Saturday, January 31, 2009

coincidence? or the wisdom of folly?

while turkey is engrossed in a heated and obnoxious debate over tayyib efendi's davos walkout on pres. shimon peres and how diplomatically unbecoming and philistine (1) his behavior is - though also endearing touncouth, sycophantic, aggrieved and outraged hordes of losers; i came accross an article by prof. alexander nazaryan (2) about how wine could be a resource in classical times to help moot suchpubliic and potentially embarrassing outbursts as from both pres. peres andp.m. tayyib efendi.

nazaryan writes, according to james davidson (3) in the wealthier households of athens (4), "men of stature" would engage in lively debate, as bowls of wine were "dispensed under the careful watch of a symposiarch (a sort of strict toastmaster)... " as depicted in plato’s “symposium” where socrates and his friends, "still hung over from the previous night’s carousing, decide on an evening of light drinking". temperance pays off: in the ensuing discussion, they summon an overarching vision of love that has endured in the western imagination for more than two millennia" (5).

but then, as the japanese say, no rules in love or war...

enter alkibiadis in the symposium, young and handsome. he "drunkenly tries to cozy up to the older socrates", with "no patience for his prurient come-ons and intimations". alkibiadis was eventually subdued; only to be pursued by a group of boozy revelers bursting in. then “there was noise everywhere, and everyone started drinking in no particular order,” grumps a plaintive plato, the voice of moderation. according to the philosopher, the party ended unceremoniously because thus the "love of drink overpowered love of truth". so much for the platonic version of "in vino veritas"...

however, maybe "alithea" (6) is less in what wine does (or in plato's pro-temperance case, does not) makes us say than in what it makes us do: for, thus spake homeros through odysseus of ithaka :

(wine) sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs,
laugh like a fool – it drives the man to dancing…it even
tempts him to blurt out stories better never told.

nazaryan, referring to the immortal e. r. (eric robertson but he always used his initials only) dodds remarks "for the greeks, a measure of irrationality in the dionyssiac form of wine drinking checked the (absolute) rule of reason".

garfucius tends to differ slightly: if you are a child or an amante of the aegean, you realize how rationality is but a mere method to maintain sanity over the beauty proceeding from that sea and the life she nurtures. one has to experience the urge to dissolve in, maybe sacrifice one's soul and being to her eternal light and glamor, in order to comprehend what a burden sanity is in tthe face of sheer, unadulterated beauty... how it arises from that consuming passion the aegean instills in her lovers and bestows you with the persona, so you can act upon her stage... wine is not fluvial in that manner; it is the vessel, the holy grail, from which through sense and ratio, you may drink the joy that defines the life that is her, and keeps you floating on a ship like odysseus the unwary explorer - that ship is called rationality and it won't sail with sobriety.

that is why, "in vino, veritas", as is wisdom in folly.

(1) no need to intend a pun, it is there...
(2) "the tipsy hero", nyt, january 30, 2009. i do not know if mr. nazaryan is a professor at some college but i use the title in its generic sense, as teacher.
(3) courtesans & fishcakes: the consuming passions of classical athens
(4) probably no less in ephesus or bergamon or korinthos either...
(5) love is dual natured, it is both ephemeral and eternal andd therefore a bridge between those two worlds - just as is philosophy. for the purposes of this post, so is wine...
(6) truth

Sunday, January 25, 2009

hussein's 100 hours

it is an american custom to cut a president some slack in the first 100 days of office before judging him too harshly.

with barack hussein obama though, it seems it took less than 100 hours in the oval office to establish himself an image as a decent leader for the u.s. and the world. even the israeli cease- fire in gaza and subsequent troop withdrawals, although with no direct and overt prompting on the part of obama's administation, apparently is written to his credit. his resolute closure of gitmo (2), determined atttempts to grapple the economic slump, even the spectacular inauguration party have evidently endeared him to a larger public than merely his contituents.

obama is not a landslide victor. he won a clear but not so overwhelming election majority. still, the confidence vested in him was spared even from bill clinton (1). the world practically expects hussein to set everything awry right again, as if he wields a magic wand. and the way he started, it is almost as if he does and he can.

as a matter of fact, if he plays it right, most "problems" plaguing america on a global scale require not much more than good leadership initiative, based mainly on good ideas that can render mutual beneficiarism a fine option. in other cases, that carrot just has to be tied to a stick "big" enough to allow for "soft speaking"; i.e., leadership with a firm hand that is not miserly when tipping. it is a fact that eight years of dubya cost too much in terms of american credibility and authority that must be restored. yet, hussein's first 100 hours have been encouraging and promising for the initiatory steps he can take in almost any direction, in the first 100 days.

probably since fdr, no president has had to carry such a load as obama, where every move he makes can affect the fate of all people in the world. at least he looks like he is light on his feet, if weighed down by the burden.

