[noaap] A “must read” response from a Palestinian-American friend
G. S. 
initial posting 27 May 2011 - last update 04 June 2011

URL: http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2011-05-27.htm

      I want to share with you a moving letter from Jamal J. Bargouti which I got today responding to my distribution of 2011-05-26. It attests to our shared humanity and the possibility of a good world for everyone. [1] Bargouti's initial message is the second item of this posting.

first item: the substance of my message of 2011-05-26

      On saying an “ineffective” truth — an exchange with Manuel Garcia.
initial posting 2011-05-22, last update 2011-05-22.
      Manuel Garcia is one of the few people in whose views I place the greatest weight. When I disagree with him, that’s serious business for me. In my effort to promote a humane resolution of the ferocious conflict centered in the “so-called Middle East” I asked Manuel to support my very radical proposal. Although we are in basic agreement that the Zionist state is illegitimate, we disagree in our expectations for its demise. My view is that Manuel is much more pessimistic than is warranted. Read more: http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2011-
second item: Jamal Bargouti’s reply of 2011-05-27

      Thanks George - Jamal Bargouti <j3k@mailme.ae>, Fri 27 May 2011 6:08am

      Dear George, You and intellectuals like you with their hearts and brains connected by a bridge of conscience, are the biggest hope left for us Palestinians. Manuel Garcia may not be right and may not be wrong. People and history provide proofs for both stands. Only six months ago no one in the world with good idea about the Arabs and the Middle East would’ve thought that people in Tunis, of all places, will rise and kick out a deep rooted dictator and a Mossad stooge. Freedom has a strange way of expressing itself sometimes, guided often by pain rather than desire and triggered not by an avalanche of ideology but by the flutter of a butterfly wing.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Palestine, inside or outside the wall, but I’ve just got back from a three weeks visit to my parents in Ramallah. This time I came back as hopeful as never before. Israel seemed to me bloated with confidence, drunk with wanton killing power, and too careless to pause in their reckless drive towards extinction. Two feelings on part of the oppressed, and one on the part of the oppressor, always prevail ahead of a major change or overcoming a major obstacle: the first is a deep sense of awareness of the injustice that has been meted out, the second is a sense of certain sighting of light at the end of the tunnel. I saw both of these on my last trip “home!” The third feeling on part of the Israelis is this cockiness, arrogance and poisonous hate to Palestinians, which was never shared by the likes of even Moshe Dayan or worse men like Shamir and Begin.

      Please let me tell you what is really sad about the Israelis! They had a chance to have a state and a good neighbor, even if that state was on that neighbor’s land or ruined homestead. There was an Israeli bus driver who came to the village where my parents live, who used to come and pick up workers to work inside the “Green Line.” Of course, that was before Oslo. He used to park the bus after dropping the workers and visit with my father over tea. One day, after “Abu Musa” dropped the workers and left the village, a young man whose father was killed that year by the Israelis stopped the bus and shot Abu Musa dead. My father was devastated. Thirty years later, my father still mourns his friend Abu Musa.

      My point, George, is that Israel could’ve showed us a better side of Israel. A school here, a clinic there, a road, fixed water spring, a tomato packing plant and we would’ve seen something different, something to consider, other than revenge. I am afraid it is too late now, nothing not “all the king’s horses or the king’s men” can fix now. The only side we know of Israel is the side that has tanks, life sentences, tortured prisoners and demolished houses and confiscated land and walls rising . . . On my way to visit my sister in another town near Nablus I was stopped at a check point. A soldier stopped me and got me and my parents out of the car. He read my name on my US passport and said “ahaaa!! Barghouti? Marvan!! He kills many Jews. Bad family. No GO!!” An older conscript was standing farther away, came to me and nose to nose asked what I do. I said I am an engineer. I noticed he was trying to suppress a smile. I helped him along and smiled. He did. I said, “I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I have a feeling we can be friends, smoke happy bubble in a Jafa street, and laugh our heads off about what we are doing to each other. Meanwhile, my friend, keep your finger on the trigger, for this world is wrong, it is upside down.” He tried to convince the higher ranking soldier to let us go to no avail. We never made it to see my sister. She died a month later and I was already gone back to my working location.

