Monday, August 28, 2006
Gilad Atzmon - Why is it so hard for an Israeli to admit that an Arab combatant is just slightly better?
It is now clear that as much as the Israeli Army doesn’t know how to win a war, the Israeli people do not know how to lose one. Already at the late stages of the recent wave of hostility in Lebanon the Israelis were desperately searching for a scapegoat, someone to blame, someone who would take personal responsibility for the humiliating Israeli collective defeat.
It didn’t take long before the Israelis turned en mass against Dan Halutz, their IDF Chief of Staff. They accused him of being an ‘arrogant pilot’, for being ‘detached from reality’ and for ‘not preparing the Army to win a war’. Dan Halutz, no doubt a qualified war criminal as well as an Israeli stock exchange inside trader, dismissed his critics. Yet, as one may expect, Halutz wouldn’t stand up and admit in public that the leader of a miniscule Arab paramilitary force, the legendary Hassan Nasrallah was just slightly better than himself in wining a battle and concluding a war. In fact, Nasrallah was just better than every Israeli general in using his force, in manoeuvring his fighting units, in strategic moves and tactical decisions. Halutz and his staff generals wouldn’t admit it because being Israeli soldiers, a product of Jewish nationalism and crude racism, they are all supremacist to the bone.
While in a meeting with reservist commanders last week Halutz learned about an IDF commander who refused to rescue combatants just because “they were not under his direct command”. He learned as well about another Israeli commander who managed to evade the battlefield in the midst of the fight. The commander was found hours later hiding inside a tank. Yes, the Israelis are far from being heroes, their paratroopers do not shoot from the hip as much as their tank commanders do not expose their upper body while the battle goes on. They all prefer to hide behind their glorious Merkava tank’s armour. However, they all fail to admit that the Hezbollah are just exactly the opposite. The Hezbollah warriors do shoot from the hip and they don’t have armoured vehicles to hide in. Yet, the Israelis would prefer blaming themselves rather than simply admitting that an Arab fighter happens to be just slightly better.
These days, an extensive Israeli reservist rebellion is emerging in Israel. The humiliated IDF fighters are somehow very unhappy. They felt unprepared for the war. Their weapons were faulty, so they say, they lacked the necessary gear, the ‘catering services’ failed to serve their food exactly when they expected it. If this isn’t enough, they insist as well that intelligence was misleading and orders where confusing. Like the archetypal Jewish mother, the newly born Hebraic Samson is a venerable effeminate character who would prefer to endorse the role of the victim. I believe that when the Israelis engage in self-criticism they tend to regard themselves as a collective of outspoken liberal beings. But in fact, they all lie to themselves. By putting themselves down they save themselves from confessing the clear fact that at least in this round the ‘Arabs’ were just far better.
The reservist rebels call for the immediate resignation of Olmert, Peretz and Halutz. Peretz so they say, is just a small ‘Union leader’, he lacks the capacity to command the army of a hostile state that insists upon putting world peace at a constant threat. They may be right. Peretz isn’t a natural talent. Indeed he was quick to join the never ending list of Israeli war criminals, he gave the Israeli Army the green light to bring ‘Lebanon to its knees’, to kill so many civilians, to destroy a country’s civil infrastructure. Yet Peretz was not a tactical or strategic visionary. He was good enough to spread death in the region but he himself didn’t understand what all this loss was there to serve. Unlike Peretz, who became a mass murderer just a few days into the war for absolutely no reason, Sheikh Nasrallah has managed to defeat Israel without bringing the state to its knees, without killing many civilians. Nasrallah won a war without being a mass murderer. And the question to be asked is whether the time is ripe for the Israelis to admit that a Lebanese Shiite leader is far more advanced both intellectually and morally than their own leaders. May I tell you, this is not going to happen. The Israelis are racist to the bone. Even now after being defeated by a bold patriotic group of warriors, they are still convinced that they are fighting a fanatical bunch of sub-humans.
And what about Olmert, the man who was voted to implement a sickening judeocentric unilateral peace agenda and managed to bring his country into a miserable war less than four months later? Would he admit in public or even to himself that it was Assad, Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah who smashed the Israeli power of deterrence without causing any damage to the infrastructures? They did it without killing many civilians at all, just with light weaponry and conventional rockets, without American planes and Merkava tanks. They did it without hundreds of nuclear bombs. Will the Israelis admit that Assad, Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah are just slightly more clever than their own miserable leadership whom they ‘democratically elected’?
I say no, I say never! Israel is a racist national state. It is supremacist to the bone. The Israelis are not capable of regarding their neighbours as equal human beings. This is exactly why Israel has never been and never will be a partner for peace. In order to make peace you must first respect your foe.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Refugees in Palestine and Refugees in Italy: the case of the Sanabel cultural group
On 23 June, a group of 9 Palestinian men and women arrived in Italy, invited by various solidarity associations for a tour to share their culture and traditions as well as to communicate to others the situation in Palestine. SANABEL is the name of the group, meaning spike of grain; in Gaza, they participate together with many others in a political-cultural association that is present in the entire territory, “Palestinian Progressive Youth Union” (PPYU). The aim of the association is the intervention and organisation of social-cultural activities among the youth and student population, which is forced to live in the harsh prison conditions of the Gaza Strip.
On 24 July they were scheduled to make their return to Gaza, but the Egyptian airline “Egypt Air” refused to embark them at Fiumicino (Rome’s Airport) to bring them home.
The Rafah border crossing, the only entryway to Gaza for the Palestinians, has been closed since 24 June, day of the massive invasion from Israel, with the “Summer Rain” Operation.
The Israeli army, despite the fact that it officially “has no more control” over that border after the withdrawal of the settlers from the Strip, in fact opens and closes it on their own whims. Not even the European force EUBAM (European Union Border Aid Monitor, under Italian command since November 2005, as a matter of fact), established for the help and the control of the border together with the Palestinian Authority and the Egyptian authorities, according to the agreements among all of the authorities, including the Israeli one, has known how or wanted to impose their will for the opening of the border for the passage of the very many Palestinians blocked since before the invasion in the strip of land between Egypt and Gaza. Still today, there are approximately 10,000 Palestinians massed on that bit of land; eleven of them have died from complications due to the heat, from exhaustion and the lack of medical aid; the Egyptian government denies entrance into their country to other Palestinians who would then come to increase this mass, therefore determining in many European countries the presence of groups of “double refugees”, such as the youth of Sanabel. The European governments, who have the responsibility of guaranteeing the passage of the Palestinians across the passageway, are immobile. The Italian government, committed in this period to constructing a role for itself as a “facilitator” within the conflict that sees the Arab and Israeli populations opposed, seems much more interested in determining the entity of the military mission to send to Lebanon (making a bluff of the “pacifist mandate” received by the electorate) rather than “facilitate” for real the lives of the people of the region, for example, making practicable the sacrosanct right of return to one’s own home for these Palestinians.
Despite the latest hostile aggression against Lebanon, that has caused more than a thousand deaths among the population and the complete destruction of the country, Israel is not condemned, but on the contrary, the US and the European Union approve of their genocidal operations with the pretext of “right of self-defence”. It is a right that evidently for the imperialist West does not count for the Iraqis, Palestinians and Lebanese, labelled as “terrorists” if they practice the right of self-defence and resistance against those who occupy their countries.
The case of Sanabel is only but one small example of the war that the Palestinians and all of the Arabs have been victims of for the past 60 years by the Zionist politics of the State of Israel. Blocked at Fiumicino, the youth have been guests for several days in a way of emergency by single individuals, associations, immigrant structures and only after an action of protest did the Roman Municipality find itself forced to provide a solution that was more dignified at least regarding the matter of lodging, providing a structure that is suitable to the housing of the refugees.
Since then the daily resistance of Sanabel has only entrusted itself to the solidarity of sympathisers and in reality, are able to have enough money for basic needs by donations that are made: for this reason, we make the appeal for a collection of donations to send to the young men and women, through payment with Poste Pay number 4023 6004 3099 5144 (Italian Postal Service) to the account of Shokri Al Jawazneh.
We also make an appeal for work in a coordinated manner to organise mobilisation that will force the Italian government to work to put an end to this state of affairs that is nothing short of a deportation. Lastly, we express our unconditional solidarity to the resistance of the Arab people even in Lebanon who have shown the road to obtaining the respect of their rights: that of struggle!
To show support to the youth of Sanabel and collect donations, we invite everyone to a Dinner Thursday 31 August at 19.30 at the Panetteria Occupata, via Conterosso 20 Milan, Italy.
Coordination of Struggle for Palestine
Translated from Italian by Mary Rizzo, member of Tlaxcala (www.tlaxcala.es), network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation is on Copyleft.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Bloggers and sites for ROR
Additionally, I've finally updated the blog menu a bit. You will see I pushed the links up higher, since I would like to see a community of blogs that we all can enjoy and share. I've tried to find most of my links on the slips of paper floating around this mess of a desk, but if anyone whose blog or site should be here but is not would point out the link, I'll see to putting it up as soon as possible.
