Friday, July 21, 2006

War Begins*

Today, on the Beeb (via NPR), I heard the mayor of a small Lebanese town say that though the population of his city had swollen by thirty percent since the start of the bombings, they have been able to manage by using local resources--such as school buildings emptied ’cos of summer vacation--and NGOs, but that the government has been slow to respond and that they have received no offers of assistance from the international community. No offers. I’m pretty sure that he stressed the word “no.”

I’m trying to imagine what that must be like to be bombed, to lose one’s home, to have to bundle up the children and what papers and provisions you can muster and forget about your job or your vacation plans or your daily gossip with the person across the street or the dish you planned to cook and just set off into the unknown with zero idea about forthcoming sanctuary or safety… or your next meal or potable water. And then no one even says sorry or offers a token of sociability.

It’s difficult to believe that people are doing it to other people.

I’m not qualified to make peace in the middle-east. But I’ve had this recurring dream since my age was in the single digits that someone would go out and mobilize peace just by the earnest, transparent simplicity of their appeal--like my man Gandhi could. It hasn’t happened so far.

I'm thinking about it again, and it’s really difficult to believe that real live people are doing it to other people. And that no one says sorry. For fuck’s sake, we expect an apology if someone so much as grazes us at the supermarket.

Perhaps that sounds naïve, perhaps that sounds like I have no idea.

Perhaps explaining it to me taxes your patience--like it did Dhivya’s when she was fifteen and writing an “O” level essay about the “reasons why” the nazis wanted to exterminate Jews. It’s because the number of Jews in the professional classes was out of proportion with their number in the general populace, she told me. It’s because they were rich and successful and it made ordinary Germans angry and jealous. I’m familiar with anger, with jealousy--it was the cognitive jump to extermination that escaped me. It was weeks later that I understood Dhivya’s insistence that anger and jealousy (A) could lead to the desire to exterminate (B). The A to B progression had been gone over, over and over again by her Sri Lankan grandmother (kind, progressive, politically well connected) who had to flee from Sinhala mobs in the 1980s.

So perhaps, since i have no personal experience of war or serious conflict, i’m talking out of my… let’s say--nether regions. But i do know that CNN’s reportage is cheerfully biased--with token articles in the vein of why can't we all just get along without any authentic analysis. So, i’d like to help put Counterpunch’s articles on record. See Racism Plagues Media Coverage of Gaza Assault and Israel, the US, and the New Orientalism .

Also, this interesting documentary on the Western media’s partisanship and a video by hip-hop Palestinian group DAM.

*with a "W" as AliG would say.

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