Friday, October 15, 2010

I went to a monastery

I went to Thich Nhat Hanh's monastery last weekend and was uplifted by the simplicity of the monks in their long mauve robes -- whoever picked the color of their robes is to be commended. But the spirit doesn't move me to comment on it all today. (Though simplicity and Being Here Now? Heartily recommend them.)

Don't want to write about this Monastery though becuz. The dreaded New Yorker's curse -- housing woes -- has befallen us, and until we see our way through it, I will be a curmudgeonly New Yorker -- grumpy, mindlessly eating, doing all the self-defeating things one does when the world isn't going the way you're sure it should. Can't say that mindlessly eating is all that bad, though....

But I can recommend a wonderful wonderful documentary, which is just making its way into the theaters nationwide (in the U.S), having finished its New York run, literally, last night. I suffered a parking ticket in order to get to the last screening of said run. The film is Budrus, about a non-violent protest by a Palestinian village (Budrus) against the punishing route of the dividing wall. (You know, the tall security wall Israel is constructing, which in many cases is encroaching on Palestinian farms? This process no matter how you look at it makes no sense. What purpose is there in cutting into land, appropriating it, when there's literally no reason to? No settlers were going to land there, no bases set up. It looked like nothing other than a land grab I'm afraid. And I'm not a flaming radical, just in favor of basic human rights. OK, here goes. I wasn't going to post at all today, and here I am discussing my views on the Middle East? Keeping a blog is a lot like life. Ya never know.

My idea of a protest for Middle East sanity is to set up a lemonade stand, raising quarters to send to Palestinians who aren't getting their day in court to secure a housing permit. I would like to see children raise money for their lawyers the same way they have been admirably raising money for the refugess of Darfur. Raising $100 in quarters and sending a check in an envelope to some reputable non-profit organization. This matter is a civil rights matter -- I mean, it's really very basic. Simply allowing someone to use their own land the way they choose. Talk about housing woes. I have no business comparing our situation with that of the palestinians, I know. Here I am with our mortgage paid on a leafy block of Brooklyn. But, that said. (Just kidding. I sound like a Daily Show skit) But why won't the friggin' co-op board grant us their approval!??? We're just like the Palestinians on the West Bank --

But the film. Back to the incredible film. Budrus was shot by multiple people -- anyone, actually who happened to be there as the bulldozers roared in and soldiers with guns appeared, and smoke grenades were flung about and a small agricultural village was gradually occupied, anyone who and had a camera, a cell phone, whatever and started recording the events that transpired, pitched in to tell the story that became this film. So, this included the residents of Budrus -- women too which when you see the film, you'll see why this was such a big deal. The women went out to face the Israeli soldiers FIRST, and that was very key. And it included a host of international supporters, and Israeli soldiers who shot video and turned it over to the filmmakers, and Israeli citizens sympathetic to the townspeople of Budrus, of course Palestinians, Hamas folk professing nonviolence and even :-) the film crew of Budrus

It's a Gandhian story of civil rights prevailing. It's lions lying down with lambs like you wouldn't believe. David vs. Goliath retold. It's a must see!

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