams, soccer, making silly audioblogs, doing the laundry...

Yet, these things are important too, and not necessarily little or meaningless. They are the ordinary in life that we cherish. They are the ordinary that bind us.

I was reading a regretful but important article this morning, After Bomb Kills Loved Ones, Life Turns Ghostly, that tells of the tragic and devastating effect war has had upon one particular Lebanese man. A man who is, among other things, a husband and a father.

I don't know what it means to live in a land where bombs are dropping, and pray I never will -- though if we in America did understand this, maybe we'd be less likely to make the bombs, less likely to be in the business of profiting from them, less likely to export them, less likely to drop them, less likely to support the government that does...maybe.

No, I don't know what it means to live with the very real threat of a bomb landing on my loved ones or me. How can one live normally with such a threat? But I read the article and was touched by the semblance of the ordinary that existed immediately before bombs dropped and destroyed most of this man's family and self.

The rooms were still neatly composed, life suspended. Dishes were done. Laundry — tiny pink pants, a head scarf, a bra — was hanging on lines. But details showed something was wrong. The clothes were dusty from the pulverized concrete and soot of the explosion. A bowl of cucumbers and a pot of beans in the refrigerator were covered with mold.

I just can't imagine it. Can't imagine what it must be like to walk into the rubble and find your five year old daughter torn apart -- her torso and an arm separate from the rest of her body. To find your wife crushed to death. Can't imagine it.

I can't imagine what it's like to do the dishes, hang the laundry, and then run next door hoping to find shelter from a bomb only to be blown to bits.

I can't imagine how the United States is contributing to this carnage. Can't imagine how we have been visiting the same spectre of destruction and carnage and death (oh the shock and awe of it) upon thousands and thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians for over three years now. And for what? Can't imagine how war is still a thing of the present. Can't imagine why we haven't found a better way.

There are so many other things I can't imagine. Yet they are happening. And they are overwhelming.

Maybe the only way to work through it at the moment, is to take decompression stops along the way. Little writes here and there. Go to the dark places and witness what's there. And once back on the surface -- out of the dark otherworld of fear -- work more diligently at a world I can imagine.

We can all do this, can't we?

Former Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell once said:

"[In outer space] you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a bitch."

Can we imagine ourselves, like Edgar Mitchell, out in space looking back at our precious planet and all its beautiful people and imagine a world like no other we've ever known? A world of peace, joy, equality, love, health, liberty, justice and unity for all--including the sons of bitches in power? Can we imagine all of us getting together for a bowl of cucumbers and a pot of beans?"

That's what I choose to imagine the next time I have an attack of midnight mind.

Like Buddha said:

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world."

Debi lives in Ashland, Oregon and is -- among other things -- a mother of two thinking about all the other mothers around the world who are concerned for their children. You may contact her at or access her blogs through

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cobb: World War III is a War on Children

WWIII: Whose Side are You On?
Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at
by Karen Horst Cobb

They may have been hit by an Israeli bomb, but they are victims of the Hezbollah. We have to create a reality where those Lebanese children would have been at school today instead of being sheltered and held hostage in that building, and where Israeli children in Shemona could go to school without fear of Katyusha rockets. It is our enemies who specifically target women and children, and when we do it, we apologize.
-- Dan Gillerman, Israeli ambassador to the UN, Sunday on Meet the Press
What I heard Mr. Gellerman say in response to the killing of the children of Qana was similar to the words of other abusers.

It isn’t my fault I beat my wife. She was asking for it … she never knows when to shut up. Anyway I am not an abuser because I always apologize afterward. As far as the rape? Well, she was asking for it because of the way she looks.
This is a more easily accessible framing of the forces of evil unleashed in the world. "World War III" is a world war on children and the citizen soldiers in all locations, conducted with psy-ops propaganda using blame, excuses, and the insistence that the world remain an impotent silent witness of religious- and state-sponsored terrorism.

The “precision guided missile” found its target just like the manufacturer promised. It was launched by Israel with precision, satellite intelligence, and forethought but the ambassador explained it wasn‘t their fault. Another precisely guided missile hit the UN target a few days earlier killing four innocent peacemakers who had called all day to report their location was being targeted. Sunday’s target was a house where poor children and their families huddled in fear. How can the world be manipulated to support more killing of innocent people and refuse to hold the perpetrators responsible in the court of public opinion? The US Republicans and Democrats both of whom claim that taking responsibility is a a core value of their party refuse to speak out. Sunday July 30th 2006 I decided whose side I will be on in World War III. It became crystal clear. I am on the side of the Children! I am on the side of all children EVERYWHERE! This politically motivated World War III is a war on Children.

As an ambassador for the children I would like to negotiate a ceasefire. It might not be lasting in your frame of reference, it might not be strategic, but if it lasts 6 months that will be half the lifetime of the youngest one who was killed on Sunday. If it lasts four weeks it will be the entire lifetime of the one month old lying in the morgue. It might give some older children a few more weeks to play another game with their cousins, or celebrate one more birthday, or learn their multiplication tables all the way up to the twelves. As an ambassador to the world’s children I want to begin by clearly defining the meaning of the word "child." Child: a viable maturing fetus living outside of a womb. Perhaps this clarification will cause Christians in the US to value these little human lives whom Jesus referred to as the least of these among us. After all, it was weapons and weapon technology of the US purchased by the taxpayers and gifted to Israel which killed the children of Qana this Sunday. Qana, the place where we are told Jesus turned water into wine.

