Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Jimmy Carter booksigning event Part 1

I wrote the whole thing out on long hand and thought it might be too long a 'treaty' so I decided to break it up in two easy morsels.

It is known that Israel has a major nuclear arsenal and the capability to launch weapons quickly, and some neighbouring states are believed to be attempting to acquire their own atomic bombs. Without progress towards peace, desperation or adventurism on either side could precipitate such a confrontation. There are growing schisms in the Middle East region, with hardening Arab animosity toward the Israeli-United States alliance. The war in Iraq has dramatized the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and has strengthened the influence of Iran. Militant Arabs, including Hamas and Hezbollah, have been given new life and influence as they are seen to be struggling against Israeli occupation of Palestine. The absence of any viable peace initiative exacerbates each individual controversy.
In times of greatest discouragement, ultimate hope has rested on the fact that, overwhelmingly, the people in the region – even those Syrians, Israelis, Lebanese, and Palestinians who are most distrusted by their adversaries – want the peace efforts to succeed. The rhetoric and demands from all sides may be harsh, but there are obvious areas of agreement that can provide a basis for progress. Private discussions with Arab leaders are much more promising than their public statements would lead one to believe, and in Israel there is a strong and persistent constituency for moderation that it too little heard or appreciated in neighbouring states or America
Jimmy Carter in Palestine Peace not Apartheid.

This morning, at a balmy 47 F degrees, my mother and I lined up to await former President Jimmy Carter’s book signing at the Bookpeople. This bookstore btw is one of a dying breed; an independent bookstore that is able to withstand the pressure and presence of the chain bookstores a la ‘Fox Books’. Their sale items might not reach some ridiculously low price intended to reduce stock and bring in new items, but you know when you buy there, you support the local economy.
Even though at 8:30am we still had to wait 2 hours, time flew by thanks to the interesting snippets of conversations we had with the people in front and behind us. The store provided coffee and muffins albeit for a price, and another store took the opportunity to sell their breakfast tacos. After all, this is Texas ya’ll!

As you know, this summer’s conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon elicited a lot of passionate and sometimes angry and frustrated debates and exchanges on the blogosphere. This book signing was not without its protest. Two ladies separately distributed copies of Alan Dershowitz critique on Jimmy Carter’s book, yes, lo and behold the same one I quoted in my previous post, and a sheet comparing “apartheid South Africa” and “democratic Israel”. Another interesting16 page brochure produced by StandWithUs that was distributed was called “Sometimes things aren’t what they seem…” , headed by a picture of a dove partially imposed over the Israeli flag, sequentially followed vertically by pictures of ; a palestinian youth in a pose as if ready to throw a rock; a bombed car most likely the result of a suicide bomber; an Israeli protest rally with a sign saying “Give Peace a Chance”; Arafat; and a baby dressed up like a suicide bomber.

Interesting collage, things are indeed not as they seem. Both the copied articles and the brochure were produced by Stand With Us. Sounds very Aipac-y, but never mind. It reminded me this morning, as I saw pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian people with their own respective signs standing side by side, that this is still a thriving civic society where one can argue till the cows come home with someone without fear of reprisal or death. Well, for the most part.
Another interesting thing was that when I went to the site of the Stand With Us people (I think they need their own song), this brochure was nowhere to be found. And this brochure must have been expensive to produce as it is made out of good stock paper and glossy paper and pictures at that. It probably does not fit with their PR image. I will have to reserve my commentary though for when I am done reading the book before I can give my opinion on the whole Dershowitz retort and the counter publicity that this organization SWU is undertaking.

Personally, I think that they are wasting their time and money because people who are apt to take up the same position as Jimmy Carter, those people will not buy the counter arguments that they have carefully provided on their website. As for trying to convince anyone of an opinion that goes 180 degrees from their position; you can never change a person’s mind. As Jacques Ellul mentioned in his book Propaganda, you can only tweak a person’s opinion, little at a time.
Speaking of propaganda, an elderly couple distributed a statement by Lyndon Larouche as to why he supported Jimmy Carter, and also a magazine called “Organizing the recoveryfrom the Great Crash of 2007” that included International webcasts by Lyndon Larouche. I never had heard of him but apparently, he’s tried for the presidency about 8 times and is considered somewhat of a kook. I will reserve my judgement as I was not interested in the info and merely came to get Jimmy Carter’s book.

Last but not least to scour for publicity for their own cause were the Texans for Obama people. One guy went around with a camera asking people to make comments (positive ones) on-camera and another guy went around with small pamphlets advertising their next get together at Shultz’ beer garden. (it’s a respected food and beer joint people, nothing wrong with that). So all in all, it was an interesting morning even before we got into the store! Thank goodness the weather warmed up (we’re having a bit of a warm spell this week) and we were standing in the sun. It was a sold out event with a thousand vouchers equaling at least 1000 books sold and signed and with no incidences and the smooth running of the whole thing I would say it was a success. More about what happened once we got inside the store tomorrow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

... a long article, now I am tired, I am getting old!
Well done though, thanks for typing like a squirrel.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

LOL, hey Zee, I'm a fast typer, thank God! Who knew I could be this fast as I failed my typing class miserably in an act of rebellion; I never wanted to be a secretary, I wanted to 'have one' instead. Neither happened but that's another story..thanks for your patience. I know politics is getting on your nerves..maybe I should write the Coles version just for you LOL!! (teasing)

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. Folks who admire Carter and want to support his message of peace at this particular moment, should consider giving a public 'thank you' over here:

2:36 PM  

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