Monday, January 05, 2009

Lines crossed 

The massacre of Gaza is in a lot of ways nothing new. Israel has killed as many Arabs before during similar massacres. In the grand scheme of history, of course, there have been infinitely "worse" massacres, if one insists on coming up with relative "measures" of the magnitude of these catastrophes.

Still, there are definitely some things worth noting about this massacre, along with the Lebanon massacre of 2006. Both are strategically pointless lashings-out, Israeli attempts to secure some sense of purpose out of "war" -- attempts which are nothing more than terrorist mass murder. And the Israeli public has offered broad support to both crimes.

In both, but more extremely in Gaza, the Israeli army is systematically slaughtering hundreds of people on live television, and people watch the slaughter, and call it good, and congratulate themselves on their own righteousness.

Maybe something like this happened in 1982, but back then the PLO was still an active organization which controlled large parts of South Lebanon, and there had been in the previous decade more serious wars in which Israelis truly believed that that their lives were in danger.

What is happening now seems different. The justifications for the slaughter being sung and shouted on television may be the same as those used before, but they are more transparently false -- so false that they really can only be functioning as grunts, laughs, and shouts -- expressions of triumph over the victims that give the killers (or those watching the killing) a sensation of power and release.

What is going on in a society that collectively experiences flights of self-righteous indignation and ecstasies of relief and release when it gathers around the television to watch images of mass murder?

Has something exactly like this happened before? The Nazis did not broadcast images of Jews being murdered on television. Americans celebrated "shock and awe" and Desert Storm, but the whole thing was sanitized for television. The explosions were movie explosions that weren't directly connected to images of dead children stacked up next to piles of rubble.

I wonder just how far this can go. Just what can the IDF do, under the title "dismantling terrorist infrastructure in order to create new security environment," that will not be greeted with cheers from the Israeli fascists and their American abettors? And I also wonder about the consequences regionally: the collaboration of quisling American puppets thorughout the region is so obvious, so obseqious, so grotesquely slavish, that they are truly in danger of losing even functional legitimacy. Only Iran, only Shi'a resistance there and in Lebanon, is retaining even the semblance of autonomous government.


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