When I was a teenager growing up in Wichita, Kansas my mother had a nagging worry that I would be arrested. Not for smoking marijuana, drag racing, or shoplifting since I never did any of those things. Her concern was that I’d be nabbed for something far more innocuous, namely wading in the fountain at the downtown civic center. My friends and I had discovered it was an illegal act and in the wisdom of adolescence decided the law was absurd and should be changed. I don’t remember if we ever really did stick our toes in the municipal water. I do know that we were never apprehended for such a deed.
Later as a young mother in Phoenix, Arizona I was stopped by policemen twice. The first time the officer accused me of making a left turn on a red light. I maintained it had been yellow. After he declared, it’s your word against mine, I decided I’d fight the ticket in court. There was no traffic camera and I didn’t have a clue how I was going to prove I was right but I was determined. In the end I didn’t have to say anything. The police officer didn’t show up and my offense was scratched from my record.
Several years later I was driving in a forty-mile-an-hour zone when I approached the fifteen-mile-an-hour school zone. Of course, I slowed down, quite a bit, but apparently not enough for the officer on duty. He clocked me going a speedy eighteen-miles-an-hour and wrote out a citation. I was watching the road not the speedometer, I argued with him but he wasn’t impressed. So once again I went to traffic court where my case was thrown out. Until this day I have no record of any crimes or misdemeanors.
Now, though, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has charged that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem is a war crime. Excuse me! By coming home to Shilo, the capital of Biblical Israel for 369 years, I’m committing a war crime? My home is legally built and, contrary to what some would like you to believe, I did not steal land, water, or electricity from anyone to do so. If anything the Jewish presence in the heart of the Holy Land has only raised the quality of life of all living here.
A quick glance at recent headlines show scores of issues the world should be concerned about. Turkey Warns Syria Against Helping Kurds, US Calls Myanmar Action “Ethnic Cleansing, Ethiopia Military Mistakenly Kills 9 Civilians, Putin Gave OK to Down Passenger Plane, Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions, How Aid Money Ends Up in Terror Group’s Hands
The list goes on and that doesn’t even mention sexual abuse, dirty politics, drugs, domestic violence, school murders, and the threatened environment. The fact that my life here in Shilo is a war crime is far more absurd than any law to keep children from wading in a fountain. And far more harmful. By focusing on me, instead of real problems, the UN is wasting precious time, money, and resources and ignoring what truly needs to be corrected. The High Commissioner for Human Rights should be held accountable to do his job properly without prejudice or bias. Then perhaps the United Nations could begin accomplishing what it was originally established to do.
|Wichita Civic Center courtesy of HipPostcard|