MP3 Danny and Baila Dworsky - Like Air
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11 MP3 Songs
FOLK: like Joni, ROCK: Classic Rock
From Rachel Tuesday March 18, 2003
February 8 2003
I got a number of very thoughtful responses to the email I sent out last night, most of which I don't have time to respond to right now. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, questions, criticism. Daniel's response was particularly inspiring to me and deserves to be shared. The resistance of Israeli Jewish people to the occupation and the enormous risk taken by those refusing to serve in the Israeli military offers an example, especially for those of us living in the United States, of how to behave when you discover that atrocities are being commited in your name. Thank you.
Received by Rachel on February 7 2003
My name is Daniel Dworsky I am a reserve first sergeant in the IDF. Military ID in DN BDRK 2297771.
The military prisons are filling up with conscientious objectors. Many of them are reservists with families. These are men who have proven their courage under fire in the past. Some have been in jail for more than six months with no end in sight.
The amount of AWOLS (absent without leave) and refusals to serve are unprecedented in our history as a nation as well as are refusals to carry out orders that involve firing on targets where civilians may be harmed. In a time now in Israel where jobs are scarce and people are losing their homes and businesses to Sharon's vendetta, many career soldiers - among them pilots and intelligence personnel - have chosen jail and unemployment over what they can only describe as murder.
I am supposed to report to the Military Justice department - it is my job to hunt down runaway soldiers and bring them in. I have not reported in for 18 months. Instead, I've been using my experience to document on film and see with my own eyes what the ISMers and other internationals have claimed my boys have been up to.
I love my country. I believe that Israel is under the leadership of some very bad people right now. I believe that settlers and local police are in collusion with each other and that the border police are acting disgracefully. They are an embarrassment to 40 of the Israeli public and they would be an embarrassment to 90 of the population if they knew what we know.
Please document as much as you can and do not embellish anything with creative writing. The media here serves as a very convincing spin control agent through all of this. Pass this letter on to your friends. There are many soldiers among the ranks of those serving in the occupied territories that are sickened by what they see.
There is a code of honor in the IDF - it is called "tohar haneshek" (pronounced TOWhar haNEHshek). It's what we say to a comrade who is about to do something awful, like kill an unarmed prisoner or carry out an order that violates decency. It means literally "the purity of arms".
Another phrase that speaks to a soldier in his own language is "degle shachor" (DEHgel ShaHor) - it means "black flag". If you say, "Atah MeTachat Degle Shahor" it means "you are carrying out immoral orders". It's a big deal and a shock to hear it from the lips of "silly misguided foreigners"
At all times possible try to engage the soldiers in conversation. Do not make the mistake of objectifying them as they have objectified you. Respect is catching, as is disrespect, whether either be deserved or not.
You are doing a good thing. I thank you for it.
Continuation of her email to her mother, February 28 2003
I think I could see a Palestinian state or a democratic Israeli-Palestinian state within my lifetime. I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports.
I look forward to increasing numbers of middle-class privileged people like you and me becoming aware of the structures that support our privilege and beginning to support the work of those who aren't privileged to dismantle those structures.
I look forward to more moments like February 15 when civil society wakes up en masse and issues massive and resonant evidence of it's conscience, it's unwillingness to be repressed, and it's compassion for the suffering of others. I look forward to more teachers emerging like Matt Grant and Barbara Weaver and Dale Knuth who teach critical thinking to kids in the United States. I look forward to the international resistance that's occurring now fertilizing analysis on all kinds of issues, with dialogue between diverse groups of people. I look forward to all of us who are new at this developing better skills for working in democratic structures and healing our own racism and classism and sexism and heterosexism and ageism and ableism and becoming more effective
One other thing - I think this a lot about public protest - like the one a few weeks ago here that was attended by only about 150 people. Whenever I organize or participate in public protest I get really worried that it will just suck, be really small, embarrassing, and the media will laugh at me. Oftentimes, it is really small and most of the time the media laughs at us. The weekend after our 150-person protest we were invited to a maybe 2,000 person protest. Even though we had a small protest and of course it didn't get coverage all over the world, in some places the word "Rafah" was mentioned outside of the Arab press. Colin got a sign in English and Arabic into the protest in Seattle that said "Olympia says no to war on Rafah and Iraq". His pictures went up on the Rafah-today website that a guy named Mohammed here runs. People here and elsewhere saw those pictures.
