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#53 Allan “Alonzo” Wild’s Andean Adventures and Beyond
Episode 5314th October 2022 • The Changed Podcast with Aden Nepom • Aden Nepom
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Allan “Alonzo” Wild’s Andean Adventures and Beyond

Season 3, Episode #53

About AJ:

Allan J. "Alonzo" Wind is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), having worked on and off with the Agency primarily overseas on diplomatic assignments from 1990 to 1992 and 1999 to 2019 in the Peru, Nicaragua, Angola, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Africa and the Southern Africa USAID Regional Missions. He provided oversight to U.S. government foreign aid development and humanitarian assistance, and supported U.S. Ambassadors as their senior development officer on multiple U.S. Embassy Country Teams.

What's inside this episode:

00:00 Meet Alonzo!

02:04 Allan J. "Alonzo" Wind's story

05:53 Interview begins with the question "Where in the world are you right now AJ?" (hint: somewhere in the Middle East...)

07:31 A discussion of the historical and current political climate regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

20:50 Is peace in the middle east possible?

24:20 AJ's life as an explorer: when you call so many places home, where does it feel like home-base?

26:10 AJ's dip into Science Fiction Writing

30:15 How our moments that change us shape our view of the world and of our selves

33:00 AJ's thoughts on what it takes to change people's minds

41:25 Oversimplifying solutions to big problems/Actively seeking to shift your own perspective.

47:22 Final thoughts from guest, AJ "Alonzo" Wild

49:23 Closing thoughts from the host


Helpful Links related to this discussion:


Looking to connect with our guest?

@galacticemp on Twitter

Allan "Alonzo"'s Facebook page

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Transcripts

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Ecuador where I started out to the north of Peru was really one of

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the places that very much changed my life.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, it really set me on the course, uh, that I am.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

​ Aden Nepom: my guest today is a retired

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the U S agency for international development (USAID) having worked on

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and off with the agency, primarily overseas on diplomatic assignments from

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

1990 to 1992 and 1999 to 2019 in the Peru, Nicaragua Angola, Nigeria, Iraq,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Afghanistan, South Africa, and the Southern African USAID regional missions.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That's a lot of places.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

He provided oversight to US government foreign aid development and humanitarian

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

assistance and supported US ambassadors as their senior development officer

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

on multiple US embassy country teams.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

In South Africa, he helped establish the Southern Africa regional leadership

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

center as part of president Obama's young African leadership initiative.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

He previously worked as the global program coordinator for the international save

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the children Alliance secretariat and as a country director and the health sector

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

coordinator for different nonprofit, private voluntary organizations, including

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

CARE and PLAN International in a range of countries, including Ecuador, Bolivia,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the Dominican Republic and the UK.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

My guest today is Alan J Alonzo Wind "AJ."

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I'm Aden Nepom and this is the Changed podcast.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

This is episode 53 of the changed podcast.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Here's AJ's story.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I went down to Ecuador as a peace Corps volunteer.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Frankly, uh, very much still caught up with the electoral politics

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

from the United States that I was very much involved in, in college

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

at the university of Chicago.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I thought, you know, perhaps almost in a Clintonian way that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

being a peace Corps volunteer would help improve my electability.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I imagined being able to serve in peace Corps, then return

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to the United States, run for office, maybe run for state

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

representative, maybe run for Congress.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And that's the direction that I saw my life going in.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But, uh, frankly , during the course of two years, working in public health

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and nutrition, uh, helping to build latrines, helping to guide families

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to creating family gardens and the like, uh, digging wells I just found

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

myself drawn into the needs of the poor compacinos in, uh, the rural coastal

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

area of Ecuador, where I was living in.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And as it would turn out, I had the Ecuadorian minister of

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

health himself coming down and getting familiar with my work.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I actually.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Had a certain amount of notoriety.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

If I can say that Aden, uh, as a peace Corps volunteer, because

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

as part of my work, I ended up encouraging these doctors.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I was working with to think about let's create this radio

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

health education program.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And we contacted a local radio producer in the city of Quevedo in Ecuador.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And, uh, we soon created this program.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

My voice was often on this radio health show, which included folklore

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

music and entertainment, and the like all designed to make more palatable,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the kind of health and educational messages that we wanted to convey.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And it was a powerful broadcaster.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, 50,000 Watts meant to cover the entire country

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and the peace Corps director.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

At that time, I won't mention his.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

He heard it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And he, his basic response was NFW who is this American, this peace Corps

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

volunteer I'm hearing on the radio.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I didn't agree to that.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And you know, there was noise about, oh yeah, we gotta do something about it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But the minister of health loved it and actually asked the peace

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Corps country director saying, oh, we gotta keep this guy.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We gotta keep Alonzo.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Would you be willing to have him stay on for a third year

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

as a peace Corp volunteer?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And of course the peace Corp bureaucracy, they.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You know, NFW but the minister himself contacted international NGOs that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

were working in the area and said, you have to try to hire this guy.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We want this guy to stay on.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And by that time, frankly, I was primed.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I was caught up in the romanticism of the kind of work I was doing.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I didn't want to go home.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I soon ended up staying five years in Ecuador.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And, uh, frankly, the dye was set at that point.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, after five years in Ecuador, I was headhunted to go to Bolivia, to be the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

country director of, a NGO there running what was the first, uh, modest health

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

program and Southeastern Bolivia and soon became a, a large health and international

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

development integrated rural development project involving a good chunk of Bolivia.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And by that point there really.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

No turning back to that, you know, political career

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I had imagined at one point

Aden Nepom:

You've heard his story.

