New year re-delusions

New year re-delusions

So, here we are on the second day of a new year – and some things are just scrolling back to the beginning again. Some things don’t know how to do anything else.

I don’t know about you, but the change in the air at the end of the year had given me a faintly hopeful mood against all the odds looking into ’09. About I don’t know what, really. But one situation seems monumentally doomed to cyclical failure. Say it with me: Israel.

Oh sodding shit. Oh effing bloody eff. Even were I to spell out all the bitter Anglo Saxon I could think of, I wouldn’t cover it. And I don’t propose to work myself up into a lathering fit pointlessly.

Fight and strike and hit and hate and blast and fire and smash and choke and punch repeatedly until swollen, broken and split open – use all the simple aggressive verbs you like, Isreal’s political leaders keep swelling the dictionary of fear. But they do nothing to solve their problem. When all the jagged, concrete of frail Gazan infrastructure is collapsed, the fear will still stand, a monument. The ignorance kneeling in front of it.

I hate the sound of empty anger like this. People running from the rockets have shouted louder and with more conviction and not been heard. Why bother.

A press conference today brought together the sort of uncomfortable bed-fellows that only a truly hideous event can – Annie Lennox at one end and George Galloway at the other. Just speaking up about the military strikes in Palestine.
Somewhere in the middle, Alexi Sayle spoke with customary intelligence about Jewish people’s need to speak out against Israel. Observantly, he then said quietly: ‘Israel has the mentality of the rapist, the murderer, the bully. It sees itself as the good guy and blames the victim for making it take their life.’

Tragically spot on.

I’m tired of it. Are you? I’m tired of not being able to keep up with it emotionally. Of having to switch off. Of not being able to do a sodding thing. Of it all being so wrong and so far away.

Tonight, there it is on the BBC news homepage: ‘The UN warns that Palestinians in Gaza face a serious health and food crisis as Israeli air strikes continue for a seventh day.’

Seven days of airstrikes on a strip of land a mile wide? Over four hundred children, women and men dead? Overwhelming ground forces massed on the border to go in? Tanks queueing up on the scrubby grass like Veedub campers at a festival.

When will Israel understand the very simple, very old truth – dehumanise your neighbour and you both become monsters.

Provocation does exactly what it says on the tank.
Don’t state the obvious. Don’t. Hamas, rockets, corruption, cultural blindness, blah. And duh. Tell me who has the more pressing moral responsibility – the bloke with the flick knife or the bloke with the sawn-off and six mates?

The thinking of Israel’s leaders seems lost; as lost as it’s ever been. Just deluded. How many young people are also lost now to the process of talking and listening? Of building peace?

Well, I know there are people in the region who want peace and who recognise the humanity in those around them. Who see themselves in the victims. Israel’s leaders have built a culture of blindness – to humanity and to effective strategy. What they’re doing won’t work. It will do the opposite of working.

As the year dawns, no one can question their resolve. No one can question them at all, it seems.

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