May 28, 2015

Most will come to recognize the evil of apartheid

GUEST: Lia Tarachansky, who grew up in a settlement in the West Bank, talks about her new film, "On the Side of the Road," the story of how Israel fought to erase Palestine and then created a culture of denial.

We had recorded this interview earlier, so I was listening to it again as we did the program today. 

I was stuck this time as she described becoming aware of apartheid when she moved to Canada. People questioned Lia for the first time about Israel's human rights record, and she decided to do her own research. It was all there, from the Nakba of 1948 to the present day massacres in Gaza. She had spent her childhood and teenage years believing something so firmly that it took a new country to get her to analyze what had really transpired. 

I think that is certainly a major theme of Lia's film. And I wondered during our talk, whether there were listeners out there whose minds might be similarly liberated by our discussion. Zionism is religion in that it requires a blind faith in what was done in the name of the Jewish people. Forced to pay closer attention to the suffering and oppression of the Palestinians, most will come to recognize the evil of apartheid, and the truth will help restore their sense of humanity.

May 21, 2015

How did you let it get this bad?

GUEST: Hatim Kanaaneh, author and Palestinian doctor who has spent decades working with patients in the West Bank, discusses his new book, "Chief Complaint, A Country Doctor's Tales of Life in Galilee" by Just World Books.

Hatim is a very good storyteller. His recently published book of short stories is full of complex and interesting characters, who do their best under the prevailing system of Israeli apartheid. 

Within a page or two in each story, the protagonist becomes your next door neighbor, allowing you to watch the violence and racism right from your bedroom window. 

Americans need to understand how our country funds, arms and protects Israel, the source of all this Palestinian suffering. We need to awaken ourselves and restore our humanity by ending the occupation.

Someday, Hatim will be a hero for writing this book. It will be read in classes by students trying to understand racism and ethnic cleansing. Maybe one of them will ask you or me one day, "How did you let it get this bad?"

May 15, 2015

How political could an author get in the bad old days?

GUEST: Tom Miller, author of "Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro’s Cuba," talks about his views on the end of the 55 year US embargo.

Tom was a very entertaining guest with on obvious love of Cuba (from his Cuban wife to eventing strolls on the Malecón). Most of the interview centered on the readiness of the US and Cuba to put an end to the embargo.

We touched on a few issues. Yes, the US was forced to change its policy, since this country was completely isolated from the rest of the world in its illegal embargo. From the UN to the Organization of American States the rest of the world (except for the pariah state of Israel) had condemned our aggression.

Tom was surprised to hear that the US media never printed anything good about Cuba's revolution, despite its many positive aspects. From universal healthcare and free college education to the absence of childhood hunger and homelessness, The NY Times has never printed a positive fact about Castro's Cuba. 

He had been stopped by the Cuban Police and charged with handing out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (he was innocent of the charge and was released). I have walked all over Havana and talked to many citizens. They had never seemed worried about what they were saying. We had a Cuban restaurant owner get up before about 35 people to say how capitalism would work better in his business (I am sure he could pay his workers less). He wasn't worried about the police in the least. So I think that our media has overplayed Cuban repression and underplayed the many positive gains of the revolution. Of course, our mainstream media has always been guided by Pentagon propaganda. 

Some critics have attacked Trading with the Enemy for being "strangely apolitical." But really, how political could an author get in the bad old days and still be published? Let's see if this new opening with Cuba can free our mainstream media of Cold War distortions.