Aden Nepom:

Now it's time to meet AJ.

Aden Nepom:

I recorded this conversation with AJ Alonza wind in July of 2022.

Aden Nepom:

AJ Hi Well I guess I guess I'll start by asking where in the world are you

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I'm honored to be able to join you

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

for this.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I am speaking to you from the very interesting environment of east Jerusalem.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

What is known here, at least among the people I work with as the O P T,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the occupied Palestinian Territories.

Aden Nepom:

Uh so you're definitely not retired Just retired from

Aden Nepom:

specific work listed in your bio.

Aden Nepom:

You're no longer working for the us government Is that right?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That's right.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I left during the, uh, previous administration and, uh, I dedicated some

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

time to travel with my wife and, uh, uh, connecting with our daughter who

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

had actually remained in South Africa.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We left South Africa as I was getting ready for departure from the agency.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

She ended up getting married in South Africa, and then as it turned

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

out, uh, moved to Berlin to Germany.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

When her husband got a, a great job there, I also worked on, uh, a book, uh, that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

ended up coming out in English, Spanish as well as audio, uh, versions and,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, feeling a little antsy, I ended up, uh, interviewing late last year for,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, the position of mission director in Palestine with the international

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

medical core, and actually arrived out here in February of this year.

Aden Nepom:

So what is it What's it like over there right now

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You know, it's really remarkable because I end up

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

having the incredible luxury of being able to spend roughly half and half

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

my time divided between Jerusalem, which is a very unique environment,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

unlike really any city in the world.

Aden Nepom:

So I you know I lived in Israel in uh 1995 and 1996.

Aden Nepom:

I was there when Rabin was assassinated.

Aden Nepom:

When we first met I think we talked about that a little bit.

Aden Nepom:

Um and one of the things that was really striking to me at the time was

Aden Nepom:

um that it didn't seem greatly different culturally to me in terms of Israeli

Aden Nepom:

people versus Palestinian people uh the way people talk to each other as

Aden Nepom:

friends and families and neighbors um that there wasn't just a great amount

Aden Nepom:

of difference in Now many years later has that sort of evolved as Israel and

Aden Nepom:

Palestine have sort of been separate but together in in new and different ways

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

well, I think Aden, that the, the, the assassination of

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Rabine in 95 of course, uh, was a huge blow, but then 10 years later, There

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

was an additional blow that I think in some way, magnified it even more.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Hmm.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And that was that.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

To a certain extent as the Oslo piece process continued somewhat

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

haltingly, uh, in terms of, uh, trying to address the situation in

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Gaza and the rest of the west bank.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, the, uh, decision was made to pull out of Gaza and, you know,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the Israeli government, this is, I guess, 2005, 2006, very bravely

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

at the time, uh, decided, okay.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We're literally gonna rip out from the roots, the Israeli settlements that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

were in the Gaza strip, I guess there were probably about 40- 50,000 Israelis

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

that were living in Gaza at that time.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We're gonna pull them out.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We're gonna grant Gaza, full autonomy.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, they can run their own affairs and that'll be it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

So they demolished all of these houses and installations rather than leaving

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

it for the Palestinians of the course.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And, uh, then, uh, this was followed.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

This was really, I think in many ways, uh, a serious emotional blow to the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Israelis in terms of being forced to actually leave Gaza and the fact that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

they didn't follow up with the west bank to a certain extent sealed the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

fate of the west bank, uh, territory.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And the fact that the, uh, particularly the right wing government would

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

continue building settlements there, but then you had democratic elections.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

In the Palestinian Territories.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, and frankly, as a result of so many years of corrupt government under Arafat

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and the Al Fata group of the PLO and the like the Gazans ended up electing Hamas.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And of course, Hamas was on the US list as a terrorist organization.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

The EU was kind of pressured into doing that as well.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And so with Hamas taking power in Gaza, uh, everyone went hysterical on that.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

US policy changed drastically in terms of help for the Palestinians.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It became much more cautious and tentative.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, even before, you know, we got into this situation of the, the last

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

administration and the cuts that they made to assistance with the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Palestinians, but then basically the Israelis instituted what is known as

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the Gaza blockade, the Gaza stage.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And actually last month was the 15th anniversary of the blockade.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And essentially from this territory of the Palestinians where you now

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

it's, it's minuscule, you know, as you probably know, from when you were in

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Israel, you're talking about a territory, which is about six miles wide and 25

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

miles long stretching from Ashkelon in the north to the border with Egypt.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You've got over 2 million Palestinians there.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

20 years ago, typically about 10% of that population,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

200,000, 300,000 Palestinians were allowed and in fact, encouraged to come

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to work in Israel in the agriculture field, in the home care field, you

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

know, in, in important ways for the economy and the Israelis close the door.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and built for practical speaking, the, the real wall and instantly

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the, the economic wellbeing of the Palestinians and Gaza dropped.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, they now estimate that 20, you know, 15 years ago, the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Palestinians and Gaza were more or less at a better level of economic

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

development then the West Bank.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Now they say that the economic situation of the Palestinians in Gaza is one quarter

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

of that, of the West Bank and the West Bank itself, as a result of much has gone

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

on is maybe a third of Israel, proper.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

How long can that continue?

Aden Nepom:

It does not seem very sustainable that's for sure.

Aden Nepom:

But I also, um, I also wonder, you know, I.

