Saturday, October 31, 2009

Maitri mused recently on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things relating to power, oppression, and prejudice after a trip to Dachau, and I left my rant at the feet of her post.

Of course, Lord David's most recent experiences in an ongoing battle of confronting the abuses of power occurring in his own neighborhood by those who are supposed to serve and protect could also have been included in that response. And he's not alone....any police department that allows its officers to pull their weapons on citizenry that don't deserve it at highly inappropriate times (and shame on those who term it a "prank" - cruel intimidation is what it is) is one that certainly needs a major attitude adjustment. I mean, yes, this kind of thing happens in many other places, too... but the reforms the NOPD has supposedly had in place since Richard Pennington was chief seem to be torn and frayed in this city of hurt. We need help from the police, not help from the police, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of interconnectedness, a group of folks who went on a tour of Israel a few months ago spoke of their travels at our synagogue last night, complete with a slide show afterwards. One fellow kvetched a little about the seeming rudeness of Israelis, which Dan (as a visitor of Israel himself who didn't agree with that assessment at all) immediately confronted him about afterwards and found it to be a part of a stereotype held by the man that included New Yorkers and Chicagoans as rude as well just because they didn't say hello to you on the street without any provocation. The same man also admitted his thought that the new wall that was being built on the Green Line surrounding the West Bank probably contributed a great deal to the tour group's feelings of security while they were in admission that greatly saddened me, as that Wall is simply another terrible prop in an ongoing war of occupation and brutality on both sides that both Israelis and Palestinians are tiring of but cannot seem to stop.

One of the things I saw more than a few pictures of in the slide show, however, were the loads of feral cats that inhabit Jerusalem and many other places in Israel... (confession: I've had cats on the brain lately, as my oldest cat - my chubby, green-eyed, dark gray, black-striped tabby cat - has gone missing from our house in the past week. I've been trying to hunt her down and hunt down recent pictures of her to post to no avail. If anyone has seen her around the LGD, please bring her home, as she's not really an outdoor cat)...many of them starving and just barely getting by.

If one were to go by the interconnectedness of all things, I guess we'd take a good look at how societies treat their animals. Even though kindness to animals is a tenet of the Torah, it takes a gifted writer such as Haim Watzmann to examine one Jerusalem family's response to a mother of kittens and the comments of caring people to make the link between the treatment of animals and the treatment of people:

Eventually, I figured it out. The dysfunctional relationship of israelis with their cat (and to a lesser degree) dog population but one symptom of a population in moral decline. The image of the emaciated Hagar desperately trying to feed her brood at whatever temporary spot of warmth she finds – only to be banished because of, you know, the neighbours – is the picture of creeping decadence. The cats may be hungry as they are allowed to multuply without bound, and feed around garbage dumps, but it’s the people’s soul that’s decaying.

The picture Haim put up of Hagar’s pathetic face says all it needs to. I think he must know……

We all know.

But what we choose to acknowledge and act upon is key.

It is all intimately linked.

1 comment:

GentilltGirl said...

All of Life is a chain, and when one link it broken we all feel the pain.

I consider kindliness to be one of the greatest virtues. It's what makes us better than bacteria. That we CARE is everything. It takes time and energy, but what that is good doesn't?