I’ve been having an online conversation with a Palestinian about the conflict with Israel. It started with this article from the Daily Mail, about a former Palestinian Intelligence Officer who was tortured and condemned to death by the Palestinian Authorities, for the crime of selling his property to a Jew. It folds into a variety of other political discussions, the current threats from North Korea, the overall political atmosphere in America, and the death of Margaret Thatcher.
My Palestinian friend’s point of view is that there can be no peace as long as Palestine is occupied by Jews. He sees the “Zionists” as an occupational force, brutalizing the Palestinians. He sees the attacks by Palestinians as “Defense”. The former Intel Officer is a traitor to the cause who has gotten what he deserves. He stated at different points that “The only peace can be when Palestine is returned to Palestinian control, the Jews would be a small minority that would be treated as they treat us”, “I don’t think we should kill all the Jews, even though it’s our right”, and “We have a lot of Jew friends and they are real humanitarian people”. The last reminded me too much of the old “I have lots of Black friends” line.
He doesn’t care if the rest of the world, even other Arabs, don’t agree because they’ve been “brainwashed”. He will fight to the last man (or child). No manner of logic could show him his hypocrisy.
He is symbolic of the reason there will not be peace in the Middle East. No matter what agreements leaders may reach, there will always be guerrillas. I have no idea how they ever convinced the IRA to stop killing their brothers, but huge doses are needed in Palestine.
This morning, my step children headed out for a vacation with their father in Hawaii. A they leave, Kim Jong Un increased his threats against the United States. It seems that when he threatened nuclear war, and America flew over North Korea with B2 stealth bombers for exercises in South Korea, Kim’s dignity was devastated, so he moved a couple of missiles which might (they’ve never been tested) be able to reach Guam. Some of his missiles might be able to reach Hawaii, so my wife was relieved that of the threats to launch weapons that he doesn’t have on missiles that can’t reach their targets, her children were not in any imagined danger. China, on the other hand, is holding public emergency drills. Apparently they don’t trust the North Korean guidance systems.
Kim is much like my Palestinian friend. This all began when sanctions were imposed against North Korea for conducting underground nuclear tests. The world knows he’s crazy and doesn’t think he’s responsible enough to possess these weapons. His response is to threaten to use these weapons (which may not exist in a deliverable form). Because he lives in the bubble of his own propaganda, he isn’t aware of reality.
This morning Vladimir Putin threatened to blacklist Americans accused of human rights violations if America bars entry to Russian diplomats accused of human rights violations. When I was able to see again through the tears of laughter, I read the remainder of the article. Sergei Magnitsky died in jail, after he had accused officials of embezzling $230 million. No mention of Chechnya, this was the horrific human rights violation that diplomats had been blacklisted for. One wonders which human rights violations the Russians would choose to blacklist Americans for, but to me, the importance is in the violations each side chooses to ignore. Do we, as citizens of the world, learn more about who is complicit with whom by the omissions? Don’t ask don’t tell hits global politics.
Margaret Thatcher died the other day, just twenty two years after leaving her post as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The insults flow like, well, what does flow out of the UK these days? Having assisted in winning the cold war, and thus freeing the entire world from the threat of nuclear annihilation, she is of course hated by a large segment of the British population. Having been a world wide beacon for women’s rights, the song “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” went to number one on BBC radio in response to her passing. Chivalry may be dead, but misogyny is alive and kicking.
The house intelligence committee (don’t laugh, it’s not an oxymoron in this case) passed a bill degrading internet privacy the other day. One discussion I was following started with a woman bemoaning the evils of the Democratic administration, followed by a response that the house is controlled by Republicans, followed by my response that the intelligence committee is a bi-partisan panel, and that the bill still has to pass both the house and the senate, and be signed by the president. That response was ignored, because it’s so much more fun to pit Republicans against Democrats, and throw in accusations of Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and Theism. Pointing out that the real enemy is totalitarianism, and that politicians are just playing a game of distraction is just not interesting.
So they fight, everyone, everywhere, because that’s all they know how to do. The causes and reasons lost in the dust.
I remember what I heard in Paul Simon’s song “Boy in the Bubble”, “These are the days of lasers in the jungle”. We have the technology to communicate with anyone in the world, all the knowledge of every society is at our fingertips, but at the same time we have the ability to turn the planet to ash in a matter of hours. The choice appears obvious to me, unfortunately it’s also obvious to Kim Jung Un, the Palestinians, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, and the hooligans in England.