(1) even in pre-monica times!
(2) instant leaked stories that released gitmo detainees flock with al kaida are an active indicator that obama's move is right. if the comings and goings to that ghost organization were really monitored so vigorously, those who join it should already have joined the ranks of ghosts or at least turncoats. the smell in the first 100 hours may thus raise the spectre of the hope that the paranoia clique in washington may be losing its grip on shaping reality.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

if might makes right...

there is a comment on the post "gaza and the evil of choice" below.

the comment by mr. khazen calls to mind a few issues that i should rather clarify: first, i do not believe in "terrorism". acts that are construed by political pundits as terrorism are either one form or another of war or acts that constitute a crime, a felony. the two rather meld, actually, for war in itself is the biggest and wholesale crime... albeit, without a punishment to speak of (1).

if the premise in any situation, case, problem, dilemma whatever is that "might makes right" and battle is the way to might, every phenomenon has to be judged by that criterion.

the kernel of "might", though, lies beyond a mere physical (military, diplomacy, police, arsenal, intelligence, etc.) strength to coerce. might is also an abstract capacity to influence outcomes by influencing the way people feel, think, live and experience the world - science is might. art is might. aesthetics is might. a deliciou cuisisne is might. a beautiful woman is might. anything that expands and enriches the possible field of human experience, what existential/phenomenologist jargon records as "noemasis" is might.

israel is a legitimate political entity. in terms of "pure", muscular might, israel is right. it has won three all-out wars against arab powers that at least on paper, were incomparably stronger. it has waged another and longer war against the belligerency of the plo and yassir arafat. it has successfully maneuvered to devoid the philistines of the support of arabs through clever usage of diplomatic opportunities (2). when the going got rough, it was usually the israeli forces that came on top from clashes, even beirut in 2007 is scantly classifiable as a definitive defeat.

israel has committed atrocious acts during these wars but the effect of those crimes have largely evaporated inside the greater crime, the war - not because people are vilely pro-israel but because a stupid interpretation of history accords a totally unreasonable dose of totally undeserved legitimacy to war.

the philistines, on the other hand, have constantly lost in the battlefields. they also have committed atrocious deeds which are an inevitable, even natural collateral of war. they have also committed atrocious deeds which are not any inevitable or natural collateral of war against uninvolved parties. therefore, their atrocities are remembered as "philistine terrorism". that made pariahs of the philistines for decades, not because they were constant losers, not because their diplomacy was incompetent (3) but because the philistines and their supporters failed to convince the world of their non-violent might since, if anything, they had too little to contribute to the welfare and well being of humanity in general.

to every arab novelist, at least a hundred jews prevail; to each doctor, maybe thousands, same for artists, rocket physicists, playwrites, captains, football players, orchestra conductors etc.,

and humor. the israeli and jews in general are quite capable of turning self mockery into universal comedy - which is an extension of an ability to be critically introspective. not much in that department can be said in praise of arabs or more generally, muslims either.

to sum, israel won all the military battles - and possibly the war, too-; it also gained a place in people's minds that accords them the land they live on. whether it is promised or not is a moot debate, it is a land that they won. so go the spoils of war.

similarly, the world recognized the philistines' right to their own land and state and did a lot to pressure israel to acknowledge that right, as well.

with hamas, though, they decided to gamble on that gain and lost again. first, they lost their unity, now their credibility. except the obvious suspects, even those most critical of israel hardly utter a word in support of hamas (4). to it goes none of the sympathy extended to victims.

personally, i am adamantly anti-hamas and anti-iran. that does not make me particularly pro-israeli. but given the choice between a philosophy represented by the former of venerating death and destruction and by israel of a life far more worth enjoying; i cast my ballot along with a world that is capable of thinking as well as feeling.

my heart, too, goes to the innocent, the helpless, the destitute of gaza and their misery. however, my sympathy can achieve too little; too deep are the roots of hate and loathing that allows hamas and its likes their bloody playgrounds, for even a chimerical philistine victory to obliterate.

that leaves me one option: to reason. and i do not believe that my line of reasoning is faultier than that of hamas and its supporters, who still have nothing to advocate but war and seek victory in the havoc they have caused their fellow philistines.

