November 19th, 2012

[Update at 1834: Another perspective brought to my attention by she who Writes Likes She Talks.

I don’t know how to talk about what is happening here but it’s probably less about writers’ block than readers’ block. It says so much about the state of our discourse that the surest way to enrage everyone is to tweet about peace in the Middle East. We should be doing better because, much as I hate to say it, the harrowing accounts of burnt-out basements and baby shoes on each side of this conflict don’t constitute a conversation. Counting and photographing and tweeting injured children on each side isn’t dialogue. Scoring your own side’s suffering is a powerful way to avoid fixing the real problems, and trust me when I tell you that everyone—absolutely everyone—is suffering and sad and yet being sad is not fixing the problems either.

Better, much better, but the implication that there is somehow an equivalency here, that the scores are not magnitudes of difference apart, is central to the problem that is Occupied Palestine.

In commenting on the current violence, Noam Chomsky writes:

When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.

Originally posted at 1813.

Jessica Apple writes:

I can’t lie to my older sons. They know what’s going on here and give me updates from their own computer. They watch the news, too. What I can do is remind them that the fear Palestinian boys in Gaza feel is just as real as theirs….

I’m gobsmacked. In a comment to Apple’s piece I wrote:

In what possible alternative universe could this be even remotely true.

How can Ms. Apple equate the fear her sons feel to that of a Palestinian mother’s sons in Gaza?

My head wants to explode with the absurdity of that statement.

This well-meaning women really does believe that her sons, sitting in front of the television or on their computers in Tel Aviv, following the war that their father has been excused from, are somehow just as fearful as boys their age are in Gaza where tons of munitions are blowing up whole buildings and filling their streets with rubble.

I will never again ponder why this insanity continues.

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