Israel Vs. Palestine - the battle for Facebook.

In relocating to the Middle East from the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda, I managed to move from Australia's Jewish heartland to a country that is entirely Muslim.

As a result, I have people on my friends list that are entirely Jewish, or entirely Muslim. I won't name them. Because it isn't important, but it is interesting that, from time to time, both groups have commented or liked something that I have posted. Not surprisingly, they managed to do that and not start lobbing hand-grenades at each other.

But who would get uppity about a cat video?

What is happening only a few hours flight away from where I type this is abhorrent.

Children being murdered.
Israeli folk having to hide from rocket attacks.
Palestinians getting pummeled by retaliatory force.
Both sides, angry and fearful.

But they are there, and I am here, grateful that I am not actually anywhere near anything explodey.

There isn't any getting away from it though, my news feed is getting its own pummeling - from all sides.  It seems that all sides are lobbing hateful, vile and agressive videos, or artfully spun propaganda at my feed.

No one seems to want to add an opinion, though. 99% of the stuff on my feed is presented without comment. Just another 3 minute explosion fest with someone's mother wailing horribly, or another young man screaming incoherently at the camera - translation is not required, no matter what side they come from I can guess what the intent is.

What good does it do? What are they trying to tell me by posting those feeds? How am I supposed to interpret what they want if they don't say anything?

I have made this suggestion before, and the response? "I can't say anything..." and then some kind of assertion that it is due to a fear that "they" will respond, probably with violence.

Or "You don't understand" is another perennial favourite.

I have spoken to people on all sides, personally.. here is what I understand.

"I fought in the six day war, one of the best things I have ever done in my life was afterward. I drove a bulldozer, and was one of the people charged with levelling [palestinian] houses." This from a man I respect, who is able to create a compelling argument as to why his side is right, and the other side are animals. And yet, if I drive into the industrial area here in Abu Dhabi, I see his face everywhere - but there are no yarmulkes to be seen, only gutras (head scarves).

"We just need to keep on bombing them for another 5.. maybe 6 days. then we will have peace." (Circa 2006/7) From one of the nicest people I have ever met, who says that he loves living in Australia because it is safe. "My daughter can marry anyone" he said once, then after a pause, "Unless he is a muslim."
"What would you do?" I asked
"I won't have to do anything, she won't marry one."

"These people call the occupied territories a country? They have no country, they should go back to where they came from, or be forced into the sea." From someone that I respect, who is able to create a compelling argument as to why her side is right, and the other side are simply occupying fascists.

"The SS didn't work fast enough" - common response.

There are more, but I think this illustrates a point well enough. I will add that ALL of the people indicated in the above examples are extraordinary. Generous, kind, animal lovers, charity givers - people I could rely on to help me move a fridge to a new home if you get my point.

What they all have in common is a figurative bomb on their mantle piece, whose pin they would happily, no, DUTIFULLY pull, should the need arise.

Back to my feed:

Silence - it is insidious. It allows the post to be placed without frame, a brutal picture with no explanation.

Silence does not help.

I'm done with explosions.
I'm done with "They started it."
I'm done with all the hate.

People need to do something. SAY something. Actively start looking for a peaceful solution, or at least have the courage to state their conviction if they feel otherwise.

This skulking behind posts is cowardly.

Me? I want people to stop killing each other, that's all.

I am part of a fast growing group of people who actually don't care about who is right or wrong - a growing number who are disgusted by all sides.

That's my position, it might be unpopular, but at least I had the courage to express it.

Erasure, now on Kindle Prime - so go borrow it!

For the first time, Erasure is now available via the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Do you like fiction?
Prepared to be a little creeped out by every-day aspects of privacy?
Are you a member of Kindle-Prime?

If so, you are in luck.

Fresh from the quarter-finals in this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, Erasure has been released into the wilds of the Kindle Library - so go grab your copy!

If you read one book this month, this should be it...

It remains a crapshoot - Part 1.

The path to the finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards continues.

The next phase of the competition started rolling out today with the release of the industry-based "Publisher's Weekly" reviews being added to pool of reviews that will be considered for judging purposes.

It remains a crapshoot - Part 2.

The next phase of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards is beginning to roll out. Although I am unaware of full implications of this review in the process, I suspect the PW review carries a lot of the weight in the final decision - below is a copy of the post I made to the competitors forum, and is for reference only.

I'll be posting a less rambling message here on the blog in a few minutes, and referring back to this post... so this is like a message from the future, but you, future people might be here because of the yet to be written part one.

Hang on, I'm confusing myself - I'll just leave this here and get on with the other post...

My book "Erasure" is in the ABNA quarter finals!

It seems that we might be on to something with “Erasure”.

I got the news today, and I am more than a little happy.

Erasure has moved up to the quarter-finals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2014.

I haven’t been broadcasting it, I’ve been too nervous, but the process started back in January when I submitted the manuscript as one amongst 10,000 other hopefuls.

In March, it was selected for the second round, a situation that culled 80% of the entrants.

Today it is one of five hundred entrants selected for the quarters, and one of one hundred in my category – mystery/thriller.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - another one gone.

Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose on Saturday...and it's awful.

What I find even less palatable is the manner in which denizens of the social media world float around the corpse of news like vultures around a bloated hippopotamus.

It seems that with every celebrity death and outpouring of shock, there are many who wish to diminish the individual's presence to "just a junky", and I am perplexed by it.

A man and his cat.

This is Moose. He's an ex street-cat who now
lives with us - safe from the dangers of the street.
He is fond of used coffee cups.
He is lucky, and so am I - you'll see what I mean.
The guy who washes our cars came today.

He's a really nice guy - He is one of the house staff from one of the larger houses where we live.

He is always happy, and enthusiastic - waves to everyone in the street (I think he does a roaring trade in washing cars to supplement an income that would be criminally low anywhere else in the world).

His English is ... interesting, but he speaks it with such enthusiasm and confidence and and vigor that even if the words are completely wrong you just over look it and try to work it out - he makes himself understood, and that's all that matters.

He's washed our cars for the best part of a couple of years. Early on in the relationship he noticed that we have cats, and asked if he could have some cat food.

Turns out he has been feeding a local street cat, and that cat had become his friend. So rather than giving him little bags of cat food from our stash, we bought bags of cat food just for him; a situation that pleased him greatly.

Before that he would just share his own food with his little friend.