Mary Rizzo - The Plug-in Man and Immigrant Skin
But if you take a look at where we are now, it seems obvious that the modern man is stuck in one place. And if that is not enough, his experiences are ever more vicarious, as he is plugged in from morning to night. He wakes up with the iPod speakers stuffed into his ear, his cellular phone vibrating on the table, receiving text messages, while he is booting up his computer to start his day of work or pleasure. At a certain point, the body is not really utilised, it is “maintained” as a container for the reception, storage and diffusion of information. His body is structurally a shell to house an optical nerve, some sensors on the fingertips and an aural cavity that retrieves data that is emitted in a repetitious way, usually being information that the brain is already fully aware of.
It seems that the race for mobility was a mere parenthesis between the stasis of man through lack of means of transport (or need to move) and the conscious decision to adopt a lifestyle which has become the mainstream, of allowing the body to assume a passive state. There is an old Senegalese saying that is famous in Animist circles. Since there is the belief in cyclical regeneration of the “essence” of a person, who is reborn after several generations into a new body, one says, “the man is inside”, meaning, the spirit, the being, the person, is present within the transitional state of assuming the shape of a new body, in the substance of one of the descendants. A form of ancestor worship is practiced, since one would be dealing with the essence of previous generations under a new guise, and making peace with the ancestors was also a social lubricant for the people one was in close contact with. The body, in such an extreme case, assumes the role as the container for the symbolic presence of a previous generation, while adding on new experiences to this fully complete being. What counts is inside, the vessel can change, but the message is the continuum of a society and its people.
Who is this “man inside” of the modern man? Does he serve any real purpose? What remains of the purpose of his body? Is each body an end in itself, representing a biological journey and nothing more? Does the person represent a “whole” individual, or are we hopelessly fragmented, emptying ourselves of meaning as we become the transmitters of content that is worth little to nothing, as changeable as last year’s fashion? Is the body capable of being redeemed as a meaningful entity? Or has it become the most modern of messages in itself?
It is simple to recognise that all humans everywhere have the same basic needs and the same drive to have them fulfilled. They are food, shelter, protection and a form of social organisation that presents the limits and extremes in providing for these needs. Fulfilling desires then follows, using the residual energy to do so. If one is fortunate enough to be born in a situation where the basic needs are provided for with little effort, that happy accident permits more of this differentiation of energy and allows one to dedicate oneself to other aspects of life, including leisure. In fact, a certain prolonged neoteny was helpful in evolution, guaranteeing longer care of infants of the human species, and it seems that from this derives the ludic obsession of adults. The priority of guaranteeing needs and fulfilling desires are mixed in one confused drive. And what is more, the line between work and play is growing ever thinner, becoming precisely the perfect environment for the new man, the plug-in man, to thrive.
The fantasy world of children on the surface seems to be pure leisure, where the child is ignorant of the difficulties in procuring the basic necessities, but, actually, it is a gymnasium for providing strategies to acquire the necessary and the superfluous that is nevertheless desired. The child lives in a world of repetition, and this also prepares him for a future where routine becomes the standard. At times, though, the child makes a leap into an unexpected situation, something extraordinary happens in his mental world, and that discovery is exciting, until it too becomes a routine. This is how people learn, acquiring new cognitive information and then integrating it. But, first, it has to be noticed, it has to be in some way attractive. If it isn’t entertaining in the first place, it usually is abandoned. The task of development is to acquire more and more information, and gaining a vast quantity of information, even fragmented, even trivial, is a tendency of modern society. Actually doing something with this information that has been assimilated is not really the point. No one seems to know how to start a fire using sticks and stones, and other tasks primitive man was skilled at, but we all know some details about Angelina Jolie’s lovelife, or other somesuch useless facts. This information is even a market commodity, as gossip is a huge part of the entertainment industry and develops and shifts capital.
By using information on how learning takes place, accepting the idea that surprise, pleasure and fun are emotional aids in acquiring new information that leads to acquiring survival strategies and skills, we see the end result that much information is presented in the form of games or entertainment. It also may explain the way it is easier for man to come to terms with settling into a “virtual world” and limiting movement to the bare minimum for survival, while actually, thriving economically and at times even socially in this state of apparent isolation and stasis. As long as someone is plugged in, the surprises are few, as well as the risks, yet the plug-in man is convinced he is sitting on the cutting edge and is deeply aware of the “latest” information, and therefore, more advanced.
Yet, there is a great risk in all of this. The plug-in man may have more information at his disposal, but he is not equipped to process it, retain it or utilise it in a meaningful way. If one has a computer that does all the calculations or a thesaurus at the touch of a button, what work does the brain really do? It doesn’t need to wander through the meanders of memory or creativity. Solutions are those that are the expected and standard ones. Also, if information regarding a massacre is presented in the same way, with the same emphasis and the same drama as the premiere of a new Hollywood movie, the lines blur as to the relationship of these things to one another and to anything else. We become less able to attribute value to things. It all weighs the same. We lose sensitivity not only in our bodies, but even our capacity to think suffers a major blow.
Another method of information acquisition is more traumatic than playful. Anyone who has been burnt accidentally is careful before they approach flames again, the message is acquired through displeasure and pain. Sometimes, that information is far too widely approximated to similar but unrelated stimulus. For instance, the Egyptians say, “The man who has been bitten by a snake is then afraid of a rope on the ground.” We tend to transfer our reactions to things in a very inappropriate way if we think we are preserving ourselves.
In a way that is similar to acquisition of new information through an event that is out of the ordinary, people unfortunate enough to have been born in a land which suffers a state of poverty, war or political unrest find that the “extraordinary event” that breaks the routine of struggling to survive is often migration. Not only refugees must physically uproot from a place, but even those who seek work in another economic reality are often forced to take leave of their homes. It seems that the less opportunities one has, and the more one suffers from poverty, the more likely it is that a physical move will be prospected. At that point, man moves through space, abandons his land and culture and becomes a commodity.
Immigration is not a situation measured in human terms, as needs being fulfilled and desires addressed, but rather, it is looked at in the point of view of the impact it makes on the market of the target country. These men and women are labourers, providing services, but aside from that, fairly separate, not integrated into the new reality and almost invisible. Mass migration has always been a common occurrence in the human story, yet, in modern society, where borders are drawn up and nations created and destroyed through peaceful or violent means, it thus defines, sometimes by arbitrary means, the belonging of a people and ties them into a national framework. Mass migration carries meanings that touch upon international law and humanitarian issues, since a human is free to leave the place he comes from, but once he leaves that place, he is subject to laws and restrictions about being permitted to enter someplace else.
I am speaking generally of the people who are part of the phenomenon of mass immigration, meaning that numbers of people leaving a country is statistically significant, and can’t really be compared to the businessman, professional, artist or student who goes abroad as an independent decision not based on need, which is the case of people who are more affluent than the average citizen of the country they are leaving. Those individuals who can be considered as part of a mass immigration movement at times assimilate into the new society, but that is not something the society really makes much of an effort at encouraging, and in most cases, the law of the target nation makes prohibitively difficult, especially if the originating culture is quite different from the dominant one, if the market can’t accommodate the services they may offer, or if they are considered to be of inferior ethnic origin. The Rom (Gypsies) generally live in extensive camps on the outskirts of major cities, often for generations and integration is not attempted, even if the municipal entities establish areas for these people to live, becoming a permanent part of the urban landscape. Palestinians are excluded from returning to their land in Israel, and even persons of Palestinian origin, but holding other kinds of passports are forbidden to reside in Israel. The same cannot be said of Jews holding any kind of passport. They are not only permitted, but encouraged to emigrate to Israel and to the territories of Palestine that Israel occupies.
In Europe, immigrant groups such as Chinese tend to develop a parallel society that mirrors the one left in Asia, also creating an independent market that is partially inserted in the local one. African immigration is comprised (at least in Italy) generally of single men, or married men who arrive alone, who work in Europe for years varying from three to ten, organised in self-sustaining social units. Eastern European immigration is widely feminine, where they work in the “family services” industry of nursing the elderly and other domestic tasks, most of the wages sent away to support the family back home. At any rate, it seems that even when a person comes to a new society, often lives as a member of the same household in the target country, there is generally a separateness that is observed and there is a strong link to the people and place of origin that is maintained in a social and economic way. There doesn’t seem to be much true integration, from either end of the spectrum of immigration.
The body of the immigrant differs not only in a superficial way, with colour of skin or style of dress, but it also moves differently. It is an active body, it has moved in space in order to reach the new land, and it continues to differentiate itself by not plugging itself in, but at times, to go even further to enhance the physical existence by symbolic means.
Ritual scarnification, tattoos, piercings, body painting in henna and traditional hair styles such as dreadlocks are symbolic images of the human presence, of the man within, that in Western society have been more and more accepted by the younger generations who are torn between the two paradigms, the passive and the active. Adopting these symbols that carry spiritual meaning in other societies has become a mass phenomenon and no longer transgresses many of Western society’s rules of decorum, but the symbols are chosen to embellish the superficial, not to represent the interior. Does a young man who sports dreadlocks know the reasons the Rastafari use this style? Does it matter?
