Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Those" people

"We" are the good guys. "Those" people are just savages, who want to exterminate anybody who is like them. Thus we must kill them all before they kill us.

I was listening to a former Israeli tank commander rant about the Palestinian "problem" (said problem being, they have no nation that will accept them as citizens -- gosh, identical to the Jewish "problem" in 1938, when Eichmann was trying to deport all the Jews of Germany but could find no nation willing to take them!). Said he, "Those people" (note the "those") "are just savages. Dirty beasts. We should exterminate them all." He claimed he was happy when he got the chance to shell their homes with his tank's main gun, because "it's what they all deserve."

"Those" people. "Them". "They". They're not like us. , whoever "they" are. They're untermenschen, unseemly mud people, worthy of only exterminating like a cockroach. In a particularly ugly comment from below, whose poster apparently didn't realize what ugliness she was posting, I saw the phrase: "Look at what they do: Sudan."

"They". Cockroaches. Untermenschen. Whoever "they" is, which is rather interesting in Sudan because "they" are all Africans and the fighting there has nothing to do with race or religion, it is a classical water war between nomads and farmers, where the nomads have been driven from their traditional ranges by drought and desertification and are taking the lands of the farmers as their new range, a story in Africa as old as the continent. Indeed, it is the same story as Rwanda, where the nomads (the Tutsi) came in and smashed the farmers (the Hutu), then were set up as official overlords back in colonial days by the French, who liked the Tutsi's style (the Tutsis being tall and elegant drivers of cattle, the Hutu being short squat dirt farmers). The Hutu got theirs back in the end -- they snuck up on the Tutsi and slaughtered them with machetes -- just another African genocidal war between nomads and farmers.

Which has to do with the situation in the Middle East exactly... uhm, not. Neither the Arabs nor the Jews in the vicinity of Palestine are nomads. They've been settled-down farmers for over 2,000 years. Hell, they're the same damned genetic stock, they have the same damned national cuisines (go into a Lebanese restaurant and go into an Israeli restaurant and you can get taboulleh and falafal), their big difference is just some stupid quibble over how to worship the Invisible Sky Demon that they worship. Well, that and the fact that one group of these Invisible Sky Demon worshippers threw another group of Invisible Sky Demon worshippers off their land back in 1948, which has been a source of trouble ever since. If they only worshipped the Great Penguin like all us Tuxologists, they would never have bothered, they'd be too busy sitting fat and happy with a half-eaten herring in their mouth. Unfortunately, most of the world has not yet received the wisdom of the Great Penguin and still worships other gods, maybe because the Great Penguin, as mentioned earlier, isn't much of a kick-ass deity -- I mean, c'mon, can you imagine a penguin turning a couple of cities into giant fireballs just 'cause it don't like the way the folks there have sex with each other? Huh?

Now, there's a big problem with the Arab notion that the problem of Palestine is a problem of illegal immigration. Frankly, it's been 60 years. 80% of the Jewish population of Israel was born there (the other 20% are immigrants). Only 30% of the Jewish population of Israel are descended from Middle Eastern or North African Jews (what the Arabs consider to be "Arab Jews" who belong there), the rest are descended from European or Russian Jews (who the Arabs consider to be illegