Toward understanding the MIddle East

I don’t write much about war, mostly because I’d rather write about stuff I can do something about. As a young man I opposed the Vietnam war, wrote about it, protested against it. If I hadn’t lucked into a medical deferment, I would have been a conscientious objector, like some of my good friends.

Stephen Lewis was a fellow student at the same Quaker college, a good friend and a fellow protestor. We met when we crashed the same Ku Klux Klan rally, near the ironically named Liberty, NC. I believe we even joined the same picket lines outside one of Ed Cone’s family’s textile plants. (I’m not sure if Ed was even born back then. We’re talking about the ’60s here.)

With A Gingerly Step Middle-East-Wards, Steve treads lightly on territory I’ve been reluctant to write about — but about which I’ve been glad to learn more. At that Steve helps a lot. The post is short, sobering, and linkful.

There are no easy answers. But we can improve on the questions. This post does that.

2 comments

  1. Stephen Lewis’s avatar

    Doc. We should clarify for readers that although we met at a Ku Klux Klan rally, neither of us was dressed in D.W.Griffith-derived pin-head hats and masks and white robes but in the no less ludicrous but far less politically objectionable garb of bell-bottoms and work shirts. Nor were we burning crosses. You were with a group of obstreperous hecklers and I was with a group of slightly more obstreperous hecklers. Love at first sight, as it were. Come to think of it … just because we opposed the Klan doesn’t mean we can’t expropriate its titles. And, thus, “Grand Blogger” and “Wizard of VRM,” I thank you for the kind mention on my first (of several planned) Middle East posts. Here is hoping that we and other like-minded types can keep the internet on the track of humanism, commonalities, acceptance and balancing of differences, and avoidance of war. I have my doubts some time. In the spirit of 4 decades of friendship and collegiality, your “Far Less Grand Blogger” and aspiring “Wizard of Infrastructure,” SL

  2. Stephen Lewis’s avatar

    PS. We indeed were at Cone Mills together. One day on the picket line, a female picket-er stepped across the curbside marking the “company-line” and was sand-bagged by Cone Mills private cops. When a few of us stepped across the line to help her, we in turn were tackled and dragged off to jail (later released without charges) by Greensboro police. Across time this seems light-weight, but it felt heavy enough at the time. The recurrence of such incidents led me to live a good part of my life abroad. But, I discovered, one seems to encounter know-nothing-ness and repression in most societies, although far less class inequality and class violence than in the US.

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