Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4112)

Sitting Twenty-Nine

A priest, a rabbi, a mullah and a professor of psychology went out into the desert.

Although it sounds like the setup for a joke, it was the actual makeup of a committee which had been formed to handle the situation created by an Israeli boy, dubbed Iz, and a Palestinian lad, Pal.

It was Tuesday—two days before the rally—and the four gentlemen of distinction, who had received permission from the town council to go out and try to reason with the boys so as to avoid a public display of confrontation, lending itself to shame, prepared themselves for what they might encounter.

Everyone agreed it was a noble venture. Blessing was given to the team, a few prayers uttered, plans made, provisions collected, and a scheme devised.

On that same Tuesday morn, Iz and Pal woke up to view four over-dressed grown-ups ascending their hill, breathing heavily and already perspiring in the heat. One was wearing a black shirt with a little piece of white collar. Another, a robe and turban. There was a younger one in blue jeans and a loose-fitting t-shirt, and the final gentleman sported a navy-blue suit with a striped tie.

When the entourage was within ten feet of the boys, the suit and tie spoke up. “Good morning, young men.”

Staring at the four intruders, trying to restrain a giggle because they all looked so very serious, yet appeared like a quartet of Frosty the Snowmen melting in the sun, all the two young fellows could do was shake their heads. They said nothing, so the robe spoke out.  “We’ve come to talk with you boys about what you are doing here.”

Pal held up a banana. “What we were doing was having our morning fruit. Did you know that this one has potassium?”

“Fruit, huh?” said the blue jeans. “What do you guys like to eat?”

Iz chuckled. “Are you here to become our friends, so you can talk us into going back home?”

“Why would home be such a bad thing?” asked the white-collared one in a soft voice.

Pal piped up, tossing his banana peel to the side. “I suppose yours would be just fine. So feel free to return any time you’d like. To your home, that is.”

Both of the boys laughed and gave each other high fives. There was a tightness—an inflexibility—in the air. Iz and Pal were gleeful over their tart responses and precocious language, but the foursome of invaders seemed less than impressed, and absolutely determined to demonstrate their control.

Blue jeans spoke again. “Hey, guys. My name is Mel Rollins, and I’m a professor of psychology at the college.”

“A head doctor!” Pal poked in an attempt to keep things salty.

Mel paused. “Okay,” he said. “That would be fine. I just want you dudes to know that I’m not here to change your minds or get you to do anything you don’t want to do.”

Iz smirked and nodded his head. “Good. Then this should be easy. We want to stay here. We thank you for coming, and please pass the message along that we’re just fine.”

The robe interrupted, absent any civility in his tone. “You children know we can’t do that. I am the mullah at the mosque, and I have a responsibility to carry out the wishes of our people. We cannot allow wayward sons to do as they please.”

“Why not?” asked Pal. “You certainly allow grown-ups to do as they please.”

“Listen, I am Rabbi Molstoy,” spoke the shirt and tie. “What has possessed you boys to do this?”

“Where do you get ice cream?” asked Pal.

The one with the white collar spoke. “Well, first you get milk and sugar…”

Pal interrupted. “No, no! I didn’t ask you how to make ice cream. I asked you where you get it. You see, that’s the trouble with you guys. You want to find the hardest way to do everything—anything that makes you feel miserable enough to appear like you’re really smart. We’re kids. We know you go to the store and buy ice cream. Our goal is to get the ice cream, but not have to make it, or even wonder if it’s got too much sugar in it. That’s you. We just want ice cream.”

Blue jeans eased in. “So, this is about ice cream?”

Iz burst out laughing. “No,” he said. “Get a grip. It’s about us. We want to be friends. Our families won’t let us because one of us is a Jew and one of us is a Palestinian.”

“Now, that’s not true,” said the shirt and tie. “Mullah Tianza and I talk together all the time. Enjoy a meal.”

