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Rehash on ‘Patriotism’

Gotta repost this one I did first 2 years ago:

In commemoration of this Independance Day weekend (for which I am a little late in writing about) I would like to bring to the reader’s mind the principle of Patriotism.  I am bothered by the display of patriotism I see in my church so often.  I am really bothered by the huge gobs of patriotism taught to my kids in elementary school so often.  They can sing the theme songs of each of the 4 branches of the military from memory.  So many of the assemblies parents are invited to make lengthly mention of military in conjunction with the “virtue” of patriotism.

Therefore, I bring you my very favorite words on the subject from President Spencer W. Kimball of the Church I belong to, who died back in 1985 I believe.

We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel — ships, planes, missiles, fortifications — and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45).

Also, I would like to point out one of my favorite parts of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Have we arrived at this point yet?  Thomas Jefferson thought we arrive at this point at least every twenty years as is evidenced in his letter to William Smith in 1787:  http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/P/tj3/writings/brf/jefl64.htm

And now, for a collection of some of my favorite quotes on the topic of patriotism:

I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country.-General Augusto PinochetI am not going to repent. I am not going to ask for favours. What I did, I did for my country.

-P. W. Botha, former President of Apartheid South Africa

I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.

-Pol Pot, mass murderer of Cambodia

It is impossible to conceive a more troublesome or more garrulous patriotism (speaking of the patriotism of the USA); it wearies even those who are disposed to respect it.

-Alexis de Tocqueville

Pledges of allegiance are marks of totalitarian states, not democracies. I can’t think of a single democracy except the United States that has a pledge of allegiance.

-David Kertzer

The very existence of the state demands that there be some privileged class vitally interested in maintaining that existence. And it is precisely the group interests of that class that are called patriotism.

-Mikhail Bakunin

A problem with treating patriotism as an objective virtue is that patriotisms often conflict. Soldiers of both sides in a war may feel equally patriotic, creating an ethical paradox. (If patriotism is a virtue, then the enemy is virtuous, so why try to kill them?)

-Wikipedia

The heights of popularity and patriotism are still the beaten road to power and tyranny; flattery to treachery; standing armies to arbitrary government; and the glory of God to the temporal interest of the clergy.

-David Hume

Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.

-Emma Goldman

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.

-George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is a arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

-George Jean Nathan

Patriotism ruins history.

-Goethe

In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.

-H. L. Mencken

Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.

-Henry Steele Commager

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.

-Howard Thurman

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

-Samuel Johnson

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.

-Sinclair Lewis

Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism – how passionately I hate them!

-Albert Einstein

I have no sense of nationalism, only a cosmic consciousness of belonging to the human family.

-Rosika Schwimmer

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world.

-Socrates

I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

-Eugene V. Debbs

Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind.  We love the land of our nativity, only as we love all other lands.  The interests, rights, and liberties of American citizens are no more dear to us than are those of the whole human race.  Hence we can allow no appeal to patriotism, to revenge any national insult or injury.

-William Lloyd Garrison, Declaration of Sentiments, Boston Peace Conference 1838

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?

-Blaise Pascal

It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.

-Voltaire

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Satan reigns with blood and horror upon the earth.

Cold blooded execution of US citizen by Israeli military captured on video

This video, smuggled out of Israel, purports to show the execution of the US citizen aboard the Gaza flotilla by Israeli Defense Forces. Whether this is the US citizen or not, the execution of this civilian by Israeli military is chilling and it shows exactly why all camera film was confiscated besides the IDF controlled footage.

Economic warfare against Gaza

Why is the blockade on Gaza in place?

Last week, after Israeli commandos killed nine volunteers on a Turkish-organized Gaza aid flotilla, Israel again said its aim was to stop the flow of terrorist arms into Gaza.

However, in response to a lawsuit by Gisha, an Israeli human rights group, the Israeli government explained the blockade as an exercise of the right of economic warfare.

“A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using ‘economic warfare,'” the government said.

I thought it was to stop terrorists from lobbing rockets over the border. But then, why would they have withheld soda pop and potato chips until now? Have you ever been hit by a flying potato chip before?

Israel’s cruel policy toward Gaza is exposed to the world and the US is virtually alone in supporting it.  Gotta stop.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/09/95621/israeli-document-gaza-blockade.html#ixzz0qTW6Zw97

Eye-witness to the Israeli attack on the Flotilla speaks up.

This is a terrific account from one who was very close to the action on the Gaza Flotilla and one that puts things into sharp perspective. Check it out:

I said this straight to Israeli agents, probably of Mossad or Shin Bet, and I say it again now, on the morning of the attack I was directly involved in the disarming of two Israeli Commandos.  This was a forcible, non-negotiable, separation of weapons from commandos who had already murdered two brothers that I had seen that day.  One brother with a bullet entering dead center in his forehead, in what appeared to be an execution.  I knew the commandos were murdering when I removed a 9mm pistol from one of them.  I had that gun in my hands and as an ex-US Marine with training in the use of guns it was completely within my power to use that gun on the commando who may have been the murderer of one of my brothers.  But that is not what I, nor any other defender of the ship did.  I took that weapon away, removed the bullets, proper lead bullets, separated them from the weapon and hid the gun.  I did this in the hopes that we would repel the attack and submit this weapon as evidence in a criminal trial against Israeli authorities for mass murder.

