In the last few days several people have asked me what's up with Israel and Lebanon, "why are they fighting like that?".
Well, the answer is simple, but no one is going to like it.
The latest chapter in the ongoing Arab/Israeli conflict is happening for the same reason that all the others over the last five decades have happened.
Each side hates the other more than they want peace.
The various political pundits on both sides will tell you why this is all wrong (of course most of them have never even spent time in the area in question or talked to regular people there, but what the heck, their political theories have got to be more real than what is actually happening)
I on the other hand can remember when Beirut was called "The Paris of the Levant", and Lebanon was held up as a shining example of how Christians, Muslims and Jews could live together in peace and harmony.
Well, those times are long gone.
I have sat and listened while Israelis justified there treating the indigenous population of the region much in the same way that European settlers treated the native population here in the States because they had a "historical right" to the land (it reminds me all too much of the "manifest destiny" doctrine) and I have listened to Palestinians justify atrocities against children for much the same reasons.
As far as I am concerned neither side has a moral leg to stand on, both sides have embraced unspeakable evil. Anyone who supports either warring group is just as bad.
I have heard it said here that we must support Israel because they are our friend and ally in the Mid-East.
Well, this is not true. Israel is no one's friend, nor is anyone theirs. We use them for our needs and they us for the same reason. If you don't think this is true just think for a moment about the USS Liberty, the shooting of members of the foreign press or the shelling of inconvenient UN watch posts.
Not that I blame them for this, we are not their friends, Israel is just a means to an end for the West.
And of course the Palestinians hate us. Fifty some odd years ago the Western powers set up the conditions that put a good number of them in concentration camps (yes, I know they are called refugee camps, but a rose by any other name....) And trust me, when people with guns come and take the land that has been supporting your family for a few hundred years and leave you with nothing, you don't really care if the people with the guns can trace themselves to some ancestor that lived in the area a couple thousand years ago.
So here is the bottom line. There could be peace between Israel and Palestine right now, but nether side wants peace. Either side could stop the fighting by claiming the moral high ground. But neither side wants this, nor is it in the interests of the people who control the government of the US, so it won't happen.
If we had a couple of people made from the same stuff as Gandhi or King on either side the conflict would end in our lifetimes.
unfortunately, hate is a strong drug, and it is easy to point your finger at the other guy and talk about all the wrongs he did you. (while conveniently ignoring your own bad behavior).
So the truth is that there is an ongoing war in the Mid-East because more people who live there want to kill everyone who isn't them than who want to find ways to live together. On top of this, the Right Wing war mongers of the West, the pseudo conservatives and Bushites feast of this conflict like the jackals they are, and do everything they can to keep thing just below the level of all out war. (If you want to know who benefits from this just follow the money).
Nothing will change until this changes. If you want peace in the Middle East then come the next election, vote the Republicans (the party of war and torture) out of office. (Personally I long for the days when the biggest scandal in America was the president liking blowjobs)
Monday, July 31, 2006
In the last few days several people have asked me what's up with Israel and Lebanon, "why are they fighting like that?".
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:55 AM
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Terry asks (in the comments to my last post) "Did you say tomahawk???"
A good tomahawk is a joy forever as far as I am concerned.
This one is the closest to being finished, though it still needs polishing, and I will be adding brass tack work to the handle.
I prefer a hawk with a hammer poll to one with a spike as it is much more practical. You could (and frankly I intend for it to be used in this way) take this hawk with you camping or backpacking and use it as a tool daily, while still having all the fun and style of an early American tool.
The head is high carbon steel, but with a softer, tougher temper than with a knife so that it can withstand impact better. This is what you would want to have with you if you had to build a log or sod house by hand, pioneer style. The handles for these are made from hickory, ash or other suitable hardwood.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:34 PM
Saturday, July 29, 2006
In August there will be a big "Pioneer Days" type shindig held at a small town in the Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania.
Tribal Edge Knifeworks will be presenting a few of our blades there.
I am rather excited because I really love making early American historical knives. This also allows me to call on some of my other skills, like beadwork and leather work in ways that I don't usually get to do as often as I would like.
Here are just a few of the knives that the forge has been turning out for the event.
First is a patch knife. This is a small knife usually worn in a neck sheath and used to trim the patch of a musket ball when seating it, as well as a thousand small cutting chores.
The knife has a blade of high carbon steel and is hafted with deer bone.
The sheath is harness leather with a peyote stitch rosette.
Here are a couple more.
The first is often called a "scalp knife" though the pattern is what is known as an English trade knife and was extremely popular with both settlers and native peoples in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds.
It is also hafted with deer bone (hunting was good last season) and sports a thick carbon steel blade. As was usual with knives of this period, the hammer marks are left on the blade and the oxidation from the tempering process is not filed off to help protect the blade from rust.
The last knife is often called a "woman's knife" or a "possibles knife". They were often made by regrinding a larger knife that had been broken.
This one has peyote stitch around the deer bone handle and a two and three quarter inch blade.
There will me many more as well as a few tomahawks. Pictures will follow as we finish the blades.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:20 PM
Thursday, July 20, 2006
FEMA denies US Citizens their first amendment rights.
It seems that the good people at FEMA are not allowing refugees from the Louisiana hurricane disaster who are living in the trailer park internment camps to speak to the press without a guard.
I used to read about this sort of thing in novels where America was taken over by totalitarian dictators, but I guess truth is even stranger than fiction.
When the government denies it's citizens their most fundamental rights it's time for a change in administration, and elections are just around the corner.
So are you going to vote?
Or are you feeling so disempowered by the Right Wing hate mongers that you are just going to sit on your couch, watching your life being taken away from you one bit at a time on the TV and do nothing?
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 1:13 PM
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Or suffer the children, take your pick.
Ava Lowery, the fifteen year old girl who started doing some animations about The Decider and his dirty little war, has created her first "political" clip, a piece on Rick Santorum. (I first mentioned her here).
The Democratic National committee (if they were not such cowards) Should think about giving her a job. But this is unlikely given how they cave in to Right Wing critisim (what a bunch of wimps).
Well, I guess it's up to teenage girls to do what the Democrats and the media won't, that is to thell the truth about what is going on and what BushCo is doing in our names.
She has also done this little clip on the Civil war in Iraq.
A hat tip to Crooks and Liars for keeping up on her.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:36 PM
Monday, July 10, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
So when was the last time you actually read this?
Perhaps this is a good day to read and reflect on these words before BushCo and the Right wing turn our country into a totalitarian dictatorship.
May Nature's God remember the noble experiment started here.
The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Ã—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 2:48 PM