Pal clapped his hands. “Great, Iz! Did you hear that? We can go home, because there’s no longer a separation between our faiths! There is no mosque and synagogue. There is no killing in the street. The rabbi and the mullah are eating together! So everything has changed. What are we thinking? Maybe we are just crazy boys. Maybe the sun has scrambled our brains. While we’ve been out here the world has reformed and everyone loves each other. How foolish can we be? We should listen to them. Right? Right, Iz? We are absolutely out of our minds.”

Iz looked over coldly at his sarcastic friend. “Wrong,” he replied.

There was a moment of silence. The committee which had come to gather up foolish boys was left standing in the desert heat, staring at one another. Now they had a choice.

Were they going to listen, or had they just come to talk?

 

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The H Word … March 26th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3996)


THE

Image result for gif letter h

WORD


“Go to Hell”

Even folks who are very particular about using profanity will often favor this pronouncement. Matter of fact, they believe it to be their Christian duty to warn lost sinners, deviants and the depraved that there is a “devil’s hell.” And if these unfortunate and misguided souls do not decide to comply to the common appeal of salvation, they will certainly spend all of eternity suffering within the confines of this dungeon of torture and despair.

Hell is a hell of an idea. What’s even more surprising is who ended up being one of the greater promoters of the location.

Yes—Jesus probably talked about hell more than any other religious teacher who ever walked the face of the Earth.

The Old Testament doesn’t have many references to such a place, and really relegates it to one single word: Sheol—meaning “grave.”

It was Jesus who came up with the lake of fire, outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the bizarre inclusion of this city ablaze being eternal.

Even if you are able to affix your mind on the possibility of there being an afterlife where those who are evil are sent to receive their retribution, it hardly seems likely that someone—even if they spent one hundred years on the planet, killing, maiming and leaving their puppy out in the cold in the winter—well, it just seems a bit bizarre to think that person, for a hundred years of evil, should receive an eternity of fire and brimstone.

Yet we kind of like the idea.

It’s not so much the notion that there is a hell, or that some people end up there, but rather, the advantage we gain in our self-righteousness, by imagining who we think should be there and how painfully they should be slapped around for mistreating us.

So I will tell you that even though hell is a promo that came from Jesus—and I am very fond of his work—I do choose to believe that this isolated concept was conjured during his “blue period,” and I do not favor it.

Is it not punishment aplenty for each one of us if we go through life without living?

Is it not agony to take this gift of time and sleepwalk through it without giving?

For that lack of tenderness, foresight and rebellion, there certainly will be a grave conclusion.

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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3980)

Sitting Ten

“Stay back, lady!” Pal leaped to his feet, alarmed.

Karin shouted, “I’m a reporter! “

“We are young men,” said Pal.

“Dangerous young men,” added Iz. They stood shoulder to shoulder, gazing at the intruding female.

Karin halted her progress and softened her voice. “So I heard.”

“What do you want?” demanded Pal.

Karin slowly inched her way forward. “I want to report your story. I want to find out why you two boys are in the desert together. If you don’t mind, I want you to tell me why you’re dangerous. And I also want to give you some water and food,” she said, motioning to the supplies she had laid to the side.

Pal and Iz gave each other a quick glance. Water and food—always good. Iz spoke up. “Just leave the water and food and go.”

Karin shook her head. “No deal. I didn’t come out here to be your delivery service. I told you—I’m a reporter. I want to know what’s going on.”

“Nothing,” spat Iz.

“So why are you dangerous, then?” Karin moved a few steps closer.

Pal backed away. “Because we want to be left alone,” he replied.

Karin reached out with open hands and said, “Okay. Give me my story and I’ll leave you alone.”

“Here’s your story,” said Iz. “Two boys…”

Pal interrupted. “We’re not boys, Iz.”

“Right,” said Iz, slapping his forehead with his palm. “Make that ‘Two Macho Men, Left Alone and At Peace in Desert by Reporter’.”