(1) sort of makes "war crimes" an oxymoron, right? the best that humanity, even in "modern" times, could come up was blame atrocities on vanquished commanders; thus but adding to the false legitimacy of the original and generic atrocity.
(2) israel's main tactical failure so far, is allowing the philistines to divide between fatah and hamas, allowing the latter a margin of legitimacy in the region's affairs as iran's lackey.
(3) the sole arab diplomatic victory is the 1973 oil embargo which only backfired and in essence, the embargo was another form of sable rattling. as a matter of fact, any political progress the arabian side has made since 1967 is the consequence of western and essentially american initiatives to resolve the middle east issue.
(4) one rare and vocal advocate of hamas, turkey's premier tayyib efendi seems to have lost considerable sympathy at home and abroad and is likely to face america's cold shoulder in upcoming political or financial deals.

Friday, January 16, 2009

qou vadimus?

(please read or browse through the precedent post as well)

some obvious points that nevertheless might require a little belaboring:

* the arab and muslim world has reached a bifurcation. theirs is no longer an expedient choice between the warring cliques of philistines. the arab and muslim world now has to choose between israel, no less, and the militant factions/states that currently rally behind hamas [or hizbullah, or islamic jihad or al kaida (1) at some time or other]. the real choice lies deeper than that, of course. israel is the representative of modernity.

* there is no way the divide of philistines will heal in the near future. the abbasi half will receive more of what is getting, while gaza will be allowed to sink back into poverty and misery, less because of israel than that it suits hamas better. after cease-fire, there will be a flood of relief material into the strip, which hamas and its administering officers will usurp, abuse, waste or steal; leaving the populace sick and hungry again.

* the divide among arabs is not transitory. in another age, say, the late 20th century, it could have been manipulated into an all-out armed confrontation among the cliques, similar to iraq's invasion of kuwait, that would result in even more effective subjugation to the west, of the sort saudi arabia has gone under after kuwait. no such threat today although that does not mean unity, concord and consent are closer to the arab world.

* the arab divide is mainly representative of the position the sides adopt vis-a-vis modernity and its outcasts. the "moderate" arab-muslim world has managed to progress (regress?) into more wealth and less modernity (2) in the last half decade, thanks to dubious dubya on his way out. so, they can hardly be an essential component or a deciding agent in the modern camp they must adhere to. there, of course, is no likelihood of throwing their stock in with hamas alias iran. in all cases iran is too great a threat and all their viable assets are invested in the west anyway. furthermore, oil is not drinkable or edible. you have to sell it if it is to do any good..

* as a corollary, do not put much stock in qatar's gambit to adopt a role as slightly pro-hamas-because-it-is-from-palestine spokesman in the middle east. it is adversely influenced by iran's proximity and dubai's rise to prominence without even any oil to speak of. it has to tread carefully. tit comes to tat, qatar has to cling to the west, no choice!

* for that matter, algerian and libyan support for hamas is more rhetoric than brawn. negligible.

* as can be expected, syria still is the forerunning advocate of the hamas - irani position (if you discount tayyib efendi, rosy and co., who, supposedly in the name of islamic solidarity are a step short of declaring war on israel!..). with iran's fortunes down though, and syria the only nation in the world whose wealth is stagnant for decades, bashar assad can be said to be mainly blowing smoke. once the clouds clear and he can maintain a face saving defiance, he will again welcome talks with israel.

* even among the so called militant arabs, there will never be a common position that goes beyond rhetorical condemnation of israel and unavailing international moves, say in the u.n. whatever resolution or joint declaration comes forth will simply re-chew the 40-odd year old spiel against israeli occupation. the doha arab summit and similar future meetings are and will be to an extent, to blow some wind off iran's sails after all.

