Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3987)

Sitting Eleven

A gentle moment of tenderness swept over the heart of Karin Koulyea.

At first she didn’t recognize the emotion, having not encountered it for some time. She found it best to protect her soul just short of the border of bitterness. She never felt comfortable, she was never assured, and she always found herself defending her life because she was born a woman.

But standing there in the desert, she realized that these two young boys had captured her imagination, as immature and foolish as they obviously were. There was a devotion that linked the two of them which was unmistakable, and nearly brought the hard-bitten reporter to tears.

Confused by her feelings and realizing that she was flirting with becoming part of the story instead of reporting it, she asked, “So, what is my story? What do you know about me? Are you just setting me aside because you’re rejecting everyone who isn’t one of you two?”

“You don’t have a story,” Iz explained, leaning forward. “We didn’t ask you to come here. We didn’t ask to be bothered. We don’t want to solve any problem. We just don’t want anyone to take away our friendship.”

Karin shook her head and scoffed. “How about that soldier down there? How about the grenade?”

You brought him,” countered Iz.

Karin took a deep breath for dramatic effect. “Actually, he brought me. My jeep gave up on the way here and I hitched a ride.” She gazed steadily at the pair. “And I will tell you right now—he wants his grenade back and he will not leave until he gets it.”

Pal carefully considered her words. “Tell him he can have his hand grenade if we can have his gun.”

Iz loved the idea and clapped his hands. Karin, on the other hand, chuckled before realizing that Pal was serious. “No, I don’t think he’ll do that,” she said. “Matter of fact, I can pretty well guarantee you that he’ll nix that suggestion. But calm down—let’s drop this for now. Just listen. For my story…” She held up her hand. “And listen, boys, I am going to walk away from here with a story. So for my story, I need your names.”

“We have new names,” said Iz proudly. Pal nodded in agreement.

Karin, grateful for the conversation, asked, “All right. What are your new names?”

“I am Iz and this is Pal,” he replied.

Karin nodded her head. “I see,” she said. “For Israeli and Palestinian.”

Pal was very aggravated at how quickly Karin figured out their cleverness. “Is it that obvious?” he asked, disappointed.

“Well, it sure ain’t Gordian’s knot,” she replied.

Iz and Pal looked at each other, confused. Karin reconsidered her comparison and replaced, “Well, it sure ain’t algebra.”

The two boys bobbed their heads, understanding. Karin continued. “Well, Iz and Pal, you’ve got a problem. You really can’t stay here—especially with a hand grenade, which is going to gather great interest. Let’s be honest. What’s to keep that big, burly soldier down there from running up the hill and whipping your butts, and carrying you off to jail?”

“The hand grenade,” said Iz simply.

Karin pointed at him. “You mean the hand grenade you don’t know how to use?”

“The soldier doesn’t know that,” responded Pal.

Karin looked around the desert as if seeking divine wisdom, and then continued. “Listen, kid—there is no threat you will ever make that you won’t eventually have to back up. That’s why countries go to war. Because somebody somewhere was stupid enough to threaten somebody else. Then they end up needing to back it up by killing a bunch of innocent people.”

Iz and Pal listened very carefully. Karin was once again moved by their sincerity, but completely unnerved by their foolish innocence. They did not realize how dangerous it was to live in this land, where threats always became violence. They were ignorant of how a weapon in the hand eventually became a casualty on the ground. Whether they knew how to use a hand grenade or not, they were still in great peril.

She had no idea what to do. Perhaps they were small enough that she could take them on herself—at least one of them. Maybe if she overpowered Iz and pulled him down the hill, then Pal would dutifully follow. As always, the problem was, there wasn’t much time to think it over. And she didn’t trust Minioz. Was he concerned about the boys, or just intent on retrieving his hand grenade and making sure no ranking officer was aware he had lost it?

She looked toward the jeep. Suddenly, it was even more problematic. The sergeant was heading up the hill, weary of waiting. He was definitely not to be trusted. How desperate was he to cover up his error? Would he harm the boys?

