Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dead Air Church: All the children are insane

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.

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...
Who benefits from continuing to view the conflict this way?

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.

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?
I can't imagine what I would do; my home gone, my land destroyed, my very limited hopes and dreams reduced to rubble.

As Neil Clark writes:
...ponder these words of Israeli's Foreign Minister Tzipni Livni, in her address to The Knesset:
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?
No, I don't.

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.

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?
Why, indeed?

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.

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.
For me, "particularly dismayed" is putting it lightly. I am totally stunned by this barbarism.

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.



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)


Dori said...

little light's piece is amazing.

This whole situation makes me heartsick. A good deal of my family have lived in Israel and served in the IDF, but I also have personally lived in Jordan and made friends with people who have lived and still have family in both the West Bank and Gaza.
I see these people, and I see my people. I see my friends, i see a place that looks like a place I called home, except its all dust, rubble, blood and tears.
I hear justifications from people sitting in their relatively comfortable American, Canadian, Australian and European homes, and its clear to me that these people have no realistic concept of what is happening here. They don't see people dying. They hear words like terrorist and self-defense, and the fact that there are people on the other end doesn't even cross their minds.

Zoooma!! said...

You've certainly demonized Israel and I can understand the point of view of condemning the larger power kicking the crap out of the weakling....

but what if YOU lived in a part of Israel where Hamas rockets rained down on you, and maybe on your children, every single day during a "truce"?

What should Israel's response be to that? Bend over and take it? Ask them politely to stop?

No one should want death and destruction but Hamas NEEDS to stop. They don't seem to get that. I'm not justifying Israel's response but, unless I am mistaken, in this post you didn't offer any condemnation of Hamas, not a single word.


Annie said...

You did a good thing posting this, Daisy. It's not a comfy position to take, which is obvious.

The time has come to speak out, even though many of us have been taught that Israel is never wrong.

It's total madness. Again. Peace- for all.

Dori said...


Hamas killed one Israeli and Israel returned by killing almost 300 Palestinians in one day.

300 in one day. Including CHILDREN. "Maybe it could be your child" is pointless hyperbole next to the actual numbers of dead people.

Actually read the things that have been written in this post and the linked ones. Despite popular belief, this is not an equal fight, and demanding equal condemnation to assuage your sense of persecution is incredibly privileged and inappropriate.

Zoooma!! said...

I have actually read everything in this post. And I do not believe Israel's response to the rocket attacks is justified...

but still, shouldn't there be at least some condemnation for the actions of Hamas?

Or are they guilt-free?

I'm trying to understand if what Hamas does is okay.

And still my question stands, should Israel just bend over and take it? Or just ask them politely to stop the rocket attacks?

I guess I get the impression that Hamas is guilt-free. To condemn them would be wrong?

Daisy said...

in this post you didn't offer any condemnation of Hamas, not a single word.

You're right, because I think they've been condemned enough already, don't you? No medicine, no surgery, no water, no electricity, no food, no break from the rain of death... and most escape.

Condemned to hell.

The word "overkill" comes to mind.

Zoooma!! said...

Well, wait, though... what about the daily rocket attacks on Israel? Were those okay and should not be condemned?

Daisy said...

Good lord, haven't they been punished enough? What exactly do you WANT from them, at this point?

If you check my blog (and you should know me well enough by now), you know I am an old-style peacenik who cannot even bear the idea of anyone killing a fucking chicken for dinner: What the fuck do you think? I condemn ALL violence, and always will.

I am saying: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

You remind me of someone trying to extract an apology from a prisoner facing execution... or an abusive parent (and yes, I had one) demanding that you apologize while they are beating the hell out of you.

WHY is this necessary, to bring people to such humiliation? If Hamas suddenly says "Sorry!" will the Israeli military just -stop- immediately? What about the innocent civilians who aren't sorry because they didn't do anything in the first place?

What difference will such statements make to these people?

