All These Moments

All These Moments

Random ramblings in writing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Pro-Israel Rally & Pro-Palestine Protest at UT



The Texans for Israel student organization at UT organized a rally in support of Israel. About a week before the rally was scheduled, anti-Israel students organized to protest the rally. I was there showing support for Israel and I was very impressed by how well Texans for Israel handled the pressure, as well as disappointed at the behavior of the Anti-Israel protesters.

One thing that was made clear about the Pro-Israel rally is that it was not an Anti-Palestine rally. We were condemned by the protesters as Anti-Palestine, but this was not the case at all. Every person I talked to who showed up to support Israel said they felt bad for the innocent Palestinians enduring the hell in Gaza. Time and time again, the Pro-Israel speakers as well as people in the audience stressed that it is Hamas they are against, not Palestine.


"Free The Palestinians From Hamas." To me that seems like something everyone should support, regardless of how they feel about about Israel's actions. This was not the case, and I found out that many of the Anti-Israel protesters actually sympathize with, or even support Hamas. This is really the root of what disturbs me about these protesters. I feel terrible for those who have died in this conflict, but why are people so quick to blame Israel for every person who dies in Palestine? Why does no one protest how Hamas has used active schools as sites to build weapons? Hamas is so evil that they are willing to put their own children in harm's way to provide propoganda against Israel.

The Anti-Israel protesters were loud and chanted in a way that was reminiscent of the sheep in George Orwell's Animal Farm. The most obnoxious thing they would do was yell "LIAR!" at a speaker whenever they made a good point in their speech, no matter how ridiculous. At one point a speaker mentioned how Israel had a daily three hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, a statement which would never be contested in a reasonable discussion, but of course the protesters shouted, "LIAR!"



What I think spoke volumes about the difference in behavior between the two groups is that the protesters disrupted our prayers (one in Hebrew and one in English) by shouting "war criminals" and "baby killers" at us. Then the Anti-Israel protesters took the stage and asked for a moment of silence for those who had died in Palestine, and all but one or two of the Pro-Israel group were silent and respectful. (A few tried to be vocal about the fact that they had no respect for our prayers, but other Texans for Israel members quickly shushed them.) Texans for Israel had a message to send and they sent it well: We will not stoop down the same level as the Anti-Israel protesters. It made me very proud to be a part of a peace rally that was so well behaved despite the incredibly antagonizing attitude of the Anti-Israel protesters, some of whom were openly looking to start a fight.

Despite how intense it became at the rally, there was still laughter to be heard. One of the speakers used a quote from Barack Obama supporting Israel. This angered one of the socialist protesters who yelled, "You know, Barack Obama used to be Pro-Palestine before you assholes... changed his mind." There was laughter within the Pro-Israel crowd and then we returned our attention to the speaker.

Also, I saw a t-shirt that had a Texas and Israel flag on the back and said, "Texas isn't the only Lone Star State." I want that t-shirt. If it's not being sold anymore I'll probably just make one for myself.

Here's a short video I took at the rally before my camera battery died. (I forgot to charge it, stupid I know.)



Credit for the first picture in this post goes to my friend Eric Hofstetter.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PETA Declares Fable II 'Most Animal Friendly Game'

Overall, I have no strong objection to calling Fable II the most animal friendly game from 2008. The game never struck me as particularly animal friendly, except that you grow up with a trusty dog companion (who apparently ages at the same rate as a person rather than a dog). That is irrelevant though, because your trusty canine companion has nothing to do with why PETA chose Fable II.

Instead, the website describes how Fable II has "a strong pro-vegetarian theme, eating a plant-based diet helps you rack up 'purity' points, whereas eating meat makes your character fat and evil. A fun and innovative game, it's also an effective tool that teaches gamers the real-life benefits of a vegetarian diet."

I can see how the ability to be a vegetarian in Fable II would appeal to PETA, but feeding your character is not a one-way ticket to a fat and evil character. What they said about purity points is true, and a heavy meat diet will contribute toward your character being evil, but the differences between a good and evil character are more like the archetypal presentations of good and evil in films and literature, e.g. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

It is foolish to say the game has a "strong pro-vegetarian theme" because the selling-point of Fable II is that the player has freedom to do whatever he wants. The "strong" theme that PETA is describes is only there if the player pursues it. A writer for The Escapist describes how his character "ate meat pies by the handful, and killed the grocer who sold the celery." There is no real penalty for this behavior in Fable II, only a noticeable difference in your characters appearance and development. To provide some context, the wanted level and police officers in Grand Theft Auto IV more strongly punish players for running over random pedestrians, but that doesn't stop it from being a game where players zoom down the sidewalk for amusement.

Also overlooked by PETA are other activities in the game, such as killing rabbits, that do not make a character more evil. So eating meat can make a character more evil in Fable II, but not necessarily. Also, the evil meat-eaters are not the fat slobs that PETA describes them as (and sees meat-eaters the same way in real-life, whether or not we are). In fact, the game actually rewards players for going out and killing animals. So why was it that PETA called Fable II the most animal friendly game of 2008? Well it still has that dog...

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My name is Jared and I'm an English major at UT. Politically I'm a mix of libertarian and neocon with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Otherwise I'm just a typical nerd.

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