Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brain Storm on the Blog: Truth and its Consequences

The following is a guest posting from Robert H. baseball player, poet, lawyer, former legislative aide on Capitol Hill , community renewal worker, devoted husband, dog owner and dedicated do-gooder. In it he discusses some of the consequences of this blog and the kind of relationships it seeks to create. I would, of course, welcome your comments and thoughts on where this blog can and should go. Should I change the name? Any suggestions?

This blog can change the world. Finding common philosophical-religious ground can foment change, especially if it reaches the emotional roots that govern how we behave. As individuals we continually change one another through our interact...ions (or failure to act). I spent years working to help people form bonds of mutual support. We called these efforts building mutually enhancing relationships. Put more simply, when posited that when we befriend another, their friend can become our friend. Social networks formed. Building networks based upon caring relationships (embracing the notion expressed here of "protection") cuts against the cultural grain and can be heavy lifting. Forming networks that actually support and protect people who live in communities across the socio-economic spectrum depends upon an intentional consistency of concerted action. In practice, this means overcoming barriers of ingrained attitude and unbearable pain. When you seek to reverse the tide of death and vengeance in places like Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq...and the list goes on and on, reaching out to protect another group subject to the wages of violence takes both a network and a strategy that addresses the needs of those who have suffered terrible wrongs. My advice, build this human network as quickly as possible, but also recognize that such efforts, if effective, will attract a strong response from groups dedicated to violence and terror. In other words, this work places people of good will at risk. That's part of the "Struggle" and it takes genuine courage to provide actual security to those you seek to help. As a first step, a core group, if one should form from this effort should begin to formulate a plan of action for those who want to participate locally and from that experience go forward. I wish you all the best in this worthy endeavor, but caution that words are unpredictable agents of change.

footnote: with the use of "Jihadi Jew" you have invited scrutiny from NSA's ubiquitous internet screening. (They will look to find codes and whether the real bad guys can use this group to cloak their efforts). Since this is a medium difficult to control, if not impossible to censor, you may have to live with that. Conceptually, Jihadi Jew as a title and rallying cry seems uneven, one-sided, and somewhat a paternalistic approach of jewish networks to protect muslim brethren and create dialogue. Creating networks that encourage Muslims to protect Jews reciprocally seems to me more consistent with the stated aim. This, in turn, places all Muslims who act in behalf of Jewish friends in the sights of "anti-zionist" extremists. For those serious about genuine change, there's really no choice but to accept a very real peril. Yet who among us willingly paints a target on their backs or the backs of their children? These are very tough questions. At the outset, they must be addressed, and then put aside, because the strength to deal with them takes years of constant to building to address.

Anyway, as an "outsider" that's my take.

- Robert H.

1 comment:

  1. I have no problem with this blog being called "Jihadi Jew" -- even if the NSA decides to analyse it for secret codes (of which there are none.) Maybe they will actually learn something about peacemaking!

    I see this name as a form of protest to reclaim the word "jihad" in its original meaning of "struggle." We speak in English of our daily struggles, the battle of life, the struggle to understand something, the "Pink Warriors" fighting beast cancer, The American Indian "Rainbow Warriors" who struggle to bring back their tribal spiri8tuality, etc. Correct me if I am wrong, but is this not also the original meaning of jihad?

    Reclaiming "jihad" in a positive sense is rather like the way we Jews have reclaimed the word "Jew." A lot of people use "Jew" as a perjorative, as in "Jew the price down," "dirty Jew," "Money Jew," etc. -- so much so, that when I was growing up, Christians often used the clumsy phrase "of the Jewish faith" to avoid calling their neighbors "Jews." In the Jewish community, nobody said "I am a Jew," it was always "I am Jewish" or sometimes even the outdated "He brews" to connect us with the Bible rather than "greedy Jews-bankers" in the minds of out non-Jewish neighbors. Thus the "Union of American Hebrew Congregations," central body of the Reform movement, which dates back to the early 20th century.

    But this is long since past, we say "Jew" now and are proud of it, and to heck with those who misuse the word as something negative. The African American community did the same thing with reclaiming the word "black," as in "Black is Beautiful." Gays did it with "queer" and American Indians did it with "God is Red," a play of words on the 1960s "God is Dead" movement. (They meant "red" in the sense of "red Indian" not Communism.)

    So if there are government agents who choose to misread "Jihadi Jew" as something violent here, then they must be illiterate, because everything I have seen on this blog focuses on reconciliation and understanding each other.

    I am reminded of a story I heard years ago, about an FBI agent who was assigned to investigate the Baha'i Faith, which was relatively new to the USA, if you know the history, grew out of Shia Islam in Iran during the 1800s. So the US govt was very suspicious of it as possibly being an Iranian spy network or something. But not only did the agent find that the Bahai's are NOT terrorists, he was so impressed with the religion that he eventually became a Baha'i!