“I don’t know,” said Karin. “I can tell you—it’s not really a page turner. How about this instead? ‘Two Muscular Manly Men Tell Their Intriguing Story to Attractive Reporter and All At Once, the World Understands’?”

Pal shook his head. “The world will not understand.”

Iz jabbed his friend in the arm. “And listen, lady. You’re not that attractive.”

Karin feigned an offended gasp. “Now I see why they say you’re dangerous. Your tongue just killed my ego at fifteen paces.” She paused to see if the boys would laugh. When they didn’t, she eyed them with deep contemplation, then continued. “Just let me ask you five questions.”

“One question,” said Pal.

“Four,” countered Karin.

“Two!” shouted Iz.

Pal displayed a toothy grin. “I guess that means three.”

“All right. Three questions,” Karin agreed.

“And no funny business,” said Pal, crossing his arms.

Karin chuckled. “Listen, fellas. I live in the Middle East. What’s funny?” She carefully eased her way into the thrown-together encampment and sat down beneath a palm, staring at the two young gentlemen in front of her. She crinkled her nose. Although she was a good four feet away, they reeked of sweat and grain. She motioned for them to be seated.

Pal refused. “So what is your first question?”

Karin said, “I’ll make it easy. I’ll give you all three questions at once. Why are you here, what are you trying to do, and I guess my friend down there in the jeep? He wants to know where in the hell his grenade is.”

Pal jerked his head and shot a look at the vehicle. “Is that him?” he asked Iz.

Iz squinted to see. “I can’t tell. At this distance, Army men all look the same.”

Karin eased her way to her knees and interrupted. “Well, are you going to answer my questions?”

Iz could not take his eyes off the soldier. “What does he want?” he asked Karin.

“He wants his grenade back,” she replied quickly. “He really doesn’t want to be blamed for killing and mutilating people because he was careless with his weapons. You can certainly understand that.”

Pal shook his head. “We’re not trying to kill and mutilate anyone,” he said.

Karin sensed a moment of vulnerability, so she went on the attack. “Well, listen, dude,” she said. “That’s what grenades do. Maybe you should have thought of that before you stole it and came out here, flashing it at people.”

Iz continued to stare at the soldier, with his back to Karin, and inserted, “We just want to be left alone.”

Karin spoke back harshly. “If you’re not careful, you’re gonna be just left dead.”

Pal eased his way a bit closer to her. “Listen, lady. No one will die. We don’t even know how the grenade works.”

“Shut up, Pal!” screamed Iz.

Karin laughed. “Oh—and that’s good?” she asked. “That you don’t know how a grenade works?”

Her question quieted Iz and Pal. Iz made his way over and sat down by the reporter. Pal stepped closer but remained standing. It was all so crazy—not what they had envisioned. They were horrified by their plight.

Karin gave the moment a chance to simmer, then asked, much quieter. “Why are you here?”

Fighting back tears, Iz tried to explain. “We had become friends, but we really were not allowed to be friends. Our families are separated, our countries are at war and our people hate each other.”

Moved by Iz’s admission, Pal came over and sat down. “If we try to be friends, excuses will be made why it is a bad thing. So we’ve come out here in the desert, where we can be friends without interfering with the war that the grown-ups like to have.”

Iz leaned forward and emphatically concluded. “They can have their war. We just want to be together and be left alone.”

Karin was reasoning in her mind the whole time the boys were speaking. She knew she needed to do something, or the situation could easily go awry. She spoke gently but firmly. “It’s not that way, boys. There are lots of Arabs and Jews that get along together. For God’s sakes—they work in the same companies and factories. I’m sure there are lots of Jewish and Arab boys that are friends.”

“Do you know any?” Pal asked sincerely.

“Now that is a trick question,” said Karin. “Just because I can’t offer a name doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”

Iz leaned forward. “But aren’t you a reporter? Aren’t you supposed to have answers?”

“Okay,” said Karin, drawing a very deep breath and releasing it slowly. “Let’s say you guys are right. Let’s say your families won’t allow you to be friends. Here’s my question. Is it really better to live out here—pardon me—starve out here, to be with each other, than to be with your families, safe and sound, knowing they love you, in your own communities?”

