Saturday, 9 June 2018


Razan al-Najjar, shot by the IDF on 1 June 2018

If you are strong and resolute and won't give in to terrorists that sounds just fine and dandy.  But what are the real issues behind this kind of self aggrandising bravado.  The terrorists kidnap your child and demand £100 or they will kill the child.  I'd pay if I believed it would save the child.  I'd probably pay anyway - just in case.  That might not resolve the general problem with ruthless leverage but the alternative seems to be to refuse to pay on principle.

Philosophically there is a lot that could be said about this but nature is a peculiar creature and it is full of treachery, deception, and leverage.  One issue to consider is the balance of life and what drives people to employ such dreadful tactics in the first place.  None of us are individuals as if we can somehow be an ideal 'human' in a vacuum.

The tragic convoluted and self contradictory rhetoric that surrounds many of the world's problematic conflicts are not so difficult to unravel if one steps back from the immediate emotional 'reaction' and thinks about them.  There are no easy solutions but there are ways to maintain a fairly clear perspective.

Razan al-Najjar was shot by the IDF.  The fact that she was a young female medic makes it all the more 'emotive'.  Ideally, if you want to utilise human sentiment, then getting babies shot or maimed is good for that.  In the case of the hypothetical kidnappers mentioned above I could refuse to pay and when they murdered my child I could get a lot of kudos and sympathy.  I could go one stage better than that and shoot my own child with a sniper rifle and claim they have no leverage now.  So where is this rational dissection taking us?

Netanyahu claims Hamas are deliberately creating "telegenically dead Palestinians" for sympathy on the world stage.  It's worse than that because the fourth Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, is famously quoted as saying "We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children." and clearly the government still feel that way.  This perverted representation is not new to the Israeli government, it occurs all too often when justifying brutal oppression.  Joseph Goebbels, that lovely insightful PR man for the Nazi Party in Germany, the Reich Minister of Propaganda, used the same grotesquely contorted rational in his 1941 essay 'Das Reich' when he said "They knew the good-natured German Michael in us, always ready to shed sentimental tears for the injustice done to them. One suddenly has the impression that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies. The Jews send out the pitiable. They may confuse some harmless souls for a while, but not us. We know exactly what the situation is."

All of this taps deeply into the nihilistic nature of fear in the human psyche.  The fear of death is not resolved and so there is an incredible desperation to deny the fear rather than understand or accept it.  There becomes a perverted compulsion to prove one is somehow above fear, to demonstrate one's immunity to it.  It drives some people pathologically to demonstrate to the world, and really to themselves, that they can beat fear by killing others and not caring.  They begin to despise what they see as weakness in others.  And, when it becomes extreme, they justify to themselves that they are the victims of other people's attempts to make them 'feel'.  They have become precisely inhuman.

It would be like walking into someone else's house with a gun and telling them to leave because you want to live there.  Under threat of being shot they go into the garden and put a tent up.  Having settled in to their house you object to their littering the garden with their tents and their noisy children so you tell them to leave under threat of death.  They have nowhere to go so you shoot their children and blame them for forcing you to do it.  Oh no - it's not 'like' that  - it is exactly that.  The only difference being that Israel is doing it on a massive scale and the Western Powers turn a blind eye whilst sending in ammunition and more military hardware.

It is sick and perverted in the extreme for Israel to blame the Palestinians for forcing Israel to kill them because they happen to be alive.  National or religious labels aside, and dealing with this as a human issue, the Israeli government are killing their own children because they are afraid of their own vulnerability.  It is akin to shooting your own child so that no one can gain leverage over you.

I am reminded of the Greek mythological God Cronus who, on learning from his parents Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by his own children, ate them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy.


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