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".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you still defending the state terrorism of Israel?!!
Israel kills Palestinians in their homes, in the fields and in mosques. It kills whole families as well as children with their mothers. Arab countries can - if they want - withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative. But they lost the will; therefore, the Israeli war machine keeps on killing Palestinians.
The Israeli government, gathering the remaining Nazis around the world, is trying to squeeze the last useful drop from the Bush Administration before it departs. Once again, if Arab countries want, they can pressure the US Administration in many available ways. However, they do not. The reason is that they have lost that same will.
The Palestinians are responsible, before Arabs, for this tragic situation in Gaza Strip. The division weakened them further; the policy of Hamas killed more than 500 Palestinians in nine ominous days.
Yet I started with our responsibility, so people would not say I am denying it. In the ongoing crime, Israel appears as a Nazi, military, expansionist nation that has no right to exist in the Middle East.
Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak are terrorists. She is a terrorist born to two terrorist members of the Argon gang, which imported terrorism to Palestine and the Middle East. She worked in the Mossad to complete her family's terrorism heritage. Now she is saying that all Israel wants is for Hamas to stop firing rockets. This is also the excuse of Barak, who practiced terrorism as a soldier and is still practicing it as a minister. Both of them say that war on Gaza has nothing to do with next month's elections. This means that it definitely has something to do with it.
Then you have the biggest liar in Israel or any other place: "President" Shimon Peres; I heard him say that Israel had the most powerful weapon in the world…Justice.
Israel is a Nazi state that has no right to exist. The Christian West sought to establish it as a means to repent of its crime at our expense. There was never a Smaller or Greater Israel. The history of the Torah is fiction and not history. The same goes for Peres justice.
George Bush, who promised a Palestinian State by the end of 2008 and lied or failed, is a full accessory in Israel's murder. His administration killed a million Muslims in eight years; therefore, it is not hard for him to support the killing of 500 - or even 1000 - Palestinians. He accuses Hamas of terrorism. Yet, with his help, Israel is the terrorist nation. He also said that Hamas did not want the interest of Palestinians. Who wants it then? He or his VP Dick Cheney?
On a rare occasion, I heard Cheney say the truth. He proclaimed that Israel did not ask for permission from the US Administration to attack Gaza. Why would it ask for permission when the whole administration is under its control and shares its war on Arabs and Muslims? But Cheney, leader of the war gang, cannot stay honest for long: he went on to say that Israel, a UN member state, was attacked by a terrorist organization. The opposite is true. Israel is a terrorist nation that has no right to join any international organization, while Hamas is a national liberation movement. What is also true is that Cheney is a wanted war criminal.
I would like to add Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy. They both support a cease-fire, but the British PM eventually supports the US administration. As to the French President, he says one thing and does another. On the eve of the attack on Gaza, Israel was offered EU membership, one which is better than that of the original six countries that started the EEC in Rome. Israel was given all privileges without any financial or any other responsibility towards the EU. Even though the Czech Republic was deliberately held responsible, France was the country that spearheaded the campaign. Sarkozy hands it the EU Presidency then comes to us for mediation.
After this tour of Israeli terrorism, with US-EU connivance, I go back to the Palestinian and Arab responsibility. We are so weak that we cannot win a military confrontation, not even a media confrontation. Israel has been killing, occupying and destroying for four decades, yet it managed to focus on Hamas rockets, blacking out the Nazi occupation, Hamas' raison d'être. What does Israel expect after a long occupation? To be welcomed by Palestinians with roses and wedding rice?
Many Israelis, including Livni, evoke the Transfer (Palestinian displacement). In return, we demand a transfer that would send the Israelis back to the countries they came from. Only original Arab Jews, who were in the lands before the establishment of Israel, would remain.
What I am trying to say is that extremism breeds extremism. If we see a Palestinian extremism and refusal, it is because the other party's extremism has undermined the moderates among Palestinians, Arabs and others. It made a peace seeker like me call for the withdrawal of the Arab initiative.
J. Al Khazen