Monday, January 10, 2005


Hah, this title makes me think of Randi Rhodes on KPOJ (620 AM, Air America in PDX): she's always making fun of Homeland Security types talking about "chatter," and playing that Rolling Stones cut in reply. Also thinking of monkeys (they chatter), and therefore of monkey mind -- lots of chatter about that too, in pop psych & spirituality circles (you go, google).

So, turning to this morning's Oregonion: ah, I see Dr. Albert Starr's name on the front page, in an article about Providence, a nonprofit I work with.

And on the next page: Sunnis say they won't boycott if the US military spells out its redeployment timeline. Well, last week the US military was saying it's consolidating to bases, slimming to an advisory presence among police, with an eye towards pulling out big time if voter turnout is big.

Sounds like Sunnis and CENTCOM are on the same page: we'll vote if you leave; we'll leave if you vote. Basically, to vote at all is to vote for an end to the occupation. That's a fine exit strategy, if you ask me. I hope the car bomb people are smart enough to stop blowing themselves up and start working for a free Iraq.

Ah, and I read Palestinians also got to vote. So will the occupation end there too? High time, don't you think?

A true story:

Some time ago, I went to a local mosque at the invitation of some local Muslims (many at Intel), post 911, pre invasion of Iraq. Their agenda was to touch base with a lot of local Christians, to share views and perspectives, so we'd better understand where they were coming from. I went with Friends (i.e. Quakers).

OK, so it was a good and informative talk, going over the basics of Mecca (who, what, when, where, how), and then turning to the Palestinian issue. Here, the speaker was a bit heavy-handed, sort of laying it at our doorstep about all the Palestinians the Israeli soldiers have killed, and how he, the speaker, an official Muslim, was officially aggrieved.

My problem with this analysis, when speaking to Friends in particular, is that we're not strangers to the plight of Palestinians. Many of us, including me, have spent time in Palestine and know first hand what it's like. Some Friends have spent their entire careers trying to bring some sense to that region.

Our speaker, however, was from Bangladesh I'm pretty sure. Now he's at Intel, enjoying the good life (which I applaud). Had he ever spent much time in Palestine? Not clear. So was he really any more clued in than his audience?

I don't think which brand of religion you buy is the heart of the issue. The issue is freedom and equal rights, regardless of religion.