JOURNALS OF ECSTATIC HATE
Sometimes in the construction of a better world, it is necessary to go into the heart of darkness, to quote Conrad. Sometimes it is only in exploring our heart of darkness that we can figure out where we are, so that we know how to get beyond our current fallen state. I am drunk with blood these days, thoughts of blood, fear of blood, the rage of boiling blood, and so is anyone for whom Palestine and Israel are a fixation.
This report of carnage in a Gaza hospital in all its horrifying details is typical of the innocents who are being cut to pieces. What stands out is the report of the impatient, smiling Islamic Jihad fighter who is just thrilled with the blood of his own people. New recruits to his cause. He sees around him a man with his…
In the Land of Hayal’s and Shahids
Writing from Jerusalem
No one knows whether the Middle East is at the dawn of a new era with the accession of President Obama to leadership, whether between Obama, the new Saudi king’s very serious Peace Proposal, and President Assad’s keen interest in a peace process, that we are at the dawn of a strong consensus to finally resolve the central conflict of the region, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. We could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral of hatred, revenge, populist rage, military force, fanatical manipulation, and zero sum desperate final measures of power and destruction that will yield unprecedented human misery in the region. I cannot tell, honestly.
But I do know that we are all responsible for this. We are responsible in everything we say and do, and in every action that we support. The nonsense that corrupt…
Friendship in a Mad World: The Art of the Possible in an Impossible Region
This report in from Sami Moubayed in Damascus. Moubayed speaks with great authority for the official mood in Syria. This cancellation of negotiations by Syria has sent shock waves in an Israeli establishment that thought the talks with Syria were going well. My shock is at their shock:
According to veteran British journalist and Syria expert Patrick Seale Israel’s ‘savage war’ brings home a number of truths:
1) Syria’s fate is tied to the Palestinians. It cannot distance itself from the Palestine cause, whatever incentives Israel might in future be inclined to offer it.
2) Only a comprehensive accord can bring peace to the Middle East – but of this there is at present no sign.
3) Third, by its violence and its brutal indifference to human life, Israel has demonstrated yet again that it is not ready for peace. Its primal urge remains to expand and to dominate, as
She Sits in a Room that is Dark
She sits in a room that is dark. There are no lights, there is no gas or oil. There is no heat, there is no electricity. Those were rare luxuries even before the bombs fell because she is in prison. A place of blockades cut off from the rest of the world for over a year. But now there is no heat at all, and it is freezing cold at night. And, more importantly, she must keep all the windows open for if not they will all shatter from the vibrations of buildings exploding nearby and the glass will explode onto her children.
So she huddles with her children under ten blankets. The children cannot drink milk nor find any meat because she cannot afford these luxuries. She was brought up by a Sufi sheikh, and she was taught so many…
“May I Burn Like the Cigarettes”
Israeli aircraft dropped over 100 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday as part of operation “Cast Lead” launched in response to the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, but Gaza’s inhabitants worry that the worst is yet to come.
The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.
Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.
“My son is gone, my son is gone,”
LEO THE HEALER REVISITED
I had written a piece earlier on Leo Kramer’s pioneering work supporting Palestinian and Israeli doctors who work together. Leo’s follow-up article, Israeli, Palestinian Doctors Affect Change on the Ground, is even more revealing. Leo writes that the medical work is vital because doing is more important than talking, a theme I have been trying to push recently in It Is What You Do That Defines You. Leo writes:
These efforts, however, must also be directed toward achieving results on the ground. That means ameliorating the insecurity of the Israelis, while addressing the deprivation of the Palestinians, their need for medical services, goods, utilities, food and freedom of movement. The overt violence of the conflict is bad enough for both sides, without the medical and humanitarian border crises, which thwart the struggle to maintain a basic standard of living for the Palestinians.
To properly approach security and
Which Israel on Film is Real? You Choose
There is so much chaos in Israel and Palestine right now politically and in terms of peace and violence that it is hard for those of us who know them intimately to keep it all in perspective. For today I just ask you to choose which Israel. I thought I had seen everything. Here is a scene of a senior Israel Defense Forces commander ordering a soldier to shoot at close range a bound and blindfolded Palestinian teenager who earlier can be seen waving a Palestinian flag at a demonstration.
This is filmed by a little girl from her window. Her father is subsequently arrested by the police. They can be heard in the background speaking in the film. Here is another version of the film accompanied by an official news story followed by an Israeli human rights group report. Of course, because this was caught on tape …