When my friends or intellectuals start up a debate on Israel...I bring up North Korea. When someone apologises for Palestinian terrorism I talk about child soldiers in Africa. When I hear someone defend everything Israel does...I get into ruthless drug cartels in Latin America and their sex-slaves, bullying and assassinations or I bring up death penalties for apostasy and blasphemy in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. When people criticise American aid to Israel I change the topic to Female Genital Mutilation.
It's not that I don't care about the deaths in Palestine and Israel. I sympathise. In the past I spent hours and hours on the topic both in activism and intellectual engagement But I believe that the news space and intellectual air time that this story gets is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion. These other conflicts and problems worry me more. They effect a broader group of people. Their problems are less irreducibly complex. The narratives change. I learn a lot when I read about these problems. I can imagine that at least one of the conflicts I mention will improve dramatically in the next ten years. Discussion about North Korea, Child Soldiery etc. involve less recycled material and less scripted and repeated conversation.
Does anyone else feel that the Israel-Palestine conflict eats up a disproportionate amount of intellectual air time? What other world conflicts or problems greatly concern you? What world conflicts or problems can you envision improving in the next ten years?
I will take a path between idealism and cynicism, I call it realism, or sometimes pragmatism.
Folks, our distant ancestors -- pond scum, blue green algae, cyanobacteria -- dined on each other.
The big, strong and fast ate the small, weak and slow.
The uneaten devised ways to keep from being eaten.
Running, climbing trees and flying away took several billions of years.
Some of the fauna grew brains and invented religion. They used guilt to slow the predators.
Still more recently, some of the fauna invented democracy.
We who are not Republicans are now trying to keep Republicans from eating us.
Davis, what is it that you wanted to say?
I suppose if we were all living in a lovely North Korean style prison camp on our way to likely death ... the first thing that would cross my mind is "I hope that western countries aren't doing anything to help us. It would make me feel guilty knowing that they aren't living their lives instead of caring about us".
I think another fairly common school of thought says that those who initiate a war of aggression and go on to lose that war will depart with territory and have its people displaced. See Germanyx2 and Japan as examples. Those who initiate warfare thrice and lose every time should be careful in demanding anything, in fact, they hardly have the right to demand anything.
And why choose value and emotion loaded words like "massacre" if you wish to have a fruitful discrimination? That aside, if that is your business, then why so damned selective with your outrage?
Which other conflicts do you then have a strong emotional attachment to?
As for Israel/Hamas, there's not much I can do about that other than voice my opinion. In light of that, I think disgust is a better word than outrage.
"A plague on both your houses" — Shakespeare
"One school of thought says that those with the capability to act have the responsibility to act (to ease the suffering of others)."
If doG is not helping millions of starving children, what makes it my job? Isn't that their parents job?
One school of thought says that those with the capability to act have the responsibility to act (to ease the suffering of others).
But that's subject to interpretation. The Israeli government sees itself as having the respoinsibility to ease the sufferiing of Israelis. It has no charter to ease the suffering of the people Hamas claims responsibility for. That Hamas doesn't give a shit about Gazan citizens is evident because they are the ones exposing them to the wrath of Israel. If Hamas were to shut up and pack in its missiles and stop building tunnels under the border so they could conduct terror raids, that is the one thing that would protect the people of Gaza.
Beyond that, that "one school of thought" leads to absurdities. Do I have an obligation to end each and every instance of suffering? Or do we get to pick and choose whose suffering to try to end? The Israelis who suffer daily from the possibility of being hit by a Hamas missile, for example?
If I were to end some suffering tomorrow, I'd probably volunteer to catch and "fix" feral cats.
Other people choose to save the whales or some species of owl or frog or rare plant, and don't particularly think a lot about Palestinians, Israelis, child soldiers, or kidnapped girls.
Back to the theme of this thread, does the Israeli/Hamas conflict get more then it's fair share of air-time?