Iz sadly shook his head. “You just don’t get it, lady. What you’re saying to us is to give up our love and friendship just so our families will think we’re all right and will include us in the home. Why can’t we be included…together? Why don’t they make an exception because they love us?”

Iz’s speech touched Karin. “Hell if I know,” she responded. “That’s just not the way it works right now. And you’re not going to change it playing in the desert, dehydrating yourselves and smelling like a three-day-dead goat.”

Pal was surprised. “Do we smell that bad?” he asked.

“No,” replied Karin. “It would take four baths for you to smell like the goat.”

Iz shook his head. “Very sorry. I guess our manly body parts are much more mature than we thought.”

Karin winced, considered a retort, but opted to move on. “Well, I guess you’ve answered question two–‘What are you trying to do?’” she noted. “Or is there more? Are you boys trying to send a message to the Israelis and Palestinians?”

“Yes, we are,” said Iz. “Leave us alone.”

Karin looked around in all directions. “It appears you are alone.”

“Then good,” replied Pal. “But we also can do without reporters.”

Karin pretended to cry. “You mean you don’t want to be famous?”

“No,” said Iz. “Famous is our worst fear. The less people know about us the better.”


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Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3966)

Sitting Eight

By midday, Iz and Pal had developed a brand-new game. They called it, “Your Book, My Book.”

They mentioned the various names that were in the Talmud and the Koran, and were shocked to find out how many were the same. Abraham was in both, as was Joseph, Isaac, Ishmael, Noah, Adam, Eve, Moses. Yes, they were all there.

Iz’s book had some other different names and Pal’s mentioned both Jesus of Nazareth and Mohammed, but it was really quite surprising. Kind of freaky.

They also realized that the two of them looked much the same. By now they smelled the same. They both believed in God. Both had never touched pork and had strict families. They came from desert Bedouins and they both really, really liked Hershey chocolate bars with almonds.

Aside from Iz being shorted by circumcision and Pal not really having a country, they should be brothers.

It made them wonder if anyone had ever thought of it before. They were so preoccupied with their new game that neither noticed the arrival of a guest—a slender, lanky young man with dark brown skin, curly hair and pieces of coal for eyes—piercing but still permitting some of the warmth of childhood.

Iz did not recognize the stranger but Pal knew him.  He spoke quietly. “Hello, Talsan.”

The young man stood tall, staring off into the distance. “It is hot, my little brother. You will sicken yourself in this heat.”

“I drink as much as I can,” said Pal, continuing his calm tone.

Talsan chuckled. “In the desert, by the time you think to drink, it is already too late.”

He sat down next to his younger brother.

Iz spoke up. “I am Jubal,” he stated. “Amir’s friend.”

“So,” asked Talsan, “are you the trouble-maker?”

Pal interrupted. “No, I am the trouble-maker. No, I mean—there is no trouble. We are just enjoying being together.”

Talsan shook his head. “Papa is worried. He has talked to the elders.”

Pal quickly shifted to his haunches. “Why did he talk to them?”

Talsan raised his voice. “Because he wasn’t going to talk to you out here in the desert, running from family and Allah.”

“I’m not running,” said Pal. “All my life I’ve done whatever I was told to do, even though there were questions exploding in my mind.”

“Questions?” scoffed Talsan, “what questions?”

Pal paused as if deciding whether to continue the conflict. “All right, Talsan,” he said with intensity. “Answer this. Why do we live in a religion, in a culture, that speaks so highly of family, friends and love, but then teaches us to hate these people walking nearest to us in the village?”

“We do not hate them,” Talsan spat. “They hate us. We are merely protecting our lives.”

Iz jumped in. “I don’t hate you. I don’t hate Pal. I don’t hate your father. I would just like to live—and have some fun.”

