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…..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.