* the non-modern moderate arabs are not necessarily anti-modern. so once dubya goes out and hussein obama begins to wring them into a more malleable shape, they will have to issue political changes and buy their place into some modern fora. they will also have to finance palestine into a moderate existence, until israeli favors to the zone can be accepted and open up a chance of coexistence again. keep in mind though, that is solely at the discretion of israel.

* soon, before or around hussein's 21 january inauguration, there will be cease fire. israel will not of course, have been able to eradicate all origins of paramilitary action against it but is likely to have established some channels of control for the aftermath of its occupation. the military ends will have to be at least 80 percent realized before truce if the incursion is to serve any goal.

* now laugh if you will but "true" relief to gaza can only be managed effectively and at least partly supplied by israel. it should be remembered how israeli jobs helped feed palestine for years until the epidemic of human bombs began. israel has the largest stake in a fairly satisfied gaza public, more in providing their satisfaction right now. however, to do that with hamas entrenched there is impossible. gazai philistines are therefore doomed to more suffering in the hands (also because) of their leaders.

* negotiations will begin. israel's main concern is the militant arabs' and iran's rejection of its right to existence. even if the anti-israeli authorities of hamas etc. officially concede that, militant outlaw bands they feed and support will not fold in. in that case, israel will seek other guarantees from other sources.

* israel has to and probably will ensure the cooperation of some moderate arabs with clout, at least of egypt in guaranteeing its borders and security against hamas and the like. for instance, the gaza border will have to be policed by egypt against contraband likely to be used against israel. obama's currently rampant popularity will help that.

* the sad fact is that hamas has no real case to argue at the time except dead children. heart breaking as it is, that position will practically be a matter of the past as soon as negotiations open. sooner or later, it will be forced to accept the major conditions israel advances, not without open or secret pressure from its newly vocal allies as qatar for example. however, a pacifistic and passive hamas is a dead duck. it will be disrobed even of its rhetoric of "murdered children and bereaved mothers". worse, the funds channeled to it for buying arms will not be flowing as generously for food and medicine. the people of gaza will be taken care of by the west, instead. hamas will either escalate its aggressive discourse and "terrorist" acts or fade away.

* unless the iranians are so fond of stoning women who are supposed to be adulteresses and therefore vote in mahmoud ahmadinajad again, expect changes in that direction after dubya.

* whatever happens, a deep gash will separate the modern world from its fringes, both physicallly and mentally. even turkey, closest in all aspects to the west, has already forfeited its chance of joining the eu prefering to harp on its islamic orientations, for instance. the arabs will be kept proximal but happy enough (2).

* time has come for the world to change speech habits as well. the politically correct will have to fade and give way to harsh realities exchanged in feverish but non-violent communication. tolerance that grew rank with indifference is likely to alter a course toward productive clash to reach better consensus and taking responsibility for the other. and that might be the only way to bridge the m odern - non modern gap.

(1) just as a reminder, the attack on the twin towers on 9-11 was popularly celebrated in many arab countries as a victory over sionists and their allies. governments quickly banned such festivities for fear of worsening their world image and relations with washington. however, the number of newborn boys named osama exploded. if that is not public support for al kaida...
(2) which is not synonymous with owning or being able to afford most expensive modern toys, gadgets and weaponry or even modern factories, as is the custom in the middle east.
(3) more to come on this.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

gaza and the evil of choice

we are probably about to enter the last week of "true" fighting, re israel's incursion into the gaza strip. some observations:

* there is no war in human history where civilian casualties are nil. therefore, there cannot be a humane war, whether you sign agreements in geneva or go sailing in genoa.

* life is not fair or humane either. what we call fair, just, legitimate, legal, moral etc. are all constructs that proceed from covenants that somehow enable the species to live together. otherwise, the homo sapiens sapiens is even more savage toward its own than coyotes or sharks or any creature for that matter, with the exception in very exceptional situations, of rats.

