AP photo of child in Gaza.
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain
--The Doors, The End.
For Dead Air Church this week, we hang our heads in shame. We beg for mercy and forgiveness from almighty God, for any part we have had in this horror.
And we have had done plenty.
We are footing the bill, for one thing.
And in our ignorance and guilt, we have made the whole thing "equal": those rowdy folks just need to behave and learn to get along. They are all at fault.
If I've heard this tired old platitude once in the past few days, I've heard it a dozen times: Those people just can't get along over there. They've always fought, the conversation concludes, sometimes accompanied with a dismissive shrug.
Little Light writes:
That's part of the trouble--I always bought into just enough of the propaganda that I could shake my head and say, well, it's just so sad. It's just a shame. If only the cycle of violence could stop. If only they'd put down those weapons. Hey, you kids, you two, knock it off. The stories I listened to only worked if I put away the numbers, put away the proportions.Yes, that is exactly the word I have been looking for: proportions.
The sides are not equal.
This isn't two wayward children quarreling, this is one much larger child, stomping all over a tiny one.
From Shiraz Socialist:
Israel’s assault on Gaza is undoubtably ‘disproportionate’ in at least two closely related ways. Firstly, of course, Israel’s massive and sophisticated military machine is in a completely different league to Hamas and its home-made Qassam rockets. Secondly, the casualty figures speak for themselves: 4 Israelis killed so far, compared to 400 Palestinians.Who benefits from continuing to view the conflict this way?
There is simply no denying these self-evident facts, which make a mockery of any attempt to portray the Gaza conflict as an even-handed battle between two evenly matched sides...
Little Light continues:
But, you keep saying, those Gazans are harboring Hamas, hiding terrorists among them! Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth, with a million people who are not allowed to leave and have nowhere to run. And they deserve death if their apartment--if they still have one--is within shrapnel range of some guy who works for Hamas or his office or the school he went to? If their neighborhood mosque has a couple members who own a gun? If they have the audacity to be on the street trying to feed their families? They're not harboring anyone. They're pressed up against them in prison.I can't imagine what I would do; my home gone, my land destroyed, my very limited hopes and dreams reduced to rubble.
But, but, they voted for Hamas. Tell me what you would do! Tell me! Who do you believe, who do you listen to, who do you rely on? You are walled into a prison with guns pointed at you all the time. Food is not allowed in, fuel is not allowed in, medical supplies are not allowed in. You lose count of family members violently dead or maimed. Your schools and hospitals and places of worship are destroyed, your neighborhood is full of rubble with few buildings intact, and you cannot expect to live to thirty. And you don't know any of the people on the other side of that wall.
Who do you listen to as a reliable source? The guys with the guns pointed at you, who took the food away and tell you you deserve to have nothing, but who the outside world tells you are decent folks acting justly? Or the people you're told are evil scumbags, but who provide you food, medicine, a little pride, a little order, and the promise to fight for you? Who among you, looking at your hungry, sick child, is going to listen to the person telling you that you shouldn't be allowed to care for them over the person handing you bread and antibiotics and a little civil infrastructure? Do you listen to the asshole who gives you food, or the asshole who takes it away? When you have nothing, no dignity, no hope, when you've got nothing to lose, who do you listen to? What do you think you would do differently?
As Neil Clark writes:
...ponder these words of Israeli's Foreign Minister Tzipni Livni, in her address to The Knesset:No, I don't.The true conflict is between the extremist elements and the moderates in the region.Well, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I don’t think 'moderates' bomb a crowded place of worship and kill 12 people at prayer, do you?
The Political Cat writes:
One — this one, anyway — can't help wondering what the fuck is going on in Gaza this week. Why is Israel bombing, shooting, and sending the sixth largest and best equipped army in the world into Gaza, the refuge of 1.3 million Palestinians, most of whom are unarmed civilians? Some 400,000 of that population lives in refugee camps funded by the UN.Why, indeed?
