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« Controversy: Disengagement | Main | Monster Chomsky »

May 31, 2006

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Brett Chatz

Crush Israel!

This is the message being pelted out by hard-line Iranians: this view does nothing to bolster confidence in the middle-east; neither does it suggest a cooling of the tensions between the largely Islamic Arab World and the mostly Jewish Israel. So how do we, as Jews; Christians and Muslims bridge this divide which is fast becoming an abyss between our divergent faiths? Do we sit idly by while long-range ballistic missiles and crude rockets are fired indiscriminately at soft targets in Israel? Do we sit idly by while ‘Precision’ air and ground strikes by Israeli forces target civilian and military installations in Gaza and Lebanon? These are the most volatile issues of the day. These are issues which world-leaders are battling to resolve. We have representatives from every nation scrambling to end the crisis. We have presidential delegations and members of the executive elite rushing to enforce a cease-fire, to no avail. Why then are these multi-lateral efforts proving futile? Why is the synergism of the world-community insufficient to broker a cease-fire and enforce a lasting peace in the region? There are an overwhelming majority of people who believe that Israel is squarely to blame for the crisis in the region. Israel hasn’t complied with Security Council resolutions after it captured Arab land; Israel doesn’t leave the occupied territories; Israel is funded and supplied by America with American weaponry and so forth. The argument of the anti-Israel – or should I say the pro-Arab contingent is strong. There are valid defenses of the pro-Israel lobby, but I am not going to indulge them right now. However there is the other side of this politically charged issue: that of radical Islamic militancy. Whether Iran or Syria is funding the Hezbollah and Hamas leadership is secondary to the problem. The issue is a very real one. Hostile Arab nations are intent on Israel’s destruction, plain and simple. Now how should Israel deal with this? By meekly surrendering to the will of the international community – I think not!

Terrorism is driving a very real wedge between people who want peace and security and those who don’t. The age-old conflict between Arabs and Israelis/Jews is here to stay. The only question we need to ask is can we lessen the tensions so that these historical enemies can live peacefully beside one another. The Arab nations have sufficient land for their people, so the acquisition of Israel is merely for political jockeying and domination of the region. The world must remember that the selfsame U.N. adopted the resolution allowing for the creation of the state of Israel. That state was founded and soon after it was attacked from every side, on numerous occasions. Israel triumphed with scant supplies and an iron-will. Nation after nation has tried to crush this tiny country and every one of them has failed. Now Israel is facing a cowardly enemy; one which is fearful to engage in a frontline battle. Guerilla warfare is a deadly tactic employed by extremists the world-over. The Americans have learned the hard way that despite the most advanced weaponry and sophisticated military hard and software, the threat of a suicide bomber cannot be guarded against. So the Americans have lost thousands of their troops in ‘liberating’ Iraq. The Israeli’s too have lost countless soldiers and civilians in a population of barely 6 million. That is tragedy. However it doesn’t end there, for the Lebanese and Palestinians have lost even more of their own people in counter-attacks by Israeli forces. This is unacceptable. The root cause of the violence is the history of the region: hatred is preached by clerics to their congregants and hatred is a vile, despicable emotion. It fuels the fires of fundamentalism and it breaches peace initiatives. Israel will however continue to exist – of that I have no doubt. A functioning Palestinian state will also share the holy soil alongside Israel. Hamas will have to toe the line; they will have to accept the State of Israel’s right to exist. We cannot allow this age-old conflict to tear us apart as people of different faiths. We cannot allow this vitriol to impact so heavily on our emotions that it seeks to destroy any shred of humanity, compassion and tolerance we have in our hearts. Sure it is painful and it is ugly; the loss of life is tragic on both sides. When terror ends, peace can take root. This highly charged issue has become so much more than a mere conflict; it has given rise to wave after wave of anti-Semitism and spawned bad-blood. Newspaper; radio and Television commentary is filled with anti-Israel sentiment. People often make reference to the CNN perspective and the BBC perspective regarding Israel. The issue is the same; if attacked, one must defend. However that defense must be sufficient to quell the threat. Over kill is not an option to delve into. The slant in the SA media is so one-sided that it is a wonder this article is even being published, but that will not deter the voice of people, like myself, from being heard.

Violence in all its forms must be condemned. The provocation for such aggression must be objectively assessed and corrective action must be employed to ensure that such issues can be diplomatically resolved. I condemn attacks of any kind on any civilian targets; I condemn militants for hiding in and amongst civilians while firing crude missiles at Israeli cities; I condemn the savage bombardment of cities, just to flush out militants. But most of all I condemn the growing divide between people as a result of this. Let us address the problems and offer aid where it is needed, to both sides of this conflict. Let us show our solidarity with the victims of this suffering. Only when we speak with one voice will the power of our words be heard.

brett chatz

What is a terrorist?

The definition of a terrorist all depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting. That old adage - ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ still holds water to this very day.

Terror is a relatively easy term to define, unlike the aforementioned allusion to the term terrorist. If one were to describe the components of terror, one might describe a state of being where there is a palpable fear for one’s safety. This is inclusive of, but not limited to, senseless violence, carnage, mayhem and bloodshed. Perhaps we could even take it a step further and describe terror as the instilling of absolute dread in people’s hearts by enforcing upon them a way of life they are unaccustomed to. This could be either as a result of radical changes to their lifestyles through fear of using public transportation; fear of sitting in a sidewalk café or even a fear of window-shopping in a mall. The fear is a rational one; it is based on prior experience, past events and the continued existence of threats by those sponsoring the terror. Once those social freedoms become dangers, people are potentially living under the threat of terror. Terror is propagated by terrorists.