The only way I felt I could comprehend the feelings that a person in immigrant skin would have, and view from a different perspective the relationship an immigrant might feel with an Italian was to enter into that state of being for myself. I tried an experiment in the open air market of my city in Italy last week. Since I am myself an immigrant, but of Italian origins and fully assimilated due to a permanence in Italy dating from the late ‘80s, I still wanted to feel what it might be like to have immigrant skin, to be looked at as someone who was from a different culture. I asked a practicing Muslim friend of mine to lend me one of her scarves and show me the right way to wear it. We walked through the market, chatting and stopping at various stands and I must admit, I did not become a Muslim, nor did I become an immigrant from an Arab country, but I “felt” different, I felt a stronger attachment to them as a group, I felt part of something different. As different as perhaps many who have a Maori tattoo emblazoned on their skin feel from the dominant mass. For a white person in Europe, perhaps this is as close as it gets to entering into a different body, a different being, expressed in the way others perceive you as being different. If one tunes his sensitivity to that he may start to feel this separateness as a strong sentiment. I am not prepared or able to document all the subtle differences in how I was looked at or spoken to, and there were differences I perceived, (and I think I was more surprised at seeing my friend’s reaction, as she was having the time of her life and was playing the game to the hilt), but this was just an initial experience, an experiment, my first leap into immigrant skin, while I know I am a plug-in woman. It was an attempt at regaining primary sensations, a new identification, which is what may drive many to follow the fashions of adopting non-Western embellishments that are more or less permanent.
The next thought, and the most radical one, is the extreme symbolic use of a body as a message. We can take the example of a person who commits suicide. The mental events leading to this moment are individual, even though depending upon circumstances and individuals, the motivations may even be caused by identification with a collective entity, which is a social, religious, ethnic or national group. Everyone who has decided to take his own life, whether for personal reasons such as a disappointment in love or an economic failure, or as a political act, is leaving behind a message. That body will have to be confronted by others, because it leaves in its wake a change in the reality surrounding it. The body, in that sense, is leaving a message. “Enough” is what it is saying.
The body, absent of life, of the interior that gives it meaning in the general conception of the body as the means in which the interior, the spirit, the soul, the essence – whatever it is that differentiates us from those in a vegetative state, has become the pinnacle of meaning itself.
Since almost all societies value human life, and therefore have been required to attribute meaning to suffering, pain and death, it is always necessary to give a value to the suicide. It gets interpreted by those who are left to confront it. Whatever the reasons why that person had decided to take his own life, we are faced with the task of decoding the message that he or she is leaving us. The body assumes a totally symbolic worth when there is no life in it anymore, but now we have become protagonists in the event, as we are left with no choice than to break the symbolic code and then assign a value to it. The value can be positive, negative or somewhere in between, depending on how we read the act that has taken place, whether we can accept the residual consequences, including violence caused to others.
The target of this message could be a single person, or the entire world, and the more the person who uses suicide as the means to express something political, the more that person identifies himself with the group of people he has undertaken to represent and the concept of individuality becomes less important. It is not necessary to “be” in the conditions of the person one identifies with, but it is necessary to fully feel responsibility towards them and to feel a duty of serving as their ambassador. The identity of the “self” is subservient to the identity of the “group”. Whether or not this person is truly representing this group is not really important. What matters is that he or she is convinced of this, and the mental state leading to the act could also be a moment of total clarity, devotion and generosity. Many societies and religions have the figure of the martyr who sacrifices himself for the common good. It is something that has accompanied mankind for most of its history, and the value attributed to it is higher in the societies that recognise the sacrifice as being in favour of its members. The three monotheistic religions all recognise these figures, almost all traditional and antique religions have used sacrifice as an instrument for creating balance between the sacred world and the world of men. Even secular modernists recognise the sacrifice that the Resistance fighters have made for their people.
As outsiders, there are many ways to interpret this particular symbol. We can react to this in a haphazard and impulsive way, absent of reasoning, like the man who is afraid of a rope, and always mentally assign the meaning of the trauma we are associating the act with to the symbol of the lifeless body, or we, the spectators should feel compelled to attempt to find the true interpretation, and not see snakes where there are ropes. We can call all suicide bombers terrorists, we can determine that what they have done is always to be condemned, and more than that, we can have the arrogance to insist that we have the right to do such a thing as condemn it, as if the values that we hold in place, the word “life”, meaning a life that brings pleasure to us as individuals, can only be interpreted in the way we do it, safe in our affluent, needless worlds.
We can also take another road, rather than assume we can assign our value to an act that is done by someone from a group that we don’t belong to, or whose choice is at the antipodes of what we ourselves would do, we can try to read whatever the message that the person who took his life was trying to leave for us was. We can decide to abstain from judgment, assimilate this symbol, with all that we know about what brought about that act, and try to do whatever we can to prevent that such a situation comes about, that humans should feel that their purpose is to serve as a symbol to leave messages to other people, that they feel the necessity to sacrifice their lives, causing death to themselves as well as death and suffering to others in some instances. We can recognise the core of this act, and get up from our chairs and make an attempt to change the conditions from which it germinated. That means we have to look behind the act, understand it within a context and take responsibility for it.
Are we ready to admit that there is a relativity to values we believe are universal? Can we make that detachment from the values we personally hold dear in order to open our minds to the possibility that what we claim as universal is really only our view of what may be preferable, but is certainly not true for one and all? Will we feel worse if we accept that things are uglier than they look, that life can truly be miserable after all?
It is often the case that some of these messages are launched by people living in immigrant skin. Perhaps they themselves are not living in an unbearable situation where they cannot function in society, but they so strongly identify and feel unity with their group, that it is possible for them to undertake the causes and frustrations of the group they feel that they represent as their own. These persons perhaps also feel strongly the alienation of themselves as individuals, and the difficulty of being fully integrated or assimilated in a place where they are different, or at least feel different, in a world where people are suspicious of difference.
The plug-in man is often the prime recipient of this message. His safety is threatened, and ways of enhancing the impact of this state of discomfort are often manipulated by those who are afraid of the actions, and the capacity of action of the person in immigrant skin. I have always found it ironic that in the USA, crime caused by guns kills many more people than terrorists do, but no one seems to be really panicking that he or she may end up at the nasty end of their neighbour’s bullet, while they look with suspicion and fear at people with biscuit-coloured skin and black hair who board busses, planes and subways with them, as if this person’s presence is the real menace to society, and much more dangerous than the DIY vigilante or common criminal living on everyone’s street. Playing on the technological bent of the plug-in man, we had the Millennium Bug, then 9/11, then the threat of WMDs. All of this has allowed Big Power to slide right in where man feels most vulnerable, allowing him to be spied upon, controlled, recruited, brainwashed and constructed into the perfect element of the machine. Protect your home! Protect your family! Protect your computer! Protect your country! Yes, the plug-in man is reading all of the messages his master forces upon him, picking most of them up while he works and plays and retrieves information, and has stopped really looking at the world as it is. He is closing himself in a protective shell where no one can get in. Yet, there is a danger there. It could happen that the safety that initially was felt starts to feel more and more like a prison where the mind is closed in, followed by the body.
If the plug-in man wants to regain his freedom again, he has to be willing and able to be in touch with what is different, apart and alien. He has to start to take off some of the interference and begin listening to others and himself. There has to be room left for independent thinking, not just recycling of a preconceived message. The plug-in man may not regain full use of his body, but he should learn to read symbols as if all that existed about the body was its means as a communication of a message. Perhaps he could try to learn what it is to live in immigrant skin.
This article first appeared on On Line Journal http://www.onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_880.shtml
Amnesty Intl appeals for war crimes inquiry
On 14 August, a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah, called for in UN Security Council resolution 1701, came into effect. Between the outbreak of the conflict on 12 July and the ceasefire coming info force, some 1,000 civilians are reported to have been killed in Israeli air strikes and heavy artillery shelling in Lebanon and some 40 civilians by Hizbullah rocket attacks in northern Israel.
Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians continued unabated on both sides up until the ceasefire, including Israeli bombardments of civilian infrastructure throughout Lebanon. On the evening of 11 August, a convoy of vehicles travelling in the south of the Beka'a valley, in eastern Lebanon, was bombed by Israeli forces killing at least six civilians including a Lebanese Red Cross volunteer and injuring 32 people. The convoy, which according to the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), included hundreds of people, was leaving the area of Marjayoun, southern Lebanon, which had come under repeated Israeli attacks. It had earlier been accompanied for part of the journey by United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) troops. The Israeli authorities stated that the attack was a mistake, and claimed that it had been carried out on suspicion that the convoy included Hizbullah fighters transporting arms.
