Tag Archives: civil war

How old are you? Five?

15 Nov

You know, I need to make one thing very clear: I do not hate Israel. I hate my government for how it treats the Palestinians and then wonders why there is no peace. The approach of “Let’s fuck their shit up, that’ll make’em stop being mean to us” is simply… what can I say… Well. And I hate my government for how it puts Israelis in harm’s way, and on the few days it doesn’t, simply neglects our well-being.
However, I do not hate Israel as a country, or Israelis as a people.

But they, we, can be unbelievable douchebags. 130 people are dead. People who lived in a country that, unlike Israel and the usa, manages to stay out of war and conflict for the most part. Cowards? I prefer calling it intelligence. As Mufasa said – “I’m only brave when I have to be”, and France is one of those smart countries that don’t provoke or aggravate situations where they “have to be”. Take notes, tantrum nations.
Now a lot of people are changing their Facebook profile pictures to the French flag. Personally, I do not participate. I have said my share of condemnation for the attacks, and I feel shaken and saddened for those poor people. However, I am done waving flags around – any flag. Flags represent places with borders and borders represent divisiveness.
To me, one human life is not worth less than another as long as neither has done horrible things to hurt another human life. An innocent Frenchman, to me, is no less precious than an innocent Jew or Palestinian, or Pygmy. Beirut has been torn apart just before Paris. Syria is being ripped to bloody shreds 24/7, and a Kenyan university was slaughtered in April and there were no hashtags…
I can’t put up a flag for every country or its people under attack or else that’d be my only activity day in, day out. And I will not make a selection what flag to display in solidarity, because then I would imply that the victims of one nationality are more deserving of my tears, than another. So, no flags from me. They are all in my heart and I have no need to wear my views on my picture, just as I don’t style myself to fit the scene of my preferred genre of music, and just as I don’t wear a cross around my neck while, though not observant, Jesus and the Church have played a role in my upbringing. It’s all in my heart and in my words – and that is enough.

Now, the disgrace is as follows. Israeli Jews are indeed frequent victims of terrorism. For which I blame my government just as much as the Palestinian radicals committing or encouraging the crimes. I feel for those victims who were not settlers hacking down Palestinian property and who were not soldiers beating up 12-year-old Arab boys. As I said, I hurt for all victims of violence – be it terror, rape, or school bullying. A Jewish victim of Palestinian terror is no more tragic and no more dead, than a girl shot by her jealous ex.
But when it comes to terror and hate crime? you’re a Jew! You know your peoples’ history! You/they have been persecuted, slaughtered, boykotted, hated. Where is your compassion now when it happens to someone else? This is the atrocity that puts Israel in the position and the bad light it is in today – too many nationalist Jews have learned the wrong lessons from the Holocaust. While Germany has turned 180° and compassionately, at some risk indeed, receives people running for their lives from the slaughter the Jews once tried to run from and found no country to rescue them, today’s Israeli Jewish nationalist screams for the borders to be closed to the Sudanese who get bombed daily. They act with dismay when Israeli soldiers – the ones they love to parade around as ever so compassionate – show that compassion by treating wounded Syrian civilians and combatants. Many of today’s Israeli nationalist Jews want people in situations similar to that of Europe’s Jews in the 40s, to be denied shelter just as Jews were denied shelter then, but continue to demand of gentiles to protect Jews, while not caring too much about gentiles in duress themselves, it seems.
It’s truly hilarious. They screech at the world how inclusive, welcoming, compassionate, diverse, tolerant, and humane Israel is, but when that compassion shows for anyone other than Jews… you throw a fucking tantrum because you feel the compassion isn’t mutual.

Because, and you’re right, the world doesn’t do a whole lot of #PrayforIsrael or Israeli flag profile pictures. There is an injustice there. But the injustice is mutual, don’t you think? Oh, because they’re being unfair, so you must be, too? Well, that’s also a mutual philosophy. And it’s shit. You can’t parade yourself around as a moral person representing God’s Chosen People (TM) and at the same time, deny a show of compassion to victims of violence just because you haven’t seen much coming your way. Compassion isn’t a currency, it’s a manifest of humanity, you assholes, and a requirement for godliness last time I checked.
If you were to get over your self/nation-centered self-pity, you might find the world’s attitude towards the Israeli people changing. The first step is up to you; nobody can make Israel look good but Israel itself.

The other thing is, the media coverage and pity you demand is simply not in proportion to our actual losses to Palestinian terror. I’m pretty sure, were 129 Israelis to die in one attack, that things would look much different. But most attacks claim about as many lives as any other murder – muggings, armed robberies, home invasions, school shootings, crimes of passion… I’m sorry? Why would two Jewish victims of a Palestinian terorrist be worth millions of solidarity pics and hashtags on social media and headlines in all international papers, if the same attention would never be given to a domestic murder-suicide with the same number of dead? You’re expecting special treatment: for every single Jewish victim you want to see a wave of outrage, while the media simply don’t usually do “One person got murdered today, somewhere in the world”, if the murder isn’t too unusual in nature. Why should they for Jewish victims of terror, what’s so special about that? It being a regular thing? Oh, and school shootings and domestic violence and suicides aren’t? Individual corpses, much less non-lethal stabbings, don’t make headlines, Jew or no Jew, people stab each other all the time.

