The Funniest Thing I’ve Heard All Day

Politics
I think I need to start a political blog, because I don't really feel like writing about books while the carnage continues in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. I know LitKicks is a literary website, but please bear with me.

Here's the funniest thing I've heard all day: "The differences between the Israelis and Palestinians are so great that war is inevitable."

Differences? Differences! Yeah, I'm laughing. I can't see a goddamn difference in the world. Let's take a look:

1. Military leaders on both sides are willing to kill innocent civilians on the other side.

2. Journalists on both sides are shocked and horrified about the fact that the other side is willing to kill innocent civilians, but somehow fail to be shocked and horrified when their own side kills innocent civilians.

3. Both sides are acting in "self-defense" when they kill innocent civilians on the other side.

4. Both sides teach their children to hate the other.

5. Military leaders on both sides are increasing their popularity by continuing this war. The Hezbollah, Hamas and Israeli leaders who are currently killing innocent civilians are all being hailed as heroes right now by their own people.

6. Both sides are doing it "for God".

7. There are a great number of reasonable and humane people on both sides. All of whom are crying helplessly right now because nobody will listen to them.

Differences? Name me a difference between Palestinians and Israelis, please.

Oh yeah, then there's this:

8. Both sides won't stop until "they win".

I think I need to start a new kind of blog, because I don't think I'm going to be able to stop talking about this anytime soon.
24 Responses to "The Funniest Thing I’ve Heard All Day"

by littees on

Why not talk about itThis is happening right now, in our time, and will affect the writing of our time. We all have to acknowledge what is sitting on our doorstep.

by Billectric on

Your listYour list of the two country's similarities is accurate.Looking at cause & effect, I can't help but zero in on this one:"Military leaders on both sides are increasing their popularity by continuing this war. The Hezbollah, Hamas and Israeli leaders who are currently killing innocent civilians are all being hailed as heroes right now by their own people."

by Stokey on

we could solve the problemObviously, you are a big part of the solution - you are a Jewish-American journalist who is capable of speaking out on this problem without the standard prejudices that most people in America (including all of our politicians) are overwhelmed by. I applaud your efforts and call on you to continue them.As I watch Beirut being bombed into rubble, I realize that people are dumber than dirt. We allow for the murder of children in every corner of the globe. As long as they are not your children or my children, we don't really care much about it; at least not enough to stop it. But when three thousand are killed in New York, we take it personally. That's a description of stupidity. It's hard to feel sorry for stupid people (but we're all brothers, and I do a lot of really dumb things myself.) Our stupid leader has summed up the problems in the Middle East - it's the fault of our enemies. His stupid solution - kill all our enemies. You'll note that our enemies view the problems and solutions in a similar manner. You'll also note that the cowards in Washington never go anywhere near the fighting, killing, dying. We murder children from a safe distance.Are there realistic solutions to centuries old conflicts? Of course there are, but first one has to come to grips with what these conflicts and problems actually are. Any idiot can look them up on the internet, encyclopedias, or any of many sources that give a more accurate presentation than our stupid leader. Suffice it to say that common sense demands that no one group of people is by nature benevolent and passive, while some other group is by nature violent and bloodthirsty. That's simply stupid rhetoric by stupid leaders who are up to their necks in bountiful defense contracts.All people are by nature capable of getting along peacefully with their neighbors. All people are capable of living harmoniously and happily with others of diverse backgrounds and interests. But people are dumber than dirt. They do what stupid leaders tell them to do. And stupid media-ites prey on the weak minds of stupid listeners.My simple solution to this continuing world crisis, is to put an end to it. One political pundit recently asked "why does the rest of the world put up with this?" Why indeed. It directly or indirectly caused the economic inflation of 1978, the Tehran embassy hostage affair, the rise of Al Queida, and the 9/11 attacks on America. It is time to put an end to it. The way to do that would be to establish the largely uninhabited parts of the Sinai Pennisula as an international protectorate. This is an area roughly the size of Texas that is mostly uninhabited desert patrolled by twenty thousand American troops who maintain it as a buffer zone between Israel and Egypt. As an international protectorate, all five million or so Palestinian refugees who are scattered throughout Lebanon, Syria, and other nations, could relocate there and thus not have to fight to try to get back into Palestine. Also the half-million Jewish settlers who live on what Palestinians consider their "stolen" land, could relocate to Sinai, and build a new life and civilization alongside their Arab brothers. In fact, all the refugees from all parts of the world could relocate to Sinai - it could be an international homeland - a utopia - for all displaced peoples. This, by the way, would be cheaper than continuing warfare; and it would obviate the greatest of horrors - the continuing slaughter of innocent children.The next phase would be to disarm all the various nations in the Middle East. That might sound impossible, but consider what I guess to be the most lucrative businesses in the world - arms trafficking, oil trafficking, drug trafficking. Only the last of the three is considered to be a great evil; while clearly the first two are the real root causes for much of the world's problems.Of course to enable regional disarmament, the great military powers in the world would also need to begin to disarm themselves. Otherwise it would be like Israel demanding that Hezbollah and Hamas disarm, while Israel continues to increase its own overwhelming military might. And of course the US won't ever even consider a drawdown in armaments as long as American politicians are bought and sold by defense contractors. But that sort of thing is always in the hands of stupid voters, who stupidly think that building bombs makes them more secure than building peace.Footnote: as to the immediate security needs of Israel and/or Palestine, Lebanon, et al - we could tomorrow begin patrolling the streets of Palestine and/or Israel and Lebanon with many thousands of three-man squads made up of Israeli-Palestinian-American troops. We could thus bring immediate peace to this region while waiting to elect an American president who would demand eternal peace.