Karin made a quick decision. “Listen,” she said. “Here he comes. I am probably the most stupid woman on Earth—but watch carefully. Here’s how the hand grenade works. I had to learn about them when I was a correspondent in Lebanon. First, look at the pin.” She pointed to the pin dangling from the grenade. “When you remove that pin, it opens a fuse. You have no more than five seconds to toss it and get away from the grenade before it explodes. Be careful. Some people know how to put the pin back into the grenade, but I don’t.”

Iz and Pal focused intently. Fidgeting, Iz fingered the pin.

“No!” screamed Karin, pulling his hand away. “It’s not a toy and this is no game. I did not tell you this so you would kill yourselves, or me, for that matter. I just don’t want the soldier to hurt you.”

Minioz was very near. It was all heading toward a very precarious conclusion.

Karin had been right.

Could any good thing come out of this story?


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Sit Down Comedy …March 15th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3985)


There were a few citizens of Springfield, Illinois, who were surprised when the city council did not nominate Maggie and Carl Johnson for consideration as “Parents of the Decade.” There were four nominations in all, but Maggie and Carl were not included.

The long arm of their charitable deeds had stretched across the entire townscape. Their oldest son was a banker, a daughter was a doctor, another daughter a lawyer, and a son was a Captain in the Marines. They seemed perfectly poised to take the prize.

But for many in the capital city, they were disqualified because their youngest son had raped and murdered nine women.

Even though it was common knowledge that he was inflamed by chemical addiction and haunted by mental illness, it still seemed inappropriate to the town fathers to grant Maggie and Carl consideration.

Likewise, two nights ago, I walked into my kitchen and smelled something. I followed my nose on a merry chase, and finally ended up standing over the garbage can, which obviously had something in it that was rotten and wanted the whole house to know. Even though the garbage bag was only a quarter filled, I yanked it out, tied it up and took it and threw it in the trash. It might have seemed rash and the waste of a still-productive garbage bag, but the odor made me do it.

The Christian faith must be prepared, along with its gospel of grace and kindly parables of Jesus, to understand that when humanity assesses the faith, the nasty deeds of the faltering fingertips of offending Catholic priests and the racial bigotry and violence of white supremacists who will swear on a stack of Bibles that “they did it all in Jesus’ name” will certainly need to be stirred in.

When we march around on July 4th, remembering the founding of our country, no truthful telling of the United States can be made without strolling through the back alley of our treatment of the Native Americans, the African-Americans and also a look into the rancid nature of our politics.

Dare I say that I will gladly join you on a quest to find the “good Muslims” if you will freely admit to me that the “bad Muslims” seem to have grabbed the microphone and are doing most of the talking for Mohamed’s children.

There are leaders, missions, governments, and faiths. They are led by human beings who make mistakes. This is not terminal. It’s not even deadly. But when those errors are hidden beneath a campaign to extol only the goodness of the endeavor, then Jesus warns us that it’s like splatting a coat of white paint on the outside of a grave.

We must all understand that the truth about us is what we believe minus what we do, with who we really are being the sum that remains.

 

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The E Word … March 5th, 2019

THE

WORD

 

There are words that are so vile with violence and bedeviled by bigotry that they should never be written or spoken again. But there are also words, shrouded with sinister self-righteousness, which are equally poisoned.

Such is the case with our E word this week:

EXCEPTIONAL

From the Greeks feeling philosophically elevated to the Romans commanding allegiance through their powerful armies, to the Jews believing they were “the Chosen Ones,” to the touting of a Holy Roman Empire, there have always been cultures, races and faiths that have attempted to establish their dominance over fellow-humans.

I must be candid. My skin crawls whenever I hear my American brothers and sisters bolstering our national ego by referring to the United States as “exceptional.” It is the kind of blatant arrogance that made us pursue “manifest destiny,” stealing land from a native people, while simultaneously shipping in souls from Africa to become our slaves.

It is evil—not just because it is pompous and misrepresents reality, but because it works hand in hand with two other failing thoughts.

For you see, people who think they are exceptional eventually believe they are superior. And those who proclaim they are superior eventually insist they are supreme.

After World War I, the German people were devastated in morale and financially destitute. A little man came with a huge idea. He told the German people they didn’t need to be the doormat of the world. He raised the consciousness of their Germanic roots. He told them they were exceptional.