* a fair, humane, just life is not a prerogative of being born a neonate of the homo sapiens. it is a privilege accorded to the individual who conforms to certain and ceritified standards of genetics and behavior we usually refer as "culture". such privilege has been extended to the greatest number of homo sapiens only in two stages of history:
1- the very mythical "golden age" that adorns every folklore from hellas to scandia. the tale is that, once heroism ruled and everyone was happy. then, heroes took over and of course, gold turned to lead.
2- the so-called age of modernity, that i (in the wake of a group of historians) believe, emerged first in the hellenic lands of antiquity and re-sprouted some five centuries ago in europe to encompass other eurogenic cultures as well. modernity, simply, is the proportional logic of mathematics applied to all covenants of collective living. the modern covenant is basically described (1) by choice, freedoms, equality, competition, merit and the rule of law. privileges are shaved off and staved off. the individual, every individual can become the master of his fate - should he so choose - and free to act as he wills within the covenant (2).
thus, equality of all before the law affords the individual a chance to establish a fair, just, equitable collective ambience for life. despite its monotonous, impassionate, impartial objectivity that is mortally impersonal; modernity, then, becomes the privilege for the individuals that benefit from it - but only to the extent the individual can become the custodian of modern privileges and also the guardian of his "rights". thereby, the demos becomes the ruling force if not the agent. modernity is impossible without democracy.

* more important, democracy is not possible without a demos, i.e., a population sufficiently aware of its rights and their universality, i.e., applicability to everyone.

* in that light, the "war" in gaza is not a skirmish between the israeli and philistines any longer.
it is a clash representing a 500 year conflict between the modern and the non or anti modern. whatever heinous fate happens to the befall poor, innocent children of gaza, and other "uninvolved" civilians, they are the "collateral damage" in a battle that is cleaving a peremptory gash among known forms of social existence, or covenants.

* the immediate sides in this last battle are children whose parents can ask why and demand remedies if their children are murdered by foreign or friendly fire, on one hand. on the other are children whose fathers obey some ulterior authority that thrives on the bodies of children; and whose mothers perforce, obey their fathers.

* if the statement above sounds too harsh, some food for thought: why do tv cameras keep showing pictures of devastated children (and women) dug from under the rubble and next to them, yelling and frolicking and politicking men (i.e., males) who seem to be digging them out but do not have a speck of dust on their clothes? sort of makes one wonder if there were no room for the poor kids in the obviously safe shelters those men were hiding while the bombs fell?

* the human animal (as many others) is wired for compassion and empathy in order to survive. therefore, our hearts bleed for the children and other (presumed) innocents of gaza. yet, conscience is only a failsafe biological instrument for social adaptation that functions as a last resort, at the kill point. boncultural species (3) are generally capable of developing behavioral patterns and communication systems that check them from pushing animosities to the kill point, where members of the tribe are threatened with death. therefore, our hearts should have bled before, when it was still possible to prevent israel from jumping into gaza. for instance, when hamas bombs were beating ashkelon?.. they should have already bled when the notoriously brutal and bloody hamas was opted as the power to rule palestine. instead, we opted to hide behind that westphalian fallacy of "respect for sovereignty"; a.k.a., "let the snake that won't bite me devour its own offspring". hamas was elected as a savior (sic.) to replace the corrupt, evil, partisan and incompetent governments of the "charismatic hero" yasir arafat (and his more incompetent successor abbas) that coule secure no advantages for the philistines at least since 1988-1989. or else, they should start bleeding when idiots all over the world expected hamas to achieve anything other than what it was always doing; the same atrocities that prompted israel to bomb and enter gaza. if they did not bear leaving the children of gaza to the mercy of dubya the dubious who declared ariel "the butcher" sharon "a man of peace", our hearts should be bleeding when ehud barak fell into the grave arafat dug for him and help the hero of philistines forfend bill clinton's peace initiative on his valedictory days as president. and our bleeding hearts should keep in mind that these represent only a few of the occasions when something could be done to save palestine's kids from the bombs before they even fell. yes, the human animal is wired for compassion and empathy but conscience comes second to and complements intelligence. and intelligence demands solutions against bombs at times of peace, not when children are being torn to shreds while they are being used as human shields and propaganda fodder by their "fathers". it must be remembered that the "modern" covenant is superior only because the parties to it, i.e., the demos, i.e., every individual benefiting from it, has the right and the duty to inquire how that covenant is put into practice.

* unfortunately, the situation in palestine has reached such a fulcrum that any move by the "modern" collective, universal (at least global) mind can do little to encompass all its suffering children. hamas has made sure that the divide it has engineered severes at least one part of the philistines from a modern future in the foreseeable time. whatever relief may be "awarded" will befall those arabs and philistines that side up with the modern world, although they have scantly any chance of becoming a part of it.

