Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Dust Bowl and the Palestine Problem

Remember the idea that anyone in the world is approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth?  (Facebook says it is now down to less than five.)  The same seems to be true for ideas that interest me. 

Last night I was watching a documentary about the Dust Bowl and the most famous Black Sunday in this country.  As I often do when I see something I find fascinating, I did a little walk through Google and Wikipedia to learn more. 

Black Sunday –April 14, 1935—twenty of the worst “Black Blizzards” occurred throughout the Dust Bowl.  The dust cloud blew on the easterly winds over a thousand miles and darkened the sky all the way to Washington DC.  It was not until that event that the politicians began to take the problem seriously and work toward establishing principles of soil conservation.  Over 100,000,000 acres or 400,000 km2 of land were affected.

I was taken aback by the number of hits for Black Sunday that had nothing to do with the Dust Bowl.  There were TWO Black Sundays in Australia, one in the mid-1920s and one in 1955—both caused by massive bush fires.  It took a fraction of a second to find a 1977 movie about a terrorist plot at the Super Bowl (not encouraging on the eve of another Super Bowl), another movie (1960) about witches and the undead, a novel, an album, and three songs of the same name.  There was more, but I was suddenly curious about the other days we describe as “Black.”

I went on to Black Monday and found a surprising number of those as well.  Of course I’d heard of Black Monday in October, 1929 when Wall Street crashed, ushering in the Great Depression, but not about Black Monday in 1209 in Dublin.  Black Monday didn’t have any movies, albums, or books I could find, but a surprising number of Black Mondays involved huge downward movements on Wall Street, and most of them were in October.  Any theories on that?  There were Black Mondays in England, Australia, Malta—and Palestine! 

The Al Aqsa Massacre took place on Black Monday, 8 October 1990.  This was an incident that took place “at the Al Haram al Shareef and other Holy Places of Jerusalem resulting in over twenty Palestinian deaths and in the injury of more than one hundred and fifty people, including Palestinian civilians and innocent worshippers,”  according to the United Nations Resolution 672.  The resolution, which “expressed alarm at the violence,” was rejected by Israel.  Nothing new there—Israel has been rejecting statements that express even a tiny bit of disapproval.

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 242 after the 1967 war in which Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.  The resolution refers to the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every State in the area can live in security."  This year will mark the 45th anniversary of that resolution—and the West Bank and Gaza are still under a violent and oppressive military occupation. 

There it was—four degrees of separation between the Dust Bowl and Palestine.

As a postscript, I continued my Black Days walk through the paths of Google trying to find Black Days that were NOT about catastrophes, natural or man-made.  My first find—a beer produced by The Bruery, a small craft brewery located in Orange County, California.  The dark beer was released on a Tuesday in October of 2010.  I wonder if October has more black days than other months and if so, why?

That brought me to my favorite black day—Black Friday.  The most surprising thing I learned doing this?  My husband did not recognize the phrase “Black Friday!”   For the uninformed (probably all male), Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving.  Stores open at ridiculous hours—serious shoppers don’t even bother to sleep.  Sales are everywhere for the diligent shoppers. 

Thanksgiving is the official opening of the Christmas shopping season, although in recent years the merchants are pushing it back a lot farther.  Supposedly Black Friday got its name because any retail store that is operating at a loss (signified by red ink) will make it into the profit territory (signified by black ink) on this day.  It’s even more fun than a keg party!  It may be months away, but I just started the countdown.

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