In doing so, he stirred the pride of the nation. They began to rebuild.

Once they contended that they were exceptional, the evil little fellow then told them that they were superior.

He gave them a common enemy. By the end of the 1930’s, nearly every German, in some capacity, believed that he or she was superior to a Jew.

But to go to war, the small man, who in the meantime had become their dictator, needed to convince them they were supreme—a Super Race. This became something worth dying for—at least tens of thousands of them believed so. Unfortunately, it was not a suicide mission, but also took the lives of hundreds of thousands of other people who had to break the hypnotic spell.

Yet I will tell you, preaching “exceptionalism” is not different just because it is hatched in America. The notion is already beginning to make us contend that certain individuals are superior to others, and if we’re not careful, we will start reacting as if we are supreme.

Exceptional is a word that not even God will use. The Good Book makes it clear that He is no “respecter of persons.” If God makes no distinctions among His creation, why in the hell do we think we can?

“Exceptional” is our E word—a misguided attempt to build patriotism or national pride by ignoring the beauty of commonality and the glory of “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”


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Jonathots … January 1st, 2019

 


Jonathots Daily Blog

(3890)

handbook for touching

“I never touched her.”

“I didn’t lay a hand on you.”

These are common phrases, often spouted when wounded people suggest that we have attacked them and we are certain that no physical contact was ever made.

We could be right. It is possible to never lay a hand on another human being in a negative way—and still communicate violence.

The hands are so expressive that they even emote gestures of touch.

Pointing a finger at someone in an accusatory manner often makes the person being accosted feel as if that digit is jabbing into his or her soul

Shaking a fist in traffic to communicate displeasure also carries the message that you might wish to put that same fist right in their nose.

And there’s no doubt that sprouting the middle finger is a huge proclamation that the person you are insulting isn’t worth any of your time or consideration.

The hands are so powerful that they don’t need to touch to be felt. Therefore, if someone points at me, makes a fist or gives me the middle finger, I often feel attacked.

But likewise, if someone reaches out with their hands, palms up, letting me know that they yearn for a connection, or if I’m at a concert or church and see an audience lift their hands in appreciation and adoration, I also feel that connection deep within my soul.

And if someone chooses not to give me the finger, but instead blows a kiss my way, I am moved, I feel attractive and I am touched.

 

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Sit Down Comedy … November 23rd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3865)

Common comments from politicians who just happen to also be turkeys

 

1. “We must stop the useless slaughter that happens every fourth Thursday of November, killing millions of our brothers and sisters” (The Alarmist)

 

2. “The problem is the hatchet. Not everybody should be allowed to have a hatchet. If we were able to curtail the sale of hatchets, thousands of turkeys could be saved.” (Weapon Control)

 

3. “Farmer Joe’s crazy. Not every farmer in this area is crazy. We have farmers over there growing corn. It’s Farmer Joe who’s crazy. We need to isolate Farmer Joe, treat him, and if not, imprison him to protect our turkey family from a mentally deranged person such as himself.” (Promoting the Mental Health Industry)

 

4. “I know this isn’t politically correct, but I think if you check the statistics, this problem has increased as the number of brown turkeys have crossed the border of our farm and joined us. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with them but we have noticed that many of them are raping the hens and they need to go through the correct channels if they want to be part of the ‘turkey in the straw.'” (Hidden Bigotry)

 

5. “I think it’s due to the fact that the climate is changing here on the farm, especially among the gobbles and gizzards. The weather is fowl. Anybody else notice it? It seems hotter in November and it’s more difficult to be able to distinguish the kernels of corn from the rocks in the ground because the soil is so dry. I think it makes the poultry crazy.” (Climate Change)

 

6. “It’s the liberals. They’re the ones who stopped liking red meat, and God knows, we are exceptional white meat. So of course, they want to come here and deplete our ranks. They hate us for our freedom.” (Conservative Commentators)

 

7. “I know they mean well, but the conservatives have brought down this violence upon all of us because they’re always pecking at the people who feed them, chasing away other birds, and they are just so hostile that eventually they bring about the terrorism that kills and destroys the flightless.” (Liberals Blaming Others for Violence)

As you can see, all the creatures on Earth could blame every other creature on Earth if they wanted to.