* let me repeat: once one is on the war path, there is no good any more. all is evil. whatever the cause, there can simply be no "just" war; it is a bankruptcy of reason. at that point, the equation is simplistically simple: live or die... unless one is holding that balance in his hand, there can be no pretense of sympathizing or empathizing with either side. what we do, with our bleeding or flapping hearts, is to vest our own interests and ideas behind a pseudo-philosophical ideological position and watch. watch like we are do the super bowl, the world cup finale, k-1 championship or the formula-1. only, there is blood in this game. we watch like latter day romans ogling gladiators who tear each other apart.
and we turn our heads to avoid the coup de fin, after turning our thumbs down.

* and today, please note that, as we are watching israel trying to beat the crap out of hamas, we are also watching the world divide between two worlds: one that uses and nourishes israel as its spearhead, bound to seek peace for its own security and prosperity, albeit only by the logic of its self-centered and egoistic modern covenant... and that for which violence is a main solution to problems at any level, from the personal and familial to the political and international... a world of societies that can be distinguished by their budgets which allot far more resources for defense and weapons and political abuse than education, health and justice combined. societies that rally de-individualized hordes currently supporting hamas as part of their own jihad.

* a "miracle" occurred last week in iran, the primary supporter of hamas of the gaza philistines, whose dead children we have been mourning vicariously for three weeks: an "adulteress" (?!?) condemned to death by stoning, wriggled herself free of the whole-in-the-ground she was buried in. she was then "pardoned", according to the islamic sharia. two more of her fellow women were hardly as lucky. they died in pain and terror. oh, yes, the violently anti-modern mullahcracy of iran administers a dose of drugs to lessen the convict's suffering during the stoning - for "humane" considerations.

* as for stoning itself, it is obviously the most "public" of executions. unlike the cruel rituals of the needle in the u.s., even the beheadings in saudia, which are done by specialized persons or crews, in "rajm" or stoning, the executioner is the public (4). can you imaginne yourself administering the death of one of your neighbors?

* the hamas understanding of justice and law and politics, decided by a thwarted interpretation of religious dogma that mainly serves to feed existent unshakeable power structures throughout the society, corresponds almost exactly with that in iran.

* true, hamas's sins should not justify the death of children. not even when they are used as shields and propaganda fodder by their fathers!.. but unless that sick, macabre, death-oriented mentality is brought down, to allow life-for-all to flourish -maybe-, the fathers' sins are likely to visit on their children... no matter how many or how profusely our hearts may bleed for them.

* obviously, we are forced to taking sides in an antinomy where all choices are determined by evil. it is no longer a question of "which or what is more (or less) evil"; because that way of looking at phenomena inadvertently introduces some ground to argue by some sick logic the justice of war, which is moot by its nature. the antinomy here is the-all-evil-choice of which evil can lead to more good eventually. whether being so expedient (or rough-hewn reasonable) with matters literally of life and death agrees with our bleeding hearts, i am afraid, will be the determinant of how longer they will go on bleeding.

* so please, be true to your selves. be sincere to your minds and intellect as well as your feelings and compassion; they seldom are contradictory in essence. put all your values, beliefs, wishes, interests, concerns etc. before you. and choose your side. let your hearts bleed but just let your hearts be guided by your intellect, if you really are intent on stopping all the bleeding.

(1) note the verb of choice please, not "determine" even "define". modernity, as a perfectly dialectical historical event, evolves with its perceived opposites but still is the mainstay of social existence. as every covenant, mathematics has its innate contradictions. the great philosopher - mathematician kurt gödel has excellently undermined its foundations only to re-assess and re-assert its supremacy as a tool for thought and tool of thought. same goes for modernity. its power is less in its absolute truth but its flexibility to devoid its truth of thorns without deviating from its fundamental (mathematical) principles of functioning. whereas in other forms of thinking and organization, such principles, whenever and if they exist outside dogmas, are ever subject to whim and are rather decidious by nature.
(2) living within the covenant does not necesarily mean in obedience or even acquiescence of it, except that every human act is relegated to its content relevant to the covenant.
(3) the accepted term for species that can form effective complex social organizations dependent on certain norms and communicatioon patterns is "eucultural", part greek, part latin. since i have a personal aversion to the inter-lingual bastardization of terms, i have latinized it totally.
(4) there may be some irony in this: rajm is originallly a jewish mode of execution, so is the custom of making adultery a capital crime. needless to say, no jewish society practices it. neither do christians, after jesus said "let who is sinless throw the first stone".