Why this bizarre rhetorical necessity to "condemn Hamas"? A little late for that, isn't it? What can they possibly do NOW?

Do you condemn the Mohawk and the Iroquois and the Apache for all the massacres of whites? They did, you know! Or did they, you know, suffer enough by losing their WHOLE FUCKING CONTINENT????!!!!???

John Powers said...

I was pleasantly unchurched before Dead Air Church.

In re lack of condemnation of Hamas, Daisy has responded. And recently she's posted about St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: "None is righteous, no, not one;"

Daisy gets to the nub in pointing out how in this operation Americans have culpability. So it's important to find ways towards dialog. But our talk always seems to wind up as conundrum.

Daisy wants to know where are the lefty atheists and agnostics? I'll sheepishly raise my hand.

Back when I was kid we had a comedy record by The Committee. One routine I liked was an oral exam for a university course "Failure 101." I would howl with laughter when St. Paul was top of the list of notable failures through history.

Nowadays I'm not so sure about Paul as a great failure. At least Daisy quoting Paul made me want to look for the context.

It's the height of absurdity to suggest that what the Israelis and Palestinians ought to be more "Christian" to find a way out. But Gandhi's observation that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" sums up the futility of peace coming out of condemnation and justification. None of us is righteous.

Paul says lots of stuff that doesn't really make much sense to me. Still it makes a great deal of sense, inferred from what he says in Romans, that if there is anyway out of this mess it will have to be something newly created.

Bombardment and assassination seem unlikely tools to consolidate a moderate center. Rather they're tools to radicalize along the edge which over time moves to the center.

The tools of American exercise of power mirror well the Israeli approach in Gaza. Indeed the refusal to talk with Hamas is an American policy.

We've got to invent ways to bolster peaceful coexistence. I'm not a Christian, but Paul seems spot on in pointing out that grievance alone cannot provide a solution.

Dori said...

Zoooma, get the fuck over yourself.

No really.

How do you justify a 100 to 1 ratio of dead bodies by citing failed rocket attacks? Especially when those rocket attacks happened because of restrictive Israeli policies against Gaza that made this area little more than an open air prison? And when those rockets are met with military action from a military with nuclear capability?

sheila said...

I couldn't even finish reading your whole post. The whole thing makes me sick. It's like going to a fight with guns and all your armed with is a butterknife.

My husband and I were just discussing this yesterday. We likened it to the IRA in Ireland fighting Englands control.

And I DO understand Israels need to stop the rockets, but my gosh, this seems so absurd.

I don't know, the whole thing is disturbing to me. And it seems like they are using a lot of lines that are 'Bush lines'...stuff Bush says that seems to be picked up by other countries to justify what they are doing. Sad, it's just very sad.

I'm NOT saying that Israel should do nothing, but there's GOT to be a better way. These people have no where to go. No aid coming in. I realize they all hate each other, but there was a time they all lived in relative peace.

Zoooma!! said...

Sheila, it's great you think Israel should do something to defend themselves. There are so many posts just like this one that make no mention of that whatsoever -- Pro-Palestine, Israel/America is the Devil. It's like if you condemn Hamas - you're completely wrong to do so. It's like what they do is justified and Israel should bend over and take it up the ass. People are now protesting what Israel is doing . . . but they never spoke up about what Hamas was doing.

Daisy said...

Zoooma, that was a direct question. I answered yours, now could you answer mine?

Here it is again:

Do you condemn the Mohawk and the Iroquois and the Apache for all the massacres of whites? They did, you know! Or did they, you know, suffer enough by losing their WHOLE FUCKING CONTINENT????!!!!???

That was not rhetorical in the least! There are members of all those Indigenous nations left, they exist and they have tribal councils... are you after them to issue formal apologies, or are you too ashamed to do that, as I am?

(And if not, why not?)

Sheila: We likened it to the IRA in Ireland fighting Englands control.

