(If all the killings of both Palestinians and Israelis have touched your soul so that you know that you’ve simply got to do something, you’re already with me.  If you you’re not moved like this, you never will be with me.)

 

 

“God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next—Amen.”—Reinhold Niebuhr, the unredacted Serenity Prayer, which, in its edited version, is America’s favorite, most inspiring, prayer

 

 

 

 

           Table of Contents of Both Pages:
 
 

And if you’re already with me, you probably have enough soul to see how what’s at work is something so deep that it also shapes how we Americans judge ourselves.

When Americans look at situations like that of the Palestinian refugees, their problems are seen with the same tendency to minimize anyone’s problems.

The world politic operates according to principles like those America was founded on, which means that it would respond very differently than acceptance that’s based to the modern normality that’s been proven to cause rampant depression.

What’s being done to the refugees, can be proven devastating just as readily as can what’s causing 15% of American adults to suffer a serious depressive disorder in any given year.  A world population that operates according to principles like the traditional American principles, would care more about this than modern pragmatic distortions.

The American media has minimized what has burdened the refugees for decades, and magnified what seems wrong about the victims.  Any victims’ objections seem to be their own self-serving (manipulative and controlling) or self-defeating (unserene and uncourageous) opinions.  If Palestinian refugees for fifty years would feel at home only in Palestine, they’d be told that they should choose to think more pragmatically about what they can’t change, and that not all refugees would feel that way after fifty years so the Palestinians should become well-adjusted like the serene refugees.  Also, the Palestinians’ not living up to these expectations could get many labels which treat them as mollycoddle, such as, “They want the world to be as they’d have it,” “They nurse their own self-pity thought it hurts their ability to thrive,” and “In life, often people lose big things, sometimes because of others’ sins.  Most of us would be pretty dysfunctional if everyone who lost as much as the Palestinians lost, and who could say ‘You don’t understand that, in a profound sense, what I lost is worth far more to me than its objective market value,’ went for five decades without re-building thriving lives wherever they could.”  What we end up with is something very different from what John Kennedy described in his inaugural address, a system that’s so inviting that “the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”

If, like Gandhi, you’re going to choose to love your enemies, then the Jews are the ideal enemies to have, since, other than the authoritarian religious fanatics, the Jewish ethnic culture is probably the most humanitarian.

Understanding that the Jews aren’t just another bunch of mercenary colonialists, could help in several ways.

According to traditional American principles, caring about the individual would have to mean realizing that the refugees have certain rights, and not just as an ideal that we sometimes reach and sometimes don’t.

An example of how much the unthinking forgiveness required by modern Christian spirituality, can be expected to cause peace.  The Cardinal of the Boston Archdiocese kept forgiving some priests who kept raping and molesting boys, since the Bible commands perfect forgiveness even of someone who “sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says,  ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”  (Luke 17:4)  The novena that the Cardinal then told his flock to pray, said, “We pray that the Spirit will warm the hearts of those whose faith has been weakened by this scandal,”   with warm hearts meaning forgiving rather than caring about the men who were raped and molested.  This was characteristic of other statements that the Cardinal made, of what he expected from his flock.

Very dramatic details of the differences between the original intent of our principles of freedom, and what they’ve become

Another similarity between modern American survival skills and what’s expected of the Palestinian refugees, puts these refugees in the same situation as the woman  who has to leave her abusive husband along with their kids, and now she has to be resilient resourceful and independent enough to build a viable new home with them.

Quite a few Westerners would say that some Arab countries’ refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to become citizens is a part of the problem, as if they have a duty to go along with the non-lethal ethnic cleansing that put the refugees there.  To us, if you’re not resilient resourceful and independent, you’re manipulative, which would imply that if you don’t resiliently resourcefully and independently help a natural ally, you’re also manipulative.

 In the end, almost anyone could be culturally conditioned to believe almost anything, even if they’re very sophisticated, and they realize that it causes rampant depression, anxiety disorders, etc.

One of the best things that could happen to the refugees is for humanitarian scientists, acting according to the sort of principles which originally shaped America,  to show the world just what has been happening to the refugees, and, by extension, those who are simply supposed to deal with their own problems according to the modern principles.


 

 

 

           nd if you’re already with me, you’ll likely have enough soul to see how, what might seem to be Westerners’ cold callousness toward what’s been happening to the Palestinian refugees, the most obvious massive violation of human rights in the conflict, comes mainly from Western culture’s perceptions of how everyone has to face life.  It may seem strange that we accept so much.  Yet our conceptions of responsibility for our own welfare, include a problem-solving method that could be called “victim correction as a panacea,” which can be seen in, “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to You will,” being part of an inspiring description of what we should courageously change if we can, serenely accept if we can’t.

As an American, the one thing that strikes me about devout Muslims, is that their piety is very likely to come across as coming from an active mind, deeply insightful.  Though John Paul II is often described as charismatic, his piety seems pretty dead when compared to this.  Anyone who’d assess with this insight, the fact that 20% of Americans suffer from mood disorders and 25% from anxiety disorders, would see very vividly how serious this is, how much grief this society accepts because “We all must accept that life isn’t perfect,” and what is the price of expecting everyone to simply deal with these realities.

And the conduct of the Western countries in the Iraq invasion, would naturally follow this pattern.  For example, Tony Blair comes across as someone who thinks that he’s too mature to believe in Labour Party ideals that could be called idealistic, and that would include ideals that would oppose the war.  And, whenever any Western government would be morally responsible for a problem in the war, that responsibility would be ambiguous.  For example, you can’t prove that all those guarantees that Saddam absolutely certainly still had weapons of mass destruction, weren’t just mistakes.  And everyone knows that when mature people look at situations where people couldn’t be proven guilty of having a malicious intent, the mature people would naturally accept this situation along the lines of, “We all must accept that life isn’t perfect.”  Of course, if someone makes such unfounded guarantees, with such certainty even when the stakes are this high, that would require a good deal of immaturity.  He believed what he wanted to.  Yet our culture figures that seriously condemning aggressive character flaws, is naïve, restrictive, manipulative, judgmental, etc.

And modern Western norms have a special fear of manipulation.  As Arthur Schopenhauer, the philosopher who most influenced Hitler, Nietzsche, Wagner, etc., wrote in The World as Will and Representation, the book that most influenced Hitler, “Wrong through violence is not so ignominious for the perpetrator as wrong through cunning, because the former is evidence of physical strength, which in all circumstances powerfully impresses the human race.  The latter, on the other hand, by using the crooked way, betrays weakness, and at the same time degrades the perpetrator as a physical and moral being.”  Replace “violence” with “non-violent aggression,” and you’ll have an attitude that’s very common in the modern West.

