Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Unwanted Homework: Israel and Lebanon

You know, I'm fucking sick of the Middle East? Since a certain day in 2001, every fucking day I feel compelled to follow the news there, often with feelings of great worry, dread, anxiety, even anger. It's gotten so that it's just no goddamn fun anymore. American soldiers rape an Iraqi girl? So what else is new? Why would it be different? The news from Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and so forth basically does nothing but inspire my own personal isolationism. Shia and Sunni civil war in Iraq, predicted by the pundits long before the invasion? FUCK YOU ALL; what's on at the Cinematheque? I'm soooooooooo goddamn tired of all these people killing each other -- I'm tired of Muslim fanaticism, American imperialism, Israel's disporportionate retaliations, the hurt feelings of withdrawn settlers, and the saga of whether Hamas can function as a political party... It's all a bad comedy and I want it to stop. Can't I just have my nice comfy apathy back and fuss about things I have some impact on? Remember the days of Clinton, when all that bad shit happening over there was mostly happening OVER THERE? (Seattle's not that far from Vancouver, I mean, FUCK).

But still I am drawn to read. A supporter of the Lebanon war makes a pretty good case for himself here. Unfortunately, his analogy of “sacrificing a pawn” neglects to acknowledge that one sacrifice’s ones OWN pawns, in chess, not one’s opponents. Still, his call for a complete withdrawal past the 1967 borders seems pretty "grown up" to me. For further background, another pro-Israel piece here, which I thought revealing and helpful -- because anyone who gets his news from Znet, and I sometimes do, needs as many calm and reasonable pro-Israeli pieces as possible to balance things out, since there's a lot of impassioned anti-Israel vitriol on the site. (Generally speaking, the left do a piss poor job of responding to Islamic fundamentalism -- that moderates should end up the de-facto defenders of religious fanatics is one of the great contradictions of our age). That said, there's still a lot of compelling, well-reasoned (idealistic) stuff on Znet. You might want to peek at this useful little article by Stephen R. Shalom -- it's sort of the equivalent of those little "know what you believe and why" pamphlets you see at Christian bookstores, which is not exactly a good thing, but it seems, all told, to be reasonable and unhysterical to me. Up until I stopped reading, that is. I mean, you get to where its conclusions become pretty predictable...

Yeah, yeah, you just want to read about A Silver Mount Zion. Me, too. Scroll down.

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