By Goodwin Ginger
We are often told stories about the despicable Arab who raises their children by teaching them to play Martyr or soldier at an early age. Usually such stories are told with a view toward de-humanizing the Arab and thereby justifying the harsh tactics by which the IDF or Mossad employs in its perpetual subjugation of the Arab.
This in and of itself tells us much about the nature of the conflict in the Middle East, at least as it plays itself out in the body politic of the region. We are to gasp at the site of an eight year old touting an automatic rifle; directed to feel that the Arab is indeed depraved even if we are nominally sympathetic to the causes of that depravity.
Recent photos that have been proudly displayed on the Internet do not so much undermine this vision of depravity but indeed seem to prove that it is not limited to the Arab. We are now invited to see the Jew as depraved. Who would raise their children to write messages on shells destined to kill civilians?
If these pictures tell us anything it is that conflicts of this sort cannot help but lay-waste to the moral fabric of all the societies caught up in the conflict. Such photos invoke a sadness in us not because they reveal the Jew or Arab to be depraved but because they leave us feeling hopeless. Though the peacemakers be blessed where will they come from?
Click on photo for links to images from Lebanon
And this is the fallacy that lies at the heart of the current strategy of the combatants: the bombing of civilians and the destruction of the social fabric from which individuals are shaped undermines the very possibility for peace. No one can win this conflict through force, disproportional or otherwise. And when the time comes for peace what kind of society will the combatants inherit?
Back in the mid to late eighties when Apartheid was in its death throws the ANC had undertaken a very effective strategy of ungovernability in the townships which among other things entailed the burning of schools. The problem was that the ANC eventually inherited a whole generation of either uneducated or poorly educated citizens.
This of course is the real crime of engaging in the collective punishment of all of Lebanon for the actions of Hezbollah. Israel is undermining the very society which at some point it will want to make peace with. Who in Lebanon will want to think peace after the IDF is done? All Israel can accomplish is the destruction of yet another society. Israel likes to use the term “cancer” to describe its enemies but what they do not realize is that the real cancer which is spreading throughout the region is already raging inside its own body politic as the photos shown above well attest. They may win the battle but only at the cost of loosing themselves. And this to, is sad.