Aden Nepom:

I'm not a foreign policy maker.

Aden Nepom:

I'm, you know, I work in communication skills.

Aden Nepom:

I've often fantasized about being able to pull diplomats from both sides into a

Aden Nepom:

room and facilitate the real conversation.

Aden Nepom:

Uh, I don't think that's going to happen in my lifetime, but maybe, um,

Aden Nepom:

but I wonder, you know, there's a, there's the consequences are very.

Aden Nepom:

And at the same time, there was a lot of rhetoric.

Aden Nepom:

I remember going to see a speaker when I was working for, um, AIPAC in DC,

Aden Nepom:

the Middle East Affairs folks put on a, uh, a, a weekly or a monthly event

Aden Nepom:

where they would bring in speakers.

Aden Nepom:

That was from, that were from all, all sort of sides of the issue.

Aden Nepom:

And it was a former, uh, advisor to Arafat who came to speak and

Aden Nepom:

he seemed incredibly reasonable.

Aden Nepom:

During his speech, his speech was like, and when I say reasonable, I mean like

Aden Nepom:

inspiring levels of reason and talking about, you know, women and children

Aden Nepom:

being allowed to thrive and, um, men being able to find their livelihoods.

Aden Nepom:

And I just was like a hundred percent on board with everything he was saying.

Aden Nepom:

And then he was asked a question about bus bombings, which I, at the time I was

Aden Nepom:

living in Israel, there were, uh, several, and I have my own story of getting off

Aden Nepom:

of a bus because of feeling afraid.

Aden Nepom:

And, uh, he was asked this question about bus bombings.

Aden Nepom:

Is it okay to bomb women and children?

Aden Nepom:

And his answer was they're not women and children on that side.

Aden Nepom:

They're soldiers.

Aden Nepom:

They deserve to die for our freedom.

Aden Nepom:

And I was, he lost me I was like, eh, how can this be?

Aden Nepom:

And so I think there was a lot of rhetoric, uh, about like it Israelis of

Aden Nepom:

any age, including being infants deserve to die for the freedom of Palestinians.

Aden Nepom:

Um, and.

Aden Nepom:

While I think the wall is a, you know, personal opinion, a terrible solution

Aden Nepom:

wall, essentially walling off the livelihood of people, where there were

Aden Nepom:

neighbors and friends, um, and having those very real economic consequences

Aden Nepom:

that does not seem like a good solution.

Aden Nepom:

But I also see the fear behind that solution.

Aden Nepom:

I see the, the very real worry based on the experiences.

Aden Nepom:

I wonder if you have thoughts about what would have been a

Aden Nepom:

better course or what, or if peace is even possible at this point.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I, I completely understand, understand where you

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and others come from in that way.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I've met many Palestinians like you described, uh, they floor you

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

with their depth of humanity and their empathy and their vision.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And really, they just wanna be left alone.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

They just wanna be able to live their lives.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

In a way without having deal with the violence's true, but consider

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

this Aden to consider this.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's terrible.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

What has happened in terms of the terror bombings and all of that.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I don't wanna, you know, put a number or defend acts of terror,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

but we also have to understand there is an element of proportionality.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I mean, proportionality in the sense that if you were to add up the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

numbers of Israelis that were killed and maimed during the campaign of the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

bus bombings and the terror attacks, and even now, I mean, you've had.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

In this last number of months, shootings in a couple of restaurants in Tel Aviv

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and, uh, you know, creating a certain element, a lack of perception of safety

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and security at times for people.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Let's say you add all of that up and you're talk, you're

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

really talking about perhaps.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

A few hundred, perhaps 400, perhaps 500 Israelis that were killed and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

maimed over the course of that campaign of, uh, 15, 20 years.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But on the Palestinian side, you are talking about thousands and thousands

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

of women and children who also have been killed and maimed because you have

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

indiscriminate warfare on both sides, unfortunately it's not to defend.

Aden Nepom:

Do you think that there's a feeling that those scales somehow have

Aden Nepom:

to be balanced in order to achieve peace?

Aden Nepom:

My, I would hope not personally, but like,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

no, no, but, but

Aden Nepom:

more death on either side, be one death too many.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

No.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, certainly, certainly.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, I mean, you, you don't wanna get locked into kind of, uh, you know,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

an eye for an eye kind of mentality.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

What's an eye for an eye and pretty soon, you know, everyone

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

is blind, but, uh, still, I mean, it is essential for Israelis.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

To put themselves in the shoes of the Palestinians, try and look over the course

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

of what's happened over the last 15 years, the last 20 years, the last 50 years.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And there has to be an some level of empathy, which unfortunately in the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Israeli leadership has rarely been seen in terms of accepting that they too have

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

a right a life without violence, a life in which they can provide for their families,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

a life where you don't have children and families being poisoned by contaminated

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

water by sewage, uh, by, uh, heavy metals.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

By the elements of warfare, you know, across both lands.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And, uh, you know, Gaza is one thing.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

The west bank is the other, I mean, how can you defend?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You have the secretary of state Blinken.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

He, he and president Biden just came here and they're still talking about, oh,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

we still hope for a two state solution.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Well, how is that gonna happen without respect for both states?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

In terms of actually giving the Palestinians, the land, their

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

corresponds to them, and, uh, you know, allowing the Israelis of course,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to feel secure within their borders.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It really is an element of proportionality because no one believes that, you know,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

even Hamas as we were talking about earlier, The fact that they're seen as a

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

terrorist group, you know, by both the US and the EU, the reality in Gaza, at least

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

that I've seen is that, you know, people voted in Hamas because they were tired of

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the corruption that existed from the past.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Unfortunately, there hasn't been an alternative democratic movement in

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

terms of challenging the status quo.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

If there were elections in the west bank, Tomorrow.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And frankly, neither the Israelis nor the Americans wanna see that happening.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Because if there are elections tomorrow, Hamas would probably

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

win on the west bank as well.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Unless you have the kinds of steps that are necessary to really show that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

you're serious about peace and a so called, uh, equitable two state solution.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Then, you know, you're never going to be able to contain that type of violence.