by bud parr on

One good reason to not start a blogLevi, I say this as a friend:Your statement "Both sides teach their children to hate the other" reveals an ignorance informed only by the media and if that's how you intend to write on your blog, I recommend you don't do it. Sorry to be harsh, by I find that statement offensive in the extreme and I think it's a disservice to everyone to perpetuate it.

by Billectric on

I agree.Levi, here is a suggestion. Instead of starting up another blog somewhere else, which will only serve to further fragment people's attention, why not start a new board on LitKicks? You could either reinstate the Poetry & Politics board, or you could call it "Words For Peace" or "Lit for Peace" and just keep it right here.

by Steve Plonk on

Interesting ListYes, my daughter and I were discussing the similarities of the parties involved. All parties share a common love of the land in where they live. However, the folks don't seem to be realizing that they are "making a bed of stones" as Paul Simon once said.The fighting must cease and the healing must begin. To do otherwise would be to cause more innocent deaths, and bring heretofore uninvolved nations into the conflict... Another episode in a very sad movie. It is OUR holy land, too. Shouldn't the United Nations get involved?

by brooklyn on

Bud -- could you explain what you mean? I have seen evidence of this on both sides. The evidence is easy to find. I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say this isn't true.

by brooklyn on

Bill -- I'm not sure exactly what I'll do ... cookin' up some crazy ideas, though. Whether one of them comes to fruition or not, time will tell.

by bud parr on

It's wrong because It's a gross generalization and simply has no analytical basis. You might have as easily, and wrongly, said that American blacks in the sixties taught their children to hate whites and whites, blacks. My evidence? More than anything, my (wife's) family who lives there.This is not a minor point if you're going to be writing on these issues.

by brooklyn on

Fair enough, Bud. I should have said it better, and I will try to avoid using gross generalizations. I wish I had said "Both sides often teach their children to hate each other".Here's where I'm coming from on this. I wish I could show you, but I once read a sample of children's textbooks from around the middle east, and it's clear that seeds of prejudice are being freely sown. It's hard to see how Palestinian children are going to grow up to accept peace if they are taught to see Jews as mythically evil. On the Israeli side, I was actually directly inspired to make the original statement after seeing this picture on Moorish Girl today. As the caption says: "They teach their children hatred." On the more personal front, I've heard American Jews (both children and adults) say things about Arabs and Muslims that have really bothered me. The hatred clearly runs deep on both sides, but maybe we could at least all try harder to stop infecting future generations with it.

by firecracker on

I think there's a definite, obvious difference between pointing out something that happens every day and a "gross generalization". Because it may sound offensive doesn't mean it's grounded in ignorance -- I think to discourage a voice that has valid and grounded points does a greater disservice than to start a dialogue that may inspire people to elaborate further.In any case, I think it's sad, but true -- for all sides. We teach children to hate by the most powerful teaching tool of all -- by example. So, I say create 5 blogs and start a Cafe and Co-op. Whatever it takes.

by stevadore on

Yeah, I have to agree with Levi and Caryn... while some upstanding individual families don't teach hatred to their children, by word or example, such as bud's family, collectively speaking, the 2 sides are teaching the next generation to continue on with this warfare. I think it's safe to say that because they are already more than one generation into the (modern) conflict and things aren't getting better, but rather worse.When I read Levi's comment, I took it as a generalization, knowing full well it doesn't apply to every single family. But it does apply to many, unfortunately.

