Paradox of Parallels

A paradox is something that seemingly can’t be true but indeed may be true.  In the so-called Israel/Gaza “war” we are faced with a strange paradox of parallels.

We are told that history repeats itself. I disagree.  History, like a play, cannot repeat itself.  But new actors or old actors, as in a drama, can re-stage the original script over and over again.  The players switch parts, motives become mangled, the sets are changed, and the old story doesn’t exactly repeat but runs parallel as a new story  — and we find ourselves in paradoxical territory.

I apologize for being repetitive but as I mentioned in my last post I was puzzling over this back in November of 2012.

Our Harper government has lost all sense of perspective – both historical and geographical. Problem is, history is topsy turvy and today we‛re looking at the proverbial David and Goliath story with the roles reversed. Today, Goliath is Israel and David is Palestinian Gaza. In this confrontation, history (or mythology) has been turned on its head…..

david-versus-goliathDavid Vs Goliath

And today, as again I watch and read and listen to descriptions of the on-going Israeli/Gaza conflict, I find myself puzzling over this recurring parallel of an old story.

Let us go back in time about 70 years, to the Warsaw Ghetto. There, in 1943, the Jews, confined, starved, oppressed and in the progress of being rapidly exterminated, finally had had enough and rose up in armed (inadequately so) rebellion against the German occupiers. The valiant inhabitants of that ghetto were almost annihilated and their ghetto was certainly destroyed.

BurningOfWarsawGhetto-469x315                                             Warsaw Ghetto burning

Nowadays a case can be made that in a weird paradoxical parallel replay of that event Palestinians seem to have had enough of being occupied and oppressed and as a result their Gaza ghetto is gradually  being obliterated.

Back we go again, almost 2000 years, to 73 C.E., when Jews, their land overrun by the occupying Romans, staged an uprising.  As a result their great Temple was destroyed, Jerusalem was flattened, and about 1000 fleeing rebels took shelter in the mountain top fortress of Masada. Their last ditch defence against the military might of the Romans has become a legend of courage, determination, and of absolute devotion to the principles of faith and freedom. In the end, rather than surrendering, apparently all but two committed suicide.

Masada                    Masada

In today‛s paradoxical re-staging I can‛t see those now playing the rebel roles committing total suicide but, in a similar scenario of all-hope-lost, they might very well eventually fight to the last man – and woman – and child.

GAZA Aug 2014         Gaza Youth August 2014

Even though about 40% of the population of Gaza is under 15 years of age, Gaza is in a fair way of becoming a Palestinian Masada, with Israel playing Rome.

Whose praises will be sung in the legends of tomorrow?

But the paradox expands. Our western governments declare Hamas, the modern day party leading the Gaza ghetto‛s on-going rebellion, to be a “terrorist” organization.  But it‛s the old script with different players. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel the label “terrorist” was earned by the Stern Gang and the Irdun, two organizations whose catalytic terrorist acts finally and triumphantly led to the division of Palestine and to the establishment of the State of Israel. Two of Israel‛s subsequent prime ministers were leaders of those “terrorist” groups – one from each. Somewhere along the line productive dialogue must have overcome labels, however accurate.

But wait, in  1946 the Irdun bombed Jerusalem’s King David Hotel  which housed the H.Q. of the British Protectorate government. There were 45 injured and 95 killed, including 15 Jews.

kingdavbomb

                                                       King David Hotel 1946

The act was widely denounced as a terrorist atrocity, but the Irgun spokesmen blamed the British for the deaths.  The British had ignored an Irgun warning.

And now, August 2014, after Israel shelled several UNWRA shelters in Gaza, both Israel’s Government and its echo, the Harper Government of Canada, say that it is all the the fault of Hamas refusing to do as it is told.  Same old script, same dialogue, new extras, new production, same parallels.

UNWRA school            UNWRA Shelter area 2014

In a general election in 2006 Hamas was voted into parliamentary power in Gaza but only Hamas continues to be labelled “terrorist”.  And the Harper Government of Canada, totally lost in its misconceptions of Canadian values, keeps restating its “unwavering support” for Israel, thus abandoning any possible role as mediator. I can‛t figure which version of the old story the Harperites think they are watching.