Israel has bombed the power plants, water and sewage treatment facilities, and restricted movement in and out of Gaza which has essentially become the world's largest standing concentration camp. Why? What is this about? And why is Israel getting away with this starkly inhumane treatment?
As I wrote a couple of days ago (about To Kill a Mockingbird), during the time I was contemplating writing this piece: When people are powerless, this is what happens. They learn to seize what they have, and use it as a bludgeon, as it has been used against them.
People throughout the world have granted Israel a pass because of what was once done to them.
Palestinians mourn the death of 10-year-old Noran Deeb, who died of a bullet wound Monday at her school in Gaza, photo from MSNBC.
The Vatican has condemned these attacks, but many Christians in the USA, both Catholic and Protestant, have been supportive. My question: Where are the lefty atheists and agnostics who continuously condemn theocracy? Apparently, Israel is the only theocracy they don't question, busy as they are worrying over Mike Huckabee at home.
Why this roaring silence, except for the ongoing news reports of unbridled mayhem, death and destruction.
Greg Mitchell writes:
After more than eight days of Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket launching in Gaza, most notably, The New York Times had produced exactly one editorial, not a single commentary by any of its columnists, and only one op-ed (twice the normal length and favoring Israel's bombing). The editorial, several days ago, did argue against the wisdom of a ground invasion - - but even though that invasion had become ever more likely all week the paper did not return to this subject.For me, "particularly dismayed" is putting it lightly. I am totally stunned by this barbarism.
Amazingly, the paper has kept that silence going in Sunday's paper, with no editorial or columnist comment on the Israeli invasion.
The invasion, to no one's surprise, did begin on Saturday -- so any further criticism will now come too late. As in the past, U.S. media coverage and commentary has overwhelmingly backed the Israeli actions (as it did in the Lebanon war in 2006, which turned into a fiasco).
On Friday, Amnesty International condemned the U.S. response to the "disproportionate" Israeli bombing of Gaza -- with largely U.S. weapons. Some of it amounts to U.S.-backed "human rights abuses," it charged.
The group recalled that the U.S. supplied most of the millions of cluster bombs dropped by Israel in the Lebanon war in 2006.
"Amnesty International USA is particularly dismayed at the lopsided response by the U.S. government to the recent violence and its lackadaisical efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," the group told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the letter, which was released to the media.
And let us call it WHAT IT IS: BARBARISM. MASSACRE. And as Little Light reminds us:
This is being done in my name, by a state that says that anyone who questions its actions is an anti-Semite--that anyone who finds their state actions unacceptable is threatening me. It's funded with the taxes I pay to my own government, on the other side of the world. This is being done to the families of people I love. When it was my ancestors, fighting back and sometimes doing awful things in the Warsaw Ghetto, at Masada, it wasn't "terrorism," it was self-preservation. I just celebrated a holiday commemorating an outnumbered, outgunned guerrilla war against an overwhelmingly-better-armed occupier who said, hey, look, don't mind our elephants, just put your slingshot down and we'll stop setting everything on fire. We don't call Judah Maccabee a terrorist, either, but what's the difference? Tell me the difference. Because this is genocide. This is genocide in my name, in the name of a people who have always considered ourselves underdogs and who, in this one place and time, suddenly have the overwhelmingly upper hand. How have we not learned better?(You must go and read it all.)
And on this January 4th, the Feast Day of St Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint, we earnestly pray that the American people, as well as people all over the world, will see the light and demand an end to this brutal carnage. We pray for peace and for forgiveness.
And we recall Mother Seton's simple prayer:
If I am right Thy grace impart still in the right to stay.
If I am wrong Oh, teach my heart to find the better way.
EDITED TO ADD:
Links to Israeli and Jewish voices opposing Israel’s attacks on Gaza (Alas, a Blog)
The View From Tel Aviv and Israel in Gaza: Irrationality (The Nation)
Once More, With Feeling (Modern Mitzvot)