In the early afternoon of 10 August, Israeli planes dropped leaflets in the centre of Beirut, warning the inhabitants of the capital's neighbourhoods of Hay Sallum, Bourj al-Barajneh and Shyah to leave the areas as these may be attacked by Israeli forces. One of the neighbourhoods mentioned in the leaflets, Shyah, had already been bombarded by Israeli forces three days earlier, on 7 August, killing more than 50 civilians. Amnesty International delegates in Lebanon who visited the area the day after the bombardment found a scene of utter devastation, as bodies of women and children were still being pulled from under the rubble. The recovery task continued into the third day. Israeli forces had not issued any prior warning to the inhabitants of the area of the impending air strikes. On the contrary, the area had been considered safer than other districts of the capital and people who had had to flee their homes in other parts of the country had sought shelter there.
As more and more areas were targeted by Israeli forces the number of displaced people continued to grow. A month into the conflict about one million people – a quarter of the entire population of Lebanon – had been forced to flee their homes. Since the ceasefire came into being many are now returning home, but tens of thousands have no home to return to any more; a pile of rubble is all that remains of their houses.
Amnesty International's research indicates that hundreds of civilians were killed by Israeli forces in attacks on residential areas causing massive destruction. Others were killed in attacks and on vehicles as villagers were heeding the calls by the Israeli army to leave their homes in South Lebanon.
Some 40 Israeli civilians were killed in attacks by Hizbullah on towns and villages, including Haifa, Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya, Safed, Ma'alot and Acre. Hizbullah reportedly launched some 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, many of them in areas populated by civilians. Amnesty International delegates who visited the north of Israel to investigate the attacks, found evidence that some of the rockets used by Hizbullah contained thousands of metal ball bearings which increase the potential for fatalities since even those not in the area directly hit can be killed or seriously injured by the spray of ball bearings.
Amnesty International is calling on the UN Security Council to request the UN Secretary-General to establish immediately a comprehensive, independent and impartial inquiry into violations of international humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict, including violations which may amount to war crimes. The inquiry should be conducted by experts who should receive all necessary assistance and resources. The outcome of the inquiry should be made public and include recommendations aimed at ending and preventing further violations.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Arabic, Hebrew, French or your own language:
- expressing grave concern that the current ceasefire agreement includes no reference to the necessity to uphold requirements under international humanitarian law, namely the need to establish accountability for violations by both sides in the conflict;
- calling on governments to exert their influence on the UN Security Council to request the UN Secretary-General to establish immediately an authoritative team of experts to conduct a comprehensive, independent and impartial inquiry into violations of international humanitarian law in Lebanon and Israel, including violations which may amount to war crimes;
- asking governments to press for such an inquiry to have all the necessary financial and technical resources to enable it to carry out an effective investigation. The outcome of the inquiry should be made public. The inquiry must include recommendations aimed at ending and preventing further violations;
- urging that anyone found against whom there is evidence of war crimes be brought to justice in proceedings which meet international standards for fair trial.
Minister of Foreign Affairs in your own government
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Israel/Lebanon accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 28 September 2006.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Gilad Atzmon - Israel Must Win
For those who are familiar with Israeli aggression, the IDF violation was no surprise at all. For a week or so, every Israeli cabinet member and military official promised publicly that it is just a question of time before there is a ‘second round’. Indeed, they must come up with something. Since the end of the hostilities, all Israeli political analysts and polls suggest that Israel’s political and military leadership failed completely. If elections were to be held soon, both Labour and Kadima would simply disappear. It is no secret that with each passing day, Olmert’s and Peretz’s popularity continually slumps to new lows. Jerusalem Post.
One may wonder whether the Israelis are changing their spots, do they stop approving Olmert’s policies just because peace is what they really prefer? The influential political commentator Ari Shavit provided an answer two weeks ago. Mr Olmert, so he says, had ‘failed shamefully’ and should resign. Shavit continues, "You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power." As I mentioned more than once before, the Israeli politician has to cope with a demanding, bloodthirsty crowd.
This realisation throws some light over the reasons behind the failed Israeli operation in Lebanon just three days ago. Israelis are simply desperate to win. But it may also explain why Israeli government decided to expand its military operation pretty much at the same time it accepted the UN ceasefire resolution. Olmert knew that he must serve his voters with what they interpret as a clear-cut victory. This would mean either some severe form of revenge with lots of Arab casualties or a significant land invasion. Olmert, his ‘national unity’ government and the army leadership have to do something that would cover up four weeks of disastrous military campaign that failed to serve the Israeli public with even a single second of glory.
Indeed, the IDF military offensive doctrine is grounded on one basic axiom that was defined by David Ben Gurion in the early fifties: whatever it takes, Israel must always win! This axiom is indeed very powerful, yet, in reality, the Israeli army can’t provide the goods anymore. In the last three decades the Israeli army is constantly being beaten time after time by enemies that are getting smaller and smaller.
Yet, one may mention that the IDF isn’t very original in being defeated. The IDF fails exactly where the American army has been failing since Vietnam. Shockingly, the IDF has managed to copy every possible American mistake. It religiously adopted the new American military philosophy of a ‘compact highly sophisticated fighting force’. Undeniably, this very doctrine is very effective in producing some gigantic collateral damage i.e., war crimes. Yet, in the long run, it fails miserably in wining wars. The new American military doctrine may win a battle or two but no more than that. In the most recent years it has been totally beaten in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and obviously in Lebanon.
Though the early stages of the Israeli campaign in Lebanon looked very much like the first few days of the second Gulf War (major air assault on civilian infrastructure and populated areas), there is at least one major noticeable difference. While America can stand and even ignore international criticism referring to its own war crimes, it isn’t willing to suffer much international criticism for Israeli atrocities. While in the early stages of the war America was rushing to provide Israel with air convoys loaded with its most lethal conventional arsenal, we have learned towards the last week of the war that the American administration changed its mind, it suddenly refused to provide the IDF with a shipment of cluster bombs because it “would endanger the civilian population”. Seemingly, there is a limit to what the Americans are willing to do for their ‘closest friend’ in the Middle East.
This is exactly where the Israeli limbo is. In order to maintain its status as a winning regional super power, Israel needs the blind support of America (politically, financially and logistically). Yet American blind support can be grunted to Israel only if the Jewish State is indeed a regional super power to start with. Olmert and his government are fully aware of this very complexity. They know that without being a regional super power in the first place, they have nothing to offer their almighty American brothers. Israel is crucial for the strategy of the Americans as long as it can wipe out all its enemies in six days at the most. The way things appear now, the Israeli Army is basically defeated by the two smallest nations in the Arab world, the Palestinian and the Lebanese ones.
As much as it clear to the Israelis, it is clear to the Americans that unlike the bold Hezbollah, the IDF soldier has lost his will to fight. The IDF is a spoiled, confused and tired army that is specialising solely in terrorising civilian populations while being engaged in constant tactical withdraw. This Israeli Army is not trained to win wars anymore. Instead, its tank battalions are mainly engaged in daily shelling of schools and hospitals. Its Air Force uses the best American fighter planes to flatten neighbourhoods and shoot deadly rockets at cars in the streets of Gaza. Its command units are specialising in abducting democratically elected middle-aged Palestinian politicians. The IDF is basically a heavy army specialising in merciless regional bullying. Yet, it cannot win a war, and as such it has nothing to offer the American empire.
But the Israeli military defeat has some further implications. Israel without a victorious army, has nothing to offer to world Jewry either. It can never present itself as the ultimate cosmic Judeo bunker. It is pretty shocking to prospect the relative silence of the infamous Zionist media shield. While just six weeks ago the loud supporters of Anglo-American interventionism were still pushing for democracy in the Arab world and beyond, they were enthusiastic about killing in the name of human rights and about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East. Somehow, since the war began, since Israel revealed once again its murderous tendencies and Hezbollah proved to be the new Robin Hood, these voices are caving in. Many among the global Zionists do already realise now that the Anglo-American assault on the Arab world just suffered a major blow. Some of them probably grasp that it is just a question of time before more and more Europeans and Americans join the sacred battle against the Americanised Global Zionism, i.e., neo-conservatism.
The recent victory of the Hezbollah therefore must be realised as a major event with some global implications. While the Hezbollah regards itself a paramilitary organisation concerned mainly with some local issues having to do with Israeli expansionism, it has managed to cause a serious blow to neo-conservatism as a political praxis as well as a philosophy. It has beaten the Zionised Anglo-American worldview. Standing up to Zionism and Americanism, it is the Lebanese, the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Afghanis and the Iranians who happen to be at the vanguard of the war for humanity and humanism. For those who are yet to be convinced that this indeed the case, I will mention that the fact that it is Iran who rushed to pay 3 billion dollars to rebuild Lebanon after the destruction made by ‘American interventionism’ leaves no room for interpretation. While America spreads destruction and death all over the world, it is Iran and the Hezbollah that offers a new beginning.