(Nazi posters about the WILL, saying “Through military will to military strength,” “One battle, one will, one goal: Victory at any cost!,” and “National Socialism—the organized will of the nation,” along with a poster for the classic Nazi film Triumph of the Will)

 

A basic idea of The World as Will and Representation, is that if those who’ve been hurt don’t represent their own victimization to themselves, as very unimportant, then that reflects the WILL of these victims, who want to believe that they deserve better.  Another statement in that book that Hitler must have loved, is, “The concept of good is divided into two subspecies, that of the directly present satisfaction of the will in each case, and that of its merely indirect satisfaction concerning the future, in other words, the agreeable and the useful.  The concept of the opposite, so long as we are speaking of beings without knowledge, is expressed by the word bad, more rarely and abstractly by the word evil, which therefore denotes everything that is not agreeable to the striving of the will in each case.”  You’d be amazed how easy it is to make any objections to being victimized, seem self-serving.  And as you could see in, “Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it,” our culture can tolerate the willfulness of those who whine, far less than it tolerates the willfulness of the sinners, for basically the reasons that Schopenhauer described.  And since, if someone is insidiously cunning you probably couldn’t prove it, powerless people accused of ignominious cunning, probably wouldn’t be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The best antidote to devastation caused by cultural norms, would be research and insight into that devastation.  If a devastating practice is based on a society’s cultural norms, then these norms hide the devastating effects.  Such traditions would look radically different if people saw the devastation that they cause.  The Palestinian refugees could prove how high is their rate of depression.  If the public really knew the significance of this, then that proof would be far more powerful than any violence could be.  Anyone could commit violence, but not anyone could prove that what they oppose, causes rampant depression.  This would be the ultimate Satyagraha, what Gandhi called “truth strength,” and Satyagraha is profoundly incompatible with any form of authoritarianism.

One could say that Gandhi’s civil disobedience was manipulative, cunning, since those performing civil disobedience intentionally, cause the victimizers to victimize them.  Proving what already is the rate of depression, would get great strength from this great truth, without contriving any pitiful situations.  In fact, people in all sorts of countries could perform civil disobedience, but only the truly worthy could prove great amounts of depression.

The factor that’s most crucial to understanding cultural clashes, has got to be the power of cultural conditioning.  People’s cultural conditioning could make them believe in and do some things that they never would have independently decided to do.  You could see that in all cultures, including both Islamic traditionalism that the Western media are now portraying as the epitome of traditionalism, and our very own Western traditions.  These modern Western norms could involve the same sort of blind obedience.  Of course, one doesn’t question expectations that he be well-adjusted, self-reliant, non-controlling, etc.

Anyone could see very plainly the price of modern Western norms, in both our high rates of depression and anxiety, and the way that these rates are treated as if they’re only natural.  On my Making the Political, Personal webpage, I have many examples of advertisements for antidepressants, books on how to treat depression, etc., which treat this huge social problem as if it’s just something that each victim must treat separately.

One of these is the homepage of the Mental Illness—What a Difference a Friend Makes website, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which says, “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older—about one in four adults—suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.”  As the title suggests, this website is about getting the friends of the 26.2% of the American adult population, to support these people rather than stigmatizing them.  The ways in which one friend treats another, is one of the few sociological factors of this huge social problem, that we could honorably take seriously.

Another of these is the Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website, which says, “If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated.  Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw.  It’s a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully treat depression....  Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults.”  The Zoloft homepage is headed:

And, at the bottom of the Zoloft webpages, is:

For depressive disorders to affect 34,000,000 Americans, seems to be just one of those biological diseases that are parts of the natural order.  This seems to constitute millions of reasons for an antidepressant drug, not millions of reasons why this is a social problem rather than a medical condition.  It seems that the question to ask is whether this consists of 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws, or 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions.  And the term “character flaw,” means the sort to flaw that depressed people could seem to have, a flaw involving weakness.  Certainly many depressions are caused by others’ immoral character flaws, but to try to correct those would seem controlling, restrictive, manipulative, judgmental, etc.  Research that found which of our norms lead to such devastation, could be as iconoclastic as would be research into the rate of depression among Palestinian refugees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These presumptions are very typical for our self-responsible attitudes toward our rampant depression, as you could see in those ads and guides on how to treat depression.  Intercultural studies have consistently found that depressed people who’ve lived in developed areas outside of the modern West have tended to feel paranoid, but modern Westerners, whether depressed or not, tend to figure that even if someone did “get you,” that would mean only that you lost the battle so you’re a loser.  We correct those who are weak, a lot more seriously than we correct those who are morally responsible.  We’ll just keep ignoring our rampant depression, since if we don’t ignore it, this would make people less ready to hold themselves and others responsible for their own problems.  The book The Anatomy of Melancholy, written in Elizabethan England, described the typical depressive of this era as, “He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him, aims at him, derides him, owes him malice.”

A webpage of the World Health Organization document Conquering Depression, Historical Background, includes:

Much of what is known today about symptoms of depression and related disorders was described by the ancient Greek and Roman physicians who coined terms like ‘melancholia’ and ‘mania’ and noted their relationship.  In the fourth century BC, Hippocrates made an early reference to distress and melancholia.  He described melancholia (black bile) as a state of “aversion to food, despondency, sleeplessness, irritability and restlessness”. Later, Galen (131-201 A.D.) described melancholia manifesting in “fear and depression, discontent with life and hatred of all people”.  Subsequent Greco-Roman medicine not only recognized the symptoms of melancholia in the form of fear, suspicion, aggression and death wishes, but also referred to environmental contributions to melancholia as immoderate consumption of wine, perturbations of the soul due to passion, and disturbed sleep cycle.  Many of the original Greek texts on melancholia were transmitted to posterity through medieval Arabic texts in which connections between two major mood states were suggested, and the causes of the disease were speculated to be interactions between temperament, environment and the four humours (i.e. wind, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile).

If the average Westerner were to see someone reacting to his own helplessness by acting irritable, malcontent, hateful, suspicious and aggressive, the typical Westerner would probably respond as if this is aggressively self-serving, so instead he should show some personal responsibility for his failures to courageously change (and prevent) what he could have, and serenely accept what he couldn’t.

 

Paul Gilbert’s Depression, the Evolution of Powerlessness, from 1992, says, “Murphy (1978) has pointed out that guilt was also absent from western clinical descriptions of depression until the sixteenth century.  He suggests that guilt and self-blame are more likely to arise in cultures that emphasise individual differences, self-control, predictability and personal responsibility for pain and pleasure.  These cultures separate mind and body and demote the importance of social context and relationships in the causation of distress.”

President Abraham Lincoln, who suffered from chronic depression and suicidal depressive episodes, said in a address he gave in 1838, when the US was hardly a superpower, “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst us: it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”  While I don’t know that he was seriously depressed at the time, that’s what modern Western depressive self-blame sounds like.

The still-popular theme song that was emblematic of the Reagan era, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA,” proudly begins, “If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,” whether this was my fault or not, I’d simply take responsibility for my own welfare by rebuilding.

With globalism, this assent becomes relevant to everyone, so demonstrably proving to the world what it does, could benefit everyone.  The discrepancy between how acceptable things seem to be, and how unacceptable they really are, would seem very important to many people, not just visionaries.  Beating Depression, by John Rush, MD, copyright 1983, says, “Arabs who develop depression tend to complain of difficulties in digestion, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite and weight.  Again, guilt, self-blame and suicide are rare.  On the other hand, westernized and more affluent Arabs develop a depression more similar to that seen in the West.”

