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Monday, January 31, 2005

A Parliament Member's Confession - February 2065

Sixty Years from Now



1.

Your Honor, The President of Shelterel, esteemed Knesset Members, Ministers, Prime Minister, Honorable Audience - -

This confession is not that easy to make.



Not that easy since - unlike during those dark times - it comes non-coerced, from the depths of my heart.



I was young then - relative to the present - and have grown older, yet the thing does not leave me alone. Her voice echoes inside my head when I go to sleep and as I awake.



Her name in Shelterel was Citizen C.

Very little I knew of her, but of course it is impossible to know all the time all about all the citizens - this is not even our duty. Enough to know that they are naive and alive, that they trust us and that on the decisive day they will know for sure to insert the right piece of paper inside the right box.



Citizen C. did trust me, I had no doubts about it whatsoever. To me she came, here and there, with the stories of citizen-with-no-citizenship Anisa, as-if-citizen Salim, corruption in the small townships and why not have a country-wide publicity against sexual harassment at the work-place - I swear to you that at our Ministry even seventy years ago such things never occurred, for sure, I told her so... etc.



I assume that my assistant took well care of her calls.



2.




Things went on smoothly, me doing my thing, she doing hers. I trusted her.



Then, one day - she'd find the right time to call! - in the midst of a most fateful elections time, really fateful for me as citizen and as chairman of a party so close to it's fall, to mine.



Sixty five years have passed. I well remember and will never forget:

"Do listen, please: Those who were children during the Holocaust times - not the death camps survivors, but the ones whose turn to be sent there had yet to come... they are still alive, here, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, myself included - and they are not young anymore. Sick, poor, robbed of their compensations by The State of Shelterel who'd reached the Reparations Agreement with Germany in our unasked-for name, and undertook to compensate us itself.



"Shelterel had taken hold of those monies!They interrogate each claimant!Come, do come to the Justice House and see for yourself the march of the robbed and dismantled. People in their eighties, leaning on a cane or in wheel-chairs, coming to explain to the eternal judge aligned to the eternal legal representative of the Finance Ministry - explain and prove minutely, have them spread out in the court their bitter fate - all in all just to get a few more crumbs of disability percentage to enable a few additional pennies to their Holocaust Survivors' Disability Pension.



"Come and see how law representatives of the Finance Ministry interrogate at the court: a woman who was raped by German soldiers was asked to say what color the soldiers' uniform was; if it was the color of the local 'legionars' (enabled by the Nazis) then she is not entitled to compensations - that is The Word of the Law in Shelterel!

She couldn't remember the color of the uniforms - and her appeal for that meager Disability pension was denied!

She had no strength to appeal to a higher court, so appalled she was, so shaken.



Come, Come and hear the Legal Representative of The State of Shelterel uttering lightly the sentence frequent in the vocabulary of the Holocaust Denial: "It was war-time, so everybody suffered. At war-times everybody suffers."



It is mandatory to change that law once for all!Now we have Basic Human Rights and Freedom Laws!They are robbing the Holocaust Survivors!Those robbed of childhood are robbed now by The State of Shelterel!"



3.

As if I have not know all along that much.

I told her, this was sixty-five years ago, I well remember and will Never Forget:



"The naked truth is, Citizen C., that people as well as the government and all the bureaucrats are really fed up with the Holocaust.



"Look here, I'm now immersed in the elections. I give you my honorable word that immediately after the elections I'll harness myself wholly to this task of having the law changed. Take my word for it."



4.

The truth is, she gave me more than one day of grace after the elections, more than the conventional ninety days.

Then she called.

She wrote.

The secretary received her calls and letters. Passed them on to me.



I was immersed in negotiations with the Finance Ministry. A Minister of Education has great responsibility towards the children of Shelterel. Faced with that dilemma which I now share with you undisguised, I had to make a selection, to choose between the children living their childhood with us here and between those robbed of their childhood way back over there. It was not us who'd robbed them of their childhood - the German Nazis did it, let their name be erased!



We'd only robbed them of their reparations. Yet we provided them with tents, we provided them with housing and lands taken from you-know-who. We've built a Shelter State exactly as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.



I was busy with a multitude of activities, with the Party needs. There is a limit to the age a Minister of Education can be made responsible for, there is a limit to how much one can bargain and quarrel with the Minister of Finance and his well experienced clerks. I well knew that right away they'll throw into my face: "How much of your budget are you willing to do without?"



Their childhood had lasted three or four years. Their olden days with us weren't long either.



There is a limit to the quantity of pain a heart can hold.



The hour has come to say, without any monetary commitment - True, Mr. Minister of Finance, true? None of them is with us by now, true?



Simply, a confession:



Her voice echoes inside my head, inside my whole being, to this very day:

"Yosiniu, Yosiniu, do not forget who you are!"