by Billectric on

read under a blanket with a flashlightIs it really true that "the pen is mightier than the sword" or is that a worn out clich

by Stokey on

Bud, I think you make Levi's point for him. Many families teach their children to hate those who are not like them - Blacks, whites, rich, poor, Arab, Jew, Hispanic, liberal, conservative, Yankee, southerner, ad infinitum. London 1977 - little German kids were at U of London dorm as part of a tour group; some of the Brit college students wadded up paper and threw it at the little Germans. Politics is an essential part of a literary blog. Homer, Shakespeare, Yeats, etc., couldn't separate the two. If art doesn't comment on culture and politics, what's it going to say?

by Billectric on

In The Prince, Machiavelli says"How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word and live with integrity rather than by craftiness, everyone understands; yet we see from recent experience that those princes have accomplished most who paid little heed to keeping their promises, but who knew how to manipulate the minds of men craftily. In the end, they won out over those who tried to act honestly."

by Billectric on

Further evidence that words can either hurt or heel. I knew almost nothing about Edward Bulwer-Lytton when I quoted him in the above post. Out of curiosity, I read up on the guy, and here is something I found on a site called Gothic Labyrinth, and I quote:"The Coming Race, an early science-fiction work (by Bulwer-Lytton), with its superman race the Vril-ya, descended from the same ancestors as the great Aryan family, from which in varied streams has flowed the dominant civilization of the world, spawned an occult secret society known as the Vril Society or Luminous Lodge. The Vril Society's philosophy and swastika symbol were absorbed by the Nazi party." I'm not saying Bulwer-Lytton was a proto-nazi, but I don't like that "master race" talk.

by pelerine on

The Revenge FactorI think the one thing that makes the "problem" unsolvable is the revenge factor. Even when the "powers" decide to stop fighting, there's always some grudge holder who wants revenge for their friend or family or whoever. I think this is why we continue to see things like bus bombings when all efforts at peace have been made by the recognized governments. Then the whole thing continues to escalate in smouldering waves that will always manifest in war. There's no cure or solution that will ever work in the real world. At least not having tiny Isreal in the middle of huge nations that hate them based on their own ideas of manifest destiny. The decision first implied by the Balfour Declaration in 1917 seemed like a sick joke. Carrying out the Balfour Declaration after World War II was pure stupidity wrapped in malice. I know goegraphy and Israel are inextricably linked, but what would have been wrong with giving the Jewish people a homeland in a nice neighborhood?! Jeezus!

by Billectric on

This is why I said in a previous post that maybe the government is somewhat influenced by the people. For example, in Stetson Kennedy's book, After Appomattox: How the South Won the Civil War, many politicians spoke out for peace and brotherhood after the war, but if some of their constituents terrorized former slaves, the politicians, not wanting to alienate voters, secretly praised these ignorant racists as "good Americans." Maybe, like you say, Pelerine, when some grudge holder attacks the other side, the leaders say, "Well, we told you to stop launching missiles, but we understand why you launched those last ones...national pride was at stake...we stand behind you" or something like that.

by littees on

Fuel for mitigating your frustration:The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante

