Saturday, July 22, 2006

Genet weighs in on the newest mid-East crisis

It is seriously ironic that even in an age when the world is more connected than ever and when events thousands of kilometres away are known to all that there is still such a Brechtian distancing effect from real events. We all see what is happening in Lebanon, but apart from Lebanese ex-pats, nobody seems to be able to move their ass to do anything about it.

Before I continue I should say that I could initially understand the Israeli government trying to free its soldiers and simultaneously weakening Hezzbolah. After the Beirut airport was reduced to rubble, it became clear to me that something else was going on... Namely, a desire to assert and cement Israeli military dominance in the region with essentially "shock and awe" tactics. Conveniently, Israel cannot claim to have developed this military strength independently, as without massive US support, it would be virtually defenseless. Just like Hezbollah would not exist without external aid. And I'm not comparing the two, so don't get all mental.

As a democratically elected government, I think that Israel has to maintain democratic ideals and behave as a democracy. I understand that their security is threatened and that the kidnapping of anyone is intolerable. OK. I also realize that Hezbollah poses a threat to Israeli citizens. But I also find it utterly reprehensible that a democratic nation would use such force against neighbouring countries on the basis of defending its security and returning the kidnapped solders. In any other context, this disproportionate use of violence would be resolutely condemned. Why not now? How does the Beirut (civilian) Airport endanger Haifa? It doesn't. How does a Lebanese-Canadian toddler threaten Israel? Why does this seemingly rogue-nation behaviour become justified? It almost feels like a teenager with pent-up rage going mental over not being able to borrow the family sedan on Saturday night.

Frankly, I find it revolting. Unfortunately, the only nation that can influence the situation is the US which seems to believe that it is perfectly acceptable for a foreign government to kill civilians in another country for security purposes. Oh wait! They invaded Iraq for the threat some mysterious WMDs posed... Right! Totally forgot, since after the absence of said WMDs it was a battle for the "freedom" of the Iraqi people... the WMDs got lost in the shuffle. As did the threat. And therefore the whole point of the war. And that was always known. Who knew that freedom meant the persistant spectre of being kidnapped or almost daily bombings? Y

Hezbollah is nuts. However, they were not sanctioned by the Lebanese people in their recent acts. Shelling Haifa is disgusting and dangerous. Every country has the right to defend itself and if Israel took out Hezbolah, I would find it great. However, there must be limits and the target has to be consistant and focused. There is a reason why Mr. Olmert is the head of a government and not a terrorist organization- governments are supposed to act based on justice and ideals, they are not meant to emulate the wanton devastation that terrorists favour.

And where is the rest of the world on this issue? How can Harpy not retract his statement the the Israeli response has been measured when his own citizens are fleeing in intense fear? Clearly, Lebanon has become a battleground for forces that are mostly unrelated to the country itself, namely Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, Israel and perhaps, the US. But it is the citizens of Lebanon that are petrified, dying and that lack the necessities of life. Are we so politicized that we can make human suffering an abstract concept?

On a more practical note, I find it astounding that the US and Israel use violence to combat "Islamic radicals" but show very little desire in helping address the real, underlying causes of this radicalism. The invasion of Iraq was meant to protect the US from terrorism, but by subjecting Iraqis to massive instability, hardship and uncertainty through a botched and illegal war, I am certain that many more kids in Baghdad will want to damage the West today than could be found 5 years ago. Similarily, by destroying civilian's lives, does Israel really believe that it is not fostering even more hate? I'm sure Hezbollah now enjoys more public support than it did two weeks ago... How does that help security? This is exasperatingly stupid.

I'll shut up now.


At 9:24 PM, Blogger Dorna said...

Seriously. I thought this was going to end soon after it started but seems like it is just going to keep going.

How can we be pro democracy when our foreign policy (and Israel's as well) has been based on total bullying and dictatorship over the rest of the countries. And the US is supporting Israel right now cause it thinks it will rid us from having to worry about Hezbollah, where as this is just going create another whole country for terroirists to roam free in the region.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Genet said...

I'm just as baffled, Dorna.

If you piss people off, they are not going to like you. It shouldn't be hard to understand that. And when you are ruining people's lives, they tend to get pissed off. Not that terrorists should be pandered to, but know your enemy and try preventing the conditions that create terrorists. That's probably better than bombing the shit out of random non-combatants, eh?

At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Niko said...

Very well said Genet, thanks for saying it.

At 12:15 AM, Blogger PDD said...

Hypothetically speaking, if the Israeli's were to take out the Hezbollah, it will never end. As you know, there is too much annomosity with respect to the Jews kicking Palestinians out of their own country. I can understand it to a point. I think I would be pretty pissed off if someone came into my home and threw me out and then turn around and called me a terroist if I retaliated. Thats annoying.

The legal terroists and the illegal terroists.

It is quite disgusting how America sits back and allows this to happen as if it's the only right thing to do. If it were the other way around - if Jews kidnapped Lebonon soldiers, or members of hezbollah etc and the Lebonese fought back the same as the jews currently are or not even, America would be in there bombing the shit out of Lebonon before anyone could say "party". The Americans and the Jews invest so much into each other to do anything different.

Having said all of that, I can understand both sides. But somehow this has got to stop. But somehow I don't believe it will. This is going to go on for quite some time and I think others will get involved.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Genet said...

PDD: This recent military campaign has only served to strengthen Hezbollah in terms of popular support.

Many, many Palestinians wish for a quick peace-process with Israel as many, many Israelu want as well.

Fringe groups like Hezbollah exist because there is no framework for peace and they fill the void that politicos on both sides have left.

For example, Hamas has helped build infrastructure in Palestine (before they were elected as the government) and enjoyed massive popular support. People in dire situations tend to support whoever decideds to better their experience. Instead of military might, why hasn't Israel- who occupies this territory - considered rebuilding and providing humanitarian relief to the Palestinians? That would do so much in the way of confidence building rather than the current militaristic solution. After all, if you are going to take over a people's land and occupy it for decades, there is an implicit responsibility to provide these people with the basics of life. I'm getting annoyed and need to think about something else, like my elegant foreskin.

At 6:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if I had a brain, I would have said it like you, Nanda

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Nick Fulton said...

You are spot on.
First and foremost we have to think about the innocent people being killed. In New Zealand all the media have been talking about is getting our nationals out. What about the people that can't escape. I have heard very few governments condoning Isreal, even a government as librel as NZ's has said nothing.


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