David D. Burns, MD, in his book Feeling Good, lists the “Cognitive Distortions” of Western depression as: All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filter, Disqualifying the Positive, Jumping to Conclusions, Magnification [of what’s wrong with the devastated or right with others] or Minimization [of what’s right with the devastated or wrong with others], Emotional Reasoning, Should Statements, Labeling and Mislabeling [which Dr. Burns describes as “an extreme form of overgeneralization”], and Personalization [which Dr. Burns defines as, “You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.”].

       

This means that a lot of helplessness, and blaming the victims for it, is within our norm.  Yet it seems only natural to see this helplessness, like that.  After all, there are no absolute truths that would tell you whether or not any helplessness is just one of life’s normal vicissitudes, a result of people’s inevitable imperfections, etc.  Therefore, even if depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults, there’s no way to prove that what caused each depression, was more than just realities that people would deal with if they didn’t have weak character flaws.

The entry on Niebuhr in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001, says that  he “defended Christianity as the world view that best explains the heights and barbarisms of human behavior,” so we’re simply supposed to accept the existence of barbarity, and change our vulnerability to barbarisms.  Before I read of Niebuhr seeing human nature as barbaric, even before I heard that the small print of the Serenity Prayer includes acceptance of hardship sinfulness and surrender, I thought of the logic of the Serenity Prayer as “the law of the jungle,” since what one could evade depends on what he has the brute power to change.  Only in some situations, to varying degrees, does the Serenity Prayer become the Barbarity Prayer, and does serene acceptance mean in the words of Shakespeare, “like patience on a monument smiling at grief,” but in those situations, unvaryingly, the response-ability goes absolutely to the person whose welfare is at stake.  Recent self-help books by leading psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis, have such titles as, “How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You,” and, “How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything—Yes, Anything.

Therefore, the following list gives the reasons why those who support such practices as the exile of the Palestinian refugees, the sexism which is the most easily enforceable norm of Islamic fundamentalism, and the causes of the rampant depression of the modern West, are followers of norms, rather than people who have characters that would have independently concluded that these are good ideas:

Another parallel between the Palestinian refugees, religious dogma, and those hurt by what causes the rampant depression, is hidden agendas.  Powerless people who seem ignominiously cunning, seem to be serving hidden agendas.  These could seem to be to manipulate others into giving them more than they deserve, to get others to feel sorry for them, to feel righteous, etc.  As, “The concept of the opposite, so long as we are speaking of beings without knowledge, is expressed by the word bad, more rarely and abstractly by the word evil, which therefore denotes everything that is not agreeable to the striving of the will in each case,” suggests, even if someone honestly stands up for his own rights, it could seem that naturally everyone wants to believe that he’s entitled to more than he has.  If a depression is blamed on the depressed person’s character flaws, then the symptoms of depression are supposed to reflect what Schopenhauer called the depressed person’s will.

The most basic parallel is that it seems that certain ends must be achieved, at whatever means this would require.  This is exactly the opposite of Nazi and similar stereotypes of Jews.  For example, The Nazi Conscience, by Claudia Koonz, says about some Nazi propaganda,

Just months after Jewish veterans published a volume of patriotic letters written by Jewish soldiers who had died for Germany in the Great War, a literary theorist performed a close textual analysis of these letters and compared them with letters written by Christian soldiers who had died.  His expert opinion on one Jewish letter typified his approach.  Reflecting on his earlier antipathy for militarism, in 1914 the Jewish soldier confessed his joy at discovering his authentic self in battle.  And yet, he continued, as passionately as he loved Germany, he did not hate French and British soldiers because they had as much claim to honor as he did.  The Nazi literary critic denigrated these sentiments (and the style in which they were written) as “characteristically Jewish” because a “dissection of one’s feelings is foreign to Germans.”  Germanic soldiers, he wrote, did not introspect; they volunteered instinctively, exhibiting “idealism in its purest form.”

This supposedly “characteristically Jewish” approach is also characteristically intellectual, whereas the characteristically anti-intellectual Nazis were gutsy.  After all, action is a lot more exciting than thought.

(Nazi propaganda, titled “The Nitpicker,” showing an intellectual overly critical about a Nazi’s gutsy jackboots)

Yet any nationalism, whether Jewish or anything else, would have to reflect the ideologies of that nationalism, in its purest form.  That would be the only way in which this nationalism can win as many battles as it could.

Likewise, in a society with rampant depression, each individual simply must do whatever it takes to take responsibility for his own problems.  If he isn’t adequate to do this, loses the battle, fails, and comes up short with big consequences, he’d seem to be an irresponsible and inadequate, loser and failure with very consequential shortcomings.  If he doesn’t adjust to this, adapt to it, function with it, fit in with it, and feel content with it, he’d seem to be a maladjusted maladaptive and dysfunctional, misfit and malcontent.  Sure, the sort of intellectual thinking that the Nazis associated with Jews, would see how far this is from the truth.  Even common sense would see that just because someone had to deal with a big problem, doesn’t mean that he should be judged by a harsher standard.  This means something very different in a society with rampant depression.  Yet this sort of self-responsibility would be the only way in which each person can win as many battles as he could, without getting what he wants through manipulative emotions.  Realizing how morally bankrupt this is, could seem too introspective.

Since violent religious groups, including those that say they’re fighting for the Palestinians, are organized for the purpose of serving a religious dogma, they probably do serve hidden agendas.  Conspiracies could arise out of any organizations.  When Americans on news programs say that some of the things that these groups do, cunningly serve a hidden agenda, all that I could think is, “Since groups like that are organized so that the members could serve a goal that’s supposed to be more important than the members’ own lives, I’d imagine that these groups would be used to stage situations intended to elicit others’ sympathy.”

Yet Palestinian refugees who are doing their best to live in desperate circumstances, obviously aren’t serving any hidden agendas.  Demonstrating their high rate of depression, would be demonstrating an objective fact.  It would also be pretty hard to make that seem ignominiously cunning, though literally anything could.

An example of the sort of faith that we have in such norms, and how any moral responsibility could seem ignominiously cunning, is that, according to an American Federal government document, the Reagan Administration had arranged for many varieties of deadly germs to be shipped to Saddam, including anthrax, when everyone knew that he actually was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction!  Some of these were to be shipped to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission!  Obviously as Reagan did that, he didn’t have a sense of moral responsibility.

Yet even if Saddam had killed many people with those germs, what the Reagan Administration did could be excused as “only a mistake,” since they didn’t think that Saddam would use the germs.  And these expectations of forgiveness wouldn’t have been relative, such as, “Reagan should have been sent to prison rather than hanged for this,” or, “Reagan should have been given only a short prison sentence.”  Rather, this would have been, “Sure, Reagan led the effort to provide Saddam with those germs that he used for his mass-murder, but that was only a mistake, so Reagan should have gotten zero moral responsibility!  If you think that he should have had any moral and legal responsibility, then that’s your weakness and character flaw!  In fact, you’re probably trying to manipulate people into fearing the bold ventures that Reagan loved!”  Only those who had believed in Reagan, yet could see the dangers of that, would seem not to have any hidden agenda.  Anyone else would eventually seem to be cunningly trying to serve an ulterior motive.