      Israel is built on injustice, on killing, on confiscating souls, lands, bodies, and freedom. No America, no Arab dictators, no money can save it. Even Amos Oz predicted its demise some 35 years ago in one of his interviews. It is very sad indeed because it could’ve been a much happier ending. Keep up your good work. In friendship, in oppression, in science . . . Jamal J. Bargouti

third item: a few of George’s comments, 2011-05-28

      To answer your uncertainty Jamal, I’ve never been to Israel or Palestine, or in fact to most parts of the world. Like every human being, practically everything I know is something I’ve learned from other people, either directly or indirectly. I am adding you to the list of subscribers to my Notes of an Anarchist Physicist [noaap] listserv, with your full name, as I prefer. Thanks. With you there are 1253 subscriptions. As a matter of fact, several of them — three — are for good friends who just died: Joe Bageant, John Ross and Tonee Mello. [2]

      None of the three lived to what I think of as a very advanced age — Joe to 64, John to 72 (March 11, 1938 — January 17, 2011), Tonee to 63 ( - April 11, 2011). Each lived what I see as an exemplary life. John I would say was “big time” A so-called advanced Google search for all the words John-Ross Oaxaca death gets about 60,800 items of which 2 of the first 10 are for a different John Ross. So I would estimate about 48,640 relevant hits. Joe isn’t yet, I’m quite sure, as well known as John, though my search for all the words Joe-Bageant redneck death got 364,000 hits (none false among the first 10). Maybe he’s headed for even greater notoriety than John. Tonee, much to my surprise, got about 560,000 items when I search for all the words Tonee-Mello Oaxaca death, also with no false hits among the first 10. I’d have thought the order of these three for public notoriety is exactly opposite to what I found via Google.

[1] On the possibility of a good world for everyone. Sketch for a humane resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict. http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2010-11-13.htm

[2] Death does not take a holiday.
     Joe Bageant’s long-time friend Ken Smith <ken@kvsmith.com> is maintaining a fine website with much info about Joe. Here’s a bit from the site, at http://www.joebageant.com/,
May 15, 2011, Remembering Joe, a redneck revolutionary, By Patrick Ward
      It was difficult not to take an instant liking to Joe Bageant. Soon after Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential elections, Socialist Review called him up for his opinion on the matter: “I always say that if Obama was delivered to the White House with Jesus Christ, a five-piece band and six gilded seraphims holding up his fucking balls he still won’t be able to do anything because the country’s broke and Congress is bought and sold.” It was with that one long, angry sentence, I became an admirer of this “redneck revolutionary”.
     John Ross was for sure a top-ranking mensch in spite of his ethnic Jewish-American origin, one of the rather few I know, and I can assure you I know many, many American Jews. The best piece I’ve seen on Ross is by Frank Bardacke <bardacke@sbcglobal.com>, at http://counterpunch.org/bardacke01182011
. It starts: Farewell to the Utterly Unique John Ross
     John’s gone. John Ross. I doubt that we will ever see anyone remotely like him again. The bare bones, as he would say, are remarkable enough. Born to show-business Communists in New York City in 1938, he had minded Billie Holliday’s dog, sold dope to Dizzy Gillespie, and vigiled at the hour of the Rosenberg execution, all before he was sixteen years old. An aspiring beat poet, driven by D.H. Lawrence’s images of Mexico, he arrived at the Tarascan highlands of Michoacan at the age of twenty, returning to the U.S. six years later in 1964, there to be thrown in the Federal Penitentiary at San Pedro, for refusing induction into the army. Back on the streets of San Francisco eighteen months later, he joined the Progressive Labor Movement, then a combination of old ex-CPers fleeing the debased party and young poets and artists looking for revolutionary action . . .
     Tonee Mello was a close friend since late 2005 when we met by chance in the English language Oaxaca Lending Library and decided to work together to get some reading material with a radical perspective into the pathetically “mainstream U.S.A” collection available there. Unlike Joe and John, Tonee didn’t just die — he was brutally murdered by people who stole things from his house. The day before his murder, which occurred on Monday 11 April, Nancy, Tonee and I had breakfast out (it felt celebratory at the time) and then went to his house for a “catch-up” visit. Tonee, generous to a fault, called for us at 9am, drove to the restaurant, then to his home, regaled Nancy with plants, fruits and vegetables from his very productive garden, and delivered us home by 1pm, amid sincere promises that we would get together soon again. Thus began a still-ongoing horror story, about which Nancy has writtren - http://elenemigocomun.net/2011/05/tonee-mellos-death-presun


George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an
Emeritus Prof of Physics, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.

All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <doctorsci@gmail.com>

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Initial posting of this page: 27 May 2011.
Last update: 04 June 2011