The repetitive drip of the media faucet reminds us that Israel has a right to defend herself. If one follows that reasoning then the people of Lebanon now also have the right to defend themselves. If Lebanon has the obligation to disarm Hezbollah then it stands to reason that the US has the obligation to disarm its contract military in Iraq. They are not official members of the US military but are a violent group who are part of an ancient religious sect who worships the god mammon. This logic also would conclude that the US is obligated to disarm all the members of the NRA if our nation is ever invaded and occupied.

If the definition of a terrorist is one who targets civilians to create terror, then the “shock and awe” perpetrated on Iraq was also an act of terrorism. The daily military activity over Palestine, sonic booms in the middle of the night, and the ominous presence of the heavily armed guards who stand at the checkpoints in the prison known as Gaza is also terrorism. Some can argue that all forms of sanctions which deny food, water, power, and medical care to children are designed to terrorize the innocent. Some are sponsored by the state and some are sponsored by individuals and rogue militia who are desperate. In Israel this logic would extend to the well-organized group of settlers who dress in black with ski masks and use wooden clubs, chains, and rocks to harass Palestinian children on their way to school while the military stands by and does nothing. Recently two members of the Christian peacemaker team who escort the children to school to protect them and offer themselves as human shields were severely beaten in the village of Al-Tuwani in the southern Hebron hills. The police did nothing, the military did nothing, and the militia remains to target and terrorize Palestinian children in the future.

In the US the “potential child” the size of the dot at the end of a sentence was protected by the US government last week supposedly by moral Christian republicans. Yet this same lobby denies the call for a ceasefire because it will not be a “lasting” solution. Life is filled with temporary solutions because we are mortal. Life is temporary. The behaviors of the abuser are well known. There are cycles of abuse and profuse lame apologies accompanied by self-justifying explanations of why the victim “deserved” it. In the case of Israel and Lebanon we have the US playing the role of the family friend who turns his back and bites his lower lip waiting for the thug to finish his violence. It is similar to the “brown shirts” who kicked and beat an innocent person while a conflicted comrade turned his back. Or perhaps also like the loan shark who has his underling break the knees of a debtor while he enjoys a peaceful dinner with his family.

Jesus explained that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. (politics and land holders). And spiritual wickedness in high places (political/religious leaders controlled by lust and covetousness). The nature of evil is to dominate, control, and possess. There is the test for exposing the evil nature of the abusive spouse as well as abusive national leaders. The test questions are: Does this entity seek to dominate? Does this entity seek to control? Does this entity seek to possess?

As an ambassador for the children I implore all good people in all countries to take the side of the children in WWIII-- the Lebanese children, the Iraqi children, the Israeli children, and the children of the Sudan and all other regions where children are being killed and wounded by those who worship power. No religion supports the murder of children except for those who openly worship evil. If Judaism worships an honorable and just God and the Torah teaches righteousness then prove it by your actions. If Islam means peace and a commitment to social justice then prove it by your actions. If Jesus is the Messiah with good news based on grace then prove it by your actions. If religions of the world must engage in competition let them compete in outdoing each other in acts of kindness toward children.

God creates, builds, sustains, and regenerates, but men are addicted to destruction. In the past men fought the battles with similar weapons. The winner of the competition won the spoils. Today however the men use women and children and disproportionate weaponry. Israel and the US have hundreds of thousands of the most advanced weapons while their opponents have home-made explosives and suicide bombs. If Israeli men and men from the surrounding areas and men from the United States want to continue competing for land and security and use the power of their religious leaders, let them do it away from the children. In satire I might suggest a designated area of land set aside for military men and religious leaders to carry out their ineffective, violent problem solving . As the male descendents of Ishmael and Isaac wrestle over who daddy God likes best, the women and children are left in peaceful areas where they are free to pray, worship, learn, grow, dance, and create. The sign of an internationally accepted demilitarized zone is the presence of a child.

As the ambassador for the children of the world I beg all men to put aside their vengeance, desire for land, and score cards of righteousness. A war on children has been declared. Thousands each day in the world are aborted from the Earth. On Sunday many very very late term abortions occurred and US Christians for the most part remained silent. Israeli children sitting in a cafĂ© may be blown to bits. The lives of Arab and Persian children appear to be of little regard to those who give the commands and carry out orders. People who consider themselves kind do nothing, turn their backs, go shopping and remain silent. Jesus said “a child shall lead them;” he also explained that unless you become as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Let it be on Earth as it is in Heaven is my prayer. Immediately After 911 many agreed with the sentiment, "we are all Americans now." Many American politicians agree with the often-repeated sentiment "we are all Israelis now." The global cry of all kind people in Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, the United States, and all other nations of the world can instead be "we are all children now!"

As an ambassador for the children I call for a permanent ceasefire and an immediate end to the war on children. Blessed are the peacemakers; let us boldly stand together for the innocents.

Authors comment: I went on record Oct 25, 2004 as one who is "No Longer a Christian" due to the substituted GI-Joe Jesus for the Prince of Peace who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. I am a member of the “church in exile.” I can not worship at any church which does not actively oppose the killing of children. With this article I now pledge my allegiance and declare my primary citizenship to the Kingdom of Heaven. My religion has been stolen and increasingly I am becoming a refugee in America as the Constitution is replaced with Imperial power and the Bill of Rights is erased. If I am to remain ethical and committed to kindness I must be willing to stand alone. I know there are many others who are standing alone. I can be contacted at