Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hippocracy

My people are at war with an enemy who proudly boasts of killing civilians yet screams blue murder when the innocent Lebanese civilians they cowardly hide behind are, tragically, caught in the retaliatory fire. An enemy whose brave heroes shamelessly cheer on the street, fire weapons in the air and gleefully share out sweets when our babies are butchered. An enemy whose barbaric civilians dance for the local TV cameras holding aloft the limbs of our fallen. I do not therefore think now is the time for me to lob my peculiar brand of critique at the petty foibles of my own community. Instead I will take a departure from form and direct my ire at my other family and the democratic society that claims to represent my interests because I am part of it.

It was Israel’s best friend, the USA, along with best friend Britain that pressured her, against her much better judgement, to allow Hamas, who they themselves branded a terrorist group, to run in the Palestinian democratic election. Once the people had spoken and the duly elected government of our partners-in-peace had shown its true face (albeit behind a balaclava mask) our good friends suddenly recalled pressing engagements elsewhere and we were left to deal with repressing the rewards for our disengagement, alone.

In Lebanon the democratic parliament, enjoying the full support of all Israel’s best friends in red white and blue, has a minister and almost a third of its body coming from Hezbolla, for whom (Jewish) infanticide is part of the manifesto. Just so as to keep this farce fresh and exciting Israel is urged by the colourful black and white coalition of the Talking Heads Club to spare this ‘legitimate’ government, even as it may (grudgingly) wage a defensive war on its proxy who enjoys full control over Lebanon's border with the only real democracy in that part of the world.

Democracy, the doctrine that claims to allow the masses to determine the general direction of their governance, has replaced religion for many as the panacea for all the world’s ills. A peek at the Middle East today should be enough to shake even the dimmest of brains out of that reverie. Maybe an intrinsically good people would automatically fare better under democratic rule than the yoke of selfish and cruel opportunists but a democratic election alone will not serve to turn swordsmen into ploughhands. Clearly not all peoples are ready for rule by whatever majority, as much of the population in Gaza would admit if they dared.

Democracy, like socialism and theocracy, is an ideal that only works if those wielding it are responsible and worthy. A group of bloodthirsty savages, believers in the Ashariyya doctrine - that because all that happens is caused by God anyway it is legitimate to kill innocents, will not suddenly turn into cuddly lambs just because they were empowered through a ballot box. To think they might is as na├»ve as to believe that the US and its cohorts have suddenly seen the justness of Israel’s cause.

The sad truth is that the democratic experiment in the Middle East has failed miserably. The undemocratic governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are unusually mute in their criticism of Israel’s legitimate self defence this time because they themselves fear the democratic ambitions of these Islamist groups. Parties that have the support of the streets in their countries. Meanwhile the true democracies of the US and the UK, whose own forces are now within plucking distance of these same terrorists, are cynically pleased to have Israel act as their virtual warning bell.

Still, I am a Jew and I was taught that God rebuked the Israelites for celebrating when the Egyptians, who had enslaved and massacred them for centuries, were drowned in the Red Sea. I therefore feel the pain of the innocent in Lebanon, now cowering in their shattered cities praying that the next explosion does not finally, if accidentally, put them out of their misery. This despite the arguments I hear from those in my community who correctly remind me Hezbolla is an integral part of their freely and democratically elected government and it is only right that the entire people should enjoy the fruits of their chosen leaders' purposeful actions against their equally innocent neighbours across the border.

Democracy does not work any more than socialism or theocracy did. Thirty years of Israeli experience in the hallowed halls of the that uber-democracy the UN and hundreds of blatantly biased resolutions against her, can testify to that. So sometimes it is necessary for the David to resort to force to dictate justice and if the oppressed in other places learn from that to rise up against their repressors... we will just have to put it down as collateral damage.

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