Aden Nepom:

Is peace possible.

Aden Nepom:

Do you think it's possible to achieve peace?

Aden Nepom:

You know, I listened to a number of Palestinians here in Jerusalem

Aden Nepom:

and, uh, it's interesting that many of them have given up on the

Aden Nepom:

idea of the two state solution.

Aden Nepom:

They've surrendered the idea of a Palestinian home.

Aden Nepom:

They figure Israel is never gonna let them have, uh, their own country.

Aden Nepom:

And so they say, okay, fine.

Aden Nepom:

We'll just, we'll live here.

Aden Nepom:

You know, within Israel, we're here, we're in east Jerusalem.

Aden Nepom:

We're we're we are working within Israel.

Aden Nepom:

Those of the Palestinians that have permits to actually

Aden Nepom:

live and work in Israel.

Aden Nepom:

But then of course you have the question, what will happen,

Aden Nepom:

demographically to Israel?

Aden Nepom:

I mean, Israel always reacts.

Aden Nepom:

Anger and horror.

Aden Nepom:

When you have the UN special repertoire talking about an apartheid state?

Aden Nepom:

Well, I've been to South Africa quite a few times, and I lived in South Africa,

Aden Nepom:

from 2014 to 2018 and I saw what was the

Aden Nepom:

the remnants, the remains still, that's been hard to overcome despite

Aden Nepom:

the best efforts of the south Africans of the apartheid regime.

Aden Nepom:

Well, Israel is frankly, not far from that.

Aden Nepom:

I mean, if you don't deal with the reality that, uh, you have, uh,

Aden Nepom:

millions of Palestinians living within these common borders, will Israel

Aden Nepom:

be able to remain a Jewish state?

Aden Nepom:

Will Israel be able to remain a democratic state or will there be, you know, a one

Aden Nepom:

state solution, but with a permanently disenfranchised Palestinian minority,

Aden Nepom:

which at some point may not be a minority.

Aden Nepom:

It may come to approach mm-hmm, , you know, a, a very

Aden Nepom:

large chunk of the population.

Aden Nepom:

So, you know, I think until that question is honestly answered by both.

Aden Nepom:

we'll never see peace.

Aden Nepom:

Hmm.

Aden Nepom:

So a two state solution seems not possible, but maybe in theory, a one

Aden Nepom:

state solution with a representative with equal representation for the

Aden Nepom:

populations, is that, what is that?

Aden Nepom:

What people are saying, but.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But Israel then would have to probably give up on its

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

idea of being the identity changes, Jewish state, a theocratic state,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and, uh, you know, in many ways Israel has become more and more theocratic.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, look at, uh, Jerusalem, everything gets shut down on Shabbat.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Basically from Friday afternoon at three o'clock until Saturday

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

at, uh, six or 7:00 PM.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, lots of services, lots of, uh, you know, uh, transport and everything

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

else is, is completely shut down.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

How long can that really, uh, continue when you're faced with a very different

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

type of, uh, demographic reality?

Aden Nepom:

We're gonna take a little break here instead of continuing

Aden Nepom:

to discuss the Israeli Palestinian conflict for 17 more hours.

Aden Nepom:

You'll learn a little bit about what it's like to sort of live everywhere like

Aden Nepom:

AJ has, and we'll get a dip into AJ's experience as a science fiction writer,

Aden Nepom:

all of that, and more when we come back.

Aden Nepom:

What I'd love to do is switch gears a little bit and just talk about you a

Aden Nepom:

little bit, because this is, this is in the course of your career, just like a,

Aden Nepom:

honestly like a blip, like you've done so much and lived in so many places.

Aden Nepom:

Um, What is that?

Aden Nepom:

What is it like to just live your life?

Aden Nepom:

Out there.

Aden Nepom:

Do you have a, a home base?

Aden Nepom:

Do you have a place that you're like and that, and then this is home?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Well, I think we probably have, uh,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

multiple bases on some level.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, South Africa, frankly still remains very close to our hearts.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, of course our daughter is now in Berlin.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And so we look to Europe at times in terms of thinking about whether or

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

not perhaps we might want to consider.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Relocating to, to Europe, uh, maybe not necessarily Germany, but maybe

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

something more pleasant like, uh, Portugal or something like that.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, but, uh, my wife is originally from Peru.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Our daughter was born in Peru and so Peru and south America, of course

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

always remains very close to us.

Aden Nepom:

I, I love the, uh, just that journey just it's sometimes

Aden Nepom:

I think the, the people that we encounter can just sort change the

Aden Nepom:

entire direction that you're headed in.

Aden Nepom:

Do you ever wonder what your life would've been like?

Aden Nepom:

Had you gone into politics?

