Tag Archives: Israel

Tour thru Mass Graves. Cambodia.

12 Dec

November 27, 2010

As we dance our way into the sexy topics of mass graves and genocide – something I’m sure you’ve been breathlessly anticipating – we need to take a step back and do a quick 411 on  Mr. Pol Pot, the man responsible for exterminating 1.7 to 2 million – or  1/4th of the Cambodian population in the 70’s and 80’s.

Quick Soundbite: Mr. P. Pot and his four BFFers led Cambodia’s ruling communist party from 1975 to 1979, under the name of the Khmer Rouge (KR).   The dates answer the question of why there was not a global outcry for his “social engineering” policies.  You see,  it was prime time BOLTING from Vietnam time.    We were leaving as Mr. P. Pot was confiscating Cambodians and Mr. Ho Chi Chi was victimizing South Vietnamese.

More specifically, Mr. P Pot’s mission was to exterminate Cambodia’s intellectual class — capitalists, civil servants, city dwellers, educated…. Buddhist monks, former government officials, soldiers…ethnic minorities like Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams (Muslims), Thais…  Only the farmers and poor peasants were permitted to live.

Pol Pot’s “social engineering eradication”  is up there with the other “great” genocides. We have Stalin who starved over seven million Ukrainians  from 1932 to 1933 by confiscating their entire harvest.  And, then polished off around 30 to 40 million Russians who thought he was ugly.

Then there is Turkey who purged over 1.5 million Armenian Christians – more than half their population – and seized 90% of their land.  In the US, we hear a lot about the 6 million Jews who perished at the the hands of the Nazis from 1938 to 1945. But eliminating the Jews, gypsies, gays and any other misfits were just one part of Hitler’s plan to create a more secure, ethnically homogeneous state.

Hitler removed and transplanted about 12 million Germans. Those that survived, resettled in Eastern Europe, Russia…. After WWII, Poland, Czech, Hungry, Romania and Yugoslavia booted all Germans.  Estimates say over 2.1 million Germans died from hunger, cold, disease…after WWII…in route back to Germany.

We can go on and on for we’ve haven’t even touched Mao’s golden touch in China or the continent of Africa.  I say this because while Cambodia is gruesome and tragic, this people purging is not new or novel. Fascist, nationalist megalomaniacs or religious zealots have ethnically cleansed, removed or transferred groups of people since the Middle Ages, if not before. We did it to the Native Americans.

What I struggle with is why don’t we learn. Why do we commit the same atrocities. Using the same tactics. Same justifications. Same rationale. Why?

While in Israel, I toured the Holocaust museum with my East German friend. We were in the room detailing how Nazi’s confined, starved and killed Polish Jews.  She said, “Just change the word Warsaw Ghetto to Palestinian Ghetto and that’s the West Bank today…Don’t you see that?  I mean, come on….”

At Auschwitz in Poland, I toured the concentration camp with over 100  Israeli soldiers.  God placed them there. I felt it. I was so angry at Israel that I could not even write about her – publicly – after my visit in August. And, I had to giggle, for only weeks later, I’m touring a concentration camp with her military protectors.  I knew what it meant.

I followed the soldiers. Observed. And, wondered what they were thinking when touring the chambers where Nazis forced the Jews, gypsies, gays – for being born into the “wrong” group – to stand for days at at time. Or, were shoved in small cells in solitary confinement. Or, given only one small meal a day….

From what I have read, Israeli prisons employ the same type of tactics today.  So, what were they thinking? I mean, were they justifying treatment of the Palestinians with the same nationalistic zeal as the Nazis? I  don’t know. I just don’t know… Again, history continues to repeat herself…

I write this and ask.  Ok.  So, what can we do?  What we CAN do is one thing.  What we DO, do is another.  If history is any predictor of the future, then here’s the deal.

We stand back.  Let others deal.  We watch.  And, we wait.  We wait twenty or thirty years for the Palestinian, Iraqi or Guantanamo Bay prison museum to open.  We wait for the historians to tell us what “really happened.”  We pay our $5 to walk thru mass graves.  To tour killing chambers.   And, to be shocked by the torture.  Appalled by the death.  And, vow never to let something like “this” happen again.

But, for now we just wait.

I’ve got my $5 ready, do you?

Israel – Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

23 Aug

Now, that I’m out… I will share my travel thoughts on Israel.

Just looking for time to edit my stuff.  And, willing David Brooks of the NY Times to call me. Would love to chat him up and listen to his perspective on ground zero of madness.  I probably won’t get to it until 2 weeks from now.  Currently, focused on building drainage ditches in Gliwice, Poland…  Some Israel pics below…

Dead Sea. Bikini Won.

22 Aug

Yes, boys and girls.  The big-bikini won. This “shocking white” gal sported a bikini in the Dead Sea.

Wearing a bikini was NOT a big deal but when you are sitting in Wild Winter Park decisions on what to wear seem monumental.  One would think — Muslin country equals cover up.

Not the case.  Tourons (Tourists + Morons) are exempt.  Though, I should have covered up b/c the sun was a bazillion and one degrees and hurt my pasty, white skin. Yes, I wore the anti-cancer cream.  But, it still hurt.

