Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Einstein's fears

Einstein's wisdom (above) reminds  me of the teachings of Grandma Dorothy in the short story "The Education of a Storyteller" by Toni Cade Bambara, from her book Deep Sightings & Rescue Missions. Coincidentally, Einstein's phrase is repeated by Grandma Dorothy but in her own way. In the story Grandma Dorothy teaches her granddaughter the importance of sharing knowledge in an accessible way.

In the story, Miz Girl (Grandma's granddaughter who goes by many other pet names) comes home from grade school one day, excited about everything she is learning. Feeling herself to be somewhat more educated than her old grandmother, Miz Girl decides to educate Grandma on Einstein's theory of relativity, which she is learning through books at school. Because Miz Girl is unable to express what it actually means in everyday terms, Grandma Dorothy challenges her on what she actually knows--or thinks she knows. Grandma Dorothy tells Miz Girl to speak plain:
"Well, let me hush, Precious, and you just go on and tell it however Cynthia would tell it or one of your other scatter-tooth girlfriends."...

"Well, my girlfriends don't know it. Cynthia don't know it and Rosie don't know it and Carmen don't know it--just I know it."

And she say, "Madame, if your friends don't know it, then you don't know it, and if you don't know that, then you don't know nothing."
Grandma and Einstein are both geniuses with many teachings for all of us.

Einstein continues to astound us with the presience of his words and thoughts.

Today, I was reading the blog of Yasmeen from Gaza, and in her past posts I found one she wrote about Einstein. Reading a passage from Albert Einstein's 1948 letter to the editor of the New York Times I was dumbstruck; it was like time standing still. The passage so tellingly --and chillingly -- is representative of what is happening today in Israel: the hardening of the Israeli state into one that promotes ultra-right conservatism, apartheid, and racism. In his letter, Einstein warns of the rise of a political party in the just created state of Israel: the "Freedom Party" led by Menachem Begin [who eventually became the 6th prime minister of Israel], providing numerous examples to show that their beliefs and actions are terrorist and fascist. Einstein exhorts people to stand against the violent vision of these purveyors of violence. He explains that 
Within the Jewish community they [Menachem Begin, party members, and militants] have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.
Einstein also relates that this group terrorized not only Arabs, but Jews living in Palestine prior to its usurption by the Zionist forces:
During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
Unfortunately, Einstein's warning to the American public not to support "ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority" as the dominant ideology of Israel, fell on deaf ears. Today, we bear witness that indeed Einstein's fears have come to haunt us; his fears are manifested tellingly true.


Merche Pallarés said...

Very wise man, Einstein... Hugs, M.

Merche Pallarés said...

By the way, if you don't mind, I'm copying the second half of your post in my Facebook. Are you in FB??? Hugs again, M.

northshorewoman said...

yes, MP, find me there.I don't mind if you use the words; go ahead.

Peter said...

Thoughtful, and true.

northshorewoman said...

We should learn from the wise ones of the past; instead, we keep repeating terrible mistakes.