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09 January 2009

Context

Just to stay on the subject because the war/operation continues and because I have things on my mind. I'll get back to posting baby toddler videos soon, I promise.

I found the picture below and I just saw two dead men, probably about my age. And because I was born with a functioning heart, I felt bad. Then I read the caption, and I took another look at the picture, and automatically I thought, "They got what they deserved."

How quickly we turn from empathy to apathy. Even glee.

deadAnd I'm sorry for putting up this horrible picture. But after you look or turn away from this image, realize that when we talk about war or operations or whatever they decide to call this thing, we're talking about people with dislocated limbs and burned faces. We're talking about the horror we ignore when instead we deal with who's right and who's wrong.

Our stupid opinions.

And we can see dead bodies and say, "They had it coming," but that's just our all too human brain shielding our souls from the horror of this picture, stopping us from seeing the horrors of our own inaction. How easy it is, when given a comfortable context, to know horror exists and simply not care.

I'm just dealing with my own demons here. Don't worry about it. And as promised...

Next time on this corner of the internet, a video of a cute and innocent baby who really tries to talk and understand the world. A baby who will one day see this picture and ask me to explain.

14 comments:

SJ said...

Picking a side we are told is important. To be undecided or the-god-who-may-not-exist forbid to be moderate or wishy washy is the worst. But the fact is so much of death and destruction caused by both sides seems pointless.

Ali said...

Pointless and yet Israelis havent acheieved anything so far, except for losing the propoganda war and more and more pictures and videos of killed Palestinian children. No one wins in any war. Did you see the picture of the head of the Palestinian child whose whole body is burried under the destroyed house? I couldnt see that one

Shelli said...

What this photo, and it's caption, says to me is that war is gruesome. Even more gruesome if you picture those two individuals as children with a baseball bat instead of an instrument of war. I don't mean that as "they were once children with a baseball bat". I mean that as "I'm sure there are children lying dead who may have been playing baseball at one time" from this gruesome war.

Could you please update us periodically about your family? I pray for them and think about them often.

Ricardo said...

I've seen worse as far as pictures go but it ain't pretty, that's for sure. War is a terrible thing and I can totally see how this conflict can get the better of you given the fact that you were there in the IDF.

It has even gotten the better of people who know very little about the conflict. Look at all the rallies and other stuff going on.

I just want it all to end but it does not seem likely as Israel has vowed to push deeper into Gaza.

Tom Harper said...

That picture really is horrifying. But we all need to see pictures like this and maintain an ongoing awareness of the violence and tragedy.

And you're right, there's a human tendency to be horrified by a picture at first glimpse, and then rationalize it with "oh, it's just THEM."

A Free Man said...

What's that saying about opinions and assholes? I've got to tell you I'm flummoxed, I usually have a very strong opinion about who's at fault in these things. But as I get older and read more varied opinions (including yours) I can't stand by that black and white opinion anymore. I just know that what's happening in Gaza is bad but I've no idea who's at fault or who to blame or who is right.

Ali said...

Shelli, I don't want to advertise my blog but if you check it you will see pictures of children who lost their lives, dreams, and hopes of a normal life and not that it, Israel started using the banned chemical weapons "White Phosphorus". This war is crazy and no one is topping either side. The only hope is that Israel runs out of weapons or the US stops blindly supporting its actions.

People in the Sun said...

SJ, it seems like the game of politics is taking over, as usual. Israel cannot negotiate with Hamas as an equal party, because why should it? Israel has the guns and the numbers, and so what if people call Israel the new Apartheid? Israel is the only country, apart from the US, that supports the Cuba embargo (okay, I see Palau has joined them, whatever the fuck Palau is). Israeli leaders knows the only thing that matters is the US. And they know Americans have a short attention span. At this point, the fighting has been reduced to numbers at the back of the news.

Ali, even if they achieve a temporary reduction of rockets, did they achieve anything that couldn't have been achieved in other ways? And at what price? Dislocation of thousands? More refugees? That just means another generation of kids who vow for revenge. Another lost generation.

I didn't see that picture of the child. I was trying to make a slightly different point about the picture in this post, like Tom says in the comment below: the problem we face when we find ourselves saying, "Oh, it's just THEM."

Shelli, probably not baseball, but I'm sure they played soccer, just like Israeli kids. And they worshiped Diego Armando Maradona, just like Israeli kids did. And then they grew up and got to the point where killing people was justified. Just like Israelis.

And thanks for your concern about my family. Everyone is good. For the majority of the country, the fighting is something they hear about on the news. I'm sure most people also know someone who has been recruited to go to Gaza, but as far as I know no one from my family has gone.