Aden Nepom:

Do you, do you have a sense of how that would've turned out?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Sometimes?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Sometimes, but, uh, you know, to be honest, I, I think I have faced in my

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

life probably several different, uh, I don't know what you would call it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Collisions, uh, you know, blows, sudden course changes where.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It really represented a life changing moment.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, frankly, even going back to, to when I was a kid, uh, and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I, I tell the story in my book that I, I published a year or two ago.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, I, I was, uh, growing up in Brooklyn in, uh, south Brooklyn and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

we moved to this kind of, uh, newly developed area in Southeast, in Brook.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Called Georgetown mill basin near Patag at bay kind of bordering.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

What would eventually become the Jamaica bay wildlife reserve.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And as would turn out in my fifth grade of elementary school, this coincided with

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the beginning of earth day, you know, the first earth days of 19 69, 19 70.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I was caught up in this idea of ecology.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Earth day and wanting to do more.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I ended up organizing a bunch of school kids, uh, from the fifth grade

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to try and help clean out these vacant lots that were filled with kind of

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

concrete waste and, uh, burnt tires and all this other kind of stuff that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

were really polluting the environment.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And we were able to get con Edison, the electricity utility,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, in New York at the time.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

To donate a bunch of, uh, dump trucks.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mobilized, uh, some of the Brooklyn city council people

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

as well to get involved in it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And soon the, you know, you had reporters from the New York post talking about,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

you know, this revolutionary stuff in ecology that these fifth graders

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

were doing in this part of Brooklyn.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And they ended up featuring a story about me, you know, talking about

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

me as the ring leader of all of, all of this, so that too, you know,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

ended up setting me on a course.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

As it would turn out, pulled me out of my neighborhood and got me

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

thinking, okay, I don't wanna go to the neighborhood high school.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I want to be able to go beyond it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I ended up taking a test for the different specialized schools.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And, uh, ended up being, uh, accepted for sty in high school in Manhattan.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And that as well, became the kind of thing that set me off in a different direction

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

because I found myself in school, I don't know if you ever heard of, uh,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Frank McCort, the Irish American writer.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Angela's ashes and

Aden Nepom:

yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

famous Irish American writer.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Well, Frank, before he became a published author and a famous

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Irish American writer actually was.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Teacher an English teacher in the New York city school system.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And he taught at a couple of terrible schools, which he ended up telling

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

stories about this and some of his memoirs, but then he came to Stiverson

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

high school, which was famous as being this kind of center of nerdom a school

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

of science and math and all this.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Yeah.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And here you have this Irish.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You know, this happy Irish American with this brogue, you know, teaching English.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And he ended up teaching creative writing and I myself ended up taking

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

on a passion for science fiction.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And so I ended up being encouraged by the chairman of the English department.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

To go into Frank's class.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I quickly found Frank to be my mentor, both in writing, as well as helping me

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to launch this science fiction, magazine Anteras, which we actually began to

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

sell on the streets of Manhattan during my last two years of high school.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And,

Aden Nepom:

oh my gosh,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, that got me into a whole direction, uh, between

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

meeting science fiction writers.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Isaac Asimov and others, you know, as a kid selling my first science fiction story

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

when I was 14 years old and setting me off in a direction that I thought would have

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

me, you know, becoming a published author.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Paradox of paradox.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I actually only published my first book, just, you know, last year, it's

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

not science fiction, but I do tell the story in the book about how.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

My early work in science fiction was a good preparation for government service.

Aden Nepom:

I'm a huge science fiction.

Aden Nepom:

Fan reading Asimov was a, a pivotal moment.

Aden Nepom:

It totally shifted my worldview as a kid, uh, in high school.

Aden Nepom:

Well, so.

Aden Nepom:

So, so in, in these, these moments that have put you on these paths and

Aden Nepom:

then shifted your path, I'm curious, like in general terms, what, what

Aden Nepom:

are your thoughts about these things that sort of shift and change us?

Aden Nepom:

Do you think that your view of the world is affected by these moments?

Aden Nepom:

Or do you think that you would've had the view of the world that you

Aden Nepom:

had no matter what path you ended up.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I'm sure there's an influence, an important influence to it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I think if I could point to some theme, some undercurrent theme of commonality,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, in a lot of the different experiences I've I have, I'd like to believe.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That it is a question of service.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, from, from really the start, I've always viewed myself as, uh, even before

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I could, uh, express it as such as a change agent, as someone with the ability

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to influence others, to mobilize others, whether, you know, in terms of different

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

political campaigns or other types of mobilization, Uh, political activities

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

in school in terms of student government and, and lobbying and downstate,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, Illinois going to peace Corps.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, but it also left me with a sort of receptivity to be able to

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

accept new challenges along the way.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And perhaps as, uh, something of a reality, if I found myself staying

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

too long, In a particular niche in a particular area, I would get bored.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I wanted to take on new challenges, but new challenges of service, ideally.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I think I've tried to view that as to a certain extent, the, uh, you know,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the, the leading, uh, theme of my life.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Thanks for those thoughts.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I love those thoughts.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

They are relatable for you.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Thank you.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, something that I am really curious about these days is.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

When it comes to this word change.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, I've been, I've been diving into people's stories about the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

moments that sort of shape lives.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, and the question of whether or not change is easy or hard.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But I think that question was answered pretty well in the first two seasons.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

The answer is, yeah, of course.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's both, duh, you know, it's easy for some changes.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's hard for other changes.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's easy for some people it's hard for other people.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

For some of us, most of us it's both at different times, but what

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I'm curious about these days, What changes people's minds?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Like what have you ever had a really closely held point of view, a belief that

