Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, May 30, 2008

Living Behind the Walls of a Police State

Millions of people will never experience the world beyond their immediate surroundings. When a government tightens its stranglehold on the population, one of the first casualties is the right to travel.

During the Cold War, the world sympathized with the plight of Soviet and Eastern European citizens. Millions of them were yearning to travel, to experience other cultures. They were trapped behind the Iron Curtain.

It’s been almost twenty years since the Soviet Union collapsed. There’s gradually been more and more autonomy and freedom in Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics.

But unfortunately there are still some countries where the citizens are trapped behind a wall — unable to leave for any reason. Prisoners in their own country.

One and a half million residents of the Gaza Strip are locked in. They can’t leave, and nobody and nothing gets in except for international humanitarian aid. Ever since Hamas came to power almost a year ago, Israel has kept the border locked up tight. Nobody can leave without getting an exit visa from the Israeli government, and the Israelis aren’t issuing any. The Israeli government is hoping to weaken Hamas’ power by keeping the borders completely sealed.

Eight Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip have received Fulbright Scholarships to study in the United States. Sorry, no dice. None of them are eligible to get an exit visa. And the United States has cooperated with their Israeli puppetmasters by canceling the eight Fulbright Scholarships.

From my naïve standpoint — but what do I know — it would seem that allowing Palestinians to travel would be the best way to defuse the hatred and violence that have rocked the Middle East for sixty years. Somebody who has traveled and/or studied at a foreign university would be the least likely to support the ongoing xenophobia and terrorism.

Israel is reinforcing the tension and hatred by keeping Gaza residents locked in. Everybody loses.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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16 Comments:

Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

Tom,
The topic of your latest post, is what caused me to start my blog. The aid actually for the most part isn't even getting in. The average person is lucky to eat in at all in a day. They are starving. Jimmy Carter, along with the main UN Human Rights Person are calling what Israel is doing as Genocide. You can read that from my very first post.

May 30, 2008 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

American Hill Billy: This isn't surprising. Israel may be technically a democracy, but they're still one of the world's worst human rights offenders. Jimmy Carter told it like it was; too bad the U.S. government keeps cutting Israel so much slack.

I'll check out your post.

May 30, 2008 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

The reason they keep the Palestinians trapped is because if they were to travel to say, The US, people might see them not as the demons they are made out to be, but rather as human being who deserve as much respect and freedom as every other being on the planet is entitled to.

May 30, 2008 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Lew: Good point. It would definitely upset that delicate balance if Palestinians were no longer stereotyped as a bunch of 1-dimensional protestors throwing rocks and bottles at Israeli soldiers. And more people might become aware that the West (mostly England) evicted the Palestinians from their own land so they could create Israel.

May 30, 2008 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

I happen to be sitting in a third world hell hole right now!! Well, for the most part according to our government. Central America for the most part reminds me of the States. Most of the people are extremely nice. Sure, ya gotta be careful; just like you do anywhere in the States. OUR government is turning OUR land of the free into a Draconian Hell Hole....Peace

May 31, 2008 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

American Hill Billy: Ah yes, those primitive filthy dangerous third world countries. Why can't they be more like us :)

I spent a month in Afghanistan in 1975. It's one of the world's poorest countries (then and now), but it was one of the greatest places I've ever been. The people aren't terribly outgoing (especially compared to India and Pakistan) but they're friendly in that distant "don't fuck around and you'll be OK" sort of way. And they have an aura of dignity and a proud bearing that I've never seen anywhere else.

May 31, 2008 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Oh Tom, I still see you're on your misguided crusade to "prove" that non-Americans are in fact NOT mindless automatons feeding at the trough of a faceless master who's only desire is the complete and utter destruction of our way of life, instead of actual humans trying to eat, drink and not die by the decrees of imperial nations.

May 31, 2008 at 12:34 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: True, I keep having these pollyanna hopes that people in other countries are just like us, just trying to live their lives. Well, that does it -- I'm now going to kill my Inner Moonbat. There! OK, now I'm a redblooded American. Fuck all those swarthy peasants who talk funny. Nuke 'em!

May 31, 2008 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Ron Nasty said...

Once again, the hypocrisy of the Bush administration rears it's ugly head, claimin' to support democracy in the Middle East, then turnin' it's back on the democratically elected Hamas government.

May 31, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ron: That's right. Bush only wants "democracy" if the result is known ahead of time and he can be 100% certain that the outcome will be exactly what he wanted. Our handpicked government in Iraq: democracy. The elected government of the Gaza Strip: terrorism!

May 31, 2008 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

Tom, and Ron Nasty,
Apparently Bush's puppet government in Iraq isn't cooperating with the plan; at least to the degree that the Bush/Olmert Cabal wants. They continually try to get rid of Blackwater, and our making peace deals with the Iranians..........Oh, Hell I agree with you Tom; I'm feeling My American Red Blood....Nuke'em all. LOL I can't wait for Caesar Bush to mount his thrown! Hail Bush!

June 1, 2008 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

American Hill Billy: Yup, good old Blackwater. Imagine if America's streets were patrolled by a foreign country's private corrupt trigger-happy "security" force. The way Americans would react to that, is the way Iraqis are reacting to Blackwater. This makes sense to most people, but conservatives are puzzled by it.

June 1, 2008 at 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have any of you read "Three Cups of Tea"? Well worth the time it takes. By Greg Mortenson, it tells his story as a man trying to fight terrorism and build community by building schools in the poorest parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the "tribal areas." Guess what? It's working.

Please check it out. There are much better ways to make this work.

June 1, 2008 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Anonymous: That sounds like an interesting book. I'll have to check it out.

June 1, 2008 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

It really IS a shame that we don't see many Middle East groups portrayed as anything but protesting, fundamentalist religious automatons.

There is a good bumper sticker out there that says "I love my country, but I think we should start seeing other people." Amen to that.

June 1, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: That's true, the entire Middle East seems to be just a bunch of one-dimensional stereotypes. Fanatical Arabs and Palestinians, wealthy Israelis, aggressive/obnoxious newcomers moving into new settlements, etc. There has to be a human depth to all of these people, but that wouldn't come across in all the sensational reporting.

Good bumper sticker.

June 1, 2008 at 11:32 PM  

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