Monday, October 01, 2007

Buying Water On the Road

An interesting article on Snopes, confirming that the Red Cross used disaster relief funds to provide 25,000 bottles of water to the marchers at Jena. I understand the concern some have about their contributions being used for what may be cast as partisan purposes, and how the marchers could have brought, or bought, their own water supplies. Yet this is not the first time this has happened, that the Red Cross has been asked to step in in this way -- I think I've seen this at other marches on hot days -- and it may well be appropriate, to prevent heatstroke etc..

Anyway, what struck me was the reason why this was necessary -- why they were unable to purchase their own supplies there:
Organizers for the march instructed those attending to not purchase anything from local merchants, specifically in the town of Jena. In response, most of the businesses in Jena, but not all, elected to close for the day realizing they would not do business from the protesters and their regular customers would not have access to their stores.
and the contrast with the deal Moshe tries to strike with Edom, in Chukat, in Bemidbar 20:17f:
יז נַעְבְּרָה-נָּא בְאַרְצֶךָ, לֹא נַעֲבֹר בְּשָׂדֶה וּבְכֶרֶם, וְלֹא נִשְׁתֶּה, מֵי בְאֵר: דֶּרֶךְ הַמֶּלֶךְ נֵלֵךְ, לֹא נִטֶּה יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול, עַד אֲשֶׁר-נַעֲבֹר, גְּבֻלֶךָ. 17 Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy land; we will not pass through field or through vineyard, neither will we drink of the water of the wells; we will go along the king's highway, we will not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy border.'
יח וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֱדוֹם, לֹא תַעֲבֹר בִּי--פֶּן-בַּחֶרֶב, אֵצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ. 18 And Edom said unto him: 'Thou shalt not pass through me, lest I come out with the sword against thee.'
יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בַּמְסִלָּה נַעֲלֶה, וְאִם-מֵימֶיךָ נִשְׁתֶּה אֲנִי וּמִקְנַי, וְנָתַתִּי מִכְרָם; רַק אֵין-דָּבָר, בְּרַגְלַי אֶעֱבֹרָה. 19 And the children of Israel said unto him: 'We will go up by the highway; and if we drink of thy water, I and my cattle, then will I give the price thereof; let me only pass through on my feet; there is no hurt.'
כ וַיֹּאמֶר, לֹא תַעֲבֹר; וַיֵּצֵא אֱדוֹם לִקְרָאתוֹ, בְּעַם כָּבֵד וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה. 20 And he said: 'Thou shalt not pass through.' And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.
כא וַיְמָאֵן אֱדוֹם, נְתֹן אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל, עֲבֹר, בִּגְבֻלוֹ; וַיֵּט יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵעָלָיו. {פ 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border; wherefore Israel turned away from him. {P}

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