Archive for July 2008

off to the Middle East

July 29, 2008

OK, so I do my share of travel. I admit this is a bit dense, though, even for a road dog like me.

I flew to Washington, DC on Friday in order to be here in time for an orientation session that began on Saturday. The group seems strong, with a broad diversity of different personalities and contexts, and the orientation sessions were well-done and thought-provoking. Orientation continued on Sunday morning, then Sunday afternoon we boarded an overnight flight to Vienna, Austria.

We landed in Austria Monday morning and went into town where we visited a museum dedicated to Jewish history in Austria and Israel, had lunch, then met with Hans Koechler, of the International Progress Organization, which works with the UN on Middle East issues. It was both informative and challenging to hear him talk about the obstacles to peace, one of which is our own government’s blocking of any efforts to enforce international law, even when it is almost universally agreed upon.

After the briefing from Mr. Koechler we got some lunch in Vienna and took the train back to the airport, where we boarded for Tel Aviv.

And that’s where I am as I write this, on that plane. It’s been about forty-four hours since I slept. Between the orientation sessions, some intense reading, ongoing conversations with the other thirteen delegates and the lecture today I’ve taken in a great deal of information since I left home. Doubtless there’s also been much more information that flowed past that I wasn’t able to absorb.
I’m trying to approach this trip with a great deal of humility and awareness of my ignorance. We’re not going with great wisdom to impart or much to contribute to the peace efforts, but to learn and experience some things, then to be able to share our own experiences, and to give voice to some perspectives that don’t get much airtime in the U.S. press, including voices for peace on both sides of the conflict, but including voices from many angles all across the political spectrum.

Stay tuned if you’re so inclined. I’ll be trying to update this page every day or two.

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A movie recommendation

July 17, 2008

In preparation for my trip to Israel and Palestine next week, last night Deanna and I watched a movie called “Encounter Point.” I highly recommend it.

It’s a documentary about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and though it doesn’t flinch from portraying and engaging the depth and severity of the problem at any point, it’s a heartening portrait of a handful of Israeli and Palestinian non-violent activists (almost all of whom have lost someone in their own families) and the work they’re doing.

What I’m trying to say is that it strikes an impressive balance between education and inspiration, and a strong practical argument for non-violence in this situation. It’s not the kind of movie you have to dread and watch out of some sense of civic responsibility — it’s actually both grounded and encouraging at the same time.

If you want to check it out, Netflix has it here, and the web site for the movie is here (and there are trailers to check out online at the movie web site).

So if you’re interested in why I’m going to Israel and Palestine in the middle of my wife’s pregnancy, I think this movie may be the best answer I can give you.

Quick and Easy Divorce

July 16, 2008

Deanna finally joined Facebook this week and is exploring it now. She just added me, not only as her friend, but as her spouse. The dialog box that popped up after she did so reads thus:

Relationship Status: Married
To: David LaMotte (awaiting confirmation)

Then there’s a button that says “Cancel Relationship”

I’d better run take the trash out. I’d hate for her to click that button.

By popular demand…

July 1, 2008

The latest ultrasounds…

Cool, huh? And the new ultrasound technology is wild…

Don’t worry about the strange anomalies from the 4D ultrasound. They assure me that our little guy doesn’t really have ram’s horns or Princess Leia buns on his head. He does appear to be sucking his thumb, though. Wow.