by judih. on

opinionsLevi, blogs are personal statements, views that just can't be kept locked in.Blogging can open up discussion and widen perceptions. Blogging can release pressure when talking to ourselves while walking down the street simply isn't doing the job.Now, since I'm living in one of the countries you're comparing, just thought I'd offer another perspective.1. Military leaders on both sides are willing to kill innocent civilians on the other side.Willing? Taking the risk? Doing it.What exactly is the statement.In the end, innocent civilians are being killed and 'willingness' doesn't seem to matter - it simply is.2. Journalists on both sides are shocked and horrified about the fact that the other side is willing to kill innocent civilians, but somehow fail to be shocked and horrified when their own side kills innocent civilians.I don't read Arabic but I see translations of TV journalism. I'm hearing that Saudi Arabia wants Lebanon to stop the Hezbollah.That sounds positive, does it not?On our side, there are articles everyday coming down on our side - democracy allows any opinion to be published and it is. Perhaps you'd be reassured to know that dissent is the biggest industry in Israel. Every one is a General and everyone has their own opinion. There is no consensus on anything, except for the general desire to live within a peaceful country.3. Both sides are acting in "self-defense" when they kill innocent civilians on the other side.Killing innocent civilians is a horrible result of war. There's not much escaping it. War is the problem, not the excuse.4. Both sides teach their children to hate the other.Well, now Saudi Arabia is finally cleaning up some of its textbooks to offer a somewhat cooler head about infidels. I'm not sure if that's true in other Arab nations.In Israel, there is no such hatred policy. Perhaps in little hovels of extremists you'd find that kind of sick diatribe, but in the Ministry of Education, we're pushing co-operative programs - offering seminars all over the country and encouraging Palestinian/Israeli educational encounters.In my school, in our English Center, with our theme of this year Customs & Beliefs, I offer an interview with an Islamic calligrapher, who agreed to be interviewed and offer some of her art. I offer other ways through the arts and discussion to widen our students' minds. So please, don't be lumpin the 'hatred' thing all over Israel.5. Military leaders on both sides are increasing their popularity by continuing this war. The Hezbollah, Hamas and Israeli leaders who are currently killing innocent civilians are all being hailed as heroes right now by their own people.Well, maybe in the first moments of defending ourselves from the Hezbolluh incursion, people were impressed by Olmert's act, but as each day passes, anti-war feelings are growing. Still, Israel in war is a condition that people here know very well, and band together to make life easier. It's more about family and resisting trauma than applauding our leaders.About popular support for Nasrullah, chances are you're quite right. He's offering the rebellious a chance to feel power.We'll see what happens.6. Both sides are doing it "for God".God? You must be joking! We're doing it to be able to recover our soldiers and to resume life without fear of qassams. Israel is basically a very secular country.The other side? I can't answer.7. There are a great number of reasonable and humane people on both sides. All of whom are crying helplessly right now because nobody will listen to them.Yeah, that's true. We're all caught in this misery soup. But let us believe that we're not helpless. Feeding the movement for recognition of the existence of Israel and for the need for a viable Palestinian state as well as a strong Lebanon able to exist without dependence upon Hezbolluh, all this would make our 'crying' a justifiable phase on the road to progress.Differences? Name me a difference between Palestinians and Israelis, please.Difference:Israelis have been through a trauma. 6 million dead 60 years ago. 6 million alive here in Israel. We're not willing to be wiped out again. This fact is part of why we're serious about self-defense.Palestinians. Until now there was no unified place called Palestine. The people who have been shifted from Jordan to Egypt to Lebanon to Gaza are only now finally gaining recognition that they are a people who want self-determination. This group needs infra-structure, support, education and technology.This kind of permanence cannot come under continual battling.What's the difference? When Palestinians came to work on our kibbutz, they were treated well, but as the Intifada re-began, they faced problems going back home. They were traitors.When Israelis entered Gaza, they were often taking their lives in their hands. What's the difference? Israel is serious about this little patch of sand and rock. We're working our hardest to plant a little calm and hope for peace in the next generation.Please, ask a Palestinian if there are differences.May our inner resolve for peace be the same. Maybe the outer form of a country is different, but may there be 2 nations living in peace.

by brooklyn on

Judih -- thanks for your responses. I do realize that I am a New Yorker talking about two countries I know very little about, so your firsthand observations are definitely helpful. I see your point on a few of these topics, I disagree with you on a couple of others -- but I appreciate you taking the time to respond on all of them.

by Billectric on

Thank you, Judih. I regard your statements and views highly because you are there. I look to you for education.

by brooklyn on

I was rushing to leave work and answered too hastily before, Judih -- I'd actually like to elaborate on my comment that I I agree with something you said and disagree with something else.Where I realize you're right: your comment that I must be kidding when I say Israel is doing it "for God" hit home. Yes, I think you got me there -- I don't think my original statement stands up to examination. There is probably a perception among some anti-Israelis that everything Israel does is part of a religious Zionist quest, but it's clearly not a religious war that's being fought right now, on either side. This is a political war -- it's about power, not God.Where I disagree with you: "Israelis have been through a trauma. 6 million dead 60 years ago. 6 million alive here in Israel. We're not willing to be wiped out again. This fact is part of why we're serious about self-defense." As tragic as the Holocaust was, it happened 60 years ago, and I don't think it helps the Israeli position to cite the Holocaust as any part of the reason why Israel has a right to exist. The fact that there are people living in Israel NOW is the relevant fact. Let's leave history out of it and focus on people who are alive today.Thanks again, Judih -- I always appreciate hearing from you on this subject.

by bud parr on

Wow, I come back a few days later and I've stoked the FOL a bit. I don't have anything to add to what I said already. I take writing about politics in a public forum seriously and there's no room for intellectual laxness, not even with what might seem a small point or foregone conclusion. There's just too much noise already.If I didn't have respect for Levi, I would not have bothered saying anything. I'll reserve further judgement until I've seen the blog.