Great comparison, too... one side is in charge, the other is totally OWNED. And this territorial/colonialist battle is likewise all reduced to "religion"--when religion was/is really only the "ignition" that lit up the whole power keg.

Rachel said...

I love this post... and I totally feel what you're feeling here. It's NOT equal. I can't write about it though. I feel like I'm too close to the situation, or too far from it, to actually be able to say anything about it... then again if I did, I'd be called an antisemite for it (as I often have in the past, despite prefacing myself with "as a Jew").

I care deeply for Israel, but I cannot abide by it acting this way. Over a week of bombing raids in retaliation for what? Rocket attacks? Well, maybe if Gazans had more than just guns they wouldn't be launching rocket attacks, but no one seems to care about that.

It's devastating to me... so I haven't been reading about this new round of attacks, and certainly not writing about it because I feel impotent about the whole situation. What am I to do? I feel like I'm talking to a wall.

Ann oDyne said...

"The Vatican has condemned" (it)

but only with words.
I wish a group* of world leaders would assemble right there on the strip and say please stop this genocide you savages.

*the usual attention-getters:
UN Ambassador for Children Nicole Kidman, Angelina Of The Many Kids is a UN something too, Madonna, Bono, the ZPope, the Queen of England, bloody Posh Beckham if necessary. Focus all the world attention on the place.

I was extremely saddened to see the report that a Hamas leader was killed by Israel, along with his wives and ELEVEN of their children.

we cannot deplore that germans allowed Adolf Hitler to operate, while WE allow this sort of thing.

The bombs and rockets are manufactured for sale by companies like BAE Systems.
The CEO of BAE is Richard Olver who is a Director of REUTERS News Agency.
make your own deductions.

peace and love

Ann oDyne said...

Qassam rockets are named for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s military wing) which in turn was named for the 1930s Palestinian leader Mojahed Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.
Bombmakers supplied the first prototype in 2001 and a year later produced the Qassam 2, an improved version which attacked nearby Israeli settlements and towns.
The rockets consist of a warhead, an engine and a tail segment.
The warhead is filled with TNT and urea nitrate. They are fuelled by mixture of sugar and potassium nitrate (which is widely available as a fertiliser). Often they are crudely made explosives-packed pipes with metal fins welded onto the end.
Qassam rockets are free-flying and lack any guidance system.
As a result, they are notoriously inaccurate and many fail to even cross the border into Israel.

(I pasted that off my blogpal Woolly Days - a journalist)

Dori said...


Every nation has the right to defend itself, but what Israel is doing is NOT defense, it is massacre and collective punishment.

Your suggestion that Israel is only defending itself is ludicrous. That dead child in the picture above was clearly such a threat to Israel that she had to die.


Your hyperbole is condescending and privileged as all hell. I may be losing people I know and love, and all you can prattle on about is some ridiculous persecution complex.

The Holy Land said...

It appears that this war is not between the brothers, Israel and Palestine, but rather, between the same Zionist regime that controls the US and other governments, and those wishing for the brothers to, again live in peace, as they had pre-1950 before the Zionists had fully hijacked The Holy Land, thus forcing the Palestinian peoples into the concentration camps in which they still reside in today.

It appears, to this website author that the true Abrahamic bloodline resides within these peoples, and the Zionists wish to eradicate them from the planet.

If the true Vicar of The Most High did not already plan to intervene, no flesh would remain of the 3rd density peoples on this sphere.

a very public sociologist said...

Great stuff, Daisy. It's disgusting that after all the bloodshed that's being relayed to our TV screens that some ostensibly intelligent people can close their eyes to what's happening. You either have to have a heart of granite or just be too blind to see what's going on to rally to the Israeli side. I note you don't see hundreds of thousands marching around the world in support of the Israeli army!

Zoooma on this thread is almost as bad - seems as though they're the sort of person who'd be more bothered about the flea on the end of their nose than the herd of elephants bearing down on them. Wake up!

mikeb302000 said...