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

seven points of wisdom (re the palestine situation)

fact one: israel will not back off from its offensive before george "dubya" bush is out of the white house, bar an almost impossible capitulation from hamas.
fact two: hamas is virtually dead.
true, it is pictured as a victimized hero of the philistines under israeli fire but it already fell far short of hezbollah of lebanon in representing and protecting the interests of its cohorts and backers. unlike hezbollah, hamas only won the elections because the fatah clique was unbearably incompetent and corrupt and simply unbearable. however, little changed for the better in gaza since, except hamas got more despotic.
fact three: a divided palestine can stand no chance at all and it is divided beyond repair as long as hamas has any mandate at all, in or out of gaza. philistines are tarnished with that third world bane that bans them from seeking their interests in confrontation and conflict, rather than competition.
fact four: a true, i.e., effective and workable reunion of philistines is less likely than an accomodation between palestinians (1) and israel. fatahi palestine has nothing to offer the gazai - whereas, once the hamas mentality is suppressed, as it can not be eradicated, plenty of jobs and means of livelihood are likely to be available within israel; a far more effective promise and cure than the dubious yields of incessant intra-philistine politicking and bickering.
fact five: reading all accounts of so called "israeli atrocities against gaza's civilians", in most cases if not in each case, some hunted philistine can be discerned hiding among his family members, under a wife's skirts or a baby's crib - more often than not, using that location as a "trench" to fight against israeli soldiers, therefore practically "inviting" havoc on those beside him. according to hamas ideology, that constitutes "martyrdom". civilians are not ttrained or experienced in guerilla warfare, therefore, they are expendable as propaganda material in order to promote the anti-sionist cause.
fact six: currently, civilian philistine casualties, especially the children, are fodder for the hamas propaganda machine but not for long in all probability. the outlook and rationale of hamas spokesmen toward the rockets they deliberately fire on israeli territories where no military targets exist, is that they have killed "so few civilians", while israeli forces destroy wholesale. in the hamas weltanschauung, human life is valued only by numbers and is problematic only after so many deaths occur.
as passions subside and some logic begins to rear its ugly head in the way people of the world concieve the events in gaza, the utterly vile psychosis revealed in the hamas view is bound to be recognized, turning the psychological and emotional tide, if not toward israel, away from the palestinians, condemning them to further isolation and destituiton.
hamas claims that the last episode of war and violence in gaza was caused not by their indiscriminate rocket fire on israeli civilians but by "israeli occupation". assuming that to be right, the occupation of 1967 was the result of a spectacular israeli victory at the end of a war that lasted only six days, which was started by a united arab front that overwhelmingly outnumbered jewish forces. the "occupation" was the consequence of a response in self defense and gaza itself was "won" from egypt in the six-days-war. the same applies if hamas, true to its absurd philosophy that israel's existence should be terminated, is refering to the 1948 war.
fact seven: this is the last chance for israel to pave the way to some form of permanent peace. not only does its own weal is dependent on it, but also continued disruption between it and any form of islamic political entities will reverberate through the entire eurasian region.
in this war, israel is the "frontiersman", the pioneer, the vanguard in the clash between modern civilization and non-modern or counter-modern political (2) systems; or under pain of over-simplification; between cultures that venerate life and cultures of death and opiates - from opium derivatives to religious fanaticism. since all-out combat, a readiness and willingness to die and kill are weapons true to the latter, it will not suffice for israel to vanquish hamas in combat.
the real enemy is the poverty, the backwardness, the suffering, the wretchedness that has plagued philistines in the last century.
and it has to be israel's ultimate target, endeavor and mission to overcome that scourge of its primary neighbors. the best defense force against hamas is not the rather capable israeli army but palestinians looking forward to a feasible future of welfare, peace and harmony.

(*) i say palestinians because it is now practically impossible to speak of a "palestinian authority", if it ever existed outside the personal charisma of the late yasir arafat
(***) i use "political" in reference to the helenic polis, signifying any and all aspects of social life therein.