Dec 31 2009

On seeing Palestine as Cuba

 This morning, a friend wrote this:

Please don’t misunderstand me, largely because of [others], I now have much greater compassion for the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.  You-all have helped me see the other side of the coin, the one not easily available here because of the apparent pro-Israeli bias in our news outlets. 

 On the other hand, I must keep in mind Lao Tzu’s truth:  “When things go terribly wrong, a wise man does not put all the blame on the other side of the ledger.”  That was the message of my last communications. 

 I don’t see Hamas in Gaza in much but very negative terms.  Such extremism only breeds more hatred, and justification for the same extreme on the other side.  Like the Cuba – U.S. divide, it leaves a lot of good people feeling trapped between two warring madmen, each responding in evil ways to the evil received, and the dark cycle goes on, killing a lot of good folk in the process.

The prickly curmudgeon within was unleashed:

I won’t add much to what [others have] already attempted, other than to say that your compassion, plus a couple of bucks, may buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks (Israel thanks you).  The nominal remnants of Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza, and especially Gaza, are little more than open-air prisons under perpetual siege.  Where else in the world is a de facto gulag full of old women and children allowed to exist without adequate food, healthcare, or sanitation for its inmates (much less justice, dignity, education, and opportunity)?  The “apparent pro-Israeli bias” you write of is an obvious (if you have any discernment at all) obscenity and we as Americans are complicit in the perpetuation of war crimes that make South African apartheid seem mild by comparison.

 It is silly to think of Hamas in terms of positive or negative.  That’s like trying to explain 9-11 by pontificating on the physics of manned flight.  Any people who are as herded and hunted by technologically and numerically overwhelming force as the Palestinians have been for more than sixty years will produce a Hamas and an Arafat, just as what we did to our own indigenous populations for two centuries produced the Chiricahua uprisings and a Cochise or Geronimo.  If the Palestinians can be blamed for anything, it was for buying into the same fantasy — that national self-determination was possible — that seized all Arabs (and other non-Anglo outliers of the Franco-British Empire) after WW1 and WW2, only to be dashed when we in the West, with our superior civilization and Christian/Crusader ethics, decided that we couldn’t let petroleum fall into democracies that might have “greater compassion” for dealing with our Soviet enemies.

 And thus was born the myth of “The Clash of Civilizations” and the blind ignorances and outright evils that emanate from it.  It’s a neocon/Zionist propagandist’s wet-dream and we Americans are too easily duped by our own fundamentalist (i.e., stupid) superstitions about Armageddon, our sense of innate superiority, and a lingering (if largely manufactured) guilt about what the Germans did to European Jews long before we encouraged and conspired with them to do the same thing to Palestinians.

I really, really hope I’m wrong, but…  After all that has happened in this last decade and after reading the latest hype about Al-Qa’ida in Yemen, about “failed states” and the calls for pre-emptive strikes by perpetual warmongers like Joe Lieberman, and now the miracle of a Christmas bomber from Nigeria who feeds our national hysteria and barely-latent racism — I am increasingly convinced that the election of Obama may have been America’s (and the world’s) final effort to snatch back our government from a behind-the-scenes military coup that needs never-ending wars to fuel its behemoth armies and highly-profitable supporting industries. God, I hope I’m wrong (that is my sincere prayer for 2010 and beyond), but Obama’s lackluster efforts to-date to reign in Israel and his own generals convinces me otherwise.  We’ll know for sure in about a year, when he either begins withdrawing from Afghanistan or follows the predictable pattern of caving in to the demands of “experts” who think they can defy history.  Yesterday’s “ambitious” attack inside a base in Afghanistan that killed at least seven CIA “employees” (the Washington Post is now confirming they were “officers”) suggests that this adventure will not end well.

 PS — suggested reading (beyond Lao Tzu):

 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-threats-to-yemen-prove-america-hasnt-learned-the-lesson-of-history-1853847.html

To which another friend, an also-prickly Irish minstrel, added this bit of kindly advice:

Why does everyone in Washington play the apparent “middle” when that middle is so determined by and reliant on Israeli-biased informants and lobbyists? Time for a revolution, maybe.

 And I can’t help being who I am: if Obama were to “reign in Israel” as you put it, he would probably have to be circumcised first: after all, all ordained kings of Israel and Judah have to be, perforce, Jews.  If he were to “rein in Israel”, on the other hand, then none of this ouchy stuff would have to be contemplated…

 Yore frind

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2009/12/31/on-seeing-palestine-as-cuba/

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