Hold It All

Month: January, 2009

The Demise of the Double Standard in the Middle East?

Double standard, noun. Any code or set of principles containing different provisions for one group of people than for another.

Hopes are being raised for President Obama’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict. To many, the appointing of George Mitchell as the Special Middle East Envoy seems to augur well, given Mr. Mitchell’s previous negotiations in the Northern Ireland conflict. President Obama acknowledged the difficulties of reaching an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, but said, “That’s why we’ve got George Mitchell going there. This is somebody with extraordinary patience as well as extraordinary skill, and that’s what’s going to be necessary.” Read the rest of this entry »

By the Blue Light of a Cell Phone

Dr Chmiel,

I just flipped on CNN after getting home from rehearsal and immediately thought of our encounter on New Year’s Eve as I watched a saddening report on Gaza.

My immediate reaction was desolation and helplessness– so often my response these days as I watch the news.

But then I became happier when I remembered I had good news to share with you that I neglected to mention the other day. My apologies for my forgetfulness– my mind was already on the show I was rushing off to perform in.

But anyway. This holiday, while riding around in the tour van between shows, I was able to start and complete THE BOOK OF MEV. I was so engrossed that I finished the last 100 pages of the book by the feeble blue light of my open cell phone late at night on the road. (It couldn’t wait until I got home, evidently, although I paid for it the next day with an eye strain headache. Haha.)

Social Justice as a course truly changed my entire perspective on life, and THE BOOK OF MEV only solidified my new perspectives into the deepest corners of my heart.

I am extremely grateful to you.

I have not yet processed my thoughts well enough to articulate an intelligible response to your book, but it is coming, and when I have come up with them, I will be sure to share them with you.

Thank you for sharing your words and your heart with your students and your readers.


Katie Consamus


This is a message from Katie Consumaus, who took my Social Justice course in spring 2008. Katie graduated from SLU in 2008 (BA, Theatre/French) and the University of Iowa in 2012 (MFA, Theatre Arts & Acting). She now lives in New York City.

Fragile Hope Embedded in a Single Question

Who might emerge as the equivalent to Judge Baltasar Garzón for the Palestinians?

Gaza: Toward Understanding and Action

Because of the extensive, though sanitized, U.S. news coverage of Israel’s bombing and invasion of Gaza, many Americans are paying closer attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict (those with access to Arabic news programming and Youtube clips are not spared the gruesomeness and enormous destruction of Israel’s effort to deal Hamas a death-blow.)

Many people are shocked, if not disgusted, by the mounting death and injury tolls, the David and Goliath asymmetry, and the “collateral damage” and war crimes inflicted on the Palestinian people.

Given this latest escalating round of brutality, and events in recent years such as the publications of Jimmy Carter’s controversial book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid and Walt and Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby, more people may be ready to critically question the U.S.-Israel relationship. Further, those horrified by the mass death in what has been called the world’s largest prison may ask, “What can be done to stop this?” Read the rest of this entry »