Olmert knows very well that if Israel doesn’t win this war, it is global Zionism that is defeated, he knows as well that without the backing of global Zionism, Israel is basically a dead entity. Olmert knows that without America, it won’t take long before Israel turns into an historic event. Israel will have to win its mighty regional power status whatever it takes. Israeli is indeed in the very eye of the neo-conservative storm. And the Hezbollah is threatening something far greater than just the Jewish State. As the Israelis keep telling us, the fight in Lebanon will resume soon and every European leader knows it. Even now, they all know who is going to be the aggressor when violence spreads again in the region. They are all clever enough to hesitate about whether they want to send their soldiers to the region. They know that if Israel must win, it is better to stay out of its way.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Zaki Boulos - In Parallax (musings of a son of Palestine-Lebanon)
We have reached the end of the page, the book, history now only exists in what’s left of our eroding memories. A question of existence still persists to my mind; extra sensory deception. Is this really happening?
I don’t know what’s wrong, or possibly what’s to write…
I can’t seem to stop the tears from falling. I am in danger of being declared a national treasure, a relic for acceptable voyeurism. I sat by and watched from the comfort of my living room as other cultures were gutted and strapped, got the munchies, popcorn anyone? I seem to have developed a healthy association between digesting violence and microwaving products. I wonder if I’ll feel peckish the next time I get the shit kicked out of me. Small, controlled nuclear explosions emanate from the kitchen synchronised with events beaming out of my television, bleep bleep bleep, done. I hone in to release the oven door as another bomb finds its way into someone else’s living room.
One experiment precedes the next, inexorably executed with will and whimsy. The perceived precision of each incision is left, discarded scar-tissue, another failed experiment. Bring in the next subject, alter the parameters, and tweak, tweak till it hurts, back off and sustain, don’t drain. Keep up the pressure, hold it. It’s working…I can’t believe it. OK, get a grip, still two more phases to go. On my mark, begin Operation Soul Capture, watch for lesions or blisters. We can’t afford another rupture. Running out of subjects to preach my rapture, we will prevail. I got the go from god. How we doing? Run a quick system check, make sure we’ve covered our asses.
This subject is phenomenal, stubborn, I despise it. Make sure you take in all the data, I want this fucker analysed, run diagnostics and initiate phase three. We’re running out of time. We must hit and hit hard. We can’t afford any more damage to our equipment, accounts up in head office are getting pissy. How’s the subject behaving? This could be the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. No one has reached phase three with such comfort and infuriating ease! I hope this subject is the exception and not the rule. We need more test subjects damn it! Fucking accountants…what’s the point in having an accountant who can’t find loop holes? Wrench up the guilt, tell’em anything they need to hear, just get me my subjects! We’ve hardly made a dent. Plug the data into our model, we need to upgrade. I won’t have a subject beat this system, not on my watch. I’ll go phase ten if I have to.
What is it that I cry for? Myself? My parents? My family trapped in Beirut? Their resolution to stay gives me strength. Any chance of them leaving, like the wrath of time, has been and gone. I feel sick, sick to my stomach. Chasing events on the net has made me nauseous, trying not to fret. I must have travelled five mouse-miles today, I’m beat. Bits stream onto my screen, strings portraying seemingly serene hellish stills. I want to leave but I’m unable to move. Agoraphobia has taken its hold, must resist, break this mould. My hands are shaking, eyes glazed and cracked with bags blacked. Gripped in a trance, I begin to see through my monitor. I want to lie down, bury me, anything to feel again. I want to sleep, sinking deep. I want, me. I can’t bare to look out, beyond my self, beyond my fears. All that remains are dry traces of what once were…
A jet tears its way across the city’s skyline, little white leaflets twirl and spin, in thunderous din, making their way towards us, a home-coming parade for the unpopular, pre-emptive confetti mocking its victims in just charade. Who are they kidding? Yes you, up there, in your cockpit, in your safe haven. A spotty video-game junky, staring at a grided screen, clouded in distant objectives, performance clinical, cynical, error-prone, diabolical. It’s only till you return to base that you realise the calamity you have to face, the magnitude of your blunder, the senselessness of your actions. No, this is not a simulation, you are a disgrace. If you had any honour you’d own up. Confess, apologise, raise your pistol to your temple, salvage what’s left, your final ascension, your path to redemption, wait, I’ll get the popcorn. But, instead, you take to the sky to prey on more innocence, reap what you have sown, nothing for you to do but pray. You kneel before your squad commander, attentive at his heel. He delivers his killer sermon, sweet as bourbon, intoxicating doctrine, inebriated with rage for an enemy that’s come of age. He barely speaks, failed strategies, having rolled out the carpet on cities, towns and refugees. Executing his commands, bombs hail on buildings rearranged, their residents limp, scattered and blood stained.
Progress is being made, protests in full rage, neglecting shoes for little feet on the doorsteps of drowning street. Nothing in politics is staid as backbenchers crash front of stage, a pinstripe flurry over on Fleet poised to report, “PM’s lost his seat.”
Saturday 12 August 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Lebanon, locations bombed as of 12 August
click on the image to enlarge. It is a way to comprehend the magnitude of the devastation that Israel wreaked on its neighbouring country to the north. Remember, most of these places were populated. Homes, shops, hospitals, offices, schools, bridges, roads, public administration structures, power infrastructures, water pipelines, electrical lines, telecommunications lines, agricultural areas, churches and mosques are included in these ranges.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Dan Halutz - An Inside Trader
translated by Gilad Atzmon
Introduction by Gilad Atzmon
Though the following is a translation of an article that appears on Haaretz in Hebrew, you won’t find it in English. Haaretz in English isn’t really an informative outlet; it is rather an Israeli propaganda channel, rather like the English voice of the Jewish State.
However, the following piece is a brief summary of the events of 12 July. Yesterday the Israeli people learned that Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, rushed to sell his private investment portfolio as soon as he knew that Israel was heading towards a war. Seemingly, while his soldiers were fighting for their lives, he, the highest commander in the Israeli army, found time to trade in the stock exchange.
May I mention that at the same time Halutz was engaged in making money for himself, Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, was leading his followers into what happened to be a major historic victory for his people.
Investment Under Fire
How to Make a Little Profit in a Big War
12.00 noon, while a rescue battle is taking place in Lebanon, Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff wonders what he should do with his investment portfolio.
12 July, the day when two IDF soldiers were abducted at the Lebanese border was a very busy day for Dan Halutz, the IDF Chief of Staff. While possessing a financially orientated cold mind, he even managed to dedicate some spare minutes to his stock exchange Investment Portfolio file. Here is a short run of Dan Halutz’s 12 July events.
9.00 AM - three hours before the stocks sale.
A group of terrorists blow up the border fence and enter Israel. The terrorists, part of a special unit of Hezbollah, are entering via a “dead spot”, a secluded piece of land that is hidden from the view of IDF scouts and guard posts. The terrorists enter Israel without being spotted.
At the same time, two armoured Hammer Vehicles carrying IDF soldiers are patrolling the border between the villages of Zarhit and Shtula.
The terrorists are digging-in and preparing an ambush just 200 meters inside Israel. They are waiting in a valley behind some dense bushes, they manage to take the Israeli patrol by surprise.
The Hezbollah commandos make use of explosives and anti tank missiles. The two Hammers are badly hit. Three IDF soldiers die on the spot, one soldier is severely injured and another is wounded slightly. The terrorists manage to abduct Golwasser and Regev. They drag them into Lebanese territory following what seems to be an accurate and properly planned operation. The IDF soldiers weren’t able to fire even a single shot back. Radio contact with the two Hammers is lost. At the same time the Hezbollah launches some heavy artillery barrages and Katyusha rockets on Israeli bunkers and populated areas at the Western side of the border simply to divert Israeli attention. There are five civilian casualties.
An IDF rescue unit is urged to reach the ambush location. It arrives half an hour too late. It finds the two Hammers. One of them is badly hit. The commander of the rescue force becomes aware that two soldiers had been abducted. The Northern Command declares ‘Hannibal Alert’, an operative procedure following a soldier’s hijacking. Following the lesson learned in previous abduction cases including that of Gilad Shalit, a chasing operation coupled by tanks and heavy armoured vehicles is launched within Lebanon.
11.00 - an hour before Dan Halutz decides to sell his stocks, an IDF tank drives over a large explosive.
Two hours after the start of the event, a second major tragic event is taking place. A Merkava II tank with its crew of four drives over a very powerful explosive just 70 meters north of the border. The lethal explosive is estimated around 200-300 kg. The four soldiers are declared missing in action.
12.00 - the IDF Chief of Staff, sells his stocks.
(Halutz calls his investment adviser at the Bank Leumi branch on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv and orders him to sell the shares in his investment portfolio, worth NIS 120,000. Over the next two days the value of the stock in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange loses 8.3 percent of its value, G.I.)
A day of battle in Lebanon.
While on the ground a heavy battle is taking place, at the same time that Israeli units are fighting their way to rescue the bodies of their fellow soldiers but fail due to some severe Hezbollah artillery, Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff, calls his bank manager and orders to sell his entire stocks portfolio.
15.00 - three hours after the sale. One IDF casualty and many others wounded.