130 people died a brutal, undeserved death. Many more do in Syria and Sudan and other countries. You don’t care. You have no right to complain that this lack of outrage is mutual. Unless you’re like the Nazis and consider the lives of one ethnicity more precious than those of another. Are you?

The world’s atittude towards Israel is not one of anti-semitism for the most part, it’s one of “WTF why are those people so self-centered and inconsiderate for, while whining that they’re not being treated nicely themselves?”. And you are doing all in your power to keep it that way.
You do that when you dedicate your spare time to tell your fellow Israeli Jews to be ashamed of themselves for showing solidarity with Paris. If you were truly worthy of the title of God’s Chosen People (TM), you would dismiss the lack of reciprocity and, even if you don’t participate in the displays of support, keep your begrudging mouth shut and don’t attack others for showing that support. You should encourage any behavior that makes Israelis look better in the eyes of the world. Instead, you want Sudanese sent back to their certain deaths because some of them may steal a bicycle, you want Palestinians to be treated like animals in hopes that’ll shut them up, and you yell at people for openly supporting the victims of an atrocity.

You are a horrible Jew and you are a horrible human being. Stop picking and choosing who deserves sympathy by ethnicity, faith, or nationality. Stop pissing all over global grief for 130 dead by screeching that the occasional 1 to 3 victims of terror in Israel don’t get the same media attention because the concept of proportion is lost on you. And stop complaining that nobody shows you sympathy when you show it only to your own yourself. Compassion is ideally mutual, but when it isn’t, you should still be able to figure out which option leads to better relations and understanding, and it isn’t “La la la you don’t put up my flag, so I don’t put up yours!”

We will never find peace if we expect others to treat us better than we treat them. One has to take the first step – them or us, indeed. If not them, then I guess we have to do it ourselves. Showing compassion is never wrong. And whatever you get out of it, you did the right thing by offering your compassion, your tears, your sympathy. Only good can come out of not being a complete and utter cunt.

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The Middle East Inversion

10 Nov

Last Saturday’s new episode of Doctor Who, now featuring the 12th incarnation of the lone and loved Timelord, drove a bulldozer from the last demolished Palestinian home right through my chest. If you live in a peaceful, stable nation that merely exports weapons to less stable nations and cashes in on the death and destruction they sow, you may have seen just another profound speech by a fictional TV icon, on a fictional war.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

When you live in Israel, or across the fence, the wall, the checkpost, you have seen your people and those on the other side. You’ve seen youngsters throwing rocks and firebombs at soldiers and settlers, and you’ve seen soldiers shoot those kids, you’ve seen settlers attacking soldiers for failing to shoot and kill those kids, you’ve seen those kids’ parents drive into a crowd or stab a passer-by. You’ve seen bulldozers razing the homes of a terrorist’s family – not the terrorist’s home – and you’ve seen crowds shouting for bloody revenge.
And if you’re not completely jaded to what’s happening all around you, a bus ride from your doorstep at most, it hurt. It hurt having the Doctor pointing at you, your people, your government, your friend with that army-issued rifle or that home-made firebomb. Your cousin who takes the order to bulldoze the home of a terrorist’s mother, when nowhere else in the civilized world, family would be punished for their kin’s deeds. Your brother driving that borrowed car into a flock of children.

But while you may know those who do the deed – the Israeli soldiers, settlers, bulldozer drivers, the Palestinian stabbers, bombers, road ragers – you never know who they’ll hit. Does it feel right to know it’s none on your side? Or do you just feel numb, knowing at least you won’t be mourning anyone, for now? Is it not being someone from your side, good enough to sleep at night, knowing a person you know, is destroying a family who is also a person someone knows, someone loves?

Truth: You don’t know who the next Naftali Frenkel or Muhammad Abu Khdeir is going to be. You don’t know. But someone is going to die at someone else’s hand.

Consequence: This will never bring us peace. This will never free Palestine, this will never give the Jewish people a rest. You can’t expect people not to retaliate against perceived wrongs, much less when those wrongs precede a funeral. The consequence will be more death, and if one of yours has killed one of theirs, then one of yours will die. It will always be this way unless someone starts forgiving.

Two days ago, I was shopping cat food at my pet shop. The staff and I were having pizza and a laugh when the new girl got a call. There was some agitated talk in Russian, and I was just going to do an impression of angry Russian speech, when she hung up, and, staring blankly ahead, said: “My friend died.” The 20-year-old border guard, Binyamin Yakobowitz, who looks like 14 in Haaretz’s article, had been the “someone I know” of “someone I know”. You may just cringe, make a sad face, even feel a stab in your chest when you read names of casualties on your side, but you don’t know them, so you mourn them as you would Heath Ledger. Somehow you keep telling yourself: it’s never gonna be anyone I know. Yes, my friend at the pet shop told herself the same, I’m sure. Most Palestinians, those who hate Israelis, but abhorr violence, don’t want youths going out to attack soldiers or civilians, they hate hearing someone from their neighborhood has committed an attack. Not just because they know someone who isn’t the perpetrator, will suffer for the actions of the latter, but also because they might one day find themselves too close to the Israeli retaliation squad. However, they reall start internalizing how bad these attacks are, when it’s their own flesh and blood who eats retaliation. They, like us, tell themselves it’s never them, always the others. It’s always the others’ fault, and it’s always the others’ losses.

No.

We are all the others. And we never know who’ll be mourning whom next. But what we all must internalise, is that the mourning will continue, and one day hit too close for comfort, unless either of us, any of us, stop making others mourn.