Heartless in Gaza

Israel has a right to exist, and defend itself. The Palestinian people need a home they can safely call their own. These two statements begin most editorials, and most political speeches. However, there's a gulf between both statements - the gulf of goodwill. Nations project their power, to protect their citizens, but at a cost - and in today's post-9/11 world of so-called terror, that prerogative (Bush's doctrine, that Palin did not recall, and that Obama senses is already his Achilles heel) too often is a causa belli of extreme bellicosity, unrestrained by any obligation to act with humanity, caution, or care.

The Red Cross says what's happening in Gaza is terrible. What needs to happen is for Israel to be accepted as a fact the Holocaust makes morally essential - no point in trying to blot out an undeniable political entity defended by America - and for the Palestinian people to be, finally, accorded the dignity and security their complex location requires, for both ethical and historical reasons. That takes us back to the beginning of this post. Such circularity is frustrating. If "we" all know what has to be done (beyond what can be done due to power) - how come it never happens? The eyeless in Gaza better start looking harder for a solution.


Toast said…
Gee, thanks for finally revealing the moral and metaphysical truths of yet another topic that we all thought was really quite complex. We are just so lucky to have the blogosphere, so those who have vision as powerful and clear as yours can instruct all of us eyeless fools. Not to mention the sheer lyric virtuosity of phrases like, "a causa belli of extreme bellicosity." Must be tough having such a command of language in a world of semi-literacy and boobosity.
Todd Swift said…
Gee, it must be great to have finally discovered the adrenaline rush of posting comments on blogs.
Alan Baker said…
Hi Todd

Does Palestine have a right to exist?

Or, to push the question further, does any nation have a right to exist? Does Kurdistan have a right to exist? Or Chechnya? Does Britain? Nations simply do exist, and are usually established and maintained by military force. Israel is no different. Like other nations, it should abide by international law. It clearly doesn't. Like other nations, if it kills large numbers of innocent civilians, including many children, it should be condemned.

Antoine Cassar said…
Wise words, though I fear it is practically and emotionally impossible to "fill the gap with goodwill" when that gap is a river of blood.

In solidarity with the people of Gaza, a poem in Maltese (with a literal English translation on the right):

Ċomb (Lead)

Happy new year Todd, keep up the great work.
Todd Swift said…
Hi Alan, thnaks for your questions. Please note, the first two statements of my post are meant to be - as I indicate - truisms from speeches and editorials - not simply Eyewear's position. That being said, I do think questioning Israel's "right to exist" is not the way forward, at this juncture. Questioning all nation's right to use brutal power, though, is. Given the dreadful colonial histories of Britain, France, Germany, America, and so on (which includes the slave trade, and the eradication of most of the native peoples of America) - I think most nations exist with a great deal of blood on their hands. We have a world problem: nations themselves engender conflict by the very nature of their structures, which demand continuation. In fact, temporal development and security is a major prblem for most Western rational instutitions and ideologies, including financial ones - in order to keep going, they have to maintain the status quo, and justify a great deal of cruelty (and environmental degradation). What is to be done? It's hard to envisage any major power like Israel disbanding itself. The best that can be realistically hoped for, in the short term, is for a nuanced fair peace deal that compels both parties in the Middle East to come to an agreement that allows for co-existence.
Antoine Cassar said…
I totally agree with Alan. The "nation" is an artificial entity, at times brutally imposed upon the populations within and without it. We badly need to go beyond the static notion of nation state. John McClintock in "The Uniting of Nations" proposes that all countries in the world should share sovereignty. I much like the idea in theory, whereby (purely for example) a Brit feels as equally attached to (and concerned for the fate of) a beach in County Devon as to a plain in eastern Tanzania given over to the production of crops for biofuels or a patch of rainforest in New Guinea slaughtered in the name of palm oil. If all countries were to share sovereignty, the current massacre in the south-eastern Mediterranean takes place in our own home, whether we happen to be in in Aberdeen, Acapulco, Aracataca or Alice Springs.

In practice, however, I doubt very much that politics will find the energy to evolve in such a planetary direction: disrespect and even contempt for our fellow humans in near and faraway places is still more profitable than solidarity.
Toast said…
My god, it's like the United Nations in here, only, as you all are at pains to stress, you all have transcended modern nation states, and indeed modern reality as far as I can tell.

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