Israel & Palestine

I’m getting annoyed by Facebook and its ‘coverage’ of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Some of my ‘friends’ are posting images depicting Palestinian solidarity. Others are posting images of the Israeli flag. Some are showing graphic pictures of injured children in the Palestine, others are showing explosions in Israel. Within this chaos, can I just declare this:

I SUPPORT ISRAEL. I SUPPORT PALESTINE. I SUPPORT PEACE. I don’t just support ‘co-existence’… I support MUTUAL LOVE.

Anyone who says that Israel is inherently anti-Muslim is wrong. Along with Pakistan, China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and of course, America, Israel was one of the biggest participants in fighting the Soviet Union in 1980′s. Many countries shied away from the task of taking on the Soviet Union. Many were too afraid, and some, (*cough* government administrations in Afghanistan) would simply put down their arms and immediately embrace the Soviets, upon seeing a red tank. But Israel? Along with Pakistan, facilitated by America, the good people of Israel sent arms to a rag-tag group of ‘Moslems’ in Afghanistan. Some reports even claim that Israeli soldiers, along with Americans and Pakistanis, helped ‘train’ these freedom fighters. Of course, I’m opening a can of worms by bringing this up, because this same group of ‘Mujahideen’ fighters would eventually birth Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden, but…. they also birthed a defeat against the Soviet Union, aided by Pakistan, Israel and America (and a few others).

When the Soviet Union collapsed, millions of Muslims immediately inherited religious freedom and most of them lived in what is now Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan (not including, Afghanistan). Israel had direct involvement in liberating millions of Muslims and creating these five new Muslim nations. So anyone who says that Israel is anti-Muslim is wrong.

With that… I must give further compliments to Israel. We’ve heard great news this week about the success of Iron Dome! Many Palestinian rockets have been launched into the sky and the majority have been shot down, saving many, innocent, Israeli citizens. Israel, today, is a HUB for technology, producing some of the finest hardware and softwares. Of note, Israel also ranks high in many social mobility indexes, showing its commitment to entrepreneurism and egalitarian principles. With that said… any nation that can build ‘Iron Dome,’ surely, can also build a peace process?

As for Palestine, the best I can say is that statistics show that suicide attacks decrease rapidly during declared ‘peace processes.’ To me, this shows that the majority of Palestinians want to live without the fears of war, within the realms of a nation they can call their own. It’s also unfair to assail Palestinians for supporting Yassir Arafat’s rejection of the Clinton Peace Plan in 1997, that would’ve award them 97% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, because…. the other 3% represented every roadway and airport in Palestine, which was to be controlled by Israel. C’mon people? I’d hate to live in Los Angeles and have ‘South Africa’ run LAX. I think the same can be said for Palestinians, who should actually be applauded for wanting rule their own selves.

I have many theories and analysis on what can be done to create the perfect situation of peace, but I’m also still debating the effectiveness of them in my head. What I do know? It is possible. I deeply deeply believe that, not just peace, but that LOVE, is possible. One of my favorite figures, Ghandhi, once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Well, then here’s my contribution – a declaration -

I am pro-Israeli. I am pro-Palestinian. And I am pro-love.

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My bday…

When George Washington founded our good country, as taught to me by Professor Tom Krannawitter, one of the quotes Washington said was -

“There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists . . . an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.”

“Virtue” here does not mean high moral value, rather, it was the classical Greek definition that meant “your highest form.” In other words, President Washington said that being able to ‘maximize your potential’ is what would make you your happiest.

When we founded this country, we didn’t just say “life” and “liberty” we resolved ourselves to found it because of a “pursuit of happiness.” Or as Washington might say – a pursuit to be your best.

When America was on its back and the British were on the verge of victory, Washington relied on his good friend, Marquis Lafayette, for help. Lafayette was a dutiful patriot to France and an aristocrat of the country, but he spilled his blood for America. When he sent letters to the King of France, asking for backup, France sent their military’s best to fight for us, and along with Washington’s men, we did defeat the British, and this experiment with life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness? It lived to see more days.

