My friend Yasser has just sent his self-described “fourth apocalyptic email in three weeks.”
I blogged earlier, including some of the resources he sent, and a few days later I wrote more on my personal view.
My concern with Yasser’s framing is its one-sidedness. I AGREE, emphatically, that the violence needs to end, but arguing that only one side needs to cease actually adds fuel to the fire. Hezbollah’s tactics also need to come under scrutiny.
With Yasser, and Naomi Klein (see her letter), I urge anyone who can to support the efforts of the Saniyeh Relief Center in Beirut. But – as we publicly engage the horrors of this war – those of us who fashion ourselves intellectuals concerned with social justice cannot afford the luxury of an “obvious” villain or victim.
How do we break out of the dialectic? If we can’t find a way, who will?
Yasser included an article, A World in Love with Death by Eduardo Galleano (who I think is great). Unfortunately, in the linked article above his claims and associations go too far: the UN is not the US even though the US plays with it like a toy), civilian death in wartime is a fact of every war not just Israel’s vs Hezbullah. This is kind of rhetoric is simply sloppy. Galeano is right that the Europeans cast their own problem (their own internalized anti-semitism) out of western Europe and into the Middle East but the Arab nations need to stop using this as an excuse to position Palestianians at the constant brink of rage of devastation. The Jewish people are from there just as much as any Arab or Persian ethnic group.
[The Lebanon Forces link above is from planetary movement, which also included a link to irrepressable.info from Amnesty International (go there, sign the pledge before a key international meeting this upcoming November: “I believe the Internet should be a force for political freedom, not repression”).]
This opinion piece from the NYTimes, Lebanon’s Force for Good recalls a previous diplomatic effort that worked.