While the rescue operation is taking place, one more Israeli soldier is finding his death and two others are slightly injured. In response, the IDF attacks ten targets inside Lebanon. Some are in Beirut and others even in the north of the country. The IAF bombs Hezbollah command centres as well as bunkers and some bridges over the Ahawaly River. The bombardment causes some severe damage. The Lebanese report casualties.
Dan Halutz, the Israeli Chief of Staff declares: “We will bring Lebanon back 20 years.” ‘Lebanon War II’ starts.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Gilad Atzmon - The Wailing Wall Martyr Brigade: Jewnetic Engineering
According to the Pentagon official, who asked that his identity not be revealed for obvious reasons, in a private telephone call between the Israeli Foreign Minister Mrs Tzipi Livni and the American Secretary of State Ms Condoleezza Rice, Livni confessed that as an act of despair, Israel is left with no recourse but the immediate deployment of its entire WW Martyr Brigade, (code name for the new weapon). Though Ms Rice initially attempted to persuade Livni to avoid undertaking such a reckless action, our foreign reporters near the Israeli border with Lebanon already confirmed that such deployment is already taking place.
As the news keeps filtering in from the battlefield, we hear more and more about weirdly shaped Israeli combatant platoons popping out of some large armoured containers that look very much like oil tankers. Sky Fox, our correspondent in Kiryat Shmone has been reporting for days that the new Israeli platoon looks like nothing he has ever seen before. In one of his latest reports he argued that the new Israeli warrior looks very much like a heavily armoured giant penis. As the details emerge at a steadier rate, we now realise that the WW Martyr Brigade refers to Israel’s most secretive units: the ‘Wailing Wall Martyr Brigade’. In the last 24 hours we have learned as well that WW martyr commandos are already operating deep within Lebanon, and even north of Beirut destroying Katyusha launchers and Hezbollah infrastructure.
Dr. Moishe’le Heritage of the Negev University’s History Department told us that already in the early 1950’s Shimon Peres, then a young politician closely related to Ben Gurion, brought the attention of the Israeli Government to a scientific study by the famous Jewish Harvard biologist Prof. Willy Short. The scientific work explored the varied possibilities of cloning and transformation of isolated human tissue into functional operating human subjects. With the academic approval of Prof. Short, Peres advised the Israeli government that the Jewish State could clearly benefit from genetically cloning tons of foreskins that are usually binned after the Brit Mila ceremony (a Jewish tribal blood ritual still very common amongst Jews both religious and secular). Peres and his team had found out that more than 7.8 tons of Jewish foreskins were being disposed of every month. Totally inspired by Short’s research, Peres realised already then in the 1950’s, that tons of fresh Jewish DNA penis waste could be transformed into battalions of young Jewish platoons, sailors, pilots and Mossad agents. Yet, while in his research Prof. Short insisted that it was only just a question of time before genetic engineering would allow standard technological practice of such nature, Ben Gurion, the Israeli PM at the time, decided to explore Short’s different scientific and technological ideas without delay.
Within days Israel allocated 15% of its annual budget towards a major scientific laboratory known as Jewrassic Scientific Park near Kfar Giladi. Within less than a month, a team of leading Jewish scientists including Dr Doovid Little (Doolittle) from Oxford. The Swedish zoologist Prof Pipi Chopsky and even the world renown Berkley physicist Prof Dick Cutoffvitz were recruited. Together with Prof Willy Short they all made Aliyah, settling in the North of Israel and helped create the Jewrassic Scientific Park, turning it into the secret core of Jewish power and the bank of some infinite Jewish human resources.
Not many people know, but even El Al, the Israeli commercial airliner that seems to be an innocent air carrier specialising in serving Kosher food as high as 30,000 ft. in altitude, is in fact operating under the direct control of the Jewrassic Park Headquarters. Seemingly, El Al’s primary national mission is to deliver live foreskin stock from the Diaspora to the scientific park in Northern Galilee. Each of El Al’s Boeing jets is equipped with a large refrigerated compartment made especially for transporting deeply frozen tiny live tissue segments.
While the Jewrassic Scientific Park started to operate as a research plant already in the early 1950’s, it wasn’t until 1956 that the first ‘Motherless Jewish Soldier’ was born. Though in its early days the Scientific Park managed to produce one soldier a month at the very most, nowadays, in peak production, with the development of genetic engineering and other new technologies, it can clone a paratrooper division within days. In other words, Israeli military livestock is basically unlimited not to say infinite. Yanka’le Schwantz from the Scientific Park told us that “with the ‘Motherless Soldier’ in mind, for the first time in our Jewish history, Israel is not afraid of large scale casualties amongst its combatant soldiers.”
According to an official Israeli unofficial source, the deployment of the Wailing Wall Martyr Brigade is taking the Hezbollah by complete surprise. Jihad Abu Az Zamman, the self-appointed Hezbollah spokesman from London, confirmed that Israel is indeed changing its tactics: “…the Israelis are currently deploying thousands of its soldiers against each of our heroic Guerrilla fighters. While in the past Israel was proud handling a war of ‘a few against very many’, now things are turning the other way around. It is our Hezbollah warrior who single-handedly defeats divisions and brigades of Israeli cowards.” Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz confirmed already over a week ago that Israel is putting on the battlefield some new tactics and strategies it has never before used. We are now guessing that it was the WW Martyr Brigade and the deployment of massive Israeli military forces he was referring to.
We have learned as well from the Israeli source that some of the early Jewrassic clones made it into the Israeli high command and beyond. There is some gossip in Israel that Dan Halutz (Daniel Pioneer) is actually the first foreskin embryo to see the light of day. When Dan was eighteen he joined the Israeli Air Force, he was indeed one of Israel’s best pilots ever and it didn’t take long before Dan became the Air Force commander and later the IDF Chief of Staff. Yet it is probably Dan Halutz’s Jewrassic past that may explain why the Israeli Major General behaves and looks like a dickhead.
Just before closing this news update it is rather crucial to mention that the international scientific community is taken by shock at the devastating news from Israel. “Using science and genetic engineering to spread violence is unforgivable,” said yesterday PhD Adolph Dove from the EU Dogwatch for Science and Ethics. “Baaa…” was the immediate reaction of Dolly the Scottish heroic scientific clone. Jewish anti-Zionists around the world are outraged as well. We learned just minutes ago that two of the most famous British Jewish ethnic campaigners, Tony Trans and Roland Greenpiece plan a huge protest in front of London’s Israeli Embassy next Friday. “I want my Foreskin back,” shouts Greenpiece. “Using my DNA against the innocent Lebanese people without my approval is nothing but an utter war crime,” cries out Tony Trans. On the other hand, more than a few Christian Evangelical Americans already contacted the Jewrassic Park toll-free number and offered to donate their testicles in support of the ‘Israeli war effort’. We have learned from Yossi Bollox that Jewrassic Park has politely rejected the kind Evangelicals due to some obvious racial purity reasons.
We will be following this developing story and keeping you informed.
Gilad Atzmon is the author of ‘My One and Only Love’ and ‘Guide to the Perplexed’
Thanks to Zaki for finding this top secret photo.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Gilad Atzmon - Beyond Comparison
“Israel Military action is an unjustified aggression that is being carried out in a style of Hitler, in a fascist fashion.” (Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez)
“Clearly, President Chavez needs a reality check when it comes to the Middle East conflict.” (Anti-Defamation League National Director, Abraham H. Foxman)
There is a trend amongst us all, the critical voices of Israel and Zionism. Time after time we compare Israel to the Third Reich; we equate the IDF to the Wehrmacht, we find a resemblance between the Israeli Air Force’s tactics to the blitz technique of the Luftwafe, we occasionally associate Sharon’s and Olmert’s war crimes with those of Hitler. I myself have fallen into this very trap more than once. But I have now made up my mind. This fashion of speaking must be stopped once and for all.
To regard Hitler as the ultimate evil is nothing but surrendering to the Zio-centric discourse. To regard Hitler as the wickedest man and the Third Reich as the embodiment of evilness is to let Israel off the hook. To compare Olmert to Hitler is to provide Israel and Olmert with a metaphorical moral shield. It maintains Hitler at the lead and allows Olmert to stay in the tail.
My mother, indeed a very clever woman, challenged me a long time ago asking: “Tell me Gilad, why is it that you and your friends always compare Israel to the Nazis? Isn’t Israel bad enough?” At the time I found her remark rather amusing, but my mother’s cynical instinct was more than correct. Israel is indeed ‘bad enough’. Israel has already established a unique interpretation of the notion of wickedness that has managed to surpass any other evil. It is about time we internalise the fact that Israel and Zionism are the ultimate Evil with no comparison. And if this is not enough, unlike Nazism that belongs to the past, Zionism’s wickedness is a crime which is still unfolding and worsening. Chavez obviously has the absolute right to say what he said, yet I have to remind the adorable Venezuelan President that Hitler has never flattened a country for no reason at all, and this is exactly what the Israelis have been doing in Lebanon for four weeks already and in Gaza for years and years. Looking at the carnage and the devastation in Lebanon doesn’t leave any room for doubt. The current Israeli brutality is nothing but evilness for the sake of evilness. Retribution that knows no mercy. Israel is a devastating collective resurrection of the Biblical Samson. It is a modern representation of the man who kills women, children and the elderly, the Hebraic victorious master of blind indiscriminate retaliation.