I think about Glen going out every Friday for ten years with tagboard signs that addressed the number of children dead from sanctions in Iraq. Sometimes just one or two people there and everyone thought they were crazy and they got spit upon. Now there are a lot more people on Friday evenings.
The juncture between 4th and State is just lined with them, and they get a lot of honks and waves, and thumbs ups. They created an infrastructure there for other people to do something. Getting spit on, they made it easier for someone else to decide that they could write a letter to the editor, or stand at the back of a rally - or do something that seems slightly less ridiculous than standing at the side of the road addressing the deaths of children in Iraq and getting spit upon.
Just hearing about what you are doing makes me feel less alone, less useless, less invisible. Those honks and waves help. The pictures help. Colin helps. The international media and our government are not going to tell us that we are effective, important, justified in our work, courageous, intelligent, valuable. We have to do that for each other, and one way we can do that is by continuing our work, visibly.
I also think it's important for people in the United States in relative privilege to realize that people without privilege will be doing this work no matter what, because they are working for their lives. We can work with them, and they know that we work with them, or we can leave them to do this work themselves and curse us for our complicity in killing them. I really don't get the sense that anyone here curses us.
I also get the sense that people here, in particular, are actually more concerned in the immediate about our comfort and health than they are about us risking our lives on their behalf. At least that's the case for me. People try to give me a lot of tea and food in the midst of gunfire and explosive-detonation.
I love you,
Rachel's last email
Thank you for your email. I feel like sometimes I spend all my time propogandizing mom, and assuming she'll pass stuff on to you, so you get neglected. Don't worry about me too much, right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don't feel particularly at risk. Rafah has seemed calmer lately, maybe because the military is preoccupied with incursions in the north - still shooting and house demolitions - one death this week that I know of, but not any larger incursions. Still can't say how this will change if and when war with Iraq comes.
Thanks also for stepping up your anti-war work. I know it is not easy to do, and probably much more difficult where you are than where I am. I am really interested in talking to the journalist in Charlotte - let me know what I can do to speed the process along. I am trying to figure out what I'm going to do when I leave here, and when I'm going to leave. Right now I think I could stay until June, financially. I really don't want to move back to Olympia, but do need to go back there to clean my stuff out of the garage and talk about my experiences here. On the other hand, now that I've crossed the ocean I'm feeling a strong desire to try to stay across the ocean for some time. Considering trying to get English teaching jobs - would like to really buckle down and learn Arabic.
Also got an invitation to visit Sweden on my way back - which I think I could do very cheaply. I would like to leave Rafah with a viable plan to return, too. One of the core members of our group has to leave tomorrow - and watching her say goodbye to people is making me realize how difficult it will be. People here can't leave, so that complicates things. They also are pretty matter-of-fact about the fact that they don't know if they will be alive when we come back here.
I really don't want to live with a lot of guilt about this place - being able to come and go so easily - and not going back. I think it is valuable to make commitments to places - so I would like to be able to plan on coming back here within a year or so. Of all of these possibilities I think it's most likely that I will at least go to Sweden for a few weeks on my way back - I can change tickets and get a plane to from Paris to Sweden and back for a total of around 150 bucks or so. I know I should really try to link up with the family in France - but I really think that I'm not going to do that. I think I would just be angry the whole time and not much fun to be around. It also seems like a transition into too much opulence right now - I would feel a lot of class guilt the whole time as well.
Let me know if you have any ideas about what I should do with the rest of my life. I love you very much. If you want you can write to me as if I was on vacation at a camp on the big island of Hawaii learning to weave. One thing I do to make things easier here is to utterly retreat into fantasies that I am in a Hollywood movie or a sitcom starring Michael J Fox. So feel free to make something up and I'll be happy to play along. Much love Poppy.
My Little Sister!
VOCAL/GUITAR/DULCIMER .... Baila Dworsky
BRASS .................................... Rhuta Kleiman
REEDS .................................... Sonya Jacobs
VOC/PERC/PNO/BASS ............ Daniel Dworsky
Dashboard Radio Band:
VOCAL/GUITAR ...................... Gary Engbrecht
VOCAL/GUITAR ...................... Larry Johnson
GUITAR ...................................... Steve Einhorn
VOCAL ....................................... Janette Force
BASS .......................................... Wendell John
VOCAL ....................................... Kara Johnson
VOCAL ....................................... Marty Johnson
DOBRO ...................................... David Meis
GUITAR ...................................... Doug Rathbun
GUITAR ...................................... Stephen Ruffo
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If you want to know more about Danny & Baila Dworsky check out the Album Ghosts in the Well also on CD BABY
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