Friday, September 25, 2009
Netanyahu, Ahmadinejad...and incest
There's the sacred--Israel--and the profane. First the sacred: on the eve of the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, in the midst of the holiest period of the year, the Ten Days of Repentance ("Tshuva"), the United Nations allowed a professed Holocaust denier, Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to spew his completely false and hateful message while (nearly) on American soil. In response, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu calmly and insistently thrust copies of the Nazi genocide pact, and plans for concentration camps toward the audience and asked, "Is this a lie?" The truth is indesputable; the existence of Israel established.
Would the UN tolerate any other leader's denial of irrefutable fact? Thousands of eye witnesses, millions of documents, the disappearance of countless and counted people--dismissed? If a national leader stood up and said, for example, that the Pearl Harbor attack was fabricated, or that 9-11 never happened (or was perpetrated by Christians); would such anti-historical nonsense fly? But thousands of times more people were exterminated and displaced in the Holocaust, and we let Ahmadinejad stand at a New York podium.
He didn't mention the Holocaust in his 35 minutes before a very sparse audience at the UN. While several ceremoniously walked out, he used twisted descriptions of Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq to accuse the US and Britain of aggression unchecked by a patsy UN Security Council. Meanwhile, outside, demonstrators dressed in green protested the repression of Iranian public outrage over an election rife with fraud that Ahmadinejad had called a landslide endorsement.
Frightening that Ahmadinejad's speech was framed in religious terms and repeatedly referred to religious themes and God's purpose, but the same language in a presentation by Israel or the US or any other democratic nation would be thought outrageous and unacceptable. Also frightening that disagreement rooted in logic can be negotiated; conflict rooted in divine directives cannot.
Moving on to a sordid sidelight I happened to notice while perusing USA Today...about "One Day at a Time" actress Mackenzie Phillips, now 49, telling Oprah Winfrey about a 10-year consensual sexual relationship--with her father. Whether this is fabricated by a new author said to have a 35-year drug addiction hoping to sell books (as John Phillips' second wife claims) or was real, the sickening story got me thinking.
According to Mackenzie, after years of their pairing, her father suggested the two run away to Tahiti and raise her siblings as their own. Incest is presently abhorrent to all... But should gay marriage become the law of the land, and mutual consent and love become the test of a legitimate relationship, eventually there'd be little to stop such coupling from gaining legal sanction. Gender or number of partners or something as out of the individuals' control as who happens to be their parents can be shown as arbitrary and restrictive artificial boundaries. Isn't it a civil right to be able to marry the one(s) you love?
These are days of introspection and evaluation. And prayer that our nation maintain its democratic and sane perspective, on many fronts.