The old Israeli saying comes to my mind: "If you kick my dog, I'll blow up your house."

What the world needs is a Palestinian Steven Spielberg.

Marion said...

Thank you for writing this difficult post, Daisy...and for the incredible links.

I can no longer watch news reports...they break my heart. Please God, stop this insanity, please God, save the innocents...these are my daily prayers.

I wonder if He's heard me yet.

Julie said...

Yikes, who let Holy Land in? (I guess he's a good illustration of what anti-Semitism actually looks like.)

Thanks for this, Daisy. Zoooma - as Daisy has said, one major reason everyone's not rushing to condemn Hamas is that it's obvious that targeting civilians is not okay. It's taken as a given. Now, I have seen writers downplaying it or justifying it, which is also not okay (not to mention completely unnecessary) - but if someone is starting from the position that ALL violence is bad, then that would include Hamas.

Daisy said...

Julie, I can't quite figure out what Holy Land is talking about. Actually, I think it's something to do with endtimes prophecies... I get a whole lot of rapture and antichrist people here because they google OBAMA IS THE ANTICHRIST and the rapture, and well... I guess I brought it on myself! :P

End-times prophecies can be antisemitic at base, yet at the same time, Israel's fate determines the prophecies, so in one way is calling all of the shots.

I never fully understand what they are getting at, which I suppose is a good thing.

But these events have sent them into hyperspace... I judge this by how many "rapture" hits I get.

Julie said...

I was mainly referring to the "Zionists control the US government" line. That's just an updated version of "Jews are secretly controlling the world."

The rapture stuff is fun, though! I've gotten a few starry-eyed "Oh when will you silly Jews just convert already?" people over at my site.

Dave Dubya said...

I have little sympathy for the hard liners on both sides. It is obvious none of them want peace.

The Gaza slaughter makes the same sense as the US invading Iraq and occupying Afghanistan to fight terrorism. Now, dozens are killed every week by terrorism. It only strengthens the hatred and cycle of violence, not to mention giving the radical elements on both sides their desired power.

Peace will never come when a hundred Palestinians are killed for every Israeli. Isn't that the same ratio of Nazi retaliation for French Underground resistance?

Self defense is nullified when innocents are blown to pieces.

I haven't seen any diplomacy since Bush green lighted the Israeli right wingers. There needs to be a peace process again where the real moderates can get their voices heard.

Terrorism is a criminal act, not an excuse to punish a population. Both the US and Israeli right wing governments are more interested in dominance than peace. That's my "un-American and anti-Israeli" position.

little light said...

Hell of a post, Daisy.
Maybe, all of us together, we can do something more.

Thanks for the nod.

sheila said...

Good GOD people! This is the first time I ever in my life came back to see responses after I already commented once. lol.

Zoomla...I do agree that Israel has the right to defend themselves. But possible genocide is not an option. And Israel of all places should be sensitive to that. These people have nowhere to go. Nowhere.

I liken it to being poked by an annoying kid for like an hour and finally you just snap and haul off and crack the brat breaking his jaw. And then beat his mother for raising him.

It's NOT fair. Both of them need to RECOGNIZE each other as a 'state'. And maybe if the world would recognize that also, things MIGHT (key word) be different.

And one last word that will probably infuriate the masses...MAYBE if we weren't so concerned with protecting Israel at all costs, ("for the Bible tells me so"...)we'd be able to see the bigger picture of accepting all life and recognizing their right to live here too.

JoJo said...

"Holy Land" - If ever there was an oxymoron, that's the one.

My god is bigger than your god and I'll kill you to prove it.

The real problem in the mideast (and worldwide)? RELIGION.

Morganna said...

Here's a leftist atheist standing up and saying Israel is fucking WRONG to do this to the Palestinians. Period.
And all of the people in the US giving Israel a pass because a starving population dared to toss a few rockets at their oppressors really pisses me off.

Dori said...


This conflict is, believe it or not, NOT ABOUT RELIGION.