I also helped to physically separate one commando from his assault rifle, which another brother apparently threw into the sea.  I and hundreds of others know the truth that makes a mockery of the brave and moral Israeli military.  We had in our full possession, three completely disarmed and helpless commandos.  These boys were at our mercy, they were out of reach of their fellow murderers, inside the ship and surrounded by 100 or more men.  I looked into the eyes of all three of these boys and I can tell you they had the fear of God in them.  They looked at us as if we were them, and I have no doubt they did not believe there was any way they would survive that day.  They looked like frightened children in the face of an abusive father.

But they did not face an enemy as ruthless as they.  Instead the woman provided basic first aid, and ultimately they were released, battered and bruised for sure, but alive.  Able to live another day.  Able to feel the sun over head and the embrace of loved ones.  Unlike those they murdered.  Despite mourning the loss of our brothers, feeling rage towards these boys, we let them go.   The Israeli prostitutes of propaganda can spew all of their disgusting bile all they wish, the commandos are the murderers, we are the defenders, and yet we fought.  We fought not just for our lives, not just for our cargo, not just for the people of Palestine, we fought in the name of justice and humanity.  We were right to do so, in every way.

While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect.  Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted.  Access to food and water and toilets was denied.  Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs.  We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands.  We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really.  We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out… and I was beaten again while in my cell.

In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards… and yet I also see my brothers.  Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them.  Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.

In conclusion; I would like to challenge every endorser of Gandhi, every person who thinks they understand him, who acknowledges him as one of the great souls of our time (which is just about every western leader), I challenge you in the form of a question.  Please explain how we, the defenders of theMavi Marmara, are not the modern example of Gandhi’s essence?  But first read the words of Gandhi himself.

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour. – Gandhi

And lastly I have one more challenge. I challenge any critic of merit, publicly, to debate me on a large stage over our actions that day.  I would especially love to debate with any Israeli leader who accuses us of wrongdoing, it would be my tremendous pleasure to face off with you.  All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns, so I am ripe to see you in a new context.  I want to debate with you on the largest stage possible.  Take that as an open challenge and let us see just how brave Israeli leaders are.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25657.htm

The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla — In These Times

Chomsky speaks sense about what the real reason for the blockade is in the first place. He quotes Amira Hass as saying that the, “overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel’s military superiority.” Read his good article here:

The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla — In These Times.

Haneen Zuabi, Gaza flotilla humanitarian, very courageous.

This woman is very heroic.  She insisted on addressing the Israeli Knessett and said some amazing things and put up with some pretty bad verbal abuse from her fellow politicians. Check it out:

Her statement followed a heated Knesset debate about the IDF flotilla raid.  The debate, which at times verged in a brawl, was brought to an end when Deputy Defense Minister, MK Matan Vilnai proposed that the debate be moved to the foreign affairs committee as it was “serving no useful purpose.”

After the debate, Rivlin invited Zuabi to make her statement.

The invitation to Zuabi, led to a breakout of fierce verbal altercations, resulting in the ejection of Kadima MK Eli Aflalo, Balad MK Jamal Zahalka and Israel Beiteinu MK Anastasia Michaeli.

Several more MKs were ejected during Zuabi’s speech. Ironically some of the ejected MKs subsequently returned to the chamber, continuing to cause a commotion and receiving further verbal warnings from Rivlin.

Referring to the earlier debate, Zuabi said she was “astonished by the incitement and despised the words she had heard.”

She said that she had agreed to participate in the flotilla as it was a “political human and moral ‘mitzva’ to oppose the imprisonment of 1.5 million people.”

She described the blockade of Gaza as an “illegal, inhuman, illegitimate siege opposed by every politician who has a moral position… …only the immoral support the blockade.” 

Zuabi described the raid on the flotilla as a “pirate operation that was criminal and against international law.”

She attacked the film of the raid that the IDF released: “Why does the Israeli government oppose an inquiry? Why does it oppose revealing the truth? Why did you take journalists’ cameras? Why did you only publish the pictures linked to the IDF operation, Why didn’t you publicize film of the ten men who died?.”

She criticized those attacking her, saying “Who is the criminal?  Did I murder anyone?”.

At this point an MK shouted “check if she has a knife” resulting in uproar.

Soon after this Knesset speaker Rivlin ended the debate, saying Zuabi had been given ample time to make her statement.

Speaking in the angry debate that took place prior to her statement, MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) called Israeli Arabs “enemies of Israel”, Kadima MK Yulia Shamalov Berkovitz said the Arab parties’ Knesset members were “parliamentary spies”.

Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem said that “Arab MKs do not represent the Arab citizens, they represent terror organizations in Gaza.”

Rotem went on to suggest that Arab Israelis “look up at the observation decks and see a model for behavior” they should emulate.  The observation deck was lined with Druze elders.

At the other end of the spectrum, MK Dov Henin (Hadash) said that the debate was “A low point in the history of the Knesset.”

Henin went on to warn of the consequences of the blockade, saying, “Gaza will not go away even if you close your eyes.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177271


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