Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farting Against Thunder

It is a crude British expression, but I can’t shake the image it creates as I think of Gaza. Not only is it a crude expression, it is inappropriate in many important ways. Flatulence may be offensive but it’s generally harmless. Yet the Hamas rockets are more than just offensive, they kill and maim and, no doubt, cause fear, panic and nightmares. Moreover, Hamas rockets are not just innocent or involuntary flatulence, they are deliberate creations that people work very hard to produce, move and launch. Many die for their sake; these are not just simple farts! The rockets are aptly named Qassam, after a man who spent his life in futile fighting and who played a hand in planting seeds of hate beyond his declared targets. Qassam was fighting everyone and everywhere and was engaged in killing innocent civilians; just as his namesake rockets do today.

The image of thunder is also inappropriate. Thunder is not manmade, it is an act of God and it surely is indiscriminate in its effect. Indeed, conspiracy theorists in the Middle East absolve the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular of all blame by assigning almost God-like qualities to Israel and the USA. Much like Saddam was said to have invaded Kuwait because the US made him do it, or that Hezbollah was forced into starting the 2006 war in Lebanon by Israel’s manipulation, or that Hamas massacred Fateh in Gaza as part of an Israeli plot to justify the ensuing blockade and misery. The all-powerful USA and Israel are always scheming and plotting and Egyptians, Palestinians, Lebanese or Arabs have no will of their own and merely play their pre ordained role in the theater with Israeli directors and American producers.

What makes the image stick in my mind are the parallels in terms of scale. Thunder is infinitely more powerful than mere flatulence, so as I listened yesterday to the very articulate Bibi Netanyahu recounting the number of rockets to justify the massive Israeli retaliation, I thought that the sheer tonnage of explosives is a much more appropriate measurement rather than just mere numbers. The explosives on all of the Hamas and Jihad rockets over the last ten years may not add up to just one hour of Israeli bombings. Thunder is an act of God, which does not discriminate, so the young innocent helpless sisters and many others are slaughtered by the brutal thunder. The rockets are in a peculiar way similar to flatulence, they damage those around them more than those far from them. They must, however, make the Hamas operatives feel better after they release them.

With nearly 400 people dead, thousands injured and perhaps two million people living days on end in terrible anxiety and fear, would such a silly little expression be appropriate even to think about let alone to write about and share? How can this horrible suffering go on and on and all we get is the same as we’ve seen over the last sixty years? More condemnations of Israel, more arguments from Israel about self defense and more cruel tales of the thousands of innocent civilians being mere collateral damage? Israel: the rockets are awful granted, and they should be condemned, but at what price of Palestinian blood are you willing to stop to eliminate the rockets? Would a thousand dead Palestinians children be too much to eliminate the Qassams for one month? Why only one month? Because surely they will come again! How much cruelty on ordinary people will you dish out to punish Hamas?

For Americans and for the USA, how can we tolerate sitting in silence, witnessing such horror, such massacre? Is this the kind of self defense we had in mind when we supplied Israel with a huge arsenal of deadly weapons? Does Israel need our latest technology for this? What ratio of innocent civilian to Hamas fighter deaths are we unwilling to accept? Haven’t we finally learnt in Iraq that we save more of our troops by working harder to protect the ordinary people?

And Hamas, how many dead Palestinian children is it worth for you to keep launching rockets? Do you want all Gazans to suffer so your fighters can savor the joy of killing one or two Israeli kids every month? Is the total destruction of Gaza and the killing and maiming of thousands of Palestinians worth it, so that you can just carry on with your rockets?

December 31, 2008

1 comment:

Barry L. said...

Am I to understand that if Hamas stopped farting Israel will stop thundering ?

Yours, is the most thunderous fart I have ever heard.

That was 2008.

How about today 2011 ? Same fart or some alteration.

Do you think that fartless PA in the west bank is succeeding in offering better protection to the people ?