Sunday, January 4, 2009

Short notes on Gaza and Watching the news

Heard Leila El-Hadad on CNN last night, a "Mother from Gaza". Click here and visit her blog.

When a nation has lost its moral compass, its bearings, its sense of security, and its sense of control of the future, proving to yourself that you can go in, be the stronger one, decide life and death on those you fear, yet come out on top in the court of world opinion must make you feel better. Mazel Tov!
Sorry friends - I am in a sarcastic mood today, while my friends are being bombed, invaded by tanks and I fear for their life.

Tomorrow Israel will declare that it has killed enough Arabs, then we--the world--will tell them there is a truce and that obviously they should be happy now and not want more violence. Sane thinking, right?

I observed the US news for a few hours and observed how the Israeli Ambassador (clean cut suit, impeccable English) sat in the CNN studio for hours explaining the rightness of Israel's actions (including how they target "Hamas militants" not "Palestinians"--more on that below). Journalists -- always so sorry for the victims -- keep repeating that Israel is doing all this BECAUSE Hamas won't stop the violence. Images are provided by the Israel Defense Forces. Well - that's so nice of you to offer!
During that time, except for remarkable and welcome exceptions like an interview with Hanan Ashrawi (I think that was on Fox, who tampered her comment that anything Israel did could be judged "cruel" because - said Geraldo - "cruel" is subjective. A dose of fair and balanced a day keeps the guilt away.) or Leila El Hadad (see intro), Palestinian views are not represented, or represented by folks with an accent (always suspicious). Of course the views from Hamas are not represented. (Not that these guys are very smart at PR).

People I run into and who dare breach the topic have all heard the same thing: Israel's violence (some debate about how justified it is) comes in response to Hamas violence. It is repeated so often, it must be true. Wait! Who's the political leader who built a career on saying all you needed to do was repeating a lie enough for it to be the truth? Dangerous territory, I am drawing a moral parallel, a moral equivalency... But really not. I'm way past moral equivalency. I look at Israel's actions as what they are. A modern state, a want-to-be modern liberal democracy, behaving like a 19th Century warmonger.

I usually have a lot of sympathy for the Israeli people, their heritage, their fears and angst, and the violence they have suffered from.

I'll be honest with you. Today, I can't muster this sympathy.

Israel is blind, drunk, violent. They've run out of targets; they don't know what to shoot. Last night in Beit Hanoun a seven-year old was killed in his or her bedroom. Ooops; collateral damage. Sorry. We called "collateral damage" so it doesn't count, right?

Yes it counts.

O - before I close this pointless entry - I said I'd get back at the "Hamas militant" vs. "Palestinian citizen" issue.

Let's say I fly down to Mississipi and start taking pot shots at people claiming I'm only targetting "Red Necks," or "Republicans," or "Democrats," not "Americans" (to whom I wish the best) what would you think of me? How could I tell one from the other?

40% of Palestinians voted for Hamas, for a reason.
Killing Hamas (and an acceptable level of "oops, sorry Collateral Damage") won't change those reasons.
Also killing the police rarely leads to more law and order.

Watching the news last night felt like reading 1984.



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