A recent book, The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind, is about Dick Cheney’s doctrine for why invading Iraq was still acceptable even though Saddam no longer had weapons of mass destruction.  As this book says, “Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty.  It’s not about ‘our analysis,’ as Cheney said.  It’s about ‘our response.’  ...Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters.  As to ‘evidence,’ the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn’t apply.”

“Our response” meant our real, gutsy action.  This reflects physical strength, which in all circumstances powerfully impresses the human race.  “Our analysis” was just a bunch of abstractions.  Abstractions can be ignominiously cunning, while physical strength can’t.  The chances that Saddam would have used the germs that the Reagan Administration arranged for Saddam to get, was certainly greater than 1%.  Yet in that era, any favors that the U.S. government did for Saddam that would win his alliance with us, seemed to mean real, gutsy action.  Caring about the immorality of that, seemed to be just abstract analysis.  When Anthrax Reagan arranged for the germs to be shipped to Saddam, though, winning his alliance by taking that huge risk is what was the impressively gutsy choice, and choosing not to take that risk is what would have seemed too abstract.

His supporters have probably used the word “mistake,” or something equally innocent, many times to describe this recklessness.  They’ve had only two choices: either this choice seems to be “only a mistake,” or he’d seem to be morally and legally responsible for providing deadly germs to someone like Saddam.

That defense of Reagan’s arranging for the deadly germs to be sent to Saddam, would come from the same cultural norms from which these distortions come.  To say that since Anthrax Reagan’s intent wasn’t evil he should have absolutely no legal responsibility, so if you disagree you’re bad, is certainly All-or-Nothing Thinking and Overgeneralization.  A refusal to see way he should have some responsibility for Saddam’s using them, would be a Mental Filter.  To say that those resentful enough to say that Reagan should get some responsibility, therefore have character flaws, is Disqualifying the Positive about them.  To say that what he did was understandable, while those who’d think that he’d deserve serious punishment are a bunch of manipulators, would be magnifying what seems to be wrong with the weak, and minimizing what is wrong with the strong.  This would feel like the strong, red-blooded, resilient attitude to have toward morally ambiguous situations (and which situations aren’t ambiguous to some degree?), which would make it Emotional Reasoning.  The main point would be what the weak should do more pragmatically.  To call taking seriously what Reagan did, “character flaws,” would be Labeling and Mislabeling.  All these attempts to correct the weak, would leave them Personalizing any weaknesses.

And though it might seem that the average American would care more if Saddam used the germs to exterminate Israeli civilians, than if he used them to exterminate Iranian civilians, this logic would actually apply equally no matter who he exterminated.  When depressed Westerners blame themselves according to this logic, it isn’t because they’re bigoted against themselves.  The unambiguous truth is that Reagan knew that Saddam could have used those germs on anyone near him.

Whatever our cultures tell us is an absolute truth, seems to be an absolute truth.  Yet if people knew that in the real, material, world, these norms caused extraordinary devastation, then these people couldn’t regard these norms to be absolute truths.


 


 When Americans look at situations  like that of the Palestinian refugees, where their lives had been greatly disrupted but it would be possible for them to rebuild lives that are close to normal, especially if their allies helped them, the questions that would be foremost in Americans’ minds would be,

This is how, and why, victims are saved from themselves.  It seems that the nakba wouldn’t still be a catastrophe if Palestinians or their allies rebuilt the Palestinians’ lives, they chose to have a serene acceptance of wherever they’d live, etc.
 
 


 The world politic operates according to principles  that are very similar to the founding American principles, not the modern American principles.  The founding American principles define “realism” as what best reflects reality.  Modern American principles define “realism” as what beliefs, statements, etc., are the most pragmatic for a particular situation, in the self-reliant sense.  It seems that respectable people take responsibility for their own welfare, and that those who cause the problems should get the benefit of the doubt as to how responsible they are for the consequences.  From the point of view of an American who has seen this close up, from 1989 to 1991, I was involved in a situation where I was the victim, and I was treated as if, if I didn’t simply emotionally adjust to, physically adapt to, and function with, this reality, that would mean that I’m maladjusted maladaptive and dysfunctional.

I describe this on my Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008 webpage, with notes that I took at that time.  This was when I was first faced with person after person trying to solve any and every problem that one caused for another, by saving the victims from themselves, from their own unpragmatic reactions.  This is the most reliable self-reliant and forgiving way to solve problems.  I got the impression that if someone impacts your life greatly, the only awareness that respectable redbloods would have of you, is of what you should do self-reliantly to put your life back together again.  This, after all, achieves homeostasis.  These notes includes one in which I wrote, “Their fatalism often made me feel as if I was a native of an occupied country, and every time I spoke with a well-meaning native about this, he would tell me, in a blasé voice ‘The occupiers are brutal, but, oh, well, human nature sometimes is that way.  They’ve got the guns, so they’ve got the power, and that’s all that matters in the real world.  Justice and legitimacy are only abstractions.  The occupation is unfair, but, oh, well, you can’t seriously expect life to be fair.  Dismiss the occupation from your mind, and try to function as if it never happened.  You’ll be a lot happier, and if you don’t, you chose to think in a way that made you flounder.’”  This hypothetical statement of an occupied person, would fit modern American principles which define what is “realism,” since such an attitude would be the beliefs that are the most pragmatic for their particular situation.  That statement certainly wouldn’t fit traditional American principles which defined what is “realism,” since it certainly wouldn’t be the eloquent reasoning which best reflects the reality of those who are occupied.

The American public hears the refugee camps mentioned occasionally, but few realize that people have been living there for decades, and that if Sharon’s government had its way, they could be there for centuries.  People are simply supposed to accept this, though not with an attitude of, “Oh, well, we’ve just got to accept that Israel will sometimes do things like that.”  Sharon and Netanyahu have both said that the US should unquestioningly support Israel, since it’s the country in its area of the world that shares our “values,” as if the Israeli form of government should be a role-model for the Sahara region.  As President Kennedy was concluding his inaugural address, he told of how Americans could solve America’s problems in an anti-authoritarian democratic fashion, and then said, “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.  And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the Freedom of Man.  Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.”

“Israel is not ready to allow or discuss the return of refugees into its boundaries, refugees who had to escape because of a war that was forced on Israel,” Sharon said on April 8, 2002, “That would mean... the end of Israel as a Jewish state.”  Is this what’s supposed to be the glow from the fire that will truly light the world?  Are we to say righteously to the refugees and their allies, that the refugees are to accept their continued exile, since they escaped because of a war that was forced on Israel, and since their moving back would put the demographics in their ethnicity’s favor?  What inspiring fire could that possibly light within Palestinian and Arab individuals?  For what would the refugees be sacrificing?  Who are holding themselves to standards of strength and sacrifice that are even close to the standards to which they’re holding the refugees?  What sort of fire would this light within the Arab governments?  Would they first make a lot of their opponents into refugees in exile, then hold their elections among those who’d still be residents, and then act like victims if others don’t like this?

