Tuesday, April 29, 2008

3ala 3ayna libnen?

Some more reliable reporting from the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/world/middleeast/29mideast.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=world&pagewanted=print):

A Palestinian mother and her four young children were killed in northern Gaza on Monday during an Israeli operation against militants there, and a dispute quickly arose over exactly how they had died.

Mind you, the mother and 4 children were killed “during a raid”, but not by anyone or anything in particular. They just happened to be killed, and passively at that. Who killed them? Apparently, it is disputed who was shooting missiles into Gaza during an Israeli “operation” (didn’t the occupation end? Isn’t this now an “invasion”?), and so because no one can agree about who was at fault for Israeli rockets killing Gazan civilians in their home, their death just becomes some mysterious fluke.

Language is incredibly powerful, and Western & Israeli media’s avoidance of terms that seem to fault Israel in anyway for any of their own actions in the Occupied Territories is dangerous because it begins to convince people that Israel is doing nothing wrong without them even realizing. Later in that same article, though, Ehud Barak seems to take this to the next level, not even pretending to try and change the facts:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Hamas. “We see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens there, for all injuries,” he said while on a tour of an Israeli weapons factory, Israeli radio reported.

They’re just responsible, it doesn’t even matter for what, they did it, too. Then this: “Militants have tried to infiltrate the border crossing into Israel five times in recent weeks.” They have tried to infiltrate the border? So then what are the Israelis doing on the Gazan side of the border, just going for a picnic? Or are they lost? I don’t understand, why are the Israelis not “infiltrating” the Gazan border?

This, only a few weeks after the Deputy Defence Minister of Israel told the entire Palestinian nation (for this is what “Palestinians” means, right?) that they risked inviting a Holocaust upon themselves if they not stop the rocket attacks. It is shocking how an Israeli official could make a reference to the Holocaust when discussing the Palestinians, when they Israelis can barely fathom the idea that they might actually by “killing” people, much less “murdering” them. (I understand that he used the word “Shoah”, which means a disaster or calamity, but from every source I’ve found, “shoah”, and particularly “ha-shoah”, is a reference almost exclusively to the Holocaust in the Hebrew language.)

The intensification in the last few months of the fighting in Gaza, and the subsequent lack of press it has received, has been shocking, if to a large extent because many news outlets say that the Intifada ended years ago. It seems that we have entered a period of prolonged warfare against the Palestinians with no aim or goal, and no defender of the Palestinian cause that can actually achieve anything. Though I do not remember pre-Second Intifada Palestine, it seems that the years of non-Intifada were relatively peaceful save for a few incidents here and there, and were nothing like the sustained conflict that exists today. Every day there are reports of a Palestinian dead here, one dead there, and I fear it will continue like this for much, much longer…

“A commenter called Noga of the Contentious Centrist blog explains the many many ways in which the word "shoah" is used in Israel: “Shoah means disaster. And it usually comes with its own special verb: "Le-hamit shoah", to bring upon someone or something a disaster. Hebrew speakers use it to describe a nuclear disaster (shoah garinit), among other usages. The Holocaust, when brought up to by Hebrew speakers is always, always, always referred to as "Ha-Shoah", THE Shoah, to differentiate from any other shoah.
Thank goodness Noga has cleared that one up. Israel intends to nuke Gaza, not gas its population. Phew!”


I see little hope for the future: for Iran, for Palestine, for Lebanon, for Egypt, for anyone. The Arab leaders have become comfortable while their people suffer, and the only leader to yell about the situation, Ahmedinejad, is doing so at cost to his own people. Turkey is begging at the doors of people who consider her dirt, trying as hard as possible to flee her neighbors to the south, while everyone who can afford to, and even those who can’t, head to Dubai to blow their money on overpriced alcohol and Ukrainian prostitutes. In Iran, 15% of the population has been on drugs recently at any given time, while 20% of Egyptians cannot afford bread anymore.

There was a blog I used to check sometimes, called “3ala ayna, Libnen?” The leaders of the Middle East need to start asking themselves the same question.

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