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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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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 April 2008 arrow April 24, 2008

April 24, 2008
WAWA Blog April 24, 2008: What's the Value of 'ish'?

According to Webster's:

 -ish: of or belonging to -a specific nation or people; Irish- like or characteristic of; devilish, boyish- somewhat, rather; tallish, bluish, approximately, about; fiftyish.

Last Wednesday, while being entertained by Emily, three year old granddaughter of Brother Harold on my back porch where my office French Doors open onto, the phone rang. I heard a voice I did not recognize and a name I could not place leave a message that I should phone him immediately regarding "something" I did.

I excused myself from my company as I repented and prayed for illumination as to what the frig' I had did.

He refused to say, and just repeated, "google my name" as I pleaded:

"What did I do? I am already sorry, just clue me in, have some mercy on me bro. My computer is on satellite, it is slow. Just tell me what I did, have mercy on me bro."

"Do you call black people N------?"

"No," I responded and thought, 'but you just did!'

"Do you call Spanish people S----?"

"No," I responded and thought, 'but you just did!'

"Then why did you say I was a Jew?"

"Aren't you?"

He had taken offense at my ignorance of the affront of the lack of an 'ish' on his Jew. I grew up Catholic and never heard the word Catholicish. My Grandfather, a Polish Jew died before I could learn how many of our relatives were gassed and fried because good people did nothing for too very long. Maybe if ever had known him before he expired from esophageal varices-secondary to cirrhosis of the liver secondary to drinking too much, maybe then, I would have learned to include the 'ish' on every Jew.

Needless to say though, my Irish was up and flaming that this person I hadn't crossed paths with since 2006 had emerged as an interruption into my life.

Did he ever consider an email with an explanation as to the "something" I had done and request of me what he wanted me to do about it?

What he wanted was for me to delete it completely! I tried to explain it is history and nobody but him probably even read it, but it is a great topic to blog about. I begged his forgiveness repeatedly, but he refused my heartfelt pleas, he insisted I delete 'Jew' for it lacked an 'ish.'

He had no mercy on me at all, and my Irish temper erupted and I slew him with words. Suffice to say, he was clued in how he rudely interrupted my life which is about many things and foremost fueled by the fierce urgency of now; for what offends me is that NOT one journalist with access is asking any of the candidates where are they regarding the ongoing misery in Gaza, a shared Jerusalem, the rights of refugees, The Wall, the continuing settlements, the over 500 checkpoints that deny the indigenous people of that land the right to access their legally owned property, reach their families, jobs and holy sites in light of this historic year; the 60th anniversary of Israel, Al Nakba/The Disaster and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights- upon which Israel's very statehood was contingent upon. I cite but one Article; many others are also abused and denied by America's best ally to the indigenous peoples of Israel Palestine.

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

A few hours after saying goodbye to Brother Harold and Emily, I received a left to the liver; news of a suspicious death of someone I have known, admired and been inspired by for nearly four years, Riad Hamad.

Riad's lifeless body was dredged from an Austin, Texas lake, duct tape around his face and hands bound on April 15, 2008. [1]

The last phone call I had with Riad occurred two days after Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, regarding how he had been in his bathroom getting ready for work when the doorbell rang in his modest apartment in Austin, Texas and 18 Federal Agents with guns entered and occupied his sanctuary.

Riad was one of the first people I met after I became a civilian journalist and activist for equal human rights and justice for all. Over the nearly last four years Riad had been inspiration, friend, brother and comrade in helping the neediest of children of occupied Palestine. His family, students and international supporters have joined in our mourning more committed to PCWF/Palestine Children's Welfare Fund, and Riad had been the visionary, founder, coordinator and connector.

It was through Riad that I also met many other passionate advocates and volunteers driven by the pursuit of justice; equal human rights and compassionate hearts. Riad knitted together a global community after he moved to America from Beirut where he had lived not far from the Palestinian refugee camps. He witnessed their hardships, and driven by compassion for the least and most oppressed, decided to extend his help to enable his Arab compatriots seek justice; human rights, such as their Right of Return to their homes and land or receive agreed upon just compensation.

