Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Hunger Strike!!! Day 4. We MUST be Unreasonable.

Driving to DC and touring the Holocaust Museum.

[[[George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." See full quite from Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize winning book below.]]]

On the drive from Philadelphia today to DC, the traffic on Rt50 coming into DC was so slow that I had lots of time to consider options regarding the Hunger Strike!!! I am not called to do permanent damage to myself on this Strike!!! I am called to get back to work when I am done so I can begin the long and joyful effort to reprovision for future battles. The question I wrestled with is, should I go on a modified strike and have some nutrition every 4 days or so. There are many restaurants along Route 50 so I had lots of opportunities. I wrestled for probably an hour, and then it came clear to me. Some situations are so extreme that they require the most extreme price be paid, the most extreme measures in response. NOTHING LESS HAS ANY VALUE OR HOPE. The answer that came to me? No compromise. No nutrition (beyond the vitamin, potassium, salt and water I take daily). A 30-40 day Strike!!! if I am able. The posters I carry are, "NEVER AGAIN WHATEVER THE PRICE. GENOCIDE IN DARFUR," and "HUNGER STRIKE!!!! RESCUE RESTORE DARFUR." Tomorrow, day 5, I hope to be in front of the Holocaust museum. Other days will include the White House (OUR house) and the Washington Post (OUR eyes and ears).

I toured the Holocaust Museum for the first time today. I was so discouraged, so disheartened by the experience that I seriously considered ending the Strike!!! My God, if people that "Remember" have focused so little on HOW TO MAKE NEVER AGAIN A REALITY, how is anyone else going to focus on that?!?!?!?!!? And as for Darfur, the exhibit is such a weak token to the horror in Darfur, so dated, so benign (mostly pictures of smiling, pretty children, and nicely clothed women), that it speaks of simply using Darfur as a way of legitimizing the focus on the Holocaust. I fear that the museum is NOT about Never Again Genocide on Earth, but about Never Again FORGET what happened to JEWS. It seems to be simply a Museum to me, a place about the PAST, with little to do with the future. Not Never again, but rather, Again and Again. I did NOT tour the permanent exhibit and I plan to do so. Maybe that will alter my view. Overall, I am deeply grateful for the museum. The world, and Darfur, are much better off for it. But, it must become more. Fast.

But there was a little book store on the third floor that I entered before leaving and there on the shelves were 2 books that I've since scanned. WOW. My courage and commitment are restored!!!! Conscience & Courage, Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust by Eva Fogelman; and the Pulitzer Prize winning "A Problem from Hell," America and the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Power of Harvard. Although these folks are far more researched and scholarly than I, they have reached the same conclusions that have me on Hunger Strike!!! in DC! This was encouraging, and hopeful for me.

Among the findings I found hopeful and helpful from Fogelman a psychologist that has conducted extensive Doctoral study of Rescuers, is that Rescuing is a developed trait, deep within the core of an individual. We can exercise this capacity for Rescuing (this capacity for HUMANITY) within ourselves! We MUST exercise it or it atrophies. And in doing so, we exercise it in others. I REMAIN CONVINCED THAT THE ONLY HOPE FOR DARFUR, THE ONLY HOPE FOR A U.S. WORTH EXISTING, IS FOR A FEW OF US TO EXERCISE OUR HUMANITY WITH GREAT BOLDNESS AND VIGOR. In doing so we have the chance, the only chance, of stimulating, activating, exercising the Humanity in our fellow human beings. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. Let's get on with it.

Samantha Power has done a Prize winning, exhaustive research on the Genocides of this century, and the causes of US inaction, time, after time, after time. I'm sure I'll share more later, but 2 things for now:
1. A central idea, or finding is, THE SYSTEM IN THE US IS WORKING... THAT IS WHY WE ALLOW GENOCIDE! No, she does NOT assert that there is a DESIRE for genocide, simply that our SYSTEM of values places TOO HIGH A PRICE on stopping genocide. My takeaway? IF WE ARE TO STOP GENOCIDE WE MUST SHAKEUP AND CHANGE THE SYSTEM, AND THE SYSTEM IS US.
2. Power's book ended with a paragraph I just had to have: "George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." After a century of doing so little to prevent, suppress, and punish genocide, Americans must join and thereby legitimate the ranks of the unreasonable."

OH PLEASE, LET'S HURRY IN BECOMING UNREASONABLE PEOPLE. 300-500 Exterminations per day in Darfur hang in the balance.

Agape, Jay

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