16 July 2006

Adrienne Rich on "moral autism"

"America wants to forget the past, and the past in the present; and one result of that was Bitburg. Israeli denial is different. Years ago, I remember seeing, with great emotion, on the old Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Road, rusted tanks left from the 1948 war, on one of which was painted "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem . . ." But Palestinian memory has been violently obliterated. I fear for the kind of "moral autism" (Amos Oz's phrase) out of which both the United States and Israel, in their respective capacities of power, have made decisions leading to physical carnage and to acute internal disequilibrium and suffering."

[excerpted from Rich's keynote address to the New Jewish Agenda National Convention, Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 1985]

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous23:51

    Hi Carol,

    I found you on the web- and it looks like you've moved from Hawaii to NC? Wow! That's quite a change- but change is nothing new in your life. Would love to hear your news.

    'moral autism', interesting phrase.

    And from Anthony Judge:

    'Proportionate response' is in the eye of the beholder.
    When will the compliciters of disproportionate response understand that "the sins of the fathers will be visited upon the children even unto the seventh generation" ?...

    The Israelis trap themselves in a belief that they must necessarily respond in the same language as those who do violence against them -- thus playing into the hands of their opponents and demonstrating an immaturity that dishonours them. As declared by policy scientist Geoffrey Vickers: "A trap is a function of the nature of the trapped."

    My best,

    Mary Ann Gallagher