When those old scenarios keep being re-staged in such a paradoxically parallel fashion surely the only tenable Canadian position should be unwavering support for the suffering innocents on both sides.

Yes, I am repeating myself, but in the name of humanity I must.

—————–

Picture Sources: David vs GoliathWarsaw Ghetto BurningMasadaGaza youth 2014 King David Hotel 1946Fleeing UNWRA shelter

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About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
This entry was posted in Article, Opinion, Politics, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Paradox of Parallels

  1. Herb Wiseman says:

    Right on. Loved the detail of your argument. I had reached the same conclusion but was warmed by your description and feel less of an outlier. Paradoxical indeed.

  2. markfinnan says:

    Munroe, A great piece and well presented. It has occurred to me that the various aggressors and oppressors mentioned, including Hitler’s Germany, claimed they had divine sanction of one form or another to do what they did. In the ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict there are powerful undercurrents of religious ideology hurling both side at each other, yet also keeping both sides apart. I believe the north American version of such ideology, based on a warped interpretation of a Biblical passage and believed in by a large block of Evangelicals and diehard Harper supporters, lies behind his unquestioning support for Israel and his unwillingness to speak out against or do anything about the human tragedy in Gaza.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Mark, there may well be a strong religious component to the on-going conflict but in this case I tend to ascribe the major problem to the fledgling UN‛s decision in 1948 to carve up ancient Palestinian (Phillistine) territory, partly in reaction to the terrorist acts I mention but probably more so as atonement for a highly justified guilty conscience re the holcaust and previous anti-Jewish aberrations. But from a Palestinian point of view that partition was a violation of the innate human “territorial imperative”. Of course that same territorial imperative is embedded in Jewish history/mythology. As for the Harper position you may very well be correct and his interpretation of the Old Testament may very well, in this case, be driving Canada‛s foreign policy. I am not competent to judge, nor do I know a great deal about his church affiliation — The Christian Missionary Alliance. I do know that the Alliance websays — “The Old and New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice.” It also says –“The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal, visible, and premillennial. This is the believer’s blessed hope and is a vital truth which is an incentive to holy living and faithful service.”
      If the believer‛s blessed hope also includes Armageddon and the Rapture then I‛m not so sure the Jews of Israel should be so appreciative of Harper‛s “unwavering support”.

  3. Munroe,
    Good post. If you are struck by the parallels of history you recount here, you’ll be knocked out by ‘The Promise’, a Channel Four production from England. A disaffected English girl finds her grandfather’s diary in which he details his experiences liberating a concentration camp and then serving with the English forces in Palestine. She herself goes to Israel to support a friend who must serve in the Israeli army. She winds up re-capitulating the experiences of her grandfather … and the partition of 1948.

    A friend lent the movie (four parts, 2 hours each) to me. Apparently TVO was going to show it, but it was yanked. It’s available at amazon.ca.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Thanks David. I hadn’t heard of that movie, “The Promise”. Sounds interesting. Maybe folk should be urging TVO to put it back on the schedule. Surely it is educational?

  4. Jason says:

    Though I agree that it’s a case of David in Goliath in terms of the power differential, Hamas is no David. If you dig beneath much of the Pro-Palestine rhetoric, you find that Hamas has in the charter (still) the elimination of the state of Isreal and calling for the killing of Jews (military and civilian, women AND children) everywhere in the world. You also discover that Hamas does (it’s not just Israeli propaganda) use civilians (women and children, too) as human shields and they’ve prevented civilians from leaving the region when Israel gave warning of coming bombs. There is a Palestinian who originally lived in Jordan and is a critic of Jordan and Israel, I’m sorry I don’t remember his name who is very angry at Hamas for using the lives of the people living in Gaza City so that they can show to the media that Israel is killing innocents. And this includes innocents where Israel texted civilians in a neighbourhood to get out and Hamas forced people at gun point to stay.

    I feel for the Palestinian people and I’m one of the first to say that Israel is over-using force in Gaza, but Hamas is a terrorist organisation. I say this with no love for Stephen Harper and his unbridled and unquestioned support for Israel. Hamas’ main purpose in existence and their charter says this is that they wish to kill, wound and die and do whatever else is necessary to subjugate the entire region into a Islamic caliphate with Sharia law. They believe that killing civilians (through the rocket attacks nowadays; they used to blow themselves up) will bring them reward in heaven and that is is prophesied that Jews will be killed before the land is restored to them. They are essentially a death cult.