Riad and PCWF had been investigated immediately after 9/11 by homeland security and no evidence of wrongdoing had been found. However, on February 27th about 18 FBI and IRS agents bearing guns and a search warrant from Judge Robert Pittman, [well known for his hostility to Palestinians and Arabs and with whom Riad has had previous experience with] searched every nook and cranny of his apartment.

They left with more than forty boxes of papers, files, computers, his daughter's childhood diaries, CDs and an ounce and a half of catnip.

No charges were filed at the time against Riad and he was not arrested, but the investigators claim they had probable cause to investigate wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Riad had been a tireless advocate for Palestinians, and most especially the women and children living in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon. He created the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund a humanitarian enterprise that has raised millions of dollars to provide for the basic needs of Palestinian children and their schools, to assist other charitable organizations and the hospitals.

On April 21, 2008, I spoke with Paul Larudee, the last person Riad spoke to before his demise and also the Treasurer and Grants Administrator of PCWF. I learned that among the items carted off by the FBI and IRS were those belonging to another person who had requested their return weeks ago in order to do their taxes.

A bureaucrat told them, "Oh, we haven't even gotten around to any of that yet!"

Riad's exit from this world will not silence his voice; for everyone who knew him is even more committed to PCWF now, and Riad's hands that only did good will not be bound.

Before his demise, Riad found replacements for every job except for filling the orders for West Bank merchandize and sending them out, through the Austin, Texas warehouse.

Paul wrote on April 23, 2008:

All except the sales portion of PCWF is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in California. Riad and I set it in February. Of course, the sales portion was the biggest part, generating more than a million dollars and creating jobs for lots of Palestinians. However, unless someone wants to do what Riad was doing to receive, store and ship the items, I fear that only donations will help keep the projects in Palestine going.

Husam will be sending me a report on the needs of the projects in Palestine and I will be funding them through the account. The address for donations is listed on the website, and folks can also donate via PayPal @


I met Husam in Bethlehem, in June 2005 when he worked with Holy Land Trust one of the coordinating charities dedicated to nonviolent resistance to the occupation following in the footsteps of Jesus, Gandhi and King.

I met Paul in July 2005, while in Berkeley attending TIKKUN'S [Hebrew for heal, mend, transform the world] first conference for Spiritual Progressives.

Riad, an Arab Muslim, helped the Christian population of occupied Palestine by exporting their crafts and oil and were paid good wages. Everyone connected with PCWF were volunteers compelled by compassionate hearts to help the least and most forgotten in the turmoil of 40 years of military occupation; the children and women. Riad remembered and helped them more than anyone did.

The death of this great American is directly connected to the years of harassment and racism he endured.

And I can't help but wonder about the depth of Riad's pain and the loss to the world his dramatic exit has made in light of how an American Jewish book reviewer read racism into my ignorant lack of an 'ish.'

It is most puzzling to me, as he had read nothing in KEEP HOPE ALIVE or on my website that gave him any reason to believe I was anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic. It was only the lack of three letters that caused him distress.

I had hoped he would converse with me on my blog upon my faux paux, but he wanted me to delete it entirely! He insisted I erase the "Jew" that lacked an 'ish' on a BTW type of comment I made nearly three months prior.

This particular book reviewer had originally contacted me in 2006 after reading a copy of my first book, KEEP HOPE ALIVE that he just so happened to pick up in our mutual dentist's office three days prior. I just so happened to have left three copies of KEEP HOPE ALIVE in the waiting room and he just so happened to be a book reviewer who read it and liked it. He wrote a review that I liked too and was most grateful for. He told me then, I was free to use it in any way I desired. I thanked him and still do.

But last week, after he had googled his name he was led to "something" I did, in the posting of a PS to a comment on January 7, 2008 on a thread begun by "Culture Dove" on a site I haven't visited since shortly there after:

[2] What's the Value of a Tree?

Submitted by Culture Dove on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 19:05.

On the first episode of the short-lived television series, Joan of Arcadia, Joan has an encounter with a young man whom she comes to realize is God in the flesh. She tries putting him on the spot by asking, “So how about a miracle?” In response, the young man points to a tree and simply says, “There.” “But that is just a tree,” says the unimpressed Joan. She is silenced by the reply, “You try making one.”

…Whether your faith is in the God of creation or the wisdom of science (or both), we all need to begin to find our place in the web of life and live accordingly.


more on trees

Submitted by www.wearewideaw... on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 21:57.