I heard an Israeli representative said that it’s a shame that the refugees in Jenin have had to live in the desperate circumstances typical for the camps, though the refugees’ leaders have so many luxuries.  A shocked Palestinian representative responded that he certainly shouldn’t be criticizing others for the fate of the refugees, since the reason they’ve been living as castaways for fifty-three years is that the Israeli army didn’t allow them to return home, merely because they were “of the wrong religion.”  He stressed the fifty-three years, assuming that since the Israelis’ actions have burdened the refugees for so much time, this makes the Israelis more responsible than if they did this for only a short time.  Yet modern Western culture tends to assume that the more time that someone burdens another like this, the less responsible is the burdener and the more responsible is the burdened.


 

Proving the effects of what the refugees have had to endure for decades, would make a great impression on the international politic, which is highly different from when the Old Testament, on which Zionism is based, was written.  With all the violence and bloodshed in Israel and the occupied territories, many are desperate for something that could make a difference non-violently.

To both the White House and the UN representatives of many predominantly Muslim countries, I recently sent an e-mail saying the following: I heard an American commentator say that the Muslim fanatics are trying to turn the clock back a thousand years, back to when the Sahara region was the center of the civilized world.  In truth, that would be a good idea, since the reason why the Sahara was the center of the civilized world was that it was the center of math and science.  After all, we in the Western world now use Arabic numerals, and Arabian mathematicians devised the idea of having a digit for the number zero.  If we could let Arabs know that the way in which they could make an impact in the world is through math and science once again, this would be what really would be following their own traditions.  Each of those countries that were a part of this world-changing innovation and development, would probably know most of the developments from his own country, and could both let the modern world know about them, and could encourage more of the same instead of the mad bombers who seem to think that this is the way to impact the world.
 
 


 If what has been done to the Palestinian refugees  were just a matter of life’s inherent imperfections, then those who don’t have weak character flaws could simply be expected to accept them.  Since for decades the Israeli army has been keeping these people from returning to their legitimate homes, through nothing more than the power that comes from the barrel of a gun and plenty of American financing, this is somewhere between a normal violation of international law and a crime against humanity.  When any American president lectures the world about the evils of an enemy’s human rights violation, I’d like to ask him, “On a scale of one to ten, how severe do you think that violation is?  Also, in comparison, on a scale of one to ten, how severe do you think are the human rights violations done to all those Palestinian refugees for fifty years and counting?”  I find it absolutely amazing that even pro-Israel websites, representatives of the Israeli government, etc., refer to the refugee camps in a blasé way.

The Merriam Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, certainly an objective reference, defines the word “refugee” as “one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution,” so each of these supporters of Israel is saying nonchalantly that these Palestinians are people who had to escape danger or persecution caused by the supporters’ heroes.  Yet for the sake of homeostasis, we routinely minimize how serious we see destructive behavior to be, and magnify how serious we see victims’ failures in taking responsibility for their own welfare to be.  In this situation, also, we seem to love the idea that no matter what happens to each of us, including the Palestinian refugees, they’re all responsible for their own welfare, and nothing should stop them from rebuilding their own lives.

Bringing this to light could contribute to peace in several ways.  Young Palestinians call older Palestinians “the failed generation” since they haven’t been able to achieve either national self-determination or peace.  They haven’t yet tried presenting to the world a complete picture of what the refugees have had to live with.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “...it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds...,” and that was pretty easy because during King’s time Americans could turn on their televisions and see some compellingly real, racist violence and coercion.

First off, the more people know about this, the more people would know how real the Palestinians’ concerns are.  Since this is objective, science can measure its effects, such as the rate of depression among the refugees and their relatives.  Just after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, some women expressed concern about all the Afghani women who suddenly began experiencing depression though they never had before, and if the same is true for the Palestinians, the same concern should apply to them.  That sure is compellingly real, racist coercion of millions of people.  Other effects of exile could also be measured, such as lowering one’s standards enough to cope, the lack of opportunities for personal growth, etc.

 

And for those who are phobic of science, or who at least feel uneasy with scientific exploration of such a humanistic and soulful issue, this Victorian-era photo is of scientist-inventor Nikola Tesla, born in 1856, who invented such things as the AC motor, and he certainly wasn’t a fuddy-duddy.  The advantage that science could give in exploring these issues is that then we’d have objectively demonstrable truth on our side.

 

This particular field of study could also clarify to a lot of Muslims exactly how American power-over works.  In order for a system to sustain itself, the power dynamics that go on have to be subtle enough that even those who lose in contests of power have to accept the results.  Probably the best way to understand what Americans tend to regard as humanitarian, pro-freedom, is to ask, “What would produce the greatest freedom of choice, in a society with the economy of Colonial America, or to the American pioneers settling the West, at which times women’s rights weren’t taken seriously?”  More on this on page 2 of this message.

A vital fact that I don’t hear mentioned much in the American media, is what the Palestinian refugees have been going through for the past half a century.  It seems that Israel represents democracy and reasonability, while the Palestinians represent nationalism at all costs, suicidal authoritarian religion, and implacable resentment though this makes no sense.  It’s as if all those refugees are “unpersons,” as if they haven’t existed, or haven’t had the normal human rights that Western values usually hold sacred.  It seems that if someone impacts your life greatly, the only awareness that self-reliant people would have of you is of what you should do self-reliantly to put your life back together again.  Only the Saudi peace plan has mentioned the fact that about fifty years ago and then again in 1967, the refugees who fled the country expecting to return to their legitimate homes weren’t allowed to return, simply because Israeli democracy wanted to make its demographics more Jewish.

When Anderson Cooper’s 360 program on CNN, interviewed Angelina Jolie about her devotion to helping the world’s refugees, he said, “What Angelina Jolie says is the least she can do may be her most inspiring role ever, goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Refugee Agency, the agency that helps nearly 15 million displaced people around the world.  Since 2001, Angelina Jolie has traveled to some 20 countries with the U.N., speaking out for those who often have no voice at all.”  If, on the other hand, he specified how many Palestinian refugees had lived as refugees, including in camps, for how much time, many Americans would have considered that to be outrageously bigoted against Jews.

Frankly, I’m even surprised that in the West it still seems very acceptable to refer to the Palestinian refugees, as “refugees.”  A “Palestinian refugee,” would be someone who belongs in Palestine, but is temporarily taking refuge elsewhere.  Yet according to fundamentalist Jewish and Christian theology, those who are called “Palestinian refugees” are really permanently displaced persons who don’t belong in Palestine.  According to this theology, considering them to be refugees rather than displaced persons would be morally wrong, either ungodly or bigoted against Jews.
 
