Monday, July 31, 2006

Qana - A Nightmare Repeated

For the second time Israel has lost a war in the Lebanese village of Qana. As in 1996, some kind of mistake lead to the bombing of a place filled with civilians. The public outcry lead to a halt of the military operations then, and it seems it is the beginning of the end also this time.

But why is that? Sure, it is terrible when civilians get killed, and even more so when it is children. I am a father of three, and seeing the pictures of those little bodies dragged from the ruins made me sick to my stomach. It is very easy to imagine that this could happen to my kids, too. After all, we are not living in Switzerland. And, unlike the Swiss, we are surrounded by neighbors who want nothing more than exactly that: Kill my kids, and celebrate it. Celebrate it to the silence of the UN and a probably not very deeply distressed Annan, as we have seen when 400 Israeli civilians were blown up by Palestinian suicide bombers in 2002 and 2003.

And that is the difference between Israel and Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the other medieval warrior societies around us. We kill because we are fighting for our survival, and because the Hezbollah tactics leave us no choice. Hezbollah kill - for what? For the Sheba Farms, a small piece of dirt not even viewed as occupied by the UN? Bullshit.

Nobody other than the idiotic Al-Jazera (et al) propaganda can believe that Israel wanted to kill those Lebanese kids. (By the way, were there ever images of Israeli kids killed on a bus by a suicide bomber on Al-Jazera? Ever? Well, I didn't think so. Although, on second thought, there actually might have been - with victory music and a heroic poem about the martyr who just slaughtered them...)

I don't believe in the intentional killing because I live here, I know the people, the same people that make up the army, and they are not like that. My kids are drawing peace doves in the kindergarten, they learn that people come in different colors and with different cultures. At the same time kids in Palestinian kindergarten learn to hate Israel and the desire to become martyrs. A thin strip of land separates two cultures who are actually 500 years apart from one another. No wonder that some Arabs still talk about the crusaders when they refer to the West. They haven't yet realized that crusaders are an extinct species, and they themselves have turned into modern day crusaders. I just hope they will last a lot less than their medieval ancestors.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have read with attention and great interest some of your texts as well as Mr Youssef Ibrahim's letter to the Palestinians. While I have a lot of sympathy for your very moderate viewpoint and even some admiration for your choice of life (migrating to Israel as a German non-Jew), I still consider the thoughts you express as partial - hence hemiplegic.

As you are stating clearly, you consider that the Western world has no choice but to kill Arabs, since some Arabs have no other goal than to kill Westerners or Israelis, specifically. The problem is killing Arab civilians and children does nothing but reinforcing the hatred for the West and for Israel in wide parts of the world. Acts of what can be considered as State's terrorism, as in Qana, only make the Hizbollah, the Hamas and all the other extremist groups stronger, by justifying their fight, their violence, their extremism. The whole recent campaign against Lebanon is a very good example of that. That particular Israeli war threw the secular, Christian and moderate Muslim Lebanese you were mentioning in another post straight into the arms of the Hizbollah.

According to me, the problem is the West is currently led by extremists : ultra-christian American zionists, neo-cons (white supremacists with a - very subtle - guise), military-industrial lobby, advocates of unlimited free-trade, energy lobby... The Bush administration in itself - the world's most powerful group of people - embodies every nuance of the West most conservative, arrogant, archaïc, patronising, imperialistic schools of thought. Precisely the followers of the Smithonians, who will remain as those whose capitalist/consumerist theories have brought the world to ruins in less than two centuries. Whoo, whoo, sorry... all different debate altogether... The point is that in my view, extremists on all sides are objective allies to each other. In a context of confrontation, the Hizbollah, Hamas and the likes appear as the "honor of the Arab Nation" (see the comparison between Nasrallah and Nasser...). The same context of confrontation instilates fear in the West, which was really handy for the Bush administration to cut down individual liberties in the US... And remember the Bush and Bin Laden families were united at the general assembly of Carlyle, an investment fund specialized in the military industry, in New York, on the morning of September 11th 2001... Can this just be a coincidence ?

You know what ? It's "funny", encouraging and even healthy that a German and a French have a debate about the Israel-Arab conflict in the beginning of the years 2000, as one century ago, our respective kindergartens would have taught us to hate each other, and prepare us for yet another battle against each other... So I believe Arabs and Israelis will live together in Peace, someday, when reason and tolerance prevails on both sides. The fact is, the Arabs' contempt for human life or their thirst for blood cannot be greater than those of our great countries' leaders in 1914 through 1918.

weinaiko said...

I have read with attention and great interest some of your texts as well as Mr Youssef Ibrahim's letter to the Palestinians. While I have a lot of sympathy for your very moderate viewpoint and even some admiration for your choice of life (migrating to Israel as a German non-Jew), I still consider the thoughts you express as partial - hence hemiplegic.

