Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why write a blog?. Israel in the New York times

Although this blog started out with the idea that is would mostly be my autobiography, I have decided that if it is to be a true blog, I should write more than what happened to me 50-60 years ago. I have a store of small vignettes about my life in Scotland, Israel the USA but I will post them, perhaps once a week so as not to bore my readers.
Why does one write a blog? I have been thinking about this the last day or so. I suppose it is in part to fulfill an ego, to let the world know what I am doing and thinking. Most of us have no effect on what happens around us, or even in many cases to ourselves, and thus we can express our feeling through the blog. Perhaps it will influence someone to think the way I do. Perhaps it is also a way of making friends and communicating with people with common interests, which has become harder as everyone seems busy with their own pursuits. This would explain the popularity of social networks like facebook, which apparently the young (relatively speaking) go to constantly to record the trivial happenings in their lives.
My wife has become very involved with an E-mail list, people with origins in Czernowitz, in the Ukraine. From this correspondence about the past, has developed bonds and strong friendships. Most of the people on the list have never met each other, but they correspond as if family, and not only discuss genealogy, which was the original aim, but also recipes, trips, pictures of the city as it was 60 years ago. As someone said to me, people need roots and this is on way of identifying with a group with similar feelings. When they mkeet there is instant friendship.
Actually what prompted me to write today was an article in yesterdays New York Times by Roger Cohen. I have the impression that the NY times, has to publish something with a slightly anti-Israeli slant every day. This article was about the lack of “ recognition or “ emotion” in the US press (or TV) to the killing of a young Turkish-American by Israeli commandoes on the ill fated flotilla of a bout a month ago, and the claim made that if he was Jewish –American and had been killed by Hamas or some other organization there would have been an outcry. Like any sane person I feel sorry for the life lost. However this was a kid who left the US at the age of 2 and returned with his parents to Turkey. This young man was born in the States probably by accident, his father spending time as a foreign student (or post-doc). He did not grow up in Troy, New York, no one knew him, and apart from the accident of birth he was not an American teenager. Therefore one would not expect a hue and cry. The whole purpose of the article appeared to me to “ stick it “ to Israel. I agree that the blockade of Gaza as carried out was stupid, and the flotilla did succeed in its aim of breaking the blockade to some extent. Israel makes mistakes, as do all governments. The fuss over this particular event was hypocritical, since there are many more civilian deaths as a result of military action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya, China or elsewhere committed by all sides and there is not this hysteria.
I will not defend Israeli actions carte blanche, but there has to be some semblance of honesty and balance in reporting

So much for politics. I am also busy writing a book on viruses and history, based on the last course I taught at IU. It is almost complete, and I hope to send it to some publishers soon.

At the weekend I will post another chapter on growing up in Scotland or something humorous about the days on the commune ( Hachshara) in Southern England.