Monday, April 10, 2006

Wearing The Uniform

Israeli playwright, Joshua Sobol, has written an extraordinary story of an Austrian Catholic farmer who refused to serve in the army of the Third Reich. Through 14 letters Franz Jägerstätter wrote to his wife, Sobol explores the character of a man who believed that putting on the uniform, regardless of whether he saw combat, was a compromise with evil he could not make. Jägerstätter believed that the mere act of wearing the uniform was an endorsement of everything with which he disagreed and he calmly chose death as the price for his principles.,1375,VCS_4436_4597965,00.html,0,6232885.event

Some good news from the Holy Land -

120 former Israeli, Palestinian combatants in new peace drive
By Reuters

After a year of meeting in secret, 120 former Israel Defense Forces combat soldiers and Palestinian militants unveiled a unique peace group on Monday, hopeful their union will spur dialogue and end bloodshed. Formation of the "Combatants for Peace" is a rare sign of comradeship at a time when separation increasingly characterizes relations between Israelis and Palestinians.On Sunday, Israel said it was cutting direct contacts with the new Hamas-led Palestinian government. The Islamic militant group is sworn to destroy Israel.

But in a school yard in the Palestinian town of Anata north of Jerusalem, former enemies exchanged handshakes and hugs as they inaugurated what they called the first joint group of its type. "This is the breakthrough event, to say to the world we are here," Avichay Sharon, 24, a former IDF soldier told Reuters. "We don't want to look at each other through weapon sights, we want to see each other as human."Added Palestinian Osama Abu Karsh, 35, jailed for three years by Israel for attacking troops with firebombs: "Both our sides have been fighting, but we want to sit at the same table. We hope we can achieve something."

The former combatants have been meeting for a year in different towns around Jerusalem after founders on both sides decided to do something to try to foster peace. But they kept the group's existence secret to first build trust at gatherings where emotions often spilled over as both sides told stories of what they had done in the conflict. Some of those experiences were recounted on Monday as members made speeches in the Anata school yard in front of family members and friends sitting at fold-up tables.

The group aims to put pressure on both governments to talk peace, halt violence and establish a Palestinian state. They plan to visit Israeli and Palestinian schools and universities and set up joint media teams to influence public opinion. One problem is getting together. It is illegal for Israelis to enter most of the West Bank. Palestinians find it difficult to get permits to enter Israel. Complicating matters is the separation fence, an unfinished section of which lies at the edge of the Anata school.

Yonatan Shapira, who made headlines in 2003 when he and nearly 30 other Israel Air Forces pilots refused to carry out operations on civilian Palestinian areas, said he did not expect endorsement from the governments on either side."The Israeli government is bombing Gaza and killing innocent people so I don't think they will be part of this event, nor will the Palestinians who are involved in militant attacks," said Shapira, 34. Karsh said he was a little concerned about reprisals from Palestinians who objected to his participation." Maybe tomorrow someone will say he's a spy for the Israelis. That would be very dangerous," he said.


At 12:42 PM, April 10, 2006 , Blogger The Best [ Ghostface ] said...

To Intellectual insurgent,

Thanks for sharing the story, he would not wear the uniform a compromise is a half defeat. So even if he would have never saw combat just by wearing the uniform it would be a compromise therefore a half defeat.

He would not settle for a half defeat what integrity he showed.

By Chance

At 8:32 PM, April 10, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Absolutely. That is a man who truly had principles. We need more of them these days.

At 7:16 AM, April 11, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...


The ultimate sacrifice, giving up your life for what you believe.

An extreme example, and if all of us following this lead, there wouldn't be many of us around as only the "unprincipled" would survive.

At 9:10 AM, April 11, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

We can't even get people to think beyond party loyalty...
Imagine an introspective society where people actually contemplate the logical consequences of their decisions...
It would be a different world.

At 10:12 AM, April 11, 2006 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I want to have optimism - I really do, but I remember the man who stopped the Mi Lai Massacre, risking being killed by his fellow soldiers and jailed by his superiors. He died not long ago in obscurity and the whole thing has been forgotten and very little has changed

We are a nasty kind of ape and all our pretensions to being more than nasty apes seem false and all our prophets and philosophies seem to be turned into justifications for our nasty ape-like behavior.

At 5:04 PM, April 11, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

The Military, Businesses and Governments are living, breathing, organism's. The fight to protect themselves. It doesn't matter if the cause or issue they are fighting is noble or not.

It takes true leadership, courage, and foresight within these organism's to do what is right.

It's about pure character, and that is sorely lacking in our society.

Here's a question for all of you. Let's say a very close friend, or relative committed a horrific crime, and you knew they were 100% guilty, yet you knew it was within your power to protect them. What would you do?

The legal system is a wonderful thing, but the guilty can walk free, and the innocent can do time.

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