Monday, July 17, 2006

In A Corner Backed In

Another postcard from the edge:

I find myself in a moral dilemma trying to figure out what's going on between Israel and Lebanon and how to form an opinion on it. My gut reaction to Mr. Harper's comments that Israel was acting in self defence and was demonstrating a measured response was not very good. Part of the problem is the twisted language. Orwell's ghost sighs with exasperation. Can't you people grow up and say what you mean. I have no idea what self defense means anymore and measured is just one of those words that does'nt really mean anything except that its intended to make us feel better about the death of people in both countries. I've never trusted Economists to speak clearly.

When the news came out that a Canadian family from Montreal was killed while visiting in Southern Lebanon I was absolutely fuming with the seeming recklessness of the IDF. I don't believe for a second that the IDF deliberately wanted to kill Canadians or any other civilians, I just wonder how these things happen, especially in the age of advanced weapon technology. I wondered how Mr. Harper would talk his way out of the seeming contradiction. Israel defends itself in a measured manner by accidentally killing a Canadian family and other civilians. How do you stand up with a straight face and tell people you support this. I have a sick feeling that Canada's position on the middle east has been radically changed by a minority government without any discussion at all. There's a debate you can look forward to with fear and loathing.

We have a pretty complacent life here in North America. Our hearts bleed a little when people die en masse in the third world. But then there's all that hockey to watch. Then we hear that some Americans or Canadians were killed and all our moral outrage starts pouring out. If you allow yourself a moment of reflection you start to ask yourself why one man's life is more important to you than another. It will be interesting to see how the Canadian media reacts to this family being killed. I wonder how they would react if Hezbollah had killed them.

The classic right/left positions don't really work and never have. Right wing thinking says that you have to approve of everything that Israel does or else you are anti-semitic and support terrorism. Typical leftist thinking offers too much sympathy to the Palistinian leaders who choose terrorism as a tactic and offer no hope to their people. Both positions are full of crap. A classic case of the coercive false dilemma. With us or against us can't be the only two choices because neither offers any hope.

If anything I suspect I have a bias towards Israel and a lack of understanding of the other side. I actually know very little about the Palestinians and their history. I have a pretty good nose for historical BS. You sort of have to because there's so much of it. I find it hard to get through the first paragraph of a lot of what I read because it is so full of hate and misinformation.

Our biases in North America are mostly cultural and religious. Most Canadians, such as myself, grew up going to Sunday School and learning about the history and religion of the Jewish People since most of their scriptures were co-opted into our Christian Bible. Christianity has always explained itself by using the Jewish Nation, History and Symbolism as a metaphor for the Church. I can see from the wacky rapture-ready web sites that this has caused all kinds of perverted thinking. Do they really need to cheer for the death of Palestians to feel closer to Christ and his return?

I also find myself not understanding why Israel keeps getting drawn into the same wars over and over again when it is clear that the approach is not working. I have trouble understanding why the Palestinian leadership repeatedly puts its civilians in such deadly and hopeless circumstances.

Dante was supposed to have written, The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality. Well, he's only half right. Hell also reserves a places for people who coerce side-picking in a crisis where both sides are plain and deadly wrong. Please recommend this post

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