Mar 15 2007

Inky wretch

 

 

—–Original Message—–
From: [Jacques d’Nalgar]
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:34 PM
To: ‘pgreenberg@arkansasonline.com’
Subject: Word games

 

Dear Apologist for Evil,

I can’t say it was wholly a pleasure to read your calculated mischaracterization of recent remarks related to unpleasant observations of the happily departed German bishops during their late great visit to apartheid Palestine:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3373013,00.html

According to you, all the suffering and misery of Palestinians is purely of their own making, and the Israeli military has nothing to do with it.

We are supposed to believe that the dwindling number of survivors now telling their terrifying stories must be lying, or that they were professional provocateurs now posing as innocent victims. Not content with denying their testimony, you defame those with the courage to offer it.

You could likely produce a collection of impressive looking documents that are supposed to prove your case, despite abandonment of the myth of a “self-inspired” exodus by even the official propaganda of Israel. Now only you, your fellow apologists, and a few Left Behind apocalypse hunters seem determined to revoke even that late and insufficient canard.

My admiration grows for those Israeli historians like Benny Morris, Ilan Pappé, Avi Shlaim, and Tom Segev who, despite the opposition and opprobrium they faced, insisted on digging through the archives till they found proof of the Israeli government’s involvement in this barbarity. Their courage stands in stark contrast to your determination to deny one of the more awful crimes of a century full of them.

The treatment of the Palestinians can no more be excused or denied than the Rape of Lebanon last summer, the ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, the barbaric abuse of prisoners at Khiam and Atlit and Maasiyahu, or any of the other indelible crimes committed by Eretz Israel at its arrogant height.

I notice the telltale “Inky Wretch” at the end of your clever diatribe.  Let’s hope and pray your wretchedness doesn’t infect the next generation with your studied blindness to evil. I can’t say I blame you for not telling me just where your affections are located. I’d be ashamed, too.

There was a time when civilized nations seemed determined to lay out the record and resolve: Never Again. But now we seem to have forgotten how to shudder. And a “writer” like you can always be found to deny that these horrors ever took place, setting the stage for their repetition in our own time. See the recent-and continuing-events in Darfur.  And Palestine.  And Lebanon.  And Iraq.  And soon Iran as clever words like yours fester and spread their infectious poison.

Though you played no role in this vast crime, you are guilty of trying to deny it. Which makes you only a little lower than those who committed it. If there is such a crime as being an accessory after the historical fact, you’re guilty of it. Not that your complicity is worth exposing. It would be a waste of good ink.

Remember Deir Yassin.

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2007/03/15/inky-wretch/

1 comment

    • Jacques on September 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm
      Author

    Happy and unhappy reading

    By Paul Greenberg
    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    LITTLE ROCK — Dear Reader,

    It was wholly a pleasure to hear that you’d followed my year-end recommendation of great books to re-read by delving into Anna Karenina. It’s no surprise that you find it much better than Tolstoy’s other classic, War and Peace, which deals with great universal themes but, like so many great universal themes, fails to make a personal connection.

    But what man has not fallen in love with Anna Karenina, and wanted to take her aside at every step of her wayward way, maybe shake her by the shoulders, and implore: “Don’t do this, Anna Arkadyevna, don’t listen to this careless lover, this heedless trifler. Resist his blandishments, he will only lead you astray, and cause you and yours untold misery . . . .”

    And yet-for with Tolstoy’s masterpiece there is always an And Yet-each time I’ve re-read it, I grow more sympathetic toward Vronsky, the dashing young cavalry officer who is smitten with Anna. Tolstoy paints her charms so irresistibly, who would not fall in love with her? How can one blame our young rake for doing the same?

    Perhaps it is a sign of age that I begin to take a brotherly, even fatherly, interest in young Vronsky, and grow less indulgent of Anna’s hesitations and dissatisfactions. Even the first time I read the book, I could not forgive her for her final, fatal decision, for how could anyone destroy so beautiful a creature?

    It is Tolstoy’s genius to have made not just his characters come alive, but to have captured and vivified a whole time andplace and class-and a whole social and psychological dissolution. Has anyone ever described an awful marriage so well, or captured a suicide’s view of everything and everyone around her in only a few pages? Or painted a prig as well as Tolstoy does Anna’s insufferable husband? It is hard to believe he is even alive; the only evidence of it is that he suffers.

    Tolstoy’s famous opening line is justly famous: “Every happy family is alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” But that is only the first of his many thought-provoking observations. Only when his religiosity begins to cloy does Tolstoy grow tiresome. I can hardly wait till I read the book again to notice something else in its pages, or adopt a new attitude toward the characters, or, who knows, maybe even develop some tolerance for Anna’s intolerable husband.

    I wish you happy reading, or maybe unhappy reading, which is at least as rewarding. As always, it pains me to leave off thinking of Anna. My thanks for reminding me of her.

    Gratefully,———

    Dear Apologist for Evil,

    I can’t say it was wholly a pleasure to receive your defense of the happily departed Japanese empire for forcing hundreds of thousands of women, mostly Korean and Chinese, into military brothels during the late great unpleasantness.

    According to you, all these women were free agents hired by civilian contractors, and the Japanese military had nothing to do with it.

    We are supposed to believe that the dwindling number of survivors now telling their terrifying stories must be lying, or that they were professional prostitutes now posing as innocent victims. Not content with denying their testimony, you defame those withthe courage to offer it.

    You’ve even forwarded a collection of impressivelooking documents that are supposed to prove your case, despite the Japanese government’s own official apology/confession a few years back. Now a new government in Tokyo seems determined to revoke even that late and insufficient confession.

    My admiration grows for those Japanese historians who, despite the opposition and opprobrium they faced, insisted on digging through the archives till they found proof of the Japanese government’s involvement in this barbarity. Their courage stands in stark contrast to your determination to deny one of the more awful crimes of a century full of them.

    The treatment of the Comfort Women can no more be excused or denied than the Rape of Nanking, TheBataan Death March, the barbaric abuse of Allied prisoners of war, or any of the other indelible crimes committed by the Japanese Empire at its arrogant height.

    I notice the telltale .edu at the end of your e-mail address, indicating that your message originated at an “educational” institution. Which makes me wonder if you’re infecting the next generation withyour studied blindness to evil. I can’t say I blame you for not telling me just where you’re located. I’d be ashamed, too.
    There was a time when civilized nations seemed determined to lay out the record and resolve: Never Again. But now we seem to have forgotten how to shudder. And a “scholar” like you can always be found to deny that these horrors ever took place, setting the stage for their repetition in our own time. See the recent-and continuing-events in Darfur.

    Though you played no role in this vast crime, you are guilty of trying to deny it. Which makes you only a little lower than those who committed it. If there is such a crime as being an accessory after the historical fact, you’re guilty of it. Not that you’re worth shooting. It would be a waste of good lead.

    Remember Pearl Harbor,

    ———Dear Baseball Fan,

    Thanks for the reminder that life is about to begin again. With spring comes the renewal of the whole grand pageant, the day-by-day reminder that there is still order and hope, comedy and tragedy, grace and slapstick just waiting on the other side of a turnstile near you. You can almost smell it in the air, see it in the new stadiums, and feel it in the storied ballparks of old. Along with you, I can hardly wait for the roar of the crowd come opening night and the last words of the National Anthem:

    Play ball!

    Inky Wretch –

    Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

    Editorial, Pages 16 on 03/14/2007

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