Terrorism is real: it maims and it destroys. There are several kinds of terrorism, however let’s limit this discussion to state-sponsored terrorism and militia groups. Any organization which has at its core the call for the complete annihilation of another state and its people is a terrorist organization. Any organization that indiscriminately fires missiles into civilian areas is a terrorist organization. That that selfsame organization is willing to carry out wave after wave of brutal attacks against another country in the name of liberation doesn’t justify its conduct, despite its underlying motivation. Any organization that seeks to alter the status quo through violence and insurrection by forfeiting diplomacy is a terrorist organization. The problem with terrorism is that it is a ‘blanket strategy’ to a specific problem. The struggle for liberation claims many innocent lives along the way. We cannot simply dismiss this as collateral damage. The loss of life is tragic. Those who have perished and those who have been maimed also had dreams for themselves and their children. These people also have families who care/d for them. These people who suffer at the hands of terrorism are largely bystanders in a conflict they wish to have no part of.

Terrorism is rife in Colombia where rebel militia groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia do battle with Alvaro Uribe’s national military on a daily basis. Who are the victims in this conflict? They are ordinary Colombians for the most part – peasants and subsistence farmers. If we move to Sudan there have been more than 450 000 people massacred in less than three years. What of Somalia? What of Serbia under the reign of Milosevic? These instances lean more towards genocide than terrorism, but it’s much the same. It is the will of a minority being enforced on the majority with cataclysmic ramifications. Where is the condemnation for this genocide?

Here is where we must show solidarity to all the victims of terror. These groups include Iraqis, Afghans, Lebanese, Americans and Israelis. Everyone bleeds; everyone cries and everyone feels the pain of loss at some point in their lives. Victims of terror are spread across the planet, from Darfur to Bogotá; from Haifa to Beirut and from Bali to Bombay – the world is filled with hatemongering and treachery. It is disingenuous to lay blame squarely on the shoulders of any one group. We may certainly be divided in our attempts to identify these terrorist groups, but one thing is for certain – there can be no disputing who the victims of terrorist attacks are!

brett chatz

AHMADINEJAD - MAN OF MYSTERY

Iran’s equivalent of Iraqi Comical Ali

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is truly a man of mystery, intrigue, charisma and pragmatism. The self-styled dictator, ahem, democratically elected leader of Iran, has done it again. He recently attended the United Nations General Assembly conference in New York City; this after the US was requested by senior UN officials to grant the comical character a visa to enter the United States.

While attending the conference, Ahmadinejad held an informal conference with nineteen of America’s foreign policy delegates. The meeting lasted a good 90 minutes in a New York City hotel. The Iranian leader launched a barrage of reprisals against the Western representatives, this in an effort to curry diplomatic favour for Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Naturally Iran is not intent on developing a nuclear arsenal – the nuclear desires are for peaceful intent. It matters not that Iran has absolutely no need to seek alternative power supplies: its petroleum reserves could power the country for several hundred years.

It appeared that the Iranian President was more than happy to talk to anyone who would lend him an ear. He gave interviews to Time Magazine and CNN. Critics of the Iranian regime were dumbstruck by his antics; what exactly was he hoping to achieve in the United States? Either way he was living large and loving it. He was on American soil - his most detested nation, and according to him the devil-state incarnate. It appears that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is enjoying the hype; he thrives on the media circus he generates whenever talk is centered on him.

Besides for the usual Holocaust denial and Zionist expansionist initiatives, Ahmadinejad was his usual buoyant self. He launched into a relentless tirade against Western imperialist policy against Islam. Although he has denied the Holocaust ever occurred, he does want an inquest into the matter. Millions of Americans are horrified at his blatant dismissal of historical fact but Ahmadinejad actually believes that many Americans actually support him!


sumie hosaka

Terror

Someone who strikes mortal fear into another is a terrorist. Perhaps a better question is, “Who is a terrorist?”

As Brett rightly pointed out, this depends on what side you are on. Have you read Hebrews lately? In Hebrews 10:31 it says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Several times God is quoted as saying, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” To the ungodly, to demons, etc… God is a terrorist. The Bible is full of peace but also full of terror, depending on which (whose) side we stand.

This brings up the question, “What are we really afraid of?” Who do we fear (terror)? And who do we fear (revere)?

I also agree with Brett’s other points: terror is real, terror is rife, and we must do what we can to help the victims. I would also add that we must fight terrorists.

Much terrorism begins at home: when children are untutored, unloved, when bullies are allowed to bully, when parents are abusive, and when justice is ignored and the bad guys are allowed to continue. In Numazu I remember the boosoozuku “terrorizing” the night with their loud machines. These sorts of people need better fathers.

They are literally screaming for attention, for love. Most of the world’s most notorious terrorists all had problems with their fathers, including the headliners of our day. Virtually all the youths who go on rampages and shoot-up their classmates had problems with their fathers.


“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers a multitude of transgressions.”
-Solomon ca 900 BC Prov. 10:12


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
-Groucho Marx


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