"The Peoples be Goin' Crazy."

As we say around these parts, the peoples be going crazy in Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon, and please God, not Syria. The phrase implies the point in a group dynamic when a crowd of humans has become so violent that the participants no longer act in their own self interest, and are as likely to trash their own property as well as another's, to maim friend and foe alike.

When I was small, the world almost got sucked into World War III because of Cuba-- little Cuba! -- and we owe our lives to Khruschev's willingness to back down. Now we have Putin, an elevated KGB gangster, in charge of Russia, and here-- oh. Possibly the least qualified president in history, a man compared unfavorably with Warren G. Harding, the last person on earth to settle things down. We don't even have the assurance that his advisors are professional, since he despises expertise.

If I were a politician-- defined honorably here as someone who solves conflicts with compromise and benevolent manipulation-- I would stay home every time Cuba or Israel are on the morning news. I would call in sick, invent a doctor's apppointment or a sick child. It is impossible to have a rational discussion about either. I wish someday that a public figure will tell the Cubans in Miami or the Jews in New York to look at a map, choose a country to be loyal to, sit down, and STFU. Stop demanding that politicians prove their love for your provincial arguments and start serving the larger interests of this country and simple humanity instead.

No American politician can speak honestly and openly bout the Palestinian and Israeli conflict without fifty professional hysterics jumping down his or her throat. They all must wrap their comments in ritual obesience to Israel's right to exist, the Palestinians need to renounce violence no matter how many times they are poked in the eye, blah blah blah. I recommend the writings of Alexander Cockburn and Edward Said as a place to start on this subject, and sadly one of them is dead.

I've already done my share of babbling on Peter David's website, but here's a simple thought:

If you kill, marginalize or shout down every moderate voice that speaks for the Palestinians, very soon there will be no one left but extremists and gangsters like Hezbollah and the unmourned Arafat.

The Palestinians have been backed into a corner like the Apache and the Sioux; every move they make will be born of violent desperation, and easy to condemn. The Israelis have made themselves the enemy they deserve, and I hope the rest of us don't get pulled down with them. And God Save Lebanon.


Aporia said...

I totally agree, and nicely said.

What I don't get though, is Heinlein's implicit statement that an intellectual couldn't possibly believe in astrology. But then, I've always found Heinlein to be a lamentably narrow thinker.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

The fight goes on at Peter David's site, with fewer than 250 words suggesting that Israel is making 10 enemies for every one it captures or kills, and thousands of words explaining why Israel Is Always Right and The Arabs Should Just Get Over It.
I was going to say "a buttload of words" instead of thousands, but I'm not sure how many a buttload is and can't find a conversion table online.
I'm writing/drawing a comic book about the Middle East this summer, trying to explain the basics, and when people ask me casually what I'm working on and I tell them, you should hear the chauvinism people spout without having seen a page.
I used the Heinlein quote to illustrate a point about people's blind spots, things they Cannot Talk About. Ours is a peculiar generation, that can talk about sex but not about capitalism, can complain about foreigners hating us without making any effort to find out why-- because that would be "America Bashing", and "we're sick and tired of you lefties bashing this great country."