As you are stating clearly, you consider that the Western world has no choice but to kill Arabs, since some Arabs have no other goal than to kill Westerners or Israelis, specifically. The problem is killing Arab civilians and children does nothing but reinforcing the hatred for the West and for Israel in wide parts of the world. Acts of what can be considered as State's terrorism, as in Qana, only make the Hizbollah, the Hamas and all the other extremist groups stronger, by justifying their fight, their violence, their extremism. The whole recent campaign against Lebanon is a very good example of that. That particular Israeli war threw the secular, Christian and moderate Muslim Lebanese you were mentioning in another post straight into the arms of the Hizbollah.

According to me, the problem is the West is currently led by extremists : ultra-christian American zionists, neo-cons (white supremacists with a - very subtle - guise), military-industrial lobby, advocates of unlimited free-trade, energy lobby... The Bush administration in itself - the world's most powerful group of people - embodies every nuance of the West most conservative, arrogant, archaïc, patronising, imperialistic schools of thought. Precisely the followers of the Smithonians, who will remain as those whose capitalist/consumerist theories have brought the world to ruins in less than two centuries. Whoo, whoo, sorry... all different debate altogether... The point is that in my view, extremists on all sides are objective allies to each other. In a context of confrontation, the Hizbollah, Hamas and the likes appear as the "honor of the Arab Nation" (see the comparison between Nasrallah and Nasser...). The same context of confrontation instilates fear in the West, which was really handy for the Bush administration to cut down individual liberties in the US... And remember the Bush and Bin Laden families were united at the general assembly of Carlyle, an investment fund specialized in the military industry, in New York, on the morning of September 11th 2001... Can this just be a coincidence ?

You know what ? It's "funny", encouraging and even healthy that a German and a French have a debate about the Israel-Arab conflict in the beginning of the years 2000, as one century ago, our respective kindergartens would have taught us to hate each other, and prepare us for yet another battle against each other... So I believe Arabs and Israelis will live together in Peace, someday, when reason and tolerance prevails on both sides. The fact is, the Arabs' contempt for human life or their thirst for blood cannot be greater than those of our great countries' leaders in 1914 through 1918.

Armin in Israel said...

Thanks for your constructive contribution. Actually, the example of German-French wars is an excellent case study.
In order for the madness in the center of civilized Europe to stop, Germany had to be totally defeated and remodelled twice. After WWI the German Kaiser was removed from power and Germany turned into a democracy (Republic of Weimar). This experiment failed, Hitler came to power and Germany had to be defeated by the combined forces of the Western powers and Russia once more, only to be turned into yet another fragile democracy. This time it worked, but only because nobody in his right mind, and faced with the almost complete destruction of the whole country, could have even dreamed about going to war once more for at least another 25 years. By that time Germany was integrated well enough into the Western block. To summarize, it took the combined efforts of the worlds biggest powers, some 35 million casualities and about 50 years of war and rebuilding to beat the nationalistic and facistic bullshit out of German heads. I am afraid that what we are witnessing today is the beginning of another period of 50 or 100 years of wars, destruction and suffering - until the new or rather renewed political ideology of destorted Islamic fundamentalism with global aspirations will have been beaten out of the heads of extremist Muslims all over the place. The term "was have to regain our dignity" is exactly the term used by Hitler to mobilize the Germans for WWII. History does repeat itself.
I don't believe in the evil American superpower. Americans today may be more stupid than they were during WWI and WWII, when they saved France and other European nations from German aspirations. All they are trying to do is to repeat a receipe that has worked well in the past: Eradicate dangerous ideological regimes by - forced if necessary - democratization. They are trying this in Afghanistan (and so do German and French troops there, by the way) and in Iraq. Unfortunately for all of those, who believe that democracy is a more stable, predictable and in the long term more peaceful form of political system than states ruled by fundamentalist ideologies of any kind, they are miserably failing. The execution may be bad, but the goal is right. Arab states with a democratically elected government and moderate religious institutions will be much better neighbours for everybody than what we have today. And they will be much better for the Arabs themselves. Human rights, education, freedom, reasonable standard of living, health-care and many other benefits can not be delivered by theocratic or other regimes out of touch with reality.

By the way, I find your term ultra-christian zionist really disturbing. For starters, although Arab propaganda has managed to turn "Zionist" into a curse, it is nothing but a movement aiming to reestablish a home in ancient Israel for the diaspora Jews, displaced by the Romans from their homeland, and suppressed, rediculed and regularly decimated in progroms in their "new homes", all over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. I think this is a justified goal, just like today Kurds are trying to establish a homeland and actually also the Palestinians (although they already have one, it is called Jordan, but that is another story). If Israel has a right to exist, then Zionism is the means to achieve that. So for me it is not a curse. And in any case, Christians can not be Zionists, but that is also a long story.
I hope you are right and reason will prevail. For the time being I have very low expectations.