October 22, 2012

It seems to me that the Middle East has been going through an identity crisis for a long time.

Most of the shelters have bookcases with books on them.  Most of the books are not ones that I’d want to read, either because they’re not high quality books or because most of them have been put there by staff who want to make references to various things about my situation.  Sometimes, I overlook what their intentions are and decide to read a book because the book looks interesting and I want to read it.  Sometimes, there’s a book that is of such high quality that how it got there is a mystery.

There was a book like that on one of the shelves of one of the shelters several months ago.  It was a book about the Middle East, and specifically about the history of the Middle East up through the end of the last century.  It was such a good book that I didn’t take it with me, which I think people can do at the shelters; it felt like it would be stealing an encyclopedia.  I read through the first chapter of it, and neither can nor want to pretend that I know more about the Middle East than I do.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a pervasive feeling throughout the Middle East is that it has been traversed, parceled out and pushed around by dominant powers in the rest of the world and that its chances of establishing autonomy in any other way than by gaining nuclear weapons and by protracting the world’s Achilles-heel-like dependency on oil for as long as it can are slim to none.  I’m not going to extend my sympathy to the point of saying that it’s not a question just of not being able to be autonomous but of not being able to be as dominant as the dominant world powers.  I don’t have much sympathy for the dominant world powers and their interest in being dominant, either.

The feeling of being constantly at the mercy of what the dominant powers want perhaps has something to do with antagonistic feelings toward Israel.  My thought about that is this, to begin with an analogy; although the Native Americans were treated horribly when what became the United States was created, there’s no going back.  This is a country now, and also, so much of what Native American cultures depended on to survive at the time that they were conquered is gone that there is no way to turn back the clock for them to live here in the way that they did, even if enough people were willing to do it so that an effort could be made.  Whatever can be done to make up for what happened to the Native Americans should be done.  I also think that it would be a good idea for people who care about the indigenous cultures of this place to think not only of what those cultures were like when their development was stopped by invasion and conquest, but of how those cultures would have developed if the invasion and conquest hadn’t happened, to think of how those cultures would think about the world the way it is now, and to bring those ideas into the world. There would probably be a lot of ideas about how those cultures would have developed and how they would be part of and influential in the world now; some of them would be at odds with each other, and some of them wouldn’t.  I think, though, that it’s a good way to give life and a future to Native American culture; if you’re only ever thinking about the past, that’s like living in a museum or trying to make other people live there.  Museums are important, but they don’t reflect the present.

The Jews had to have a place to live, a place in the world that was officially theirs.  They had been persecuted and made to move from one place to another for so long that there was nothing else to be done except to give them a home, which officially says “They have the right to be here.  They are people, just like everyone else.”  Genocide has happened to other people and in other places besides the Jews in Europe; it hasn’t happened to the Jews in Israel, and it shouldn’t.  There are other countries where people can be Muslim.  The history of the world is full of pain and of decisions that do what they can to ensure the survival of people, and it is more than understandable that decisions made to ensure the survival of some are going to displease others very much.

It seems to me that the Middle East could be a center for a lot of things at the same time, if the world would agree to treat it as an important place for its own sake.  It could be a center for learning and education.  Due to its climate and topography, it seems to me that it would be an excellent place for some types of research, for the preservation of documents and other historic articles, and for the production of solar power.  Here I’m going to say something that I’ve said before, which I’m sure that nobody who makes a lot of money from the production of energy from fossil fuels is going to like; my guess is that all of the technology for energy sources such as solar power has already been invented, and that the only thing that’s keeping the world from being entirely converted to sustainable and environmentally sound energy sources is that there’s no way to make money off of those energy sources.  The only thing about them that’s expensive is the initial implementation and conversion; after that, how could it be as expensive to the consumer as fossil fuels?  I am trying to prevent myself from saying “Tsk, tsk” to the people who don’t want to make that conversion because they don’t want the money and power that they get from the production of energy from fossil fuels to go away; I’m failing at that.  “Tsk, tsk” to all of that greed and lack of concern for the world and its future.

Couldn’t the establishment of other energy sources in the Middle East also make other types of industry possible there?  The part of the desert that wasn’t needed for solar power production could be turned into something other than desert, couldn’t it?

There are a lot of people in the United States whose only idea about people in the Middle East, and especially Muslims, is that they are barbarians who have no feelings.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the United States weren’t the only country where that stereotype is pervasive.  If the world were to put aside that stereotype and realize that it has probably developed the way that most oppressive stereotypes do, because the governments of more dominant powers perpetuated them to justify the treatment of the Middle East as a way to a means and a means to an end, I think it might do a lot to decrease the insecurity of the Middle East and promote its chances of gaining peace and stability.  If there is much infighting within the Middle East, I think that’s also something that happens when people feel marginalized, isolated and dominated by powers which, on their own, they know that they can never match.

I have to go so I can get the bus. I’m still getting harassed on the bus by a few people; I was this morning.  Why is that still happening?  It seems as if what happens is that a crisis occurs, I write about the crisis and publish pictures and/or video, and then the harassment gets somewhat less bad for a while, although it never stops.  Then, during the days or weeks that I’m dealing with other crises, the bus situation develops into a crisis again.

If I’ve left anything unsaid, if my grammar is bad, or if there was something on the page that I got wrong, it’s going to have to stay that way for the time being.  I had a rough start this morning and this is the only page that I’m going to publish today.  When I say “Please refer to other policies and pages that I don’t republish today,” I mean that; if I’ve been republishing the pages about my name on the Internet and about anti-voyeur legislation, I’ve done so because I feel that, of everything that people could keep in mind at all times when they’re reading, listening to or watching things that I’ve published online, the pages about my name are the most important for preventing a lot more misunderstandings from happening, and the video issue is the most dire for me personally and the effect that it’s having on my life.  I think it’s probably a dire issue for a LOT of other people, too.


Copyright L. Kochman, October 22, 2012 @ 5:06 p.m.