Eliza Bates

Eliza Bates (Democracy and Workers' Rights Center - DWRC): Eliza graduated with honors and a BA in globalization and social movements from UC Berkeley. Eliza is committed to the right to free association and she worked on student-labor solidarity and anti-sweatshop campaigns while at university. Following graduation, Eliza worked in the labor movement in the United States for over five years as a researcher, organizer and lead union contract negotiator. Her interest in social justice and globalization inspired her to conduct an independent field research project in Mexico on the impacts of NAFTA on rural workers. She participated in several labor delegations to Latin America. At the time of her fellowship, Eliza was studying for a Master’s degree in international affairs with a concentration in human rights concentration at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

La boca del lobo

09 Jul

While listening to my roommate and his equally hormonal barely post-pubescent friends joke about each others’ mothers and rave about their sexual prowess, I turned and rolled my eyes to our upstairs neighbor, the oldest male in the room.

“Te has has caído en la boca del lobo,” he laughed.

You have fallen into the mouth of the wolf, caught in the teeth of the enemy.

Meaning that I was catching a glimpse of the secret heart of boy sentiments—the world from the perspective of girl-crazy budding masculinity, a view rarely seen or comprehended by outsiders.

This made me think about seeing through different lenses.

My American goggles color everything around me and sometimes it’s difficult to imagine another tint to my surroundings.

When Europeans ask me why Americans have such bad politics, I usually remind them that despite their cultured manners, we still produce better music and movies. And if they push me too far, I might even blurt that their entire continent is little more than an American colony these days.

This might seem a little harsh and, well, American. Perhaps my frustration stems from traveling outside the U.S. and being told countless times how Europeans and Canadians are much better sweeter more intelligent and compassionate humans. But please, those people have it easy–free healthcare and education and they actually get to see images of war on TV.

I am always impressed by Americans that speak out against our war-mongering foreign policy. It’s simple enough for the rest of the world to say: “Oh look, those stupid American imperialists are at it again.” But for someone from inside ‘ el Corazon del grande Babylon,’ in the words of Manu Chao, it takes a strong commitment to independent and critical thinking.

Likewise, it takes incredible chutzpah for Israelis to challenge the actions of their government. Those in the heart of the Israel have the capacity to impact the policies of occupation and the Zionist agenda in ways that no one else can. All it takes is one glimpse through the lense of the Palestinian people for the Zionist dream to turn into a nightmare.

Here’s a small sample of Israeli peace organizations working for justice in cooperation with Palestinians:

Kov LaOved
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

And, of course, nothing makes me happier than seeing people challenge authority with humor. This article appeared in the Israeli online magazine Ynet: “Israel Discovers Compassion.”

In case you thought that the IDF was lacking a sense of humor, read this BBC article about their heroic rescue of golden eagles from the oppression of Palestinian cages in Hebron.

It’s unfortunate that the freedom of birds is more important that that of the Palestinian people, but so it appears from inside la boca del lobo.

Posted By Eliza Bates

Posted Jul 9th, 2007


  • Carl

    July 11, 2007


    You’ve read the Ynet article… we too… but have you read the Talkbacks? The voice of the people speaks. Sigh

  • eliza

    July 11, 2007


    Thank you for pointing that out Carl, but, as we all know, receiving obnoxious comments does not in any way diminish the truth the writer tells. In fact, it may be a sign that the writer is hitting on a nerve that few dare to touch. Bravo.

  • Carl

    July 12, 2007


    I guess it is a question of perspective. I did not find most of the Talkback comments for the Ynet article obnoxious; I thought they were insightful. There were a lot of them. It sounds like your nerve has been touched. These are complicated issues.

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