Ricardo, I was in Gaza in the early 90s. I'm almost being nostalgic thinking how many rocks I caught with my face. But you know, as a foot soldier, you see these people in front of you. You hesitate every time you reach for your gun. You think of the rules of engagement. You know it's better to have a bloody ear than to watch a young man die in front of you. And I wasn't a pacifist then--you don't have to be to think like that. But when fighting involves these incredible missiles coming from above to turn buildings into craters you get to the point where you have nearly a thousand people dead and you still feel you're doing nothing wrong.

Tom, I'm glad you got what I was trying to say here. What of my cherished leftist ideals, my lofty pacifism, if I see the rockets next to the bodies and can only think, "That's two less of them"?

Freeman, you know... As if anyone does know who's right and who's to blame. We all just follow the lead. And the more people you send to their death, the bigger your statue fifty years from now. In fifty years, the statues will tell us who was right.

Ali, I believe Israel will be forced to negotiate once the US aid stops. It will never happen, but that's the best thing that could happen to Israel. Maybe if the economy continues to worsen, the aid to Israel will stop... I know. I will never happen.

And don't get me wrong, I believe Israel has the right to a peaceful life in Israel, but I think the only way it will happen is if war is no longer an option.

Ali said...

Yeah I know what you meant from that picture, after all they are militias soldiers or terrorists. But Im always concerned about the civilians who are currently being burned by White Phosphorus bombs, now thats a tragedy in all its meanings, atleast you get killed instantly by a regular bomb with no suffering. But white phosphorus burns your lungs and organs when suffocated and when it touches your skin it burns it down to the bones. I cant imagine what the underequipped hospitals in Gaza are doing right now. Have you checked AlJazeera English channel live broadcast, you can see the situation there.

A few are optimistic that Obama might pressure Israel and Hamas for a ceasefire, if not then the Arab and world street will not bare more violence and Arab leaders might start loosing their positions and seats, thats why they want to stop this ASAP

Anonymous said...

the think about phosporus bombs is not true
ali please verify your declaration before saying it because its a very serious accusation and Israel told that it's not true

Ali said...

Anon, I have no idea where you live but it seems its not on this planet (and Im not taking it personaly here) but the news on TV (Al Jazeera English Channel, BBC, Russia Today, Yahoo, CNBC, NBC, UN, Human Watch, NY Times, Washignton Post, etc...) and the pictures of burned children faces and civilians is more prove than any Israeli official.

People in the Sun said...

Ali, about a year ago I saw a documentary on Sundance Channel about the way during the fighting with Fatah, Hamas took over the Gaza hospital, firing pro-Fatah doctors and stealing supplies. The current tragedy of the Palestinian people is the fault of Hamas just as much as it is Israel's fault. To a point. The use of these weapons, including white phosphorus and cluster bombs is unbelievable. What rocket launchers are they destroying by using white phosphorus? What Hamas leaders are they hurting by using cluster bombs? It's shameful.

And as for Anonymous' comment, the only way I can justify it is by saying a conscientious person may find it difficult to acknowledge things like that, especially if Anon. is Israeli and faces the thought that horrible things are being done in his name.

The Israeli government didn't deny using white phosphorus. And they said they used it in Lebanon in 2006. I saw a news item today, saying Hamas used that in a rocket attack today. Man, that whole area needs an earthquake, just to put shit in perspective.

Ali said...

PITS, I fully understand your concern. Hamas has lost alot of its credibility because of their lack for leadreship. They did many mistakes for sure, I support you on that one. But the war on the civilians made Hamas stronger not only in the Arab world but in many countries. Because whoever the faulty falls on, 1,300 people died so far thats almost one of the twin towers. more than 300 children bombed with burning white phosphorus makes the blame fall on Israel (a democracy) as it lacks all the ethics. Israel can not finish Hamas, what do you think the kids of those 1300 civilians will grow up to be, doctors, engineers? They already hate Israel.
At the end, yes both sides are to be blamed but this war has achieved a big fat zero! Nothing!

Yesterday my friend told me, we need a huge disaster in the middle east (without any victims) to end the bloodshed that has been going for 60 years. I say we dont, we only need justice and more voices to be heard!

People in the Sun said...

I wonder if Hamas really got stronger. We now see Obama talking only to Fatah (at least officially). I wonder about the future of Hamas. Arab countries were very muted in their reaction. As soon as the first rocket fell in the North, Hezbollah quickly said they had nothing to do with it. Hamas could get stronger, but it could also become much weaker and irrelevant now that Bush is gone.

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