What a week.

I’m listening to the Inauguration “We Are One” concert on the NPR website. Tears have come to my eyes several times, including during the singing of the national anthem. There are lots of actors speaking words, and I recognize their voices: Denzel Washington, Laura Linney, Steve Carrell, Tom Hanks.

The contradances the past two nights were spectacular. Tonight (Swallowtail) will hopefully be just as wonderful. The best moment last night was during the last dance, the band was playing fantastic music through the whole dance, then they broke into Brenda Stubberts’ for the end of it. One of the best sets of music I’ve ever danced to.

Lost starts again on Wednesday. I’m somewhat excited about that.

Hope you all are having as good a week as I am.

Israel and Gaza

What a mess this whole Gaza business is, eh? One is tempted to throw one’s hands up in resignation that the violence will continue indefinitely. But that’s a completely deplorable attitude. If we all resign to continued violence, then there will be continued violence.

But it’s hard! Let’s say that and get it over with. Both sides are sort of stuck in a rut. It’s like the active form of mutually assured destruction. An eye for an eye leaves the holy land looking like post-WWII Europe.

So what do we do? Well, the goal is to create some sort of peaceful compromise. In the short term, there’s one thing Israel wants and two things Hamas wants. Israel wants Hamas to stop launching rockets into its cities (duh). Hamas wants Israel to stop killing tons of Gazans in this invasion (duh) and to lower the embargo so they can have food and medical supplies and other things Israelis take for granted (duh?). Personally, I think it’s Israel’s responsibility as the larger power to make the signal that they will stop under those conditions. There we go! Truce! End of violence in the short term! No more murdered civilians! Yay!

But then there’s the long-term stuff. In the long term, Israel wants to continue not having rockets fired into its cities by Hamas (makes sense). Hamas wants two things in the long term: a unified, sovereign Palestinian state (oh, good idea!), and the elimination of Israel (wait, what?). Now, I know those annoying Jews(irony) took away the land where Palestinians had been living for centuries, nay millennia, but honestly, guys. Just because your new neighbors weren’t there a month ago doesn’t mean you can evict them or kill their dog.

Now, as far as I know, with the exception of that last desire, neither side is inherently opposed to the desires of the other. Israel doesn’t really want to lower the embargo, but that’s because they’re afraid of more weapons getting in, not because of the basic food and medicine stuff. So some form of these basic tenets should be possible to agree on. I don’t know much about the specifics, and doubtless they’ll be hard to work out as well, but that general point seems pretty straightforward. Right?