!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Rolla Peace Newsletter, February 3, 2015

home archives last week feedback

Rolla Peace News

February 3, 2015
Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Holocaust Cartoon Contest
          b) I am Steven
          c) They Poisoned the Water As Each Thought He Ought To



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2015, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the low 30s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


In the 60s and 70s, when many of us were young, there was a huge peace movement focused on ending the Vietnam War; it was largely populated by young people. Today, here in Rolla, there are 5 of us who at least somewhat regularly join our weekly peace vigil; we are all in our 70s.

Tom Englehardt gives some good reasons why this should be so, including a feeling of disidentification with our country and government (it's not “us” any more), and the feeling that there isn't anything ordinary citizens can do about it. Another possibility is that young people have bought into the myth of the American way of life as it is portrayed on television: Mindless consumption of “entertainment,” toys, alcohol and food — and to get this kind of life, you need a well-paying job, which necessitates a college degree, which necessitates going hugely into debt. So they are busy doing all that stuff, and mostly not even aware of what is going on in the world.

I hope and believe that a big reason why activists are not turning out to “fight” the war is that more and more people are becoming aware that fighting against something is only perpetuating it by giving energy to it. Instead, they are working toward what we all really do want: a world free from hate and conflict, where people see the One that we all are in every person they meet, and treat them accordingly.

Here's Tom Englehardt's take on the subject; he has some very good insights. I would add that there are just as many people who feel called to service, but instead of just serving their country, they are serving our planet and humanity.

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Holocaust Cartoon Contest
          b) I am Steven
          c) They Poisoned the Water As Each Thought He Ought To

“History is the present. That's why every generation writes it anew.
But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.”
          —E.L. Doctorow
Predictably, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo affair, Iran's House of Cartoons and Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex are sponsoring a second Holocaust Cartoon contest. Also predictably, Western pundits are scrambling to find reasons why Holocaust cartoons should be condemned; but Charlie Hebdo's cartoons degrading Islam should be lauded.

It doesn't work that way. Either accept them both on the altar of “free speech” or condemn them both as inflammatory, deliberately offensive and degrading to a large number of people. (Actually, you could do both and still be consistent.)

Western criticisms of the decision to sponsor a second Holocaust Cartoon Contest seem to center on Holocaust denial and the rewriting of accepted Western history. But consider:

In 2003 the United States invaded and destroyed Iraq on the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. As of 2012, less than 50% knew this to be a lie (Question 63). Clearly, no “accepted” history should ever be considered above scrutiny.

The overriding theme among the winners of the First Holocaust Cartoon Contest appears to be drawing a parallel between the Holocaust, and the current treatment of Palestinians under the admittedly Jewish State of Israel. (You would never know this by reading the coverage of the contest in the Western media.) The winning entry, a cartoon of an Israeli crane erecting a wall adorned with an image of a Nazi concentration camp with the Dome of the Rock in the background, draws this comparison precisely, without denying the validity of the Holocaust .

So where do I stand? This is not an objective opinion, but I'm partial to my own cartoon of the Charlie Hebdo affair.


Steven Salaita has filed suit against the University of Illinois and certain unspecified donors for alleged “violations of his free speech and due process rights along with claims for breach of contract, conspiracy, and destruction of evidence”. Salaita's contract was allegedly denied because during the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza which killed over 2,000 Palestinians along with 71 Israelis, all but five of whom were soldiers, he posted tweets critical of Israel. Andrew Fishman writes in the Intercept that “his termination is seen as the latest in a long line of cases where Israel critics are punished or even fired.”

I'm baffled. Where are all those millions, including many prominent world leaders who proclaimed “Je suis Charlie” in Paris last month? Why aren't they in Champaign-Urbana proclaiming, “I am Steven.”


Not only is California suffering from an unprecedented multi-year drought; but, according to an investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle, it's dwindling supplies of underground potable water have been illegally poisoned by oil-drilling companies with the blessings of state regulators.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, the entire State of California has been under drought conditions since March 2014. California has not been 50% drought-free since December 2011. The drought reached its height so far in the summer of 2014 when the entire state was in stage 2 drought with 58% in stage 4, the highest stage of drought. While the drought has mitigated somewhat since then, it took a slight turn for the worse last week with the wet season still in progress.

Be thankful that you live in Missouri.

The title of this snippet comes from a poem entitled Extinction that I penned a few months ago.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

If you don't wish to get notices of peace events in the Rolla area, let me know and I'll take you off this list.

If you want to be added to this list, let me know.

Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com