Thursday, July 20, 2006


Dread. I have a terrible, overwhelming feeling of dread. I dread that the world is going to sit by and let Lebanon be destroyed.

This feeling started on Tuesday when I sat at my computer to send emails to both my Senators, my congressman, and the White House. The first jolt was when I realized that you had to pick from a pre-set list of subject lines, you can't write your own, and "Lebanon crisis" was not an option. "Israel/Palestine" was not a subject you can write your representatives about either! Nor was "mess in the Middle East"! For one Senator I finally picked "Iraq" as the subject line since that at least got us in the neighborhood and close to the topic of violence and civilian deaths and overwhelming force. At the other Senator's site, I went with the pre-set subject line "terrorism;" for my Congressman the closest I could come was "foreign affairs."

I went ahead and sent each one a message urging them to call for an immediate cease fire. I pointed out that while Israel has the right to defend itself, its attack was disproportional with 10 times the number of Lebanese killed than Israeli and no evidence that Hezbollah was being degraded. I noted that there was no military solution to this crisis, only a political one.

But I wanted to put my head in my hands and just cry. How would my words even make it past the filters of subjects lines and the pre-set thinking that was behind them that said already that this was not a problem that Congress wanted to address? Even if an American can get beyond the dismal lack of education in basic geography and world history, the distortions of the American press, when you reach out to communicate with power your words are turned to chaff and blown away as meaningless almost before you can say them!

Sigh. Class, note the demonstration of "hegemonic power." Off to re-read Foucault.


Heather said...

Pre-set subject lines...Big Brother...perhaps you should have picked PEACE or some other convoluted opposite.

I too worry dreadfully about the current state of the middle east. I can't imagine how this must feel for people with connections there - family, friends, colleagues...

and then I wonder...did WWII teach us anything?!

I keep thinking that reading Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival may be some apt reading

Umm 'Skandar said...

LOL, if for ONE minute you think that any US government official has PEACE as an option on their pre-set subject lines!!!

Thankfully, I just heard this morning that my friend and colleague has returned from Beirut with her two small children, both under 5.