Light One Candle; It’s Enough for Tonight

Today is the eighth and final day of Chanukah, the celebration of the successful revolt of the Maccabees over Antiochus IV’s Syrian-Greek armies and the subsequent re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem, which they believed had been profaned by the occupiers.   The stories say that upon entering the Temple, the Maccabees discovered that there was only one remaining flask of ‘uncontaminated’ oil for the menorah, yet it miraculously lasted for the eight nights needed to purify more oil.

(Disclaimer: This interpretation is brought to you by a decidedly shiksa diarist.)

Peter Yarrow wrote this song which celebrates the miracle and the brave dedication of the Jews who refused to be assimilated, subsumed and tormented by the Hellenists and stood for truth and justice against heavy odds. It also contains a profound warning:

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe;
Light one candle for those who are suff’ring
A pain they learned so long ago

Hearing this admonishment to Israel to remember her own history, and be truthful about the nation’s similar oppression of the Palestinian people is soul-stirring.  Yarrow has worked in several directions to engage in tikkun olam, or ‘helping to repair our broken world’, and delivered his message of peace to Israel, and called for the end of the Occupation of the West Bank.   He started Operation Respect, whose aims are to bring tolerance to children, which is vital and important, but oh, so slow.  ‘Do not become your own worst enemy’, he says.  Sadly, since he wrote it in 1983, Israel has succeeded in furthering isolating herself on the planet, and is far too blind to see it.

The song’s lyrics twist and twine into history, but still manage to send their tendrils so many directions into present situations and circumstances that my mind spins with images.  The metaphors reach very far into our present struggles to survive and thrive, both at home and abroad.

We are again hearing the insane calls for the US and Israel to bomb Iran to end their alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons, and there hasn’t been nearly enough counter-argument in the media.  It’s simply utter arrogance multiplied by madness that so many are speaking of yet another internationally illegal and pre-emptive war with such impunity and either zero or scant evidence of Iranian intentions to build nuclear weapons.

This column from highlights a little of what’s afoot, and quotes Stephen Walt of FP Magazine firing back at Matthew Koenig of Foreign Affairs Magazine for his cavalier and sinister cheerleading of an attack.  Read this from Russ Baker, too, although you may weep; rage might be preferable, but where is there to go with either?  We’ve heard these rumors so often by now that we almost hope this is another  one.  We’re beginning to fear that it may not be the same this time; these are not questionable reports from Stratfor or Global Research.

The rapid expansion of covert CIA/Special Ops and drone wars indicate to us that our ruling elites may be sensing that we are indeed on the road to becoming a dying Empire.  According to experts I’ve read, that nascent knowledge seems to cause TPTB even more dangerous in the quest to prove either that it’s just not so, or work to grab all they can with two fists and some guns.  Tensions with China and other powerful nations continue to build in the de facto Wars over Resources; they will get uglier and more costly soon.

Meanwhile, in his new column on how much we owe to Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, Robert Parry speaks to some of the evidence he found as he dug through the reams of State Department cables published online.  Many concerned how and why the new Inspector General of the IAEA, Yukia Amano, was chosen, and the thread of cables that indicate that in 2009 American diplomats were cheering because Amano ‘would advance US interests, in ways that outgoing IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei wouldn’t’, Parry says.  And this:

‘“More candidly, Amano noted the importance of maintaining a certain ‘constructive ambiguity’ about his plans, at least until he took over for DG El Baradei in December 2009.

In other words, the emerging picture of Amano is of a bureaucrat eager to bend in directions favored by the United States and Israel, especially regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Amano’s behavior surely contrasts with how the more independent-minded El Baradei resisted some of Bush’s key claims about Iraq’s supposed nuclear weapons program, denouncing some documents as forgeries.” [Egad; another US sycophant with such power.]

Parry notes wryly that the IAEA and the CIA (via their 2009 National Intelligence Estimate reporting that Iran abandoned their nuclear weapons program in 2003) have effectively swapped places now.  Oy.