Talsan laughed scornfully. “Now I know you are a boy. Fun is out of the question. We are to become men and take our place—first at the universities and then, in leadership of our communities.”

“Without fun?” asked Pal.

Talsan heaved a deep sigh. “Papa has explained all of this to you. It is time for you to come home. He will not pursue you. He will pray for you but he will not come to you. It is a shame and a disgrace that you would wish him to defile himself by chasing his son down in the desert.”

“I don’t want him to chase me,” shouted Pal. “I want him to leave me alone and let my friend, Iz, and me, start a new life. Maybe a new town.”

“Or even a country,” piped in Iz.

“Iz,” said Talsan. “Listen to yourself, little boy. Our country has existed for thousands of years, filled with tradition and rich spirituality.”

Iz interrupted. “But how can it be spiritual when it is so full of hate?”

Talsan shook his head. “Do you hate the lamb when you take the wool? Do you hate the chicken when you collect its eggs? Do you hate the animal when you spill its blood to provide meat for your table? What you call hate is merely the way of nature. Things that are alike seek their own. In the process, they reject different species so as to keep purity within the ranks.”

Pal screamed at his brother. “You make no sense! Is this what they teach you at the university? These are just weird stories that don’t mean anything. My friend, Iz, here, is not a chicken. And I’m not an animal stuck in some herd. Talsan, you cannot tell me that you believe this.”

Talsan drew a deep breath. “What I believe has no power if it cannot change what I see. All of my wishes for peace and love are meaningless when I live in a world of bigotry and intolerance. I don’t want to change the world. I just want to keep the world from changing me.”

Both boys squinted at him, confused.

Talsan grabbed Pal’s arm, pulling him to his feet. “You will go with me,” he stated.

Pal collapsed, forcing his body to the ground, as Iz grabbed the grenade.

Talsan spied the weapon extended in the young boy’s hand. “So this is your answer to violence?” he posed. “How are you any different than anyone else? You would kill me to maintain your little society?”

Pal, lying face-down in the ground, spit back, “Talsan, I don’t want to kill you. You are my brother. I just don’t want you to decide my life.”

Talsan released his hold on Pal’s arm and stepped a few paces away, then turned and said, “I will tell Papa that your mind is deranged by the desert sun, and that you are under the power of some evil spirit. This should comfort him.”

He continued. “My little brother, I do not know what you’re doing. I do not know what in the hell this ‘Iz and Pal’ business is all about, but you are skin of my skin and blood of my blood. I will not hate you because I do not understand. This is where I am different from Papa. I pray you will change your ways, but I do not want you to starve and die of thirst. I will have food and water delivered here every morning until you decide to come to your senses. You are a childish idiot—but that should not be a death sentence.”

Pal stood to his feet and gingerly gave his brother a hug. Talsan nodded at Iz and concluded, “I do not hate you Jews. I just don’t believe that God chose you any more than He chose me.”

“No argument from me,” said Iz simply. “And thanks for the food.”

The boys perched in silence and watched as Talsan made his way down the hill. With each step he took they realized they were growing further and further away from their families and communities. Soon there would be nothing but the sand under their feet and the love they had in their hearts.

Still, it seemed like enough.


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1 Thing You Can Do This Week (to be of greater value to the people around you)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week (to be of greater value to the people around you)

 

STAY OUT OF POLITICS

Totally and completely.

Politics is not patriotism.

Politics is not a willingness to be civic-minded.

Politics is not an awareness of the issues.

POLITICS IS A PARTY

Yes, politics is a party with a limited guest list. The only way to get on that list is to agree with the terms of the party and to drink up the punch and suck down the appetizers.

Politics has become a sport.

Politics has led us to believe that lying is natural and often needful in certain situations.

Politics creates clumps of people who feel they’re superior by either a name or a color, and eventually use that arrogance to shut out the other half of the country.

Politics allows you to believe that you can be against abortion but for free expression of gun privileges, despite the carnage.

