Jane Fonda turns 79 years young this December 21
Jane Fonda is the muse-meaning source of inspiration for this article but she began to inspire this American baby-boomer in 1971.
I was a junior in high school when Jane Fonda starred in “KLUTE” and inspired me to cut my waist length hair into a ‘Klute shag’ and I wore bangs for decades afterwards.
In the 1980’s I went “for the burn” with “Jane Fonda’s WORKOUT.”
Today at 62 years young, most every day I play- as in dance, lift weights, stretch, flex, tone and practice yoga with Jane Fonda “Prime Time” DVDs created for baby boomers.
On April 5, 2005, Random House released Jane Fonda’s autobiography “My Life So Far” which “describes her life as a series of three acts, each thirty years long, and declares that her third ‘act’ will be her most significant, partly because of her commitment to the Christian religion, and that it will determine the things for which she will be remembered.”
Most recently the stand up Fonda wrote Standing Rock Is Greed Vs. Humanity’s Future for Time Magazine online regarding her experience at the standoff at Standing Rock and concluded:
We have to look into the deepest parts of ourselves and ask ourselves are we trying to become the kind of people who will do what we know in the best parts of ourselves, is the right thing to do, not for ourselves alone but for the children’s future, for the polar bears’, the whales, the guerillas and chimps and orangutans, the bees, the coral reefs, the songbirds’ future. We are all interconnected, interdependent, but the fabric of our common tapestry is starting to unravel.
The great hero of Standing Rock, Chief Sitting Bull, understood the white invaders when he said in 1877 ‘… the love of possession is a disease with them.’
We must rapidly cure ourselves of this disease or it will take us all down.
During the 1960s, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. warned US: “Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.”
During the 60s Jane Fonda engaged in political activism in support of Civil Rights and in opposition to the Vietnam War.
Regarding her infamous photo on an anti-aircraft gun that earned her the nickname Hanoi Jane, Fonda explained at her official website:
It happened on my last day in Hanoi. I was exhausted and an emotional wreck after the 2-week visit …
The translator told me that the soldiers wanted to sing me a song. He translated as they sung. It was a song about the day ‘Uncle Ho’ declared their country’s independence in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square. I heard these words:
‘All men are created equal; they are given certain rights; among these are life, Liberty and Happiness.’
These are the words Ho pronounced at the historic ceremony. I began to cry and clap. These young men should not be our enemy. They celebrate the same words Americans do. The soldiers asked me to sing for them in return …
I memorized a song called ‘Day Ma Di’, written by anti-war South Vietnamese students. I knew I was slaughtering it, but everyone seemed delighted that I was making the attempt. I finished. Everyone was laughing and clapping, including me …
Here is my best, honest recollection of what happened: someone (I don’t remember who) led me towards the gun, and I sat down, still laughing, still applauding. It all had nothing to do with where I was sitting. I hardly even thought about where I was sitting. The cameras flashed….
It is possible that it was a set up, that the Vietnamese had it all planned. I will never know. But if they did I can’t blame them. The buck stops here. If I was used, I allowed it to happen…a two-minute lapse of sanity that will haunt me forever …
But the photo exists, delivering its message regardless of what I was doing or feeling. I carry this heavy in my heart. I have apologized numerous times for any pain I may have caused servicemen and their families because of this photograph.
Regarding Israel Palestine:
In December 2002, Fonda demonstrated with Women in Black against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in front of the residence of the Prime Minister.
In September 2009, Fonda was one of more than 1,500 signatories to a letter protesting the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival’s spotlight on Tel Aviv.
Responding to the blow back attack Fonda wrote, “Expanding the Narrative” from which I excerpt:
I recently signed a letter protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to showcase and celebrate Tel Aviv. This in the very year when Gaza happened. The decision made the festival a participant in the newly launched campaign to ‘rebrand’ Israel.
Arye Mekel, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Cultural Affairs, has said that artists and writers must be enlisted in order to ‘show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.’
The protesters felt it was wrong for the much-respected festival to be used in this manner. The role of art, after all, is not to prettify but to expose reality with all its contradictions and complexities.
I signed the letter without reading it carefully enough, without asking myself if some of the wording wouldn’t exacerbate the situation rather than bring about constructive dialogue.
Last week, Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz, director of the Chai Center in Los Angeles, explained to me the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘teshuva’— to fix things you have done incorrectly, not just by never doing them again but by ‘coming with a sincere heart. Words that come from the heart enter the heart.’…
In the hyper-sensitized reality of the region in which any criticism of Israel is swiftly and often unfairly branded as anti-Semitic, it can become counterproductive to inflame rather than explain and this means to hear the narratives of both sides, to articulate the suffering on both sides, not just the Palestinians. By neglecting to do this the letter allowed good people to close their ears and their hearts…
Contrary to the lies that have been circulated, the protest letter was not demonizing Israeli films and filmmakers….
As I said in my recent blog, the greatest ‘re-branding’ of Israel would be to celebrate that country’s long standing, courageous and robust peace movement by helping to end the blockade of Gaza through negotiations with all parties to the conflict, and by stopping the expansion of West Bank settlements.
That’s the way to show Israel’s commitment to peace, not a PR campaign. There will be no two-state solution unless this happens.
The Israeli-Palestinian story cannot be reduced to a simplistic aggressor-victim relationship. In order to fully understand this, one must be willing to come together with an open heart and really hear the narratives of both sides.
One narrative sees 1948 as the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land. Another sees it as the birth of a nation. Conceivably it was both.
Neither narrative can be erased, both must be heard….
A few excerpts from a Palestinian Americans narrative that inspired this NON-Arab American to become a spiritually driven political activist HERE
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