Is The Truth out there?  Will we find it, or will ‘they’ just slam us into World War III in order to affect the neo-con dream of regime change?  Are there any but a handful of non-stenographers in the media any longer to challenge the Evil Nuke-Hunting Iran, Evil Wipe-Israel-off-the-Map Iran, memes?  Sadly, there’s no evidence of it.  Who needs Judy Miller these days?

Meanwhile, the West’s recent tightening of sanctions on its oil seems to have caused some rhetorical pushback from Iran, and comes as their navy is conducting war games in the Straits of Hormuz.  The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is still anchored in Bahrain, of course..

I am fighting the urge to name more of the proxy wars with Iran, China and Russia the US is involved in now, often covertly.  It’s not necessary; you know most or all of it.  Suffice it to say:

In foreign affairs , the US has become her own foe.  What we have become will.not.stand. Our contemptible foreign policy continues to make us despised around the world even as we are envied for opportunities that no longer exist for most citizens.

Our government has proclaimed itself to be above the law in extreme ways, and has abrogated The Constitution, the Rule of Law, and much of the body of International Law.  That the Obama administration has declared the Wall Street Banks and multinationals as Too Big to Prosecute is one of the most hideous thefts of our democratic principles; the trust with the American citizens has been seriously broken, and will be nearly impossible to restore.  This DoJ prosecutes state-sanctioned medical marijuana vendors and growers, but not those who’ve aided and abetted the criminal theft of trillions of dollars worth of post facto taxpayer dollars; it’s worse now in this country to steal food for your family than to defraud the public to the tune of millions or even billions.  The social contract is not only broken, it has been beaten…burned to ashes…then buried and covered over with dirt.  The memory of it and the brilliance of our Constitution now are held only in the hearts and minds of some our most impeccable citizens.

Global institutions have begun to issue ‘Uh-oh’ warnings that there are limits to the degradation and disenfranchisement that citizens will bear before they resist and revolt.  In domestic economic policy, the US has arguably become her own foe .

Oh, it’s hard now to witness what’s become of our country and so many others around the world, where those who fight for their freedom, justice and inclusion in the process of governance are beaten, shot, maced, and imprisoned, or whose elections are bought and/or made fraudulent and redundant by one process or another.  But there remain those who still believe we can reclaim the souls of our nations, excise the rot and corruption and begin to heal them…rebuild them in a just and reasonable manner.  We still remember the covenants of the social contract, and pay homage to all those who bravely fought and won battles in this nation to act as countervailing forces to the Robber Barons and their governmental allies, and to help ensure FDR’s Four Freedoms.

We have come this far always believing
That justice would somehow prevail
This is the burden, this is the promise
This is why we will not fail!

As we find ourselves in the dark days of winter, knowing but not quite believing that Spring will find new leaves and buds bursting from The Tree of Liberty and Freedom, we need to remember once again that any person who chooses himself or herself to join the democracy and justice movement is welcome, no matter which labels they might wear.

Light one candle for all we believe in,

That anger not tear us apart;
And light one candle to bind us together
With peace as the song in our heart

We will need to continue to make common cause and community with one another in order to prevail in this non-violent revolution, and feel the song of freedom that’s blowin’ in the wind.

So at sunset of this last day of Chanukah, you might want to light a candle, if not a menorah (and you have lost your tiny candles), and stick it in the window, and imagine its light going out across the world, and melding into an immense burning flame of hope and common dreams for a better, more just and sane world.  You may even want to light one any evening that your spirits need a lift, and picture that little light as a beacon.

Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand

And because the breathtaking version from their 1988 concert isn’t available, and because so many of our brothers and sisters in Japan are suffering mightily from the effects of Fukushima, and because I’m a ‘60’s hippie…I’m bringing this one for ya (sorry, Bob; and try not to wince as Mary goes a li’l bit off-key here and there):

Love and peace and courage to us all; we will prevail…because there really is no other option.   We know that what we fight for is ethical and moral, therefore… imperative.

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