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

was challenged and shifted as a result of an experience you had, or have you found

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

that you've maintained sort of the same perspective on most things your strongly

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

held beliefs have sort of been part of the underlying value system of you through.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That's a very, uh, deep question.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, I have had things I think that have, um, shaken and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

humbled me at different times.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, in terms of experiences.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, I think, uh, you know, particularly, uh, the time that I spent in Africa,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

um, Both, uh, in, in initial short term assignments when I would travel and go

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and work for like a week or two or a month at times in different African countries

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

between, uh, west Africa and east Africa.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And then after, uh, the year, uh, 2005, when actually, uh, I ended up.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Living with my family, uh, probably a total of about 10 years or so

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

in different African countries.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, that probably, uh, uh, introduced, uh, an element of humility to me where, you

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

know, certainly I viewed in a, uh, very conventional way that, oh, I'm not racist.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, you know, I had a very multiracial.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, a group of classmates in stent at the time.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I had friends of different backgrounds.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, at least that's what I probably was kidding myself, uh, on some level, uh,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

but, uh, you know, living in postwar, Angola, Uh, in the, the circumstances

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

that we were in and then, uh, going to, uh, a place like Nigeria and finding

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

myself caught up in the realities of, uh, what was the Christian south and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the Muslim north really forced me to question the kind of assumptions that,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, you know, I might make in terms.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, you know, basically how people lived and what were the drivers affecting them.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And what was the, the true effect of, you know, the outside forces, the, the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

colonialist forces on these countries in real terms, not the ideological,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, you know, theoretical stuff that, of course I learned in college.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

So I think that, you know, those experiences really forced me to confront,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, really within myself, The fact that, uh, you know, I was, uh, perhaps, uh,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

not as, uh, liberated or enlightened in certain ways as, uh, I, I might have

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

thought when I was growing up in New York when I was in Chicago, when I was

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

living, uh, you know, in Latin America.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And so, uh, that's been important and now I find myself.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Kind of, uh, questioning it again because I've been listening to

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

an audio book just in the last week, uh, by, uh, John McWhorter.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I don't know if you know him.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, no, he has, uh, I think he's a, he's a brilliant, uh, linguist, uh, from Columbia

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

university in New York professor there.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, and he's published a bunch of books, uh, but uh, most recently.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

He published a book on woke racism and mm-hmm mm-hmm frankly, it's brilliant

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

because I mean, he's an African American.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, who is confronting, you know, what is, what is the reality behind this

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

concept of wokeness and what are the drivers that bring, you know, your

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

traditional white liberals into, you know, trying to align themselves to it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And what are the drivers, the true drivers for the blacks who are,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, going along with the concept.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Of wokeness and how this really represents, uh, a terrible and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

pernicious form of racism itself.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That is really looking down.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

On the black on the African American as basically being a, an impotent child who

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

cannot thrive on his own without all of the special adjustments and corrections

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

that we need to do, you know, within the concept of, in the name of equity.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I agree.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I, uh, this is something that I've thought deeply about, and I have, I've

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

had many conversations with colleagues who in the, in the interest of wanting

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to create diverse representation in the theater world have created

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

programs that have a kind of, um, I think an insidious message underlying,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

which is that if we didn't create

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

equity, there would be none.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's a damaging story actually.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Yeah.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, that this story, a story that I, that I grew up with that I think

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

is actually a beautiful story.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

An inspiring story is that just by the nature of being on this

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

planet by existing, you are entitled to make your dreams.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Come true to go for it, to go forth, to get the best possible education,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to all the, whatever it is you wanna pursue, you can pursue it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And there is, I think this disparity that we have failed to reconcile between,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

um, the ability to pursue something.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And needing to provide avenues for which people can pursue something.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And then the reality that not everybody gets to pursue what they want to

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

pursue by the nature of just life living and the pressures they're in.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But to say that well, they wouldn't be able to pursue something.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That's where the damaging message.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Absolutely

Aden Nepom:

can live.

Aden Nepom:

And again, I feel like this puts me back in that boat where I'm like, look, I don't

Aden Nepom:

think a wall is a good solution in Israel.

Aden Nepom:

I don't think that the, the story that we're telling now

Aden Nepom:

is a good, helpful story.

Aden Nepom:

I also have no idea what the solution is.

Aden Nepom:

Um, you know, because it is true.

Aden Nepom:

We don't have necessarily equity when we have equality.

Aden Nepom:

I don't know if that's a bad thing or a good thing.

Aden Nepom:

I.

Aden Nepom:

I dunno what the solutions are, but what I would hate to see happen is

Aden Nepom:

for a, a terrible story to be told so often that people believe themselves

Aden Nepom:

incapable of realizing their dreams.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Yeah, you're absolutely right.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I think our openness to these kinds of questions and trying to shake up

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the paradigms that we're living with.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Is really, uh, you know, the only way to kind of carry forward

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

at least the way I've seen it.

Aden Nepom:

Well, I appreciate, I appreciate your openness to sharing those

Aden Nepom:

thoughts and I'll have links of course, to your book and, uh, the one that you just

Aden Nepom:

referenced, because I think it's always nice to have, um, have the ability to

Aden Nepom:

follow up on these for people listening.

Aden Nepom:

You may want to, uh, read a book or two and, and see what you think make

Aden Nepom:

up your own mind about these ideas.

Aden Nepom:

Um, I sometimes wonder, and I think this is what I'll be continuing to

Aden Nepom:

question throughout this season.