More than women, alcohol and holidays, what Lafayette loved most was liberty. He cherished in the idea that you could go someplace and do and become anything you wanted to be. Yes, he remained a citizen of France, heartbreakingly trying to incorporate the same liberties into France that we enjoy today here in America… but he gave his blood for our country because he believed, if this dream of liberty couldn’t exist in Europe, then there should at least be one place in the world where it did.

I share Lafayette’s addiction and love for liberty. I share Washington’s philosophy that happiness is a result of maximizing your potential. And I especially share in the statement that, there is nothing more important to life, than a pursuit of happiness – it is an ideal that is ingrained in every fiber of my body.

And for that…. there is no other day I would rather be born, than the Fourth of July.

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.

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Some Optimism…

I know many are concerned with the recent outbreaks of violence in the Muslim World. I’m not just talking about Iraq. I’m also talking about Al-Shabaab. It is easy to say that the Muslim World is spiraling into a pit of chaos and violence, that will leave the entire area uninhabitable for years to come. I have the exact opposite view.

I don’t want to sound Machiavellian and say “I knew this would happen” with a cold disposition, but…. as an observer of the Muslim World, these events fall in line with what I personally believe would happen. Again, every life is precious and I’m deeply sad about every innocent person who is being murdered or kidnapped. However, this was going to be the natural fall of Islamist terrorism. When Al-Quaida was king of the terrorism, with one of its founders, Osama Bin Laden, playing a big part in running the show, they ran themselves with the discipline of an empire’s army. Their attacks were patiently planned, carefully executed, and meant to draw fear amongst all. It was kind of like a well-made horror movie – the attacks would get worse and worse and worse, and just when you thought we had Al-Quaida cornered, that they had “optimistically” vanished, another attack would happen, but this time, worse in scale.

When Osama Bin Laden died, it was a turning point in terrorism. I don’t think I know of a terrorist who was more patient and calculated than Bin Laden. He would not look down on the current murders and kidnappings (carried out by Al-Shabaab) out of sympathy for the victims, rather, he would be critical of such acts because none of them follow his Hollywood outline – there is no buildup, there is no calm storm, there is no hypnotizing sense of lulling your opponents into thinking that you’ve gone away, only to come back with more force.

Part of the problem is that, Bin Laden didn’t seek to rule the world. He only sought to humiliate America. Al-Shabaab fashions itself as a governmental rule. The problem here though is that, its leaders are so bloodthirsty, and its attacks are so uncoordinated, that if Al-Shabaab were to ever gain power, their rule would fall quickly because all of its leaders would find themselves killing each other and their affiliated supporters, like Princes in medieval times killing each other to become King. In addition, the recent wave of violence also shows a marketed improvement – we use to fear Al-Quaida’s ability to fly airplanes into buildings and boats into air craft carriers. Now? We fear scant groups of Al-Shabaab radicals who have to count their bullets. As cold as this sounds, I’m going to say it – this is an improvement.

Islamist terrorism is down to its last legs, illustrated by the fact that there is no coordination within these attacks, no pattern, and no sense to them. There is no intelligent strategist, carefully planning each attack to dramatically play on our fears. Osama Bin Laden knew that the resources he had, behind Al-Quaida, were finite, both in terms of weaponry and men available – and due to his patience, he got the most he could out of the operation. But Al-Shabaab? They’re low on men, low on weaponry, and without the guiding strategy of a Bin Laden, they’re high on irrationality and energy. Most of all, they’re desperate. Al-Shabaab can see that the world has rejected Al-Quaida and terrorism, especially Muslims. After all, if Muslims truly adored Bin Laden, America would’ve been in store for a plethora of terror attacks after his murder. Guess what? There weren’t any attacks – as a matter of fact – most Muslims celebrated the departure of Bin Laden.

Again, Al-Shabaab, and all other terror groups that affiliate with Islam, are truly desperate. And in their desperation, they’re resorting more to their uncoordinated irrationality, than they are to intelligent strategy. This is what happens when a rival faction is on their last heels… and if we don’t kill all of Al-Shabaab, in time, they’ll kill themselves. The real challenge ultimately will be…. what we do to help Muslim countries once terrorism truly is gone?

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LA KINGS BABY!!!!! #NHLplayoffs #NHL


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