For years, politically correct liberals who present themselves as leftists have been insisting upon telling us that Israeli aggression should be understood in expansionist colonial terms. This line of thinking is still promoted by more than a few Jewish peace activists around the world. The reason is simple; as long as Israel is a colonialist state, then the archaic 19th century Marxist orthodox paradigm can be applied to the conflict. Moreover, if Israel is indeed an expansionist colonial regional force, then nothing is categorically wrong with the Israelis, they are just like the British were, but 150 years too late.
Nonsense! The above dated interpretation is fundamentally wrong and deliberately misleading. Moreover, it is not applicable anymore, not even as a Judeo-centric PC fig leaf. Watching the devastation the Israeli Air Force has left in its wake, looking at the death and carnage in Lebanon doesn’t leave any room for doubt. It has nothing to do with colonialism or expansionism. Lebanon and Beirut are not and have never been part of the Zionist Lebensraum aspiration. It is the other way around, till the late 1960’s the Israelis were totally sure that Lebanon would be the first Arab country to make peace with the Jewish State. Israel has never had any interest in the north of the Litani River and in spite of that, Israel has now destroyed every single Lebanese bridge, every airport, every power station. Hospitals are bombed, villages and neighbourhood have been wiped out, one thousand Lebanese civilians have lost their lives and over a million citizens are displaced and homeless. Now is the time to stand up and say it, unlike the Nazis who had respect for other national movements including Zionism, Israel has zero respect for anyone including its next door neighbours. The Israeli behaviour should be realised as the ultimate vulgar biblical barbarism on the verge of cannibalism. Israel is nothing but evilness for the sake of evilness. It is wickedness with no comparison.
Hence, there is no room for comparison between Israel and the Nazis. If a comparison is to be made, then it is the Israelis who win the championship of ruthlessness and the reasons are obvious. Nazi Germany was a tyranny, Israel is a democracy led by a centre-left national unity government. While we do not have any formal objective tool to determine the German people’s approval of Nazi crimes (in the first place, Germans were not informed about Nazi homicidal crimes. Secondly, there was no objective independent poll system active in Germany at the time), the Israelis collectively approve their government’s crimes in Lebanon and this fact is overwhelmingly documented in more than a few polls.
Nazis were indeed proper expansionists, they were trying to take towns and land intact. Carpet bombing and total erasure of populated areas that is so trendy amongst Israeli military and politicians (as well as Anglo-Americans) has never been a Nazi tactic or strategy. Apparently, Israel isn’t trying to take Lebanon; Israelis do not seem to be interested in Lebanese land. They just want to demolish it. One may wonder what it is that they really want to achieve. In fact no one in Israel, or anywhere else for that matter, knows. Do they want to dismantle the Hezbollah? Surely, they have achieved the very opposite. Their impression that Hezbollah is a small faction of minority fundamentalist militia that could be done away with effortlessly is shown as a ridiculous thesis with each passing day. Not only has it demonstrated itself as a force to be reckoned with, Hezbollah is now supported by 85% of the Lebanese people and this includes the Christian population (80% support among the Christian Lebanese). Does Israel want to maintain its power of deterrence? Surely it achieved the very opposite. By now, every Arab knows that the Israeli Army isn’t that glamorous anymore. In fact the photos of the Israeli military boot left on Lebanese soil says it all. In this war, it is the Israeli soldier who is taking off his military boots and running away for his life. Does Israel want to secure its populated centres? Surely it has achieved the very opposite. The more Israel hits Lebanon’s infrastructure, the greater are the barrages of missiles that are falling on Israeli cities. In fact, it is just a question of time before Tel Aviv gets a glimpse into the notion of life in Gaza and Beirut. Indeed Israel has no plan or strategy; instead it practices the lowest form of collective barbarian zeal. The Israelis demolish for the sake of demolishing. Israel is indeed an evil with no comparison.
Yet, we have to admit that Nazis were pretty good in provoking some international outrage. Not many loved Hitler beyond the Germanic world (and the English aristocracy). Israeli cannibalism, on the other hand, is adored by some Western leaders, and it is Blair, Bush and even Merkel who are afraid to stand up to Zionist barbarism. While Nazism was defeated 12 years after it took power, Zionist brutality is a snowball of repulsive anger that knows no boundaries and no end. It rolls over the West and recruits the most morally deteriorated forces around, whether they are Blair and his ilk or some radical American Christian Fundamentalists. Zionism aims at turning our planet into a bloody battlefield. For the time being it is reducing the UN institution into an American neoconservative puppet. It is time we admit that Zionists are standing in the very centre of the so-called ‘Cultural Clash’. While Nazism was a nationalist expansionist movement with extensive yet limited ambitions, the Jewish State and its Zionist lobbies are trying to revive the spirit of a global crusade in the name of a bizarre religious war (Judeo-Christian versus Muslim). If we want to save this world, if we want to live in a humane planet, we must focus on the gravest enemy of peace, those who are wicked for the sake of evilness: the Israeli State and world Zionism.
It is about time to get out of the closet and to say it all loudly. Israel and Zionism endanger our world. It isn’t just Lebanon, Palestine and the Arabs who suffer. It is now Britain and America that are dragged into an idiotic war. It is the entire West that is asked to rescue what the Israelis left out of Lebanon. We all have to de-Zionise ourselves before it is too late. We have to admit that Israel is the ultimate evil rather than Nazi Germany. Abe Foxman and the ADL are correct for a change, we all need a reality check. We should never compare Israel to Nazi Germany. As far as evilness is concerned, we should now let Israel take the lead.
COMING VERY SOON: THE REVELATION OF A TOP SECRET ISRAELI WEAPON THAT HAS LONG BEEN KEPT UNDER WRAPS. GILAD ATZMON HAS DISCOVERED DETAILS OF THIS DESTRUCTIVE NEW WEAPON USED AGAINST THE LEBANESE PEOPLE.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Let's go surfin' now
Michael has not one but two excellent sites that deconstruct the pro-Israeli Hasbara
Israel Forum Watch and Dishonest Reporting. Both of which are well written, informative and helpful in combatting the propaganda. Don't miss them.
Mo has a great new blog Axis of Israel, and it deserves to get a lot of readers. Mohammed's Khobbeizeh is another really good blog with lots of information and colour. Desert Peace is a very good blog by an Israeli in Jerusalem. Renegade Eye occasionally interests me. Long time visitors here will be familiar with Andrew. Ziopedia is his very complete and well-stocked site. Wake up from your slumbers is a really fabulous blog. Palestine vs. Israel is a blog by a moderate Palestinian man. It has some interesting points of view, but I don't have the stomach for the comments section. If anyone wants to really dialogue (so to speak) with Israelis, this is probably the best place for it.
Not to leave out the Italians! I get many Italian readers, and sometimes I feel really bad that I don't do any posts in Italian. I read a lot of Italian blogs, especially Mirumir, Antiamericanista, Gennaro Carotenuto and especially Kelebek, but discover Italian blogs much slower than blogs in English, although at times they are much more lively than English blogs. Belinate is one I have visited from time to time, but was reminded of again thanks to some comments here from Antonio.
And that brings me to this point, when people with blogs leave comments, I go to check out the site. It's actually a good way (I prefer it to hitting people's blogrolls) to discover new blogs. So, if you have a blog, leave a comment someplace and I will check it out. Links to ones I like take me a little longer to do, but about once a week I try to update that. And, more importantly, if you have something to say, start up a blog. I can't tell you how simple it was. It does become a sort of commitment, but technically it is very simple, and actually, it is another way to do activism and diffusion of ideas.
Lastly, our old friend Simon has got around to updating his blog! Simon Jones blog is back!
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Ran HaCohen - Israeli Intellectuals LOVE the War!
August 7, 2006
Dedicated to the too few Israeli intellectuals who do dare speak out against this war.
All generalizations are wrong, except this one: Israeli liberal intellectuals are against war. They have always been against it, and they even suffered greatly for their critical views, as they stress proudly. They were against the previous war, they will be against the next war, they are against all wars. There is just one minor exception, though: the present war, every present war, which they always support. Because the present war – well, that's something totally different from all those other wars! How can you even compare?! The present war is always inevitable, and necessary, and just, and worthy of support.
For those who imagine Israel's intellectual elite as a sane oasis of rational, moderate, peace-loving liberals, here are a few snapshots of Israel's intellectual cheerleaders on their current patriotic march supporting the devastation of Lebanon.
