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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

We who Are Wide Awake are compelled by the "fierce urgency of Now" [Rev MLK, Jr.] to raise awareness and promote the human dialogue about many of the crucial issues of our day: the state of our Union and in protection of democracy, what life is like under military occupation in Palestine, the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land, and spirituality-from a Theologically Liberated Christian Anarchist POV.

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Declaration of Independence

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; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence


Home arrow Blog arrow December 2008 arrow December 30, 2008

December 30, 2008
WAWA Blog December 30, 2008: By the sixth century before Christ, the conflicts in the land were already old news, and Jeremiah warned the people  
That all God could see was violence and destruction in the city.

Sickness and wounds were all around.

For every misunderstanding, every condemning thought, every negative vibration, every tear torn from a heart, every time one grabbed and wouldn’t let go, and they only did it because they did not know. The Divine is within all creation and within all women and men.

And every tiny kindness you have ever done, every gentle word spoken, every time you held your tongue, every positive thought, every smile freely given, every helping hand that opens, helps bring in the kingdom. And the kingdom comes from above, and it comes from within.

Imagine a kingdom of sisterhood of all creatures and all men.

Why would Israel bomb a university?
Dr. Akram Habeeb writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 29 December 2008

As a Fulbright scholar and professor of American literature at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), I have always preferred to keep silent about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I always felt that it was my mission to preach love and peaceful coexistence. However, Israel's massive offensive against the Gaza Strip has spurred me to speak out.

Last night, during the second night of Israel's unprecedented attack on Gaza, I was awakened by the deafening sound of intensive bombardment. When I learned that Israel had bombed my university with American-made F-16s, I realized that its "target bank" had gone bankrupt. Of course Israeli politicians and generals would claim that IUG is a Hamas stronghold and that it preaches terrorism.

As an independent professor, not affiliated with any political party, I can say that IUG is an academic institution which embraces a wide spectrum of political affinities. I see it as prestigious university which encourages liberalism and free thought. This personal point view might seem to be biased; therefore, I would invite anyone who would doubt about my assertions to browse IUG's website and research its history. They would learn about its membership in various international academic institutions, the active role its professors play in scholarly research as well as prizes and research grants they have received.

Why would Israel bomb a university? Israel did not only target my university last night. It also bombed mosques, pharmacies and homes. In Jabaliya refugee camp Israeli bombs killed four little girls, sisters from the Balousha family. In Rafah they killed three brothers, aged 6, 12 and 14. They also killed a mother, along with her one-year-old child from the Kishko family in Gaza City.

These acts made me reflect on some of the commandments given by God to the "Chosen People:" Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. No one could be chosen by God to annex the land of other people and kill them. Israel made these ethical choices by itself. Israel itself chose to wage its wars to eliminate the indigenous people of Palestine.

Dr. Akram Habeeb is Assistant Professor of American Literature at the Islamic University of Gaza.


Statement by the Council for the National Interest Foundation

IS Gaza another Sharpeville Massacre? Nearly fifty years ago, the South African regime attacked a crowd protesting the conditions in the Bantustan of Sharpeville and in a matter of minutes killed some 69 black South Africans. Eventually, after world reaction to this "incident," sanctions were imposed and they led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Using American weapons, Israel has just indiscriminately killed more than four times that number in Gaza. In 1960 there were 20 million black South Africans and today there are only one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza. So the first two days of the American-supported Israeli attempt to wipe out Hamas is sixty times as criminal as the Sharpeville massacre.

No end to the violence is in sight, as a ground attack is threatened and may happen at any hour. Our CNIF team that recently visited the area had advance information about Israel's intention to go into Gaza and wipe out the leadership of Hamas when we talked with General Ephraim Sneh six weeks ago. His statements in effect said: we Israelis know exactly how to do it and we will do it in spite of the cease fire that was then in effect. The only problem, he indicated, is that Israel (and by inference America) does not have an exit strategy. This was eerily reminiscent of our own generals in Vietnam and in Iraq.

What should the Obama administration's policy be toward Israeli use of American weaponry against a civilian population? One can probably safely predict that it will not be to sanction Israel by denying her new American weapons. All the indications are that it will be more of the same under Obama. Years of talk and no action. We will try to train Palestinian police nominally under the control of the PLO to pacify Gaza and put down any insurrection in the West Bank. That did not work in 2007 and it will not work in 2009.

A whole new strategy is needed, even if limited to Israeli security and Palestinian self-governance as the only two concerns. Israel backed by America will not be able to eliminate Hamas from either Gaza or the West Bank with a few thousand policemen trained in Jordan. We are only delaying the day when Israel will have to withdraw militarily from Gaza and open the border to Egypt. It is almost too late for this now, with the looming Israeli elections in February. Meanwhile the residents of Gaza have been suffering inhumanely from the Israeeli blockade, even before the bombs were unleashed.

