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Punching Bag Mentality

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Jun. 2nd, 2010 | 19:42 pm

It’s times like these, I almost fall victim to despair. The immediate feeling of injustice, it’s hard to scale into words. The conflict has leaped into a new strategy, and a new war of de-legitimization is being waged against Israel. We are now being forced into circumstances where the only course of action we have will bring about global condemnation.

To try and express what it feels like, it feels like being the nerdy kid in a classroom that always gets picked on. That no matter what you do, you’re going to be picked on. Right or wrong, you’re always going to be picked on. Other kids in class get away with absolutely ridiculous feats of idiocy, but no one cares about that. They only care about what you do. Succeed or fail, try and defend yourself or bite the bullet, it doesn’t even matter, you’ll still be picked on. In private, when no one else is watching, some of the kids in the class are willing to befriend you, and admit that what’s going on is crazy and wrong, and would really like to have those biotech/solar tech/agricultural tech/military tech/etc. innovations you made. But then, when other kids in the class are watching, those kids just join in the choir of hate like everyone else, or at best abstain. Everybody knows that the rowdy kids who lead the aggression are assholes, so while no one really wants to be their friend, no one really wants to mess with them either, and besides, as long as you’re taking the heat, it’s less slack off their back anyway. The rowdy kids, they get away with murder because no one expects them to behave, and no one wants to stir up their anger and no get oil. Basically, you’re the punching bag for the whole world, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You just want this bullshit to stop, but the rowdy kids have basically told you that the only way they’ll ever stop picking on you is if you jump out of the window and break your neck. Sometimes some Stockholm-Syndrome voices in your own head tell you that maybe you should try and make the plunge. Maybe you won’t break your neck trying, if you could only receive certain guarantees and not be pushed over the ledge and plan your jump really well… But any time you even approach the ledge, the rowdy kids start yelling and shoving and make moves to push you off, and so you back away.

I could continue with this metaphor forever I think. I don’t know if the point gets across as much as I’d like, but there’s this feeling of helplessness and injustice which just burns through my stomach.

The specific points of recent events don’t even matter. Of course Israel and Egypt are allowed to enforce a blockade against a hostile territory; of course force can be used to divert or destroy ships trying to break the blockade; of course it would be better if it didn’t come to it; and of course innocents suffer due to the blockade — this is true in Gaza as it is true in North Korea, Iraq, and anywhere else that has been under a blockade. Gazans are not the only people in the world suffering due to evil or foolish leaders. It sucks but who is to blame?
The path to end this blockade has been known from the start – essentially, an end to hostilities.
The international quartet (UN, US, EU and Russia) imposed 3 demands on Hamas:

1. Renounce Violence.

2. Recognize Israel.

3. Accept all previous agreements signed by the Palestinian National Authority.

Any sane person can see that these are absolutely reasonable requests.
Hamas, however, is allowed to behave unreasonably. It’s allowed to deny access to International Red Cross to it’s captive soldier Gilad Shalit. It’s allowed to fire rockets from schools, directed at schools. No one cares. They’re allowed to be unreasonable, but Israel is condemned for legitimately trying to defend itself from these attacks.

As I try and figure out “Why?” why are they allowed to behave unreasonably? Why does the world not expect and demand the Palestinians behave like civilized peace-seeking human beings? The only answer I have is: Orientalism. Or, Racism, of the worst kind. Hamas is allowed to do whatever it wants, play by whatever rules it chooses, behave as violent savages behave, because it is comprised of brown people. And the west is used to expect a lot less from the “savage” brown peoples of the world.
That’s the only reason I can think of why everybody expects Israel to cease the blockade, but no one expects Hamas to cease the hostilities which brought about the blockade in the first place.

The real question is, when does it stop being the world’s (or Israel’s) responsibility to dance around the savage behavior of radicals, and it starts becoming the people of Gaza’s responsibility to change their leadership? Yes, it’s terrible that Gazans suffer due to the blockade, just as it is terrible that the people of North Korea suffer due to the roguish behavior of their leadership, but when does it stop being our fault and start being their responsibility to enact change? Who will guarantee Israel’s safety if ships are allowed to freely access Gaza? Just this month more than a dozen rockets landed in Israel’s poor southern towns. Who will guarantee that Iranian or Syrian weapons, more accurate and more powerful will not reach the hands of the terrorists who now control Gaza, whose overt goal is not peace, but the destruction of Israel, annihilation of the Jews, and the establishment of an Islamic Republic in all of the territory between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea?

That’s what I thought.

Sorry, this post is a mess, no proper beginning and no proper end, but I just needed to throw some of these thoughts into the air. I need them to leave me because they’re eating me up. Hope you understand, meager readership.

Originally published at Total Eclipse. You can comment here or there.

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