One more comment about my bikini.  The bottoms turned into soggy diapers because I bought a size too large at Wal-Mart.  I should have listened to my sister.  Yes, I looked like I was carrying a Dead Sea mud-load in my drawers.  Once again, this Tall Pasty Girl was a fashion STUNNER.

Everything you know about the Dead Sea is true.  It’s salty.  It’s salty.  You truly float.  You can only last about 10 mins.  Our group inhaled an All-You-Can-Eat buffet prior to squeezing into our small “swimmers” to float.

Our goal was to see if we gorge ourselves, would we really float.  Normally, the answer is NO.  We ate desserts, pastas, fish, beef, pita, hummus…everything.  And, guess what?  We floated.  Amazing stuff.

The mud was the interesting part.  There was an area off to the side where you took heeps of bacteria-filled mud and rub it all over your body.  “They” say it scrubs away your wrinkles and exfoliates skin rot.  I can only attest to the exfoliating b/c if you rub anything with sand on your body, it will take off skin.  I don’t care where you are.

We rubbed.  I turned a dark color.  And, for the first time since I can remember, felt FAB in a bikini.  I was tan! Hot baby…

This is probably the only time that I feel good about posting a bikini picture – ever.  All inspired by the Dead Sea.

The mud caked on – dried in seconds – and we all sprinted for the 100-degree SALT infested water to cool off.  The water was HOT too.  And, it is true.  You can only stand being in the water for 10 minutes and then every little scratch, knick or chapped particle on your body starts to sting.

We sprinted from the Dead Sea to the chlorinated pool, which was about 90 degrees instead.  Nice and cool for the desert-land.

It was an experience.  But, we opted to take a pass at it a second time in Israel.  Once you’ve done the Dead Sea, you don’t need to go back.  Been there.  Done that.  Exfoliated everything.

Israeli Sack Attack Update

21 Aug

Sack Attack Update.

Received the over-sized backpack posing as a suitcase late last night in Krakow, Poland.  The Israeli storm-trooping teens turned it inside out.  Looks like they snatched a packet of bill control, pair of wool socks and duct tape.  Interesting combo.  I don’t want to think about why.  Clearly they long-term borrowed it in the name of security.

There is something unnerving knowing someone one – or a whole group of randoms – has pilfered through your things.  I wonder how they analyzed me based on my stuff?  They could safely assume pregnancy is not an option b/c of the 7 month supply of BC.  And, I must be one for headaches or in pain with the 200+ IB Profin pills.

Hmmm…. I bet they had a field day believing I’m super type-A with the my fashions safely sealed and secured in vacuum packed, Ziplocks.  They may possibly believe I’m organized – but little do they know.  I’m sure they laughed when they came across Magic Jack adapater connected to a 1980’s phone.  Yes, I’m carrying a full size phone bought at Wal-Mart for $5.99.  If they open the green, meshed make-up bag, they would sigh and will me to invest in some clean brushes and even upgrade the Maybeline eyeliner.

By unsealing my clothes, they would see I stray from short-shorts, micro-minis, tanks or anything causing a farmer’s tan or skin cancer.  They might even assume I’m a Muslim or Jewish poser – certainly not a Britney Spears, no-clothes wearing Christian.    Oh, I could go on…

What matters is that I have clothes to wear and garden gloves to sport next week as I TRY my hand at building homes for the impoverish Polish with Habitat for Humanity.  That’s what matters.  And, I do want to note I have stripped away all stickers and anything that says Israel.

I’m over them.  And, I hope they OD on my BC.

Digesting Jordan & Israel

20 Aug

Made it to Poland.  Listening to drunk’en fools clapping to accordion playing outside my hotel window in Krakow.

Trying to digest jumping Jordan and irritating Israel. Major editing of observations is recommended if I ever want to step foot in the middle east….Hey, I may find out that I don’t want to go back after my ongoing security “incident” at the Tel Aviv airport…

Let’s say, I made it out but my over-sized backpack full of unnecessary items was deemed a security risk and is under observation. Maybe I should have kept the J&J first aid kit and the pound of prenatals and ditched the sulfate-free shampoo and over sized Ziplocs. I’m dreaming of clean undies and a toothbrush right about now.

I knew I had Israeli security risk written all over me. Let’s face it…The tall, sweaty blond shacking up at the catholic monastery now 4-star hotel… drinking ONLY Palestinian beer…channeling the THORNBIRDS as I oggled over tall, hunky priests… going undercover to photo AK47 totting teens… starring at ringlet- wearing Haredi Jews secretly smoking cigs…opting to flirt with dirty, Dutch boys in lieu of the wrathful natives…..and being forced to smuggle pastel yellow gardening gloves bought in Beirut for a Habitat for Humanity project in Poland.

You can see how the deck was stacked against me.  I was going dooooown….So,  when those tempestuous teens running airport security laid their eyes on the pretty pastels – BAM, they immediatly thought military contraband.  No joke. A kid actually said this to me.  D.O.N.E…

Yes.  Need to edit – a lot.  So, give me a day.  I plan to post Jazzercising in Jordan tomorrow and Israel thereafter.

Party onward.. Maybe I will go and see what my fellow Polish friends are cheering about outside my window first…Maybe not.  I’m super stinky.