Saturday, July 9, 2011

In the Summer Time When the Weather is Warm

Although I basically remain a child of the 60s, there's a catchy song that came out in the 1970s by Mungo Jerry, that is relevant for this time of year. A little nostalgia is always good, especially when hard times keep us from remembering some of the good times that we had...

This is summer time. We should be:
Sitting on the porch sipping our lemonade or iced coffee
Buying our favorite kind of ice cream, perhaps even two scoops
Watching the sun set at the beach in the early evening hours
Swimming in the pool
Enjoying our garden
Going to an outside concert
Being out, greeting people, who are out and smiling and enjoying life

There are are many nice things that the summer offers us. What a shame to turn away from such gifts. 

But, we have an unfortunate ability to often waste the good things in life. We make poor choices - for example, choosing to focus on the dark side of life, instead of basking in the light that the summer brings. We look for enemies and potential enemies and intrigue and only feel whole when we indeed find them.

But instead of feeling whole,
We get a hole in the pits of our stomachs
And our lives become filled with holes
Empty holes
That are so very far from holy
in this Holy Land

These first few weeks of summer have been weeks of craving darkness, characterized by enemy-paranoia. Darkness about the intentions of the activists on the Second Freedom Flotilla, darkness about the intentions of the 'fly-ins', darkness about the Palestinians move toward Statehood, darkness and paranoia about the way the 'whole world' perceives us.

Of course some of these activists from abroad actively want to see us destroyed. Of course some of these demonstrators want to demonstrate their hate of us. I am not advocating ignoring real threats where real threats occur. If we have concrete knowledge that someone is out to harm innocent people, then yes, of course s/he should/must be stopped, for violence against innocents should never be tolerated.

But I cannot advocate turning every person and every act into a threat, just because the person or the act is focused on bringing an end to the dark Occupation, and the darker siege in Gaza. Non-violent protest and civil disobedience work against the darkness of these injustices, and help us believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That the summer breeze can herald winds of needed change, for the Palestinians, but also so desparately for us.

We can spend this summer, holed up in the basements of fear, afraid to look at others in a different light. We can go to the beach, not to enjoy the waves and the incredible sunset, but to bury our heads in the sand.

But we can also make a different choice.

We can greet Israelis, Palestinians and internationals from around the world, even those who may have different opinions and beliefs than we do, with a real interest and willingness to engage in open dialogue, with open ears and open hearts. We can talk, not threaten. We can sit together, not deport. We can be together during these wonderful summer months, trying to learn about one another and to see one another in a different, less threatening light, that may then bring us some hope of continued warmth, even after the summer months are gone.

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