The Plastic Hippo

July 21, 2014

Eyeless in Gaza

Filed under: Faith,History,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
Tags: , ,
Shave and a haircut

Shave and a haircut

It was no less a visionary than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who allegedly said that an eye for an eye leaves the world blind. It is not certain when the Mahatma offered this rather sensible advice or in what context he intended it to be used but it is tempting to imagine that this call for sanity was made during the partition of India in 1947. If it was true then, then it is true now and was equally true in 1948 with the creation of the State of Israel.

The mindless horror once again unfolding in Gaza does not have its root cause in the end of the British mandate in Palestine or even in the British Balfour Declaration of 1917. Although those events have unquestionably contributed to the current madness, we need to consider a more ancient time when Jerusalem was the centre of a much smaller universe, London was a swamp and the followers of Abraham decided to go their separate ways. When Abraham laid the foundations for three of the great world religions; Christianity, Islam and Judaism, even his great wisdom could not have imagined that God`s vengeance would promote the schism and be delivered by suicide vest or laser guided from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

There is a bit of a problem with sacred ancient texts. They undoubtedly offer a credible moral code even in this wicked modern age and the Ten Commandments, for example, look sensible enough if you take out the part about coveting your neighbours slaves and oxen. But you have to sign up for the lot and can`t pick and choose the bits you want to believe and the bits you decide to disbelieve for that way lies eternal damnation as an unbeliever. It`s all or nothing. For millennia, the true word of God was unavailable to the majority of the faithful unable to read Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Koine Greek, old Latin, Coptic, Syriac or Ge`ez or unable to read at all; so clever people did the reading for us. This is of enormous use as the shamans are able to interpret and explain why women must be forbidden from driving motor vehicles, exactly how many children Methuselah had sired before his 969th birthday and exactly how Samson defeated an entire army on his own employing only the jawbone of an ass. It says so in the sacred texts so it must be gospel unless, of course, it`s an allegory or a parable or foul heresy spread by unbelievers corrupting the true and only word of God with a different version of the only true word of God.

What is happening in Gaza has very little to do with the teachings of Abraham but has everything to do with the power cravings of some very unpleasant mortal men hiding behind Holy Scripture as a justification for barbarity. Coercing impressionable people to enter a market or board a bus and then blow themselves up is not a guarantee of martyrdom or paradise. Lobbing home-made Katyusha rockets over the razor wire topped security wall with no idea where they will land or digging tunnels into Israel is not likely to bring about a free Palestine. Targeting and killing boys playing on a beach and deploying tanks against infants and telling people to leave when they have nowhere to go and texting a hospital 60 seconds before you bomb the hell out of it is not self defence. It might be of use to revisit the wording of the Balfour Declaration of 1917:
“His Majesty`s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

The Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is behaving not just with unacceptable barbarity but also with incredible stupidity. The bombardment of densely populated civilian areas will not kill militants or extremists but the deaths of hundreds of children will drive thousands and thousands of civilians into militancy and extremism by standing against tanks and artillery after arming themselves with only stones and a sling. The corrupt notion of self defence will prove to be self defeating and the Israeli government has allowed itself to become open to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. When Netanyahu describes mutilated infants as “collateral damage” and the “telegenic dead” and when one of his ministers talks of “self-genocide”, we need to question what holy book these men have been reading.

Hamas, although democratically elected, are not Gaza and Gaza is not Islam. Zionists, although democratically elected, are not Israel and Israel is not Judaism. Western governments, wracked with Christian guilt over the horror of the Holocaust and turning two blind eyes to the crimes of the Israeli leadership, are not Christian and continue to supply the most powerful and lethal war machine in the Middle East with more and more sophisticated weaponry.

The conflict in Gaza is, theoretically, as one sided as the combat between David and Goliath. However, the boy who would later become the King of the Israelites managed to kill the mighty giant armed with just five stones and a sling and was able to carry the decapitated head of Goliath to Jerusalem.

Betrayed, blinded and imprisoned by the Philistines and then set to work on a treadmill, Samson`s final defiance came about as he was paraded by his captors. Summoning up all his God given, super human strength to destroy himself, the Philistine Temple of Dagon and all the worshipers inside, this hero of the Jewish faith probably has a credible claim as history`s first suicide bomber.

Ironically, the Temple of Dagon once existed in a thin strip of land called Gaza.

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