The Olive Tree is sacred to ALL three branches of Father Abraham's offspring's, for we all share the story of the dove who returned to Noah with the olive branch of peace.

Over one million olive trees have been plowed down and destroyed by the illegal Apartheid Wall in the 'Holy' Land which is in pieces; bantustans.

The olive tree is not just a tree to Palestinians; it is their life!

They name the trees that will live for centuries if not plowed down.

They feed their children the fruit of the trees and make oil, soap and wood crafts and nothing is ever wasted.

THAT DAY we call 9/11 inspired a 1948 refugee from the Galilee to found the non-profit OLIVE TREES FOUNDATION FOR PEACE dedicated to raising awareness of the abomination of the secular state of Israel that has been raping the holy land; [+with hope to TIKKUN; heal, mend, transform the world] by providing the funds to replant 3 year old olive tree saplings.

So far, the OTFFP has rooted over 30,000 trees on BOTH side of The Wall.

The first of my five journeys into Israel Palestine resulted in writing "KEEP HOPE ALIVE".

This tale is a fictionalized retelling of the well remembered memoirs of Dr. Diab, the 1948 Muslim refugee from the Upper Galilee who made his way to the USA and realized the American dream.

After a lucrative career in the Defense Industry during the Cold War and THAT DAY we call 9/11, Khaled Diab brought together American Jews, Christians and Muslims to respond to evil with good by founding the 501 3-c Olive Trees Foundation for Peace.

"Keep Hope Alive" tells his story and is an historical chronology with connections to antiquity, and hope for the future.

"Keep Hope Alive" is a 100% FUND RAISING vehicle for OTFFP and is also my spiritual journey told through six fictional characters who represent six ways to intuit God.

Book Reviewer from

"At first I thought this had something to do with the famous line of Jessie Jackson. I'm delighted to say it is much, much more. The author shows that there are many people from all over the world who are moving in the right direction to establish peace in the Middle East. The organization Olive Trees Foundation for Peace/OTFFP is Arabs, Jews, and Christians who have formed a non profit non political group who have one goal; to have Israelis and Palestinians live side by side in peace.

"These are people from all walks of life who are committed to changing the area into a peaceful region. Social movements like this grow until finally government jumps on-board. This is so counter to the policies of the Bush administration. As dialogue continues to grow on this subject government will be forced to rethink its approach to the region. This is a book that should be read by anyone does not believe there can be peace in the Middle East. It should also be included in schools and on the college level to help focus on how the area can move toward peace." –

PS-[my dentist's staff told me the book reviewer was] a Jew who picked up a copy of my book- his review was unsolicited and only by an act of God did we cross paths.

Eileen Fleming,
Reporter and Editor of

Author "KEEP HOPE ALIVE" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"

Producer of "30 Minutes with Vanunu" [END of all comments]

When I wrote Jew without the 'ish' it never crossed my mind that it would be construed as disrespectful in anyway to any Jewish person. My intent had purely been to provoke and invite my sisters and brothers in Christ at Crossleft, a reported to be progressive Christian site to literally extend the olive branch of hope and peace to Israel Palestine..

I had first crossed paths with Crossleft just days after my third of five trips to occupied territory. Anyone who has witnessed life under occupation understands how it gets under your skin and you cannot bear the injustices and the pain in your gut and grief at your own complicity in it, just for being a USA tax payer.

But, after nearly two years of pleading with my sisters and brothers at Crossleft, to wake up and connect with their sisters and brothers in Christ and cousins in Israel Palestine, and getting nowhere, I brushed the dust off of my feet months ago and bid them all a peace filled bye bye.

"The walls of pride are high and wide, you can't see over to the other side."-Bob Dylan

I have cried over Riad and sighed over this issue of 'ish' and have been led to feel only pity.

Pity, the book reviewer who found nothing anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic or even anti-Zionist in KEEP HOPE ALIVE, or my website, but felt such pain for the lack of my 'ish".

Pity the world the loss of Riad and American Christianity for missing opportunities to connect with their roots in the land where Jesus promised it will be the peacemakers who shall be called the children of God; not those who bomb, starve or occupy another.




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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.
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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

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