The voice, the warm, hugging trust that only a naive citizen is able to express. Lost.

"Yosiniu, Yosiniu, do not forget who you are!"



Even if she is not with us at the Distingushed Guests gallery, she's here, shouting inside my head.

Enough is Enough! Have her Shut-Up! Till when?!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Any semblance to Reality is not by chance.

read it in Russian; in Hebrew;in Hungarian;

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Restaurant Life (according to Radio News)

"Good Morning! You're early today, it's only 11:45. What will you order?"

"Brunch. May I have a menu? What's up?"

"Here."

"Oh, where are my glasses... Do read it for me."

"Right. Lady, We have a special offer, a la carte, on fire!



"First Course:

"60 years old gentleman. Killed his divorcee. Passionate love. Shot her.

"Son, killed his father. Quarrel over a cigarette.

"8 years old boy. Shot in the back of the brain. At Beit Hanun. Sorry, not at our restaurant. Over there. Pity, brain is most tasteful, ha? Why don't you smile?"

"Enough."



Main Course:

"50 years old father, raped and abused daughters since they were 4 years old. Clean previous record.

"Five young men spent some nights with a girl, then sold her around. For the duration of one year. Happy she was."



"Nothing new at your place. Anything for Desert?"

"Sure! 2 years old baby, found walking alone on the road, in the cold and rain.

"Naked.

"Sweet, ha?"





read it in Hebrew; in Russian; in Polish;

On Trolls, Re-visited

A new blogger has recently joined the Hebrew site "Reshimot" ("Notes") - where I happen to publish my posts in Hebrew. We are a group of some 80 independent bloggers.



Sure enough, the trolls made their appearance.



As a veteran blogger, I wrote her with some words of comfort and advise. The following is my last letter:



Everybody gets visited by trolls, they are not that choosy.

You do not see them at my blog because I erase them as fast as possible.

People know that if they leave an enlightening and to the point comment, it will not get smeared by trash or drowned in it.



Trolls get where there is a crack in the door. When they are kicked out they try the window (like commenting on you at someone's else "Reshimot" blog. When it happens at mine, I erase them on the spot, as common courtesy demands.)



Trolls are especially attracted by the new blogger. Some of them have tried to get a blog at Reshimot and were refused - so they have good reasons to try destroy the site.



People are violent in Israel at a growing rate and in growing numbers.

This is another good reason for me to keep my blog clean of violence and so build my own model of rational, benign, friendly communication.



After all, we are the majority, why let the few take over?

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Tsunami vs. Mechanics

1.

"...Thousands of lives in countries such as Sri Lanka, India and Thailand could have been saved if an early warning system similar to one that exists for the Pacific Ocean had been in place. U.S.A. Officials said that they wanted to warn the countries but that there was no mechanism to do so..."


Maybe there was too much mechanism, too little humanism?



It's December 2004, mind you. CNN is open at all the hotels worldwide. You have TV, the internet, cellular phones, radio - an endless list of communication means.



Has even one of them been employed?



Who are the anonymous "Officials"? How could they have gone on about their lives and work, knowing well that a disaster is about to hit and doing, What?



Save me from the Officials.



2.

Who are those anonymous Officials?

Their heads we know. Loudly and shamelessly they refuse to sign the international accords meant to minimize - not obstruct entirely, just minimize the pollution endangering our Planet.



We know now well that the warming is man made, we know that mechanism.



Time is running yet Bush & Co. Are playing mechanism games.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) -- U.N. talks on climate change ended early Saturday with few steps forward as the United States, oil producers and developing giants slammed the brakes on the European Union's drive for deeper emissions cuts to stop global warming
.


Oh dear accomplished Humanity, where are your bicycles?



read it in Hungarian; in Hebrew;

Sunday, January 2, 2005

An unforgettable New Year Resolution

Technorati challenges us: What is your New Year Resolution?



To tell you the truth, I'm out of resolutions this year.

Except some, not fit for print.



But I do remember one New Year Eve in New York City, back in 1990.

I was invited to a party at a lady's fancy house.

A roof apartment in the SOHO neighborhood.



The living room was lighted with candles.

People sipped wine, talked, each one presenting her or his kind resolution.

We were invited to the roof, or rather slowly people started drifting to it, passing through a little bedroom full with toys.

"My granddaughter's room," said the hostess, proudly.



The night was bright. The roof was rich with plants, actually the same plant everywhere.



People were sampling the leaves, giggling. The air filled soon with this sweetish smell I abhor.



"What plants are these?" asked Corinna.

"Joint! Grass!" said the hostess. "Want some?"



Politely I thanked the resolute grandmother, and went home to my Muse.

Musing.