Aden Nepom:

If.

Aden Nepom:

If the changing our mind about a closely held belief is simply a thing

Aden Nepom:

that comes with a particular period of our development followed after that,

Aden Nepom:

with the solidifying of our views, before we, uh, end our journey, uh,

Aden Nepom:

If it's just sort of developmental.

Aden Nepom:

I think about like some of my closely held beliefs that were shaken up

Aden Nepom:

and then they were shaken up when I just had a dose of reality.

Aden Nepom:

right.

Aden Nepom:

Like, I was like, like one of my, just to bring up full circle back

Aden Nepom:

to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Aden Nepom:

Before I ever went to Israel, I was always like all this

Aden Nepom:

dispute over the temple Mount.

Aden Nepom:

It's a really simple solution.

Aden Nepom:

Just divide it up.

Aden Nepom:

Everybody gets a piece and everybody's happy.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

like, like king Solomon.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Yeah, just

Aden Nepom:

cut it up, divvy it out.

Aden Nepom:

Everybody gets a piece of the cake, the holy cake.

Aden Nepom:

It's all good.

Aden Nepom:

And, uh, and then I went to, uh, to ha Kotel, uh, the Wailing wall.

Aden Nepom:

I went, you know, and visited the temple Mount I, um, and I.

Aden Nepom:

I had what, what I would describe as though, uh, thousands of, years

Aden Nepom:

of history wash over me at once.

Aden Nepom:

And, uh, a very, intense epiphany that felt like, uh, it sucked the

Aden Nepom:

wind outta my sail that I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.

Aden Nepom:

and that, that wasn't a solution.

Aden Nepom:

And.

Aden Nepom:

And again, I don't know what the solution is.

Aden Nepom:

I, I am, I only know in that particular case what it isn't and, um, I, I think it

Aden Nepom:

takes important humbling moments like that for people to come together and have the

Aden Nepom:

conversations they need to have in order to find what it is, what the solution is.

Aden Nepom:

And until we get there, we don't get what we want, which is calm.

Aden Nepom:

Peace.

Aden Nepom:

Love and humility.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Well, you know, in the, uh, the category of giving your, uh, your

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

viewers and, uh, listeners, uh, something else to kind of chew on, I recommend this,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

uh, series an Israeli television show.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

That's on Netflix called, uh, Fauda.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Are you familiar with it?

Aden Nepom:

I have not seen it.

Aden Nepom:

No.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You know, I, I ended up actually watching all

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

three seasons that are on Netflix.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Now there's a fourth season that has been in production earlier this year

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

and is now on Israeli television.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And I think.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

We'll be on Netflix, uh, later this year, but basically Fauda

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

is Arabic for the word chaos.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And it follows essentially this Israeli counter-terrorism group, um, as they

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

try to deal with the challenge of course, of Palestinian extremists and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

containing, uh, violence on the west bank.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, trying to contain, uh, violence spilling over into Israel.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

But even though it's an Israeli television program, uh, the, the

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

seasons, the first two seasons take place primarily on the west bank.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

A little bit in Israel and ostensibly the third season to my amusement takes place,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

supposedly in Gaza itself, including Khan Yunis this very densely populated

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

city in the Southern part of Gaza, but it actually has a remarkably empathetic view

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

about the reality facing the Palestinians about the, uh, the conflict that exists

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

within many Palestinians and it also has.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

You know, a very serious look at the excesses on the Israeli

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

side and how Israeli extremism, uh, you know, in the pursuit of

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

security can also manifest itself.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And you know, how some of the people in this counter-terrorism group end

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

up doing really terrible things.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

I mean, it's, it's not for the fainthearted, but if you're interested

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

in terms of something that will kind of shake up your paradigms and your

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

models, I think it's a good show.

Aden Nepom:

thank you for the recommendation.

Aden Nepom:

I'll certainly check it out.

Aden Nepom:

Um, you know, it's the, I see parallels in how we are currently living in

Aden Nepom:

this country between extremist views being pitted against extremist views.

Aden Nepom:

Um, so often the moderate perspective gets lost no matter what country, no

Aden Nepom:

matter what circumstance, whether we're talking about politics, religion, or both.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Very true.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Very true.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

And, uh, I really admire, you know, those who, uh, you know, speak on the,

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

you know, basically the democratic side, if you could call it that democratic

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

or, or hopefully more moderate side of the democratic side who argue that.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

, uh, you know, look for that more balanced middle, if we can find it.

Aden Nepom:

Absolutely.

Aden Nepom:

I, uh, I am a strong believer in having important, difficult,

Aden Nepom:

challenging conversations.

Aden Nepom:

Well, it is the focus of the work that I do in the workplace.

Aden Nepom:

Um, and luckily for me, for the people who come, uh, see me speak

Aden Nepom:

or, or take a workshop for me, those are skills that translate

Aden Nepom:

outside of the workplace as well.

Aden Nepom:

But the reason I do that work.

Aden Nepom:

Is because I believe so deeply, uh, in what you just said, I believe

Aden Nepom:

so deeply that in order to find the path forward, we need these.

Aden Nepom:

Balanced perspectives.

Aden Nepom:

We need to take in the point of view of the extremist on the right and the

Aden Nepom:

extremist on the left, and then find where we actually live in, in the

Aden Nepom:

middle, where we do, where do we overlap?

Aden Nepom:

Where do we want the same things?

