Sunday, July 03, 2016

Conditions in This Country

"Conditions in this country are a wholesale disgrace..."

So said Bonney Holbrook to his uncle, Sir Charles Marston on January 24th, 1938, two weeks following the murder of James L. Starkey. "Starks" as he was dubbed by co-workers, had been directing the first extensive excavations of Lachish (co-sponsored by Marston), which revealed many insteresting artifacts, most notably the invaluable Paleo-Hebrew ostraca/letters, & hundreds of LMLK handles (including restorable jars).

His killing has invariably been recorded as a random act of violence by Arab bandits, but in the current issue of PEQ (v148 #2, June 2016, pp. 84-109) LMLK VIP Yosef Garfinkel challenges that conclusion. Reading it reminded me of the tantalizing investigation leading to the recent revelation of the Wife of Jesus Papyrus forgerer, originally published by a Harvard professor named King.

But due to the ongoing political problems between the modern state of Israel & the Palestinians, it also reminded me of the American presidential campaigns of Clinton & Trump. This week Trump even posted official statements of condolence to the Jews whose family members were killed by Palestinians in/near Hebron, not many miles from Starkey's murder (Hallel Yaffa Ariel & unnamed father, Mickey Mark). Clinton's campaign site does not appear to post similar press releases, & I did not see any relevant posts on her public Facebook Home page; but I freely admit I didn't look too hard because of all the social sewage it promotes.

In the PEQ article, Garfinkel presents contemporary records that indicate Starkey's murder was a deliberate act of revenge, at least planned (if not carried out) by Palestinian Arabs disputing ownership over various portions of Tell ed-Duweir. And I don't recall ever seeing so much British propaganda exposed before ... with the exception of Brexit, which also happened last week!

I can just imagine Hillary saying, "WHAT DIFFERENCE, AT THIS POINT, DOES IT MAKE whether he was killed by 2 bullets, 11 bullets, or by having his head bashed in, or by getting hacked to death?"

The situation became so strained that at one point Starkey even indirectly/unwittingly prophesied his death!

I can just imagine The Donald saying, "IN NEGOTIATION, YOU MUST BE WILLING TO WALK. Who knows what'll happen? Maybe they'll agree to your terms, or maybe they'll kill you."

I don't have time for a full/detailed review, but Garfinkel's work appears as his team conducts another season of excavation on the site. As something of a comforting reassurance regarding the situation with the Palestinian families with whom Starkey had to contend, Garkinkel says, "After 1948 the Arab inhabitants of Qubeibeh [i.e., the village adjacent to the excavation site] became refugees & very little of the deserted village can be seen today."

Can't help but wonder if the same will be written about Washington DC some day.

G.M. Grena