 

 UNRWA Registered Refugees (June 1995)
 

 

In Camps

Not in Camps

Total

Jordan

 238,188

 1,050,009

 1,288,197

West Bank

 131,705

   385,707

   517,412

Gaza

 362,626

   320,934

   683,560

Lebanon

 175,747

   170,417

   346,164

Syria

  83,311

   253,997

   337,308

TOTAL

 991,577

 2,181,064

 3,172,641

(The webpages off these links go to some very specific details of the refugees in each country, such as maps giving the locations of the camps.)  And here’s the link for the homepage of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
 
 

Palestinian Refugees 1950-1992

  Host Countries

  Total No./
  In Camps (1950)

  Total No./
  In Camps (1992)

  No. 
  of Camps

  Lebanon

   127,600 
   100,000

   320,000
   155,562 

  12

  Syria

    82,194 
    75,000

   300,000 
    76,252

  10

  Jordan

   206,200 
    70,000

 1,000,000 
   215,187

  10

  West Bank

   300,000 
   280,000

   460,000 
   119,987

  19

  Gaza

   198,227 
   190,000

   560,000 
   299,755

   8

  Total

   914,221
   715,000

 2,640,000 
   866,743

  59

(And these tables don’t include any of the refugees outside of these four countries.)

 

Old-fashioned psychologists, meaning pre-Reagan/Thatcher, tended to operate along the lines of traditional American principles, of science, free thought and inquiry, and intellectual honesty.  Old-fashioned psychologists of any ethnicity would have plenty of insight for what the “unpersons” have been enduring.  The book Your Mental Health, A Layman’s Guide to the Psychiatrist’s Bible, by Allen Frances, MD and Michael B. First, MD, says in its introduction, “One in five people has a psychiatric problem at any given moment, and half will have one in a lifetime.”  This also says as it begins its chapter on depression, “In one particularly telling experiment, two animals are yoked together so that they will receive exactly the same mildly unpleasant shock, but one of the two can take steps that will improve or worsen the outcome for both.  Even though both animals receive exactly the same total amount of discomfort, the active animal who can exert some influence experiences much less depression than the totally passive victim.”

Old-fashioned psychologists wouldn’t try to save such totally passive victims from themselves, by coaching them into seeing their helplessness as something that they will deal with.  The more modern psychologists of any ethnicity would endeavor to save those who have to deal with helplessness from themselves, such as by telling the refugees to choose to feel at home in exile, since this would lead to better feelings and more pragmatic action, than their feeling estranged.  This sort of attitude modification is the Reagan-inspired version of the behavior modification of Pavlov’s dogs.  Modern psychologists of any ethnicity would say that if they choose not to have the recommended attitudes, such as by having the attitude that Jesus had as he was being crucified, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (which I’ve long found helps me feel less resentful), then they’re choosing to make their problem worse than it has to be.

What we all could learn about the refugees would be relevant to anyone who’s supposed to adjust and adapt in whatever ways their realities require.  The greatest influence in popular psychology, which makes a big difference in who gets condemned and who gets praised for how well they manage their lives, is the problem-solving approaches of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.  This began with the popularity of the Serenity Prayer, which AA made into a formula which diverse people use to inspire them to become well-adjusted.  The big problem is that the only part that’s popular is the first sentence, which only implies that this has no limits of severity.

The first sentence of Serenity Prayer, seems good, since the most effective homeostasis would provide a resolution for any and every hardship and sinfulness, without saying so explicitly.  The thinking of the Serenity Prayer ends up minimizing the condemnation of sinful or other destructive behavior, and magnifying victims’ insufficiencies in serenity courage and wisdom.  In AA’s group handbook, they give as their model “searching and fearless moral inventory,” a confession of perturbed feelings, as if these are what should be confessed:
 
 

I’m resentful at:

The cause:

Affects my:

Mr. Brown

His attention to my wife.
Told my wife of my mistress.
Brown may get my job at the office.

Sex relations
Self-esteem (fear)

Mrs. Jones

She’s a nut—she snubbed me.
She committed her husband for drinking.
He’s my friend.
She’s a gossip.

Personal relationship.
Self-esteem (fear)

My employer

Unreasonable—
Unjust—
Overbearing—
Threatens to fire me for my drinking and 
padding my expense account.

Self-esteem (fear)
Security.

My wife

Misunderstands and nags.
Likes Brown.
Wants house put in her name.

Pride
Personal sex relations
Security (fear)

 


 

Just before this is a warning that resentment is the “number one offender,” and soon afterward, “Perhaps there is a better way, we think so.  For we are now on a different basis of trusting and relying upon God.  We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves.  We are in the world to play the role He assigns.  Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.”  This de rigueur amoralism was so successful with winning addicts over, that it seemed to be a successful approach for psychology in general.  It doesn’t matter that those who became addicts, would be very likely to hate the legitimate resentment anger and fear that their own victims feel, so of course addicts would want to treat such feelings as The Enemy.  This exact spirituality was then adopted by groups of people with various chemical and behavioral addictions, and groups for the families and friends of addicts who cause various forms of calamities for their families, so these abject victims are supposed to apply this same absolute unconditional acceptance to their own outrageous problems.

The attitudes that I tell of in my Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008 webpage, have been traced to these techniques for dealing with addicted spouses.  Since homeostasis is probably always unfair to some degree, any time that one person has to solve a problem that another caused, even an outrageous problem, people can respond to this by saying, “If a problem has to be solved, it has to be solved.  If we’re all responsible for our own welfare, and it’s your problem, you have to solve it.  Who ever said that life’s demands were fair?”

Self-help books written for women whose husbands or lovers have destructive behavior problems, tell the women that the men’s behaviors are the women’s problems, so they should solve their problems through self-help, and should correct any defects that they have in doing this.  As in the “law of the jungle,” the women don’t have the brute power to change what the men do or how this would impact the women’s lives if they stayed with these men, but the women do have the brute power to move to a new home at all costs.  As Ann Jones satirized this method of reaching homeostasis, “Without the wife-beater’s wife there would be no wife beating.”  If a woman thought, “But my everyday conceptions of who is responsible for what, don’t give responsibility that absolutely and firmly, to whoever has the problem,” she’d seem to be out-of-step with normal people.  On my A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction webpage, I have quotes from the book from Al-Anon, titled ...In All Our Affairs, Making Crises Work For You, (I’m not joking.), in which Al-Anon members tell of how they both pragmatically held themselves responsible for not stopping others from harming them, and try to stop painful unpragmatic self-blame.  Also on that webpage are victim-correcting slogans of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the like.

Therefore, the coldness shown toward the Palestinian refugees, could even be called pragmatic.  The idea that no matter what happens to each of us, we’re all responsible for our own welfare, and nothing should stop us from rebuilding our lives, is certainly cold, but would lead to more homeostasis than does warmth toward those who, it seems, should be resolutely taking responsibility for their own welfare.  Cultural norms such as those that produced the popularity of the above thinking, go one step beyond anomie, which is the absence of nominal morality, to antinomie, the condemnation of nominal morality, similar to Antinomianism, an old Christian belief system.  The Merriam Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary says that the word Antinomian is derived from “anti-” and “nomos,” Greek for “law,” and defines Antinomian as, “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.”
 


 Antinomie would say that if some allies of the victims, could have returned the victims’ lifestyles  to normal but didn’t, the current existence of the problems would be the fault of those who didn’t deal with and eliminate these realities.
 
