Genocide Joe and Life Vs. Death

Photograph Source: The White House – Public Domain

This is the fourth week. I sit in the waiting room, waiting for my friend to have her radiation therapy treatment administered. The 150 mile roundtrip to the Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute and the time it takes at the center is a 5-6 hour journey, and fighting the heavy traffic, especially in the congested construction areas, is unpleasant. Large trucks crowd us in between large concrete barriers. We make it to the center and I either take her in or an attendant wheels her in a wheelchair.

Frail and emaciated, she maintains her dignity by smiling and echoing upbeat greetings. She is the epitome of grace under fire; her head high, she walks through the door with poise, and when she emerges after her radiation treatment,  she radiates courage and hope for those whose names will be called next to enter the doors through which one goes in to receive the life-saving radiation.

Flashbacks stream through my mind as I recall sitting in CARTI’s waiting rooms 38 years ago, waiting for our son’s cranial radiation treatments. For  the then 3 year old there was a large toy box, a magnet that pulled him to plunder a toy or two  to give him a few minutes of joy prior to his being led in by caring and loving staff who made our 6 week ordeal a more tolerable experience.

After six weeks of radiation I come back home form an out of town trip and open the door to negotiate the 12 steps to our upstairs game room. Ryan Nicola Halaby is standing at the top of the stairs, and what was once a headful of beautiful back hair is now just a handful of thin strands. And try as I could to act normally, my facial expression betrayed the shock. Ryan,  my always hero, smiled at me and said: “Welcome home Dad. I have an uncle David haircut.”

Last summer Ryan turned 42. His triumph over cancer gives many in our community hope, and his sweet and gentle spirit, trademarks recognized by many in our small college town, affirm to many that resilience, tempered with a sense of humor and genuine love are more than inspirational.

Sitting in the waiting room I  mentally wander into the events unfolding globally. I think of my Palestinian brothers and sisters who’ve been reduced by Israelis to “Human Animals.”  I think of innocent civilians bombed to appease the Jewish God of Revenge, a God Who’s taken a 75-year leave of absence from Palestine and her children. I think of hospitals, churches, mosques, refugee camps, schools, and entire neighborhoods pulverized to concrete, rebar, and  rubble under which women and children are crushed and pulled out, and I think of Joe Biden’s cheerleading role in this heinous carnage. And I think of his long career as the-always cheerleader for wars. “Don’t learn from our mistakes,” he admonishes Netanyahu, his alter ego. Joe’s callous disregard for Palestine and her children – all to gain more Jewish votes, is going to backfire on him. That tens of thousands in the American Jewish community have been  outspoken is a testament to the moral teachings of the Torah and Talmud.  These protestors are the conscience of Jewish traditions and teachings about protecting the weak and administering to the aliens. Except in this case most Israelis are the aliens, aliens of a European/Christian genocide for which Palestinians have been paying dearly.

I think of the only Gaza cancer hospital having to shut down. I think of a media bending over backwards to cast Israeli victims in three-dimensional persona whereas Palestinian victims are presented as extras in a sordid drama whose playwrights are Israeli military personnel, egged on and abetted by Biden, his cowardly supporters, Blinken, and top American brass. I think of Joe Biden’s phony military salute and his history of sending men and women into harm’s way.

And then I think that yes, Israel does have a right to defend itself. But then I wonder why the Palestinians do not have the same right?

I think of Israel’s 4 earlier assaults on Gaza, assaults nicknames Mowing the Grass. And I think that this time mowing has turned into a tectonic wanton destruction and uprooting. In the past Israelis sat on Tel Aviv’s beaches to watch their most moral army and air force in the world  slaughter Palestinians. I think of all the dead Palestinians, especially the children, disposed of as “human animals.”

And then a horrible thought flashes through my mind. Palestinian mothers have been writing their children’s  names on their children’s emaciated and starved bodies in case they are killed or maimed badly -so that if and when they are pulled out from the rubble (if they are lucky enough), they could be identified.

And I think of men and women running through the streets, carrying their babies, their dead and wounded babies, to hospitals, places that are not safe. And I think of the ice cream trucks and flatbed trucks on which scores of corpses, shrouded in white linens, are placed And then I think of Gaza’s cemeteries running out of space in which to bury the dead, that final human act of giving dignity to a collective lifetime of people who’ve known nothing but occupation and brutality.

And then I think of Ryan and all the patients I’ve seen in the last four weeks, patients sitting patiently  and hanging on to hope, to a better day, week, month and years ahead. And then I think of Joe Biden’s callous demeanor and language. While delivering a speech in Minnesota during which he stumbled through the teleprompter, a Jewish female Rabbi stood up and asked “Why not a call for a ceasefire?”  And Joe I am a Zionist’s support team escorted the rabbi out.

Yes, Joe, you’ve always silenced the peacemakers. Shame on you.

And then I thought that it is time for Joe Biden to give it up, go home, and let a younger generation of leaders to lead  us out of his foreign policy morasses and never ending wars.

Go home Joe, please go home.

And then, later that day,  I get a video message from  Khaled Turaani, a video  in which he responded to Genocide Joe’s social media statement to his 55 million followers. And then  I watch the clip and think to myself that this dude has uttered some truths.

And then I fill my glass with some red  wine and replay the following:

My message to Geocide Joe,

I and many in my community voted for you because we believed that you were the better choice for America.

We didn’t realize that you were going to be a horrible choice for the more than 8000 Palestinian civilians who were incinerated because of your rhetoric and actions.

You have the world’s biggest platform and you used it to spread the horrible lie about beheaded babies, and when you found out it was a lie, you didn’t have the decency to stand up, apologize, and retract.

Your lie was the greenlight to what amounts to letting loose a lynch mob, not with ropes and white hoods, but with fighter jets and white phosphorus bombs.

And you continue to parrot the line that Israel has the right to defend itself and to supply them with more murderous weapons… killing 3300 Palestinian children is not self-defense.. . bombing hospitals and flattening entire neighborhoods in Gaza is not self-defense.

If this was done in America it would be like killing 215,000 kids or the equivalent of 394 Sandy Hook massacres per day for 21 days straight, that is NOT self-defense

I swear to you Joe Biden, if this ethnic cleansing doesn’t stop, we will chase the heck out of you from MI to GA and from WI to PA.. state by state and precinct by precinct.. and we will do to you what we did to Al Gore in 2000.  [In Florida Al Gore returned a $3,000 check to Arab voters and lost several thousand votes to George Bush.}

I know some will come to us to say that a vote for you is a vote for the better choice.. and our answer we will be: we’d rather vote for Mickey Mouse before we vote for Joe Biden.

And then I think of the Beatitudes, and I think of Jesus’ admonishment: “Blessed are the peacemakers.’

Raouf J. Halaby is a Professor Emeritus of English and Art. He is a writer, photographer, sculptor, an avid gardener, and a peace activist.