Politics leads you to believe that you should be ferociously involved in the environment and taking care of every wooly bear that is nearly extinct while simultaneously contending that abortion is not killing.

Politics makes you contradict your own heart.

Politics makes you support people simply because they are not as crazy as the alternative.

Politics is being willing to compromise faith, do away with truthfulness and ignore the needs of some portions of society simply because they favor the other camp.

THE DEVIL’S RELIGION

Politics is what the devil would suggest if he were starting a religion.

The minute you stay out of politics and make it clear that you have no intention of indulging in the verbal nastiness that accompanies it, you will suddenly become a trustworthy human, thinking for yourself and knowing there are things more important than who the next Supreme Court Justice might be.

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Buy Mr. Kringle's TalesClick the elephant to see what he’s reading!

 

Jesonian … September 11th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3892)

I think you’re right, Johann.

Turning the other cheek can be scary on many levels. Some people think it’s ridiculous–they contend that if you don’t fight back, you’ll be destroyed.

But here’s the problem with fighting: nobody fights to lose.

Did you hear that? That means if a discussion becomes an argument and ends up being a fight, the individual who is trained the most to be violent and has the greater stamina will win the day.

Do we really want that?

Some years ago I stumbled on a fist fight in an alley in a large city. A little crowd had gathered because two men who were obviously over-soaked in alcohol had decided to square off.

The whole affair lasted less than thirty seconds, because within fifteen seconds of swinging at each other–and mostly missing–they were so out of breath that they had to crumple to their knees just to gain air.

God forgive me–I laughed.

We want to come across so tough, yet are we actually willing to fight? And if we decide to fight, are we going to get ourselves in shape at a level of anger to win?

There are three things for certain:

If you’re going to destroy an eye in someone else, you have to be willing to lose one yourself.

If you’re going to kill the enemy, you must be prepared to die.

And if you’re going to get physical with your retaliation, you must have the skill to overcome the person that is coming at you.

Johann, Jesus said this was unrealistic. Who has the time, in the middle of trying to live a joyous, giddy and peaceful life, to go into the gym and train to be a killer?

So sometimes, instead of punching back, you lay back, and see if conversation can return instead of taking something to blows.

It is scary.

It’s scary for the person who has to do it, and it’s very scary for the person who is facing such courage.

Turning the other cheek is not an option. It is the only doorway available for most of us humans who don’t want to spend our lives lifting weights and punching bags.

*****

If you like the mind of Jesus without religion, buy the book!

                $7.99 plus S&H

*******

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Salient…July 23rd, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3743)

There are matters that are too important to ignore or leave to chance. These are salient moments.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

And by questioning, I mean the assumptions that other human beings draw about you based on very little information.

For some reason, we, as people, feel no need to apply facts when it comes to deciding who somebody really is, since they haven’t clearly stated their position one way or another.

This quick-to-the-punch evaluation can be based on facial expression, body language, race, gender, sexual orientation or whim.

If you don’t make a statement about things in life, you leave it to others to come with the questions, or to question for themselves and then form conclusions–which more than likely will be far from true.

Yet, because we have become so politically correct, afraid to voice an opinion for fear of being offensive, answers like “I don’t know” or “that’s a tough one,” or one I personally disfavor, “I guess it depends on the circumstances,” are prevalent.

Make a statement. Avoid questioning.

Let me give you some examples:

  • I do not believe in killing anything unless I plan on eating it.
  • I also decided not to judge anyone at any time unless I’m wearing a long, black robe and have a gavel in my hand (so far no offers).
  • Every week I evaluate my compassion, success and motivation on whether I end up giving more than taking.
  • And I freely admit that I’m a bigot. I favor one race. The human race.

So there you go.

Because I make statements, you don’t have to exhaust yourself coming up with a list of inquiries or challenging me in your private thoughts, developing your own profile about me.

So here is your salient moment:

If you’re not afraid to make a statement about what you believe, then you won’t have to field so many questions about what truly and honestly is in your heart.

 

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