Here’s the truth: Thanksgiving is here to stay.

People will not stop eating turkey–although it might be intelligent, if you are one, to advertise ducks, and then enjoy the other 364 days of the year.

 

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G-Poppers … June 15th, 2018

Colin Kaepernick.

Here’s a young fellow who chose to protest alleged use of irrational violence by the police department against young black men. His method of objection was very simple:

He was a football player, so when the National Anthem was performed, he refused to stand, but at first sat, and eventually, along with many others, took a knee during the Francis Scott Key.

It was harmless.

Unfortunately, it became quite a row when capitalism and democracy were unleashed from their cages to wrestle with one another.

G-Pop wants you to understand that the two don’t get along. Democracy contends that individual citizens have the freedom to express themselves without inhibition.

Capitalism places the entire significance of its purpose in its name–capital. Money is the reason, money is the means, money is the passion and money is the bottom line.

So G-Pop found himself in an interesting situation two nights ago while having dinner with friends. Having not given adequate thought on this battle between capitalism and democracy, G-Pop stated that he felt the decision to forbid the protest of these excellent athletes was a sham and would eventually be perceived as a national shame.

G-Pop spoke too soon.

As long as we continue to have a democracy that is acted out through capitalism, those who work for the corporation will need to honor the tenets, principles and concepts of the company–even if they feel it deters from their freedoms.

Every day, each one of us sacrifices a little choice so we can be part of a bigger unit.

We do so because of money.

We do so fearing that launching too much on our own, without financial prospects, will leave us broke and busted instead of a fine bloke who’s trusted.

It’s really quite simple.

As long as Mr. Kaepernick was “Colinizing” an idea with his friends, to project their disagreement, and the National Football League was NOT insisting they follow any particular code, it was beautiful, totally sane and within the bounds of reason.

But when President Trump challenged the owners of the NFL to make the “knee salute” a profile against the policy of the National Football League, capitalism won over freedom.

Pardon the pun, but Colin and his buddies had no leg to stand on.

It was nasty.

It was plotted.

And it turned what could have been a dynamic discussion into a wicked slap on the wrist in the principal’s office.

G-Pop was wrong.

Capitalism–the pursuit of capital–will always trim back democracy, the insistence on freedom.

So Colin and his “Colinizers” will have to find a different way to protest. G-Pop is completely confident they will.

But until they do, let us not make it an issue of patriotism, but rather, conclude correctly that it is merely patronizing the bottom line.

 

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Salient…June 4th, 2018

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3693)

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

You can “go crazy” or you can “stay sane.” One requires you go and another suggests you stay.

If you intend on spending your life chasing what is popular, convinced that the numbers, profit margin and adulation is proof of its value, then you will end up constantly finding yourself splashing down into a pool of disappointment.

After all, consider the word popular–it “pops up,” and then, when it’s proven to be insufficient for human growth, it pops again, like a balloon, and goes away.

Here is a statement: virtue, love, tenderness, creativity, gentleness and honesty will never be popular.

You will never get the majority of the people to agree at any single moment to swing their weight in the direction of faith, hope and charity. These attributes are enduring.

Those who stay and follow them, when the “crazy” goes away, will find themselves positioned to be of help for friends and family who were wounded by the latest failed fad.

You might ask, what’s the difference between crazy and sane?

Crazy is any movement that suggests that the absence of mercy will achieve progress.

Sane is understanding that the greatest progress we can make is to apply mercy to every situation.

It’s all about mercy. There is no kindness without mercy. There is no love without mercy. Mercy is realizing that even if things don’t get better, we can work with what we have to find some good.

This will never be popular.

There will be more screams for revenge, vindication and violence as the years go by.

You can “go” after these causes, but you’ll end up crazy. Or you can “stay” with the power of mercy and remain sane.

So here is your salient moment:

There will be many voices in the wilderness. If you follow them you will go crazy.

There will always be an opportunity for mercy. If you embrace it, sanity will be your prize.

 

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