Today, was a brief respite from Hebrew classes. For me, it was a chance to catch up and review the old lessons. I had spent a little bit of time during the hike yesterday, giving thanks for the new peace in the Israeli-Gaza conflict.
Some of my friends, likewise peace-minded, had been concerned about an all-out war. I had put together some of my own (admittedly incomplete) thoughts on the conflict in the context of other wars:
I think it is interesting to analyze the wars that the US has fought since WWII. I’m stopping there simply because I don’t have the history knowledge to back up the analysis.
1) WW II: the right of a people to “define” themselves as genetically or racially pure.
2) Korea: the fight about communism set up by the post WW II division of a country into a communist and non-communist territories – a small stage for a possibly more global war. Does patriotic identity trump this division? I think the answer was no.
3) Vietnam: another fight about communism but this time fought with guerrilla forces. The US pulled out, and the country became communist. The ultimate question of this war I think was: does military might successfully counter guerrilla efforts by little people in countries of small means? I think the answer was no, and communism in the context of poverty was allowed to exist.
4) Iraq: the fight about the “right” to the resource we call oil. This brought in a strong anti-Muslim sentiment in the West, as it was perceived that Muslims wanted religiously backed “self-control” over the Western idea of “freedom to consume”.
5) Afghanistan: the fight about the “right” to pursue and destroy things that scare us. It is complicated by information technology advancement that empowers the little guy to an extreme point of required surveillance for security.
I think the concepts that are being explored in the Israeli-Gaza conflict are about: “right” to a homeland by indigenous people. Most of the recent wars have been spillovers from previous unresolved wars because there is a whole establishment in the military that is trained with the culture that fought the previous war. Hence we see 5) currently being explored in the Israeli-Gaza conflict.
I see it as exploratory – probing and expressing the Israeli tension regarding their lack of security and deeply felt desire for a home. I obviously feel very strongly for the Palestinians in this situation, as no amount of mental distress really justifies the taking of human lives. At the same time, it is probing and expressing feelings in a smaller context than with a potentially bigger more powerful state without the more powerful elements being present. The more these feelings are expressed and analyzed in this context, the less they will be directed toward larger more labile powers (that could potentially be nuclear).
It is important for those more powerful elements not to get involved in an escalation, but try to allow self-correction.
So, is the Israeli-Gaza conflict in fact, like Korea, a smaller stage for what
could have been a bigger more global conflict? If so, how?
As the newly made peace is established, I move on to contemplate potential archeological relationships between Hebrew and indigenous American people. For me this comes down to an analysis of language, ships, and pyramids. Pulling together a first hypothetical, this is the situation that I came up with. First migrations of tool-bearing hunting people across the Bering strait (probably more than one). Later, mixing of tribes of these people with a ship from Egypt that had slaves in Mesoamerica. The slaves, who probably could not read or write, nonetheless knew how to make pyramids, and transferred this ability to Mesoamerica. Some of the slaves may have been Hebrew (at this point they would have been prehistoric-semetic), some may have been Moabite, or from other parts of Africa. The trip would have been so horrific that no one would contemplate trying to go back. The Egyptians brought with them the hieroglyph culture, and it developed in Aztec, Mayan, and other Mesoamerican cultures. As other tribes who did not speak the same language would try to understand, break down, and communicate the corresponding sounds of these hieroglyphs to their own people, more phonetically based languages would evolve.
Other contacts with Phoenician ships possibly with Hebrew slaves or refugees may have been made further to the east under similar conditions where they could not return. The Cherokee apparently have a story about ancestors from Masada… and there is a mound that was discovered in Tennessee containing a skeleton with stone underneath it with an inscription with writing that looks somewhat like the Lachish letters. This would be consistent with traditional Hebrew burials (the Bat Creek stone, although the script would appear to be in very good condition for something that old). There are the mounds in West Virginia, along the Ohio River. There is also the Los Lunas site, which I made extensive efforts (for me) to visit on my New Mexico trip, but was told I would need a permit to visit (it would require over a week if it were granted). Also, from an anthropological point of view, there is the Great Spirit concept in native American Culture, that is reflective of a “One God” understanding of God, that is not necessarily present in other “pagan” indigenous cultures.
So, if any of the above is correct, we look to boat culture, and specifically “lost and sunken boats” to provide a missing link, showing that ship-faring people did indeed get lost from these cultures. And we look for cultures of the time that were strong and sea-faring (Phoenician possibly). And linguistically, we look for links among indigenous languages that would show the import of foreign influences from multiple sources into their languages. These would be associated with, for example, the acquisition of writing or other previously unknown technological developments that appear suddenly.
I found one report of a Hitachi-Creek indian word “chalom” (similar to a Mayan word cha-ilam) and distinct from the Muskogee-Creek indian word “hoccicetev”. It apparently means “to write”. Peace treaty, something that might need to be written?