 

 

Here’s a badge for some other border guards, Soviet border guards, who also: were reality, had to be accepted as something that couldn’t be changed for the time being, had all the force they needed to effect their government’s will upon unarmed people, and couldn’t pass the test of moral acceptability.

If Stalin had made people of a nationality in the Soviet Union into displaced refugees, the Western governments would have had absolutely no qualms about calling this evil, but when an American ally does it simply to make the demographics of an area consist of more of their own ethnic group (which is certainly very mercenary social engineering), we don’t dare call it evil.  Clearly the refugees in the camps, both male and female, have shown what the Polish call hart ducha, “hard spirit,” a defiant spirit which refuses to allow problems caused by those who are more powerful, to bother one where it would hinder or intimidate him.  If any ethnic group of any religion that Stalin resettled into camps showed the same spirit, the average American would have found this very admirable, but the expectations that we make of victims depend on whether or not we want to dismiss this victimization as just one of life’s inevitable problems.

Bush usually doesn’t have any patience for people who try to excuse evil by saying, “But it’s understandable that I did this since my ethnicity was so horribly victimized, and if you object firmly to what I did, you’re one of our persecutors!”  Texans, though, are quite likely to accept aggressive excuses, such as, “You’ve got to understand that since I beat my wife, that was a crime of passion,” though domestic violence could have years of pre-meditation.

Yet if we studied what is the rate of depression and similar conditions among non-violent Palestinian civilians, those who’ve lived in refugee camps outside Palestine and those who’ve lived elsewhere, what happened to them couldn’t be brushed off like that.  A paper presented to the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, by The Harvard Project on Palestinian Refugees,  begins, “Peace in the Middle East will not endure without resolving the Palestinian refugee question. The absence of such an agreement will leave a large number of people feeling ignored and aggrieved by the peace process.”  If the experience of living as uprooted refugees, possibly in refugee camps, for decades, are minimized as merely feeling ignored and aggrieved, then as far as the world community would be concerned, these people’s desperation is undesperation and they might as well have just been disappointed.  If, on the other hand, such papers talked about the rampant devastation that would come from living in camps or in exile for decades, it would be a lot harder to ignore this.

For example, a CNN program on Arafat says that he could feel for the Palestinians’ plight since when he was a child he was transferred between homes, and this made him identify with the Palestinians’ homelessness in not having a state, not the homelessness of many in living in camps or, at the very least, without citizenship anywhere.  The CNN biography webpage about this program, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, says, “After Israel won the war [in 1948], Palestinians suffered a significant humiliation when the 750,000 Palestinian Arabs were left without a state of their own,” without mentioning that many weren’t allowed to return to their legitimate homes within another ethnicity’s state, so were left in camps and/or without citizenship against their will.  The Pope said in a speech to the Dheisheh Refugee Camp, “Above all you bear the sad memory of what you were forced to leave behind, not just material possessions, but your freedom, the closeness of relatives, and the familial surroundings and cultural traditions which nourished your personal and family life.”

One important fact, though, is that it seems irrelevant how much the actions of the Israeli army, are based on the thinking of the ancient world.  In the near-Neolithic period when Bible was written, war crimes and the like were simply the way that disputes got resolved, whether the Israelis were the perpetrators or the victims.  While only the religious fanatics like the religious supporters settlers in the West Bank, including “bulldozer” Sharon, wouldn’t condemn the following strongly enough, some Bible stories that show what theologians would call the “peril of faith” in the morality of ancient times, including stories where the Israelis were brutalized and/or God did the brutalizing, are: Genesis 34:8, 13-16, 19, 24-26, 29; Exodus 4:18-14:8 (Who were being punished gravely for whose sins, and who kept making him do it by hardening his heart, again, and again, and again?); Exodus 21:7, 20, 21 (If a man may sell his own daughter into slavery, or beat his slave to death “for he is his money,” why exterminate random Egyptian civilians because some Egyptians enslaved Israelis?); Exodus 32:27-29, 35; Leviticus 26:28, 29; Numbers 16:3, 20-22, 27, 31-33, 35, 49; Numbers 25:4; Numbers 31:1-18, 25-30-35, 39-40 (The Midianites, who were related to the Israelis, had sheltered Moses for 40 years, and this is what they got in return.); Deuteronomy 2:30-34; Deuteronomy 3:6; Deuteronomy 7:1-2; Deuteronomy 7:20, 21; Deuteronomy 13:6-10; Deuteronomy 17:12; Deuteronomy 20:6-17; Deuteronomy 21:10-14; Joshua 8:26; Joshua 10:28-40; Joshua 11:10-21; Judges 4:9-23; Judges 5:24, 26-27, 31 (The “blessed” women could be as sick as the “blessed” men or even Jeffery Dahmer, “Most blessed of women be Ja’el, the wife of Heber the Ken’ite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed.... She put her hand to the tent peg and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet; she struck Sis’era a blow, she crushed his head, she shattered and pierced his temple.  He sank, he fell, he lay still at her feet; at her feet he sank, he fell; where he sank, there he fell dead....  ‘So perish all thine enemies, O LORD!  But thy friends be like the sun as he rises in his might.’  And the land had rest for forty years.”); Judges 14:19; Judges 15:4,5;  Judges 16:27-30 (Samson commits murder-suicide which kills many women as well as men, “Now the house was full of men and women...  And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines.  And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein.  So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”); Judges 18:6-7; Judges 21:7-14; 1 Samuel 4:2-10; 1 Samuel 6:19; 1 Samuel 15:1-23, 33; 1 Samuel 15:33; 1 Samuel 25:5-13; 1 Samuel 30:2-18; 2 Samuel 8:4; 2 Samuel 11:2-15; 2 Samuel 12:31; 2 Samuel 21:1, 3-14;; 1 Kings 2:6-9, 29, 34, 46; 1 Kings 18:40; 2 Kings 1:10-12; 2 Kings 9:6-10; 2 Kings 10:10-30; 2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chronicles 20:3; 1 Chronicles 21:1-15 with 2 Samuel 24:15; Psalms 136:2, 10, 15, 17-21; Isaiah 13: 6, 9, 16-18; Lamentations 2:21; Lamentations 3:10, 11; Ezekiel 6:12, 13; Ezekiel 14:19; Hosea 13: 7, 8.  If the Koran told such stories, Americans would be hearing about them night and day.  (The New Testament has its share of sick verses, such as Matthew 5:28-30 and Matthew 19:12)  Yet even if religious fanatics who believed in all this, were the ones who were displacing the refugees, they’d still be expected to deal with that reality.  This acceptance would be according to modern American principles, not traditional American principles.

Those who’d object to scientific research which proves the validity of the stronger of the feelings which Niebuhr says we should simply pray away, would probably see us as mollycoddles, so would confront us, and those whose feeling we’d validate, as manipulative whining intended to win us something.  If, hypothetically, we based out pursuits on a holy book in which whining for fun and profit was a normal tactic for the heroes, the attack politicians would have every reason to complain.
 