Aden Nepom:

Where are our values aligned and how can we move forward considering our

Aden Nepom:

different needs inside those values?

Aden Nepom:

I, uh, I am aware of the time , any last reflections on what it means

Aden Nepom:

to be an agent of change or to feel and experience change in your own

Aden Nepom:

perspectives, anything you wanna share AJ?

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Thank you very much.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Well, I'm proud of this book, Andean Adventures, it's available

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

on, uh, Amazon as well as Barnes and noble and other outlets.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Um, because a lot of it, uh, primarily takes place in Latin America.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It reflects on essentially the, uh, the change in my life direction, over

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

the course of the first 13, 14 years.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, that I ended up living in Latin America and taking on this commitment

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

to international development and humanitarian assistance, and really my

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

adventures primarily in the, the Andean countries of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Uh, Peru where I ended up ultimately meeting my wife and our daughter was born.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's available as an audio book , it's translated in Spanish and I'm slowly

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

working on companion volume, to kind of tell the story, particularly, I

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

think of Africa, uh, the, the countries in Africa that I served as well as.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Iraq and Afghanistan, and try to weave together what those

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

experiences have meant for us.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

So I hope people will like it.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

The subtitle of it is an unexpected search for meaning purpose and

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

discovery across three countries.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

, Aden Nepom: I feel like that sentence

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

lives minus the three countries that that number could probably

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

change depending on the person.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

Thank you so much for having me.

AJ "Alonzo" Wind:

It's been a delight chatting with you from Yerushalaim.

Aden Nepom:

Yeah.

Aden Nepom:

Yeah.

Aden Nepom:

Thank you so much.

Aden Nepom:

I, uh, I'm honored that you have, uh, have spent this time with me from all the

Aden Nepom:

way across the, the continents and seas.

Aden Nepom:

Um, So, yeah.

Aden Nepom:

Thank you.

Aden Nepom:

Thank you so much.

Aden Nepom:

And of course, uh, for all of my audience members, go check out the show notes.

Aden Nepom:

There will be links to all of the things that we've discussed, in those notes.

Aden Nepom:

Thank you so much

Aden Nepom:

Closing thoughts are right after this.

Aden Nepom:

in 1995, I was living in Israel on a kibbutz, and I remember a bus load

Aden Nepom:

of people had gone to a peace rally.

Aden Nepom:

It was where Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

Aden Nepom:

He was prime minister of Israel.

Aden Nepom:

And at the time, the greatest hope for peace, his assassination came not from

Aden Nepom:

the hands of a Palestinian, but instead

Aden Nepom:

by the hands of a fellow Jew.

Aden Nepom:

The people on the kibbutz where I lived were devastated.

Aden Nepom:

I am not exaggerating.

Aden Nepom:

When I say I watched people pour out of a bus and lay on the ground

Aden Nepom:

as if they too had been shot.

Aden Nepom:

The sound of wailing shook me to my core and I thought the world was going to end.

Aden Nepom:

But the world did not end.

Aden Nepom:

24 hours later, everyone was back to living.

Aden Nepom:

There were jokes being made and laughter.

Aden Nepom:

And when I asked how people were able to move on so quickly, they

Aden Nepom:

said life is for the living.

Aden Nepom:

It would be a dishonor to the dead to think any longer about them.

Aden Nepom:

We have to go live our lives.

Aden Nepom:

That is how we move forward and honor their memory.

Aden Nepom:

And then it always really stayed with me.

Aden Nepom:

I am deeply struck by the intensity with which life seems

Aden Nepom:

to be vibrating these days.

Aden Nepom:

And it brings me encouragement, and some courage as well, to speak to AJ today

Aden Nepom:

who is living, in the Palestinian world, inside of the Jewish world of Israel.

Aden Nepom:

It's like a world within a world, within a world...

Aden Nepom:

and there's AJ, and I find that encouraging.

Aden Nepom:

It is only when we build bridges.

Aden Nepom:

When we question our assumptions, when we are willing to take in another point

Aden Nepom:

of view that I strongly believe we bring the pendulum swing out from the

Aden Nepom:

extreme and back to center for a moment.

Aden Nepom:

Now, if history is any predictor, eventually the pendulum seems to

Aden Nepom:

swing the other way and then is eventually brought back again.

Aden Nepom:

And perhaps it is true that the pendulum would swing no matter what, but it is

Aden Nepom:

my great hope that eventually if enough people are pulling from the extremes back

Aden Nepom:

to center, that we reach a place where the pendulum swing is not quite so intense.

Aden Nepom:

I would encourage you to think about also how you formed the closely held

Aden Nepom:

beliefs and perspectives that you hold.

Aden Nepom:

What is it that you believe super strongly in?

Aden Nepom:

And what do you think it takes to change your mind?

Aden Nepom:

I would love to hear your thoughts about this.

Aden Nepom:

Drop me a line, at podcast@artofchange.com.

Aden Nepom:

Share your thoughts, your questions, ideas for other guests, and anything

Aden Nepom:

else that you want to tell me.

Aden Nepom:

If you have questions that you want to follow up with with AJ

Aden Nepom:

tell you what send them to me.

Aden Nepom:

I'll forward them on and I'll make sure to post those answers later.

Aden Nepom:

And as for the rest, I just want to thank you.

Aden Nepom:

Thank you for listening to the changed podcast.

Aden Nepom:

I appreciate your support.

Aden Nepom:

I appreciate your, energy.

Aden Nepom:

I appreciate your stories and I wish you the kind of experiences in life.