From talks we held with Hamas, and from talks Jimmy Carter held with some of the same people only a few months earlier, it is plain that Egypt can no longer be the only mediator between Hamas and the PLO which holds the key to ending the Gaza adventure by Israel.

There is no good military exit strategy for Israel or the United States in Gaza, only further chaos and enmity throughout the Muslim world if Israel goes in and tries to stay for another two or twenty years.

What is the matter with Gaza? Israel's generals have once again pushed America and Israel into a no-win situation. Let us sit down and negotiate an American cease fire with whoever is able to end the long siege of Gaza and govern it successfully.

The United Nations General Assembly could be called into session and pass a "Uniting for Peace" resolution as it did in 1950 to confront the North Korean invasion of South Korea. It should call for peace keepers, not just observers, in Gaza. They could rapidly be re-deployed from the UN forces, now numbering close to 20 thousand, that are already on all of Israel's borders, from Lebanon to Syria to the Sinai Task Force. Why not also on Gaza's border with Israel to prevent violations by either side of a real cease fire?

That would avoid an almost certain veto by the U.S. in the Security Council of any UN involvement. After all, the United Nations were placed in charge of Gaza from 1957 to 1967. They can do it again.

Not From Jerusalem # 16
Rev. Russell O. Siler, Retired
28 December 2008

Mark well the date: 27 December 2008. It may turn out to be the day on which the dreams of two states died. I do not mean the concept referred to in the phrase “two-state solution.” I mean the dream of a free and independent state for the people of Palestine and the dream of an Israeli democracy on that tiny sliver of land in the Middle East.

Nations may be birthed in bloodshed, but they live and thrive when justice, equality, and security are midwife and parents. Saturday’s brutal Israeli attack on the people of Gaza and, yes, the continuing barrage of frightful, yet largely ineffective missiles from Gaza have all but finally rendered that vision a nightmare. Everyone who has even a scant understanding of recent history knew this was coming. There is a parliamentary election coming to Israel in February. Tzipi Livni [Kadima Party], Ehud Barak [Labor Party, present Minister of Defense and former Prime Minister], and Benjamin Netanyahu [Likud Party and former Prime Minister] are each trying to outdo the others in demonstrating to the voters just how hard they can be on the Palestinians. It happened in the 90s in the wake of the Oslo Accords when Netanyahu openly ignored those agreements and picked up the pace of illegal settlement building. It happened in 2000 when Ariel Sharon showed how tough he could be by bullying his way onto the Haram al-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary]/Temple Mount in the company of more than 1000 armed troops, thus intentionally lighting the fuse which ignited the Second Intifada. The intifada provided perfect cover for a period of intense tightening of the occupation with complete impunity. It was a period during which Sharon could show how “tough” he was. This present action carries a double impetus: the Israeli elections and the leadership void in our country between a President who has given the Israeli administration the equivalent of a blank check and the President-elect who has yet to show his intentions in the Middle East. There is no “element of surprise” in this war, only a small question of the precise timing.

I am not going to try to argue the merits and demerits of either the Israeli actions or those of the Palestinians. At the present I will leave that to others. What I will do, however, is to point out some facts which may be determinative to your opinions and consequent acts.

A Palestinian friend in the West Bank--who is also an American citizen--spoke of the situation in Gaza [and also that in the West Bank] a few months after the 2006 elections this way, “They urged us to select leaders democratically. We did, and now they are punishing us for electing the wrong people.” “They” refers to Israel and the United States. News media in the U.S. are reporting the conflict as if it began in June of 2007 when Hamas forces overpowered those of Fatah. Simply untrue! As soon as the ballots were tallied in January 2006, the strangulation of the elected Palestinian government began. The split between Fatah and Hamas, encouraged by Israel and the U.S., in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, worked to Israel’s great advantage. Hamas power was largely confined to Gaza. Israel was already in control there with its steel perimeter of air, land, and sea confinement. Israeli’s government tried to say it had “disengaged” from Gaza, but all it had done was remove the guards from the inside to the exterior of that prison for 1.5 million people. That move placed the noose around the neck of Gazans, and it has been tightened to the point of strangulation ever since. Euphemistically termed an “embargo” by the world’s media, the series of actions has been a virtual cutoff of food, medicine, fuel, water filters, machine parts, and other materials which every society must have to function. When you saw Gazans streaming into Egypt through holes in the fence some months back, did it not occur to you that they were not escaping. They were running to gather basic life supplies they could carry back to their homes.

How could resulting violence then be a surprise. Israel thought it could make life a “living hell” for Gazans, and they would oust Hamas. It did not happen. Now we are witness to the next escalation. And all our government can say is “The United States...holds Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence” in Gaza. [Condoleezza Rice, Washington Post, 28 Dec 2008] White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe added, “The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.”

Let us be clear on one thing: the future is indeed bleak for a democratic Israel and an independent Palestine if our country and the rest of the following world continue to act as if occupation and violence are needed to pave the only path to justice and peace.

Russell O. Siler, Retired


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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa

“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946

The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright

“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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