From 1984 to 1948
Rhinoceros King Ari Shavit, journalist for Ha'aretz, once a "Peace Now" activist and senior member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), writes,
"Israel is currently waging the most just war in its history. […] Therefore, anyone who yearns for Israel to withdraw in future from occupied territories to recognized permanent borders must stand by Israel in this war. Anyone who wants peace, stability, and an end to the occupation must back up Israel in its just war." (Ha'aretz, July 18, 2006)
To put it briefly, then, War is Peace and Peace is War; and Israel is devastating Lebanon just in order to give the Palestinians their freedom.
If Shavit's intellectual inspiration sounds literary (George Orwell), historian Prof. Yosef Gorny of Tel Aviv University would rather go back to History – in the upper case. In a short article titled "The Second War of Independence" (sic!) he writes:
"In a reality in which Iran threatens the free world, this struggle against its proxy in Lebanon is a war for the existence of the State of Israel in the future. In this respect, though under completely different circumstances, the struggle to create the State itself in the War of Independence about 60 years ago and the war nowadays have a common denominator. And here lies also their common justification: the struggle for our national existence." (Ha'aretz, July 30, 2006)
Gorny's formulation is just a little more pathetic than others', but the endlessly recycled notion of Hezbollah being an existential threat to Israel's existence has brainwashed the minds of so many Israelis. Playwright Yehoshua Sobol, for example, describes the Hezbollah attack (as well as the Qassam missiles from Gaza) as "an announcement that our very self has no right to exist" (Ma'ariv, July 21, 2006). Insane as it may sound, people have been persuaded that having a good part of Israel within the reach of Hezbollah missiles is an existential threat. At the same time, the fact that every spot in the Middle East – and far beyond – is within the reach of Israel's conventional and unconventional weapons is not conceived as an existential threat to anybody: after all, Israel is a responsible country that just wants peace…
Writer A. B. Yehoshua, the self-designated "man of peace," says it all in his typical, more primitive manner:
"At last we've got a just war, so we shouldn't gnaw at it too much till it becomes unjust." (Ha'aretz, July 21, 2006)
Kill Them All
"At last," says Yehoshua frankly: the old "peacenik" had indeed been yearning for war for a long time. Israeli fascist leader Affe Eitam once admitted that the one thing that thrills him is "the sight of men going to war"; for Yehoshua, purification is the desired effect. Two years ago, he was dreaming of bloody Israeli operations in Gaza; his dream has now come true, though it hardly gets to the media thanks to the events in Lebanon:
"After we take out the settlements … we would use force against an entire population, use force in a total manner. … We would cut off the electricity in Gaza. We would cut off communications in Gaza. We would stop fuel supply to Gaza…. It won't be a desirable war, but definitely a purifying one." (Ha'aretz, March 19, 2004)
Rafi Ginat, editor-in-chief of Israel's highest-selling daily, has even more plastic fantasies. On the front page of his newspaper he urges the government to "wipe out villages that host Hezbollah terrorists" and "wash with burning fire the Hezbollah terrorists, their helpers, their collaborators, and those who look the other way, and everyone who smells like Hezbollah, and let their innocent people die instead of ours." (Yediot Ahronot, July 28, 2006)
Popular songwriters and singers like the orthodox Amir Benayon are seldom liberals, so nobody raises a brow when he dresses the same thoughts in more poetic robes:
"My haters urge to kidnap me, to wipe me out,
And inject me with poison…
The cruel enemy murders yet another child,
And the enemy must die… must die…."
The Israeli intellectual, however, would shrug his shoulders at this as typical "Eastern primitivism." We liberals have our highbrow poets, with refined taste and overwhelming erudition. Like Ilan Shenfeld, who claims he has "always been a leftist" – which is why, like every true poet, he suffers so much in this war: "It's not easy for me to write a poem that supports war and urges to invade a sovereign area of another state and devastate it." Shenfeld overcame this difficulty, and his poem, alluding to "the national poet" Bialik, shows once again that true agony always yields the best poetry:
"March on Lebanon and also on Gaza with ploughs and salt.
Destroy them to the last inhabitant.
Turn them into an arid desert, an uninhabited, turbid valley.
Because we yearned for peace and wanted it, and our houses we destroyed first,
But they were a wasted gift for those murderers, with beard and Jihad bands,
Who shout: 'Massacre now!,' and who have neither love nor peace,
Neither god nor father. […]
"Save your people and make bombs,
and rain them on villages and towns and houses till they collapse.
Kill them, shed their blood, terrify their lives, lest they try again
To destroy us, until we hear from tops of exploding mountains,
Ridden down by your heels, sounds of supplication and lamentation.
And your pits will cover them. Whoever scorns a day of bloodshed,
He should be scorned. Save your people, and make war." (Ynet, July 30, 2006)
Amos Oz Prepares for War Crimes
Ironically enough, Shenfeld's poem was posted on the day of the (second) massacre in Qana – a coincidence that left even the poet himself somewhat embarrassed. The bloodbath wouldn't have embarrassed a much more experienced Israeli propagandist: Amos Oz, AKA the Zionist peace camp incarnate. Having supported PM Ehud Barak long after he started the murderous crushing of the Intifada, Oz now counts on his readers' short memory when he writes, under the Orwellian title "Why Israeli missiles strike for peace":
"Many times in the past the Israeli peace movement criticized Israeli military operations. Not this time. […] This time, Israel is not invading Lebanon. It is defending itself[…]. The Israeli peace movement should support Israel's attempt at self-defense, pure and simple, as long as this operation targets mostly Hezbollah and spares, as much as possible, the lives of Lebanese civilians." (Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2006)
And here, lest he be embarrassed by some future massacre of civilians, Oz remembers to add the following standard propaganda theme, for any eventuality:
"(This is not always an easy task, as Hezbollah missile-launchers often use Lebanese civilians as human sandbags.)"
The Enemy Within
Hezbollah is not Israel's only enemy: global intellectuals are always a favorite target of our patriots too. Commenting on their open letter against the war, prominent literary critic Ariana Melamed puts Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, José Saramago, Howard Zinn, and Naomi Klein on par with the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger (Ynet, July 24, 2006), no less. What the hell do they have in common? Well, they are all intellectuals who were mistaken.
But the worst of enemies is the one from within. Jerusalem Hebrew literature scholar Prof. Gershon Shaked accuses "the [Israeli] left" of "a desire to please the Europeans" to the extent of "losing all moral criteria, not to mention a minimum of patriotism." Similar, though somewhat more detailed is the explanation of senior journalist and analyst Dan Margalit, who openly accuses "the radical left" (referring to the liberal-left Zionist Shulamit Aloni) not only of "unprecedented moral abyss," but also of "love towards its master in Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran." (Ma'ariv, July 26, 2006)
Haifa sociologist Prof. Oz Almog all of a sudden discovers an "appalling similarity between 1933 and 2006," with Iran's president as the new Adolf Hitler, "Islamic fundamentalism" as the new Nazism, and all those who dare criticize Israel's atrocities as the offspring of European anti-Semites (Ynet, July 30, 2006). Such banal historical analogies are, of course, always at hand. In the past, writer Yoram Kanyuk, repeatedly boasting of his peace activism somewhere in the previous millennium, expressed his support for the then-Likud leader Ariel Sharon by comparing him to Winston Churchill – in the bloodiest days of the Intifada, during "Operation Defense Shield" (Ha'aretz, May 15, 2002). Now, Kanyuk can hardly stop short of turning PM Ehud Olmert into a new Napoleon, or is it Julius Caesar?
"In spite of the massive killing, I support this war and I support Olmert, who is running an important, principal, perhaps even mythical war. In a brief moment, he became a great commander." (Ynet, July 23, 2006)
When the American invasion to Iraq had to be justified, Kanyuk compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler (Ha'aretz, Oct. 8, 2002). On his flight from Kanyuk's sharp feather, Hitler has managed to move a few hundred miles eastward, convert to Shi'ite Islam, and even grow a beard – but failed to fool our literary detective, who develops WWII plus Armageddon into a WWIII made in Israel:
"The Iranians and the Hezbollah say precisely what they think. They want to put us in a hard crisis and them find a way to eliminate us. When Hitler spoke this way, people were laughing at the clown. The left is still laughing. But one can say to its credit that in those days too the international left was laughing. Europe with tens of millions of Muslims living there, not a few extremists among them, will get the blow, because the new world war starts in a small step in Bint Jbeil." (Ynet, Aug. 4, 2006)
The Silence of the Doves
As in every atrocity, there are notorious bystanders: those who support evil just by doing nothing to stop it. Not a surprising position for a mainstream novelist like Shulamit Lapid, whose great wisdom and modesty produced the following pearl:
"I don't want to say anything, because everything is very dynamic and what's true today won't be true tomorrow[…]. It would be insolent to express any opinion on the subject." (Ha'aretz, July 21, 2006)
More disappointing, however, is pop singer Aviv Gefen, for many Israelis the incarnation of a left-wing protest singer:
"I am a man of peace, dissident, pacifist, you know. But they simply imposed war upon us, I don't see any other way to avoid it[…]. I oppose the occupation in the clearest way, but today, I think, one has to keep silent a little." (Walla, Aug. 5, 2006)
thanks Jeff and Inge for the forward.