 


 For the most part, the Jewish culture,  other than among the authoritarian religious fanatics, is probably the culture that would be most aware of all this, since the Jewish culture strongly encourages a strong sensitivity against the leaders of one ethnic group saying explicitly that they’re entitled to produce a demographics that favors them, by keeping millions of innocent people of another ethnic group exiled as refugees.

Typical of the usual minimization and magnification, is the fact that many Americans think that since the Bible says that the Jewish homeland has to encompass all of the territory of ancient Israel, and since the Nazis butchered so many Jews, anything that Jews would do to create a refuge for themselves would be understandable.  The Palestinians just happened to be the ones unfortunate to be in the way of this, and compared to what the Jews endured, it’s hard to feel sorry for anyone else.

For those who are anti-Jewish even the slightest (I’m not Jewish myself, but I’ve always felt at home with the secular Jewish culture.), you might be greatly surprised how much insight the Jewish culture has.  If you’re going to choose to love your enemy as Gandhi suggested, the Jews would be the ideal enemy to have.  Poor Gandhi didn’t have that option; he had to choose to love the BRITISH.  Many Jews who saw the refugee camps would strongly want to spare these people this pain, since Jewish tradition identifies with being victimized, and tends to be cosmopolitan and insightful.  The staid, vapid, elitist, Britishers who could have visited colonial India probably wouldn’t care about the colonialism.  Sufi philosophy would also say to do as Gandhi did.  Some appreciations of good and bad simply are basically human (Excuse me for not being as poetic as Arabic.), and the Jewish culture would be among the most aware of such things as “the banality of evil,” and the idiocy of elitist constructs.  Yet the Western distortions in thinking could distort the awareness of even Jewish tradition.  (And regarding the bigoted anti-Jewish stereotype, I really do think that many would have a lot more peace if the Israeli government actually did act like The Stereotypical Aggressive Jew, since The Stereotypical Aggressive Jew is smart and sophisticated, does pragmatic cost/benefit analyses, and doesn’t get fanatically sentimental about particular pieces of land!  Remember, those bigoted against Jews tend to be moronic anti-intellectuals who see The Stereotypical Aggressive Jew as someone who uses intelligence, high status, respect for intellectuals, supposed conspiracies, and plenty more abstractions, rather than force, to get things under his control.  He’d be too sophisticated to think that anyone could get away with apartheid-by-dispossession in the long run.)

Sometimes I wonder what the Arab world would think, and what their poetic language could express about this, if they were aware as we are of what the Nazis did to the Jews, which has got to be world history’s ultimate passion play, including plenty of moral teachings and edifications.  If Arabs saw Americans looking at the three million Palestinian refugees and not seeming to care, this might look deathly cold, but average Americans are so aware of the Nazis’ extermination of six million Jews, that all one has to do is say “The Six Million,” and Americans would know who this means.  If average Americans saw the Palestinian refugees, all that the Americans could think is, “It’s the three million versus The Six Million.”  The Israeli government aren’t the narcissistic imperialistic luxury-seeking colonialists that you may be used to.

A hundred years ago, you would have seemed bigoted against Jews if you said, “Since Israel simply has to be what it is, something’s wrong with you if you don’t accept that:


 Understanding that the Jews aren’t just another bunch of mercenary colonialists,  could help in several ways.  Gamblers Anonymous, a self-help group for pathological gamblers who want to stop, whose definition of personal responsibility is based on that of Alcoholics Anonymous, is tied with Gam-Anon, a group which comforts those close to pathological gamblers.  The handbook of  Gamblers Anonymous has a chapter for Gam-Anon, which says, “Realizing that pathological gambling is an illness does help [the spouse of an active gambler to endure the resulting problems such as financial crises], as does the understanding that the gambler is not trying deliberately to hurt or destroy his or her family or friends.  This, knowledge, according to Gam-Anon, makes the problem a little easier to bear.”  I, personally, think that the whole world would benefit if both the Palestinians and the Jews understood the agonies that the other group has endured due to racism, and that this defensiveness, rather than maliciousness, is what’s behind their destructive actions.  Most instances of genuine bigotry against Jews, have been their being scapegoated for what others did, yet it seems acceptable to make the Palestinian exiles pay the price for what the Nazis did.  Yet people aren’t going to get this understanding by being told that they should choose to think pragmatically.  Even if a million Palestinian refugees who have sworn never to participate in any political violence, came to the Israeli border heroically and peacefully, wanting only to return to their homes, and as history and the whole world watched, the Israeli armed forces stopped them from entering, what the Israeli army would do could seem understandable considering what the Jews have endured.  I’ll guarantee that the more that you’ve read about what the Nazis did, the more that you’ll understand.  This understanding, which fits traditional American principles, really is the sort of thing about which one could say, “the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”
 
 


Go To Page 2

 

 


 

Other Webpages on the Refugees and Other Palestinians:

Peace Now

Americans for Peace Now

Not In My Name

Jews for Justice in the Middle East

Oasis of Peace, a community of Jews and Israeli Arabs in Israel

Canadians Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace

Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel

Jewish-Palestinian Living-Room Dialogue Group

Jews for a Just Peace

The Palestinian Refugee Camps And The Limbo People

Palestinian Refugees and the Peace Process

CNN; Mideast 101: Who are Palestinian refugees?

Constructing Order: Palestinian Adaptations to Refugee Life

Eye to Eye, Photos of Kids in the Camps

Dheisheh Refugee Camp

Palestinian Refugees in Iraq Are Not Considered Refugees by UNRW

Caféarabica, the Arab-American Online Community Center, which included such quotes as Leslie Stahl of CBS interviewing Madeline Albright when she was US Secretary of State, where Stahl asked about US sanctions against Iraq, “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And — and you know, is the price worth it?” and Albright answered, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”  Caféarabica sounds like my kind of people.  Cafés, after all, began in the Arab world, and the authorities soon became afraid of them since their cafés, like ours, attracted freethinkers who wanted to talk independently.

 

 

 

Mail Me

 Home Page

 To The [Abuse] Survivors

About Us, the Summary

 About Us

My Story

 The Romance of Hassidism ♥♥♥♥♥

Men Dying for Love

On Doping

Oh, Yeah?” Upbeat Echoes from the First Great Stock Market Crash

Victim Correction as a Panacea, the Summary (Page 1)

(Page 2)(Main Page 3)

Cancer Victims Corrected Too

The Main Victim Correction as a Panacea

 Documentation On the Social Problem of Unnaturally Rampant Depression

 Standard Rationales for Victim Correction as a Panacea

 Schopenhauer on Predators

 Emphasis on Victim-Self-Blaming

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Sales Tips

Darwinist Lehman Brothers’ INSIDE Introduction to Management Book

Out of the Same Mold as the Great Crash of 2008

Top of Message for Intellectuals in the Islamic World

Candace Newmaker’s Experience

Breaking Important Confidences for Your Own Good

A Glimpse Into the Soul of Victim Correction

Cigarette Industry and Victim Correction

Niebuhr’s Ideas on Our Nature and Destiny

Herbal Experiences for Women

Some Ideas for Rapport

Hotlinks