Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thanks for the Reminder

From Time Magazine:
When Gaza makes the front page, the photo is usually of Palestinian
militants on the rubble of a bombed-out apartment building or at the
funeral of a comrade, waving Kalashnikov rifles and howling defiantly
against Israel. Those images have lately been replaced by ones of
shivering, waiflike children holding a candlelight protest against
Israel's blackout of large parts of Gaza. The kids are a reminder that
not all of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians are gunmen, and that Israel's
prolonged economic blockade of the territory is taking a heavy toll
on civilians.

I'm not sure what disconcerting: that Time Magazine felt it necessary to print such a reminder, or that there are people out there who need such a reminder.

Related: Louise Arbour on the current situation in Gaza.


Peter Lippman said...

Shaina, thank you very much for mentioning Gaza!
Peter Lippman

Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog Editor) said...

Good Evening Peter,

In American politics, private matters of faith become public concerns and what emerges from the house of worship may be the key to winning the White House. About a quarter of the US population define themselves as evangelical Christians. They are extremist fundamentalists who hold rather fascistic views that Muslims are determined to do exactly to push Israel into the sea and other nonsense. Seventy-eight per cent of evangelicals voted for George Bush in 2004. Many also call themselves Christian Zionists, believing that God has given the Jewish people the divine right to rule over historic Palestine.

Anonymous said...

Daniel, I think you're rather sweeping in your generalisations about evangelical Christians. Nevertheless overall their votes have legitimised a sloppy and inhumane approach to policy-making on Palestine by their representatives.

In the last months of his Presidency George Bush appears to have realised that influence entails assuming responsibility and at the very least intelligent analysis, but rather late in the day as far as Palestine is concerned.

Hopefully his departure will put an end to the influence exercised by those maniacs ("AntiChristian" describes them better than "Christian") who believe in the notion of "Rapture" and are quite happy to see confrontation in the Holy Land expanding into Armageddon.

Peter Lippman said...

It is true that there are very fine evangelical Christians -- even some who work against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land -- but unfortunately, clearly the right-wing Christian Zionists have the upper hand.
Other: I'm afraid that to characterize Bush as having an attack of conscience in his last months is far-fetched. I wish it were so; time will tell, but my impression is that this is another attempt, this time in concert with Olmert (also having great difficulties with his ratings) at pulling the wool over people's eyes.
Peter Lippman

Kirk Johnson said...

Good catch, Shaina.

I think the problem in Gaza as in so many other places is that the media, the public, and politicians in the West are all too quick to dismiss conflicts and violence in other countries as something "those people" are doing because they're violent or ignorant or hateful or whatever. The fact that ordinary, decent people are trapped in a horrible situation very rarely registers. This was true in Bosnia, and it's true now in Iraq.

Shaina said...

Thanks everyone.

About the media coverage: Kirk, I agree with your assesment of how sometimes it can be rather easy for everyone, politicians, media, ordinary people to see such conflicts as either 1. having nothing to do with us 2. or being intractable-that the conflict will never end. As well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq, Bosnia, I would also add Rwanda & the DRC (and basically every African state)to places that tend to be ignored & marginalized by most Western politicians & media.

I'm not sure if it was intended this way, but the Time Magazine article contains a bitter truth-that usually the only time most Americans read about Palestinians is through the focus on the militants, terrorists and politicians. The diversity of the Palestinian people & their daily life has been obscured in the process.

Evangelical Christians are a diverse group-and as with every group, for every "rule" there is an exception. For example, not every Evangelical Christian supports the occupation.
And it is very important to note the difference between Evangelical Christians as a religious subset, and the rightwing Christian Zionists, that as Peter so rightfully mentioned, does have the upper hand and the (even more important) the influence.
And as an important side, I know of someone who considers herself to be a "moderate Zionist" and she is often angered by the rhetoric of ultra-zionist and Christian Zionism. So, not even everyone who considers themselves to be a Zionist (and again, "Zionism" has a diverse definiiton as well.) is taken by the rhetoric and ultra-right wing politics of Christian Zionism.
In the end though, I think that while there are Evangelical Christians who have been working for ways to end the occupation of Palestine; that view is very much in the minority.

Daniel said...

Good Evening Peter,

I have a huge respect for you.

I usually think what I say before I say, but I stopped caring, so I'll say what I think...

Of course some of these evangelicans are 'nice', but there is no use in pointing this basic fact when over 90% of these people are "taliban-minded" extremist Christian fundamentalists.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States can only be compared to the Hitler's pre-fascism area of propaganda. Covered under the code of free speech, you can practically say anything you want about Muslims in American media - no consequences, no repercussions, no nothing, you can spit as long as you please.

The pile of dead children you see on my blog are result of Christian terrorism and ignorance. General Stanislav Galic and Dragoljub Milosevic were both convicted on terrorism charges with connection to mass murder of 1,500 children in Sarajevo; total of over 10,000 dead civilians. No talk about these terrorists in the US Media... Not to mention Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic, and other nut cases, including former Gen Zdravko Tolimir who used Chemical Weapons to gas fleeing civilians from Zepa.

In 2006 opening statements, the U.N. Prosecutor McCloskey stated that “criminal orders in war are as a rule issued verbally”, and that a few exceptions existed to the rule. One of the most striking ones is a report sent on 21 July 1995 by Serb General Zdravko Tolimir from Zepa to General Radomir Miletic, acting Chief of General Staff of the VRS (Bosnian Serb Army). Tolimir is asking for help to crush some Bosnian Army strongholds, expressing his view that “the best way to do it would be to use chemical weapons”. In the same report, Chemical Tolimir goes even further,proposing strikes against refugee columns leaving Zepa, because that would “force the Muslim fighters to surrender quickly”, in his opinion.

When the war started, Christian Europe implemented Arms Embargo so Bosniaks couldn't defend themselves. When the US Congress voted to lift the Arms Embargo, Bill Clinton vetoed it saying that nobody can help "Moslems."

Even Israel was overly pro-Serbia oriented. The only visible compassion towards the Bosniaks came from Iran and Croatia, both who sent shipments of arms through Croatia so we could defend ourselves.

Iran was heavily criticized for doing so, because Christian Europe wanted us dead.

I was on record for saying this before, and I will say it again - if our people want to secure their existence, they should better start developing nuclear weapons right now. As we speak, Russia is already preparing to place to Nuclear Shield against the US on river Drina, separating Bosnia and Serbia... First World War started in Bosnia... I would not be surprised if the Third one starts there too.

We are a small nation with rich culture, we need to preserve our existence, or we will disapear. Christian Europe has proved they want us out, and we have lived in Europe as long as Christians.

Daniel said...

Another thing I wish to mention... I would like to thank Peter Lippman for his compassion towards the victims of genocide.

For those of you who haven't read his excellent articles, you may do so at OpenDemocracy website. Here is one quick pick titled: Srebrenica's Search for Justice

This world is a better place because of people like Peter Lippman. Thank you Peter from the bottom of my heart.