    There are arguments that the charter is no longer observed and just a part of their history (much like the Regina Manifesto is a part of the NDPs) and that’s possible except for what I see of Hamas’ tactics on the ground. Israel ever offered ceasefires multiple times and when they had a 72 hour peace fire, it was broken within 1.5 hours by Hamas firing rockets again.

    Honestly, I think both sides have their faults but there won’t be peace until an international peacekeeping force is put into Gaza to prevent rockets from being fired and prevent Israeli forces from entry and the settlements need to be stopped. If a neutral force patrols Gaza and keeps weapons from coming in, there will be no need for Israel to take further action and probably little reason for Gaza to provoke Israel further. That, coupled with international aid to rebuild Gaza physically and economically will do more than all the armies and all the rocket attacks.

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Jason, thanks for your input. Your comments amply illustrate what a convoluted mess has been created in the area with conflicting ideologies, territorial imperatives, and deeply embedded religions and mythologies. The unavoidable central fact, however, is that the Gaza Strip (not just Gaza City) is considerably smaller than the City of Toronto (not the GTA) and contains 1.8 million people, over 40% of whom are under the age of 15. The inhabitants have become confined there as securely as in a prison camp and, considering the density, terms like “human shields”and “evacuees” suggest space alternatives that do not exist. Any way we look at it, there is a massive humanitarian debacle underway in the Strip and for Canada to turn a blind eye to it is, in my opinion, an abomination. You are quite right about the need for an international peacekeeping force. Of course the implications of that boggles the mind.

      • Jason says:

        I’m talking about evacuating specific neighbourhoods, Monroe. If you’ve watched any of the IDF strike videos, they’re not carpet bombing the city (if they did, it’d already be gone), they go after specific targets. And the people living near the target are warned. Hamas tries to keep those people from leaving those specific targets.

        I do agree though it’s a very small area and in such a densely populated area, casualties are going to occur. I just don’t think Hamas are the angels that many people seem to think they are. And though there are religious zealots on the Israeli side, most of Israel is a secular society and I don’t believe the zealots are in control of the government. With Gaza, the religious zealots definitely are. Israel has nothing in their constitution or the charter of any of the parties that calls for the elimination of Gaza or the West Bank. Hamas does. Unfortunately, as is the case in most wars, the civilians end up suffering a great deal, especially the militarily-inferior side.

        I do wish Canada would get involved in a way that brought both sides to the bargaining table. We’ve lost a lot of credibility on this issue by taking Israel’s side blindly. But we have to recognize Israel’s right to exist, something Hamas doesn’t. I would shed no tears for the destruction of Hamas but I do shed them for the innocent Palestinians.

      • Munroe Scott says:

        An analogy. Say that hardened ruthless criminals are holding hostages and are warned but won‛t let them go. Tough luck, send in the SWAT team and blow them all to hell. We wouldn‛t tolerate that as a domestic police action but evidently we are willing to ignore it on an inter-state level.
        I hope it at least helps to air opinions, as you and I are doing, but alas we won‛t solve it here.

      • Jason says:

        Well, I don’t think the analogy really fits because if Israel wanted to blow Gaza all to hell, the city would be gone. They have the air and ground power and Gaza has nothing. Isralel isn’t trying actively to “blow them all to hell”. They’re trying to find the Hamas militants, in this case, the ruthless criminals, and take them out. Unfortunately, when you send that SWAT team in, some people are going to die. Better to negotiate, I agree. My point is that Hamas isn’t innocent and it seems you’ve accepted that point.

      • Munroe Scott says:

        Yes, but the two of us illustrate the problem with this debate. It always gets into who’s responsible, etc., missing the point that no matter who is responsible there is a ghastly humanitarian situation in Gaza and our government, yours and mine, refuses to see it.

      • Jason says:

        Yes, you’re right. I agree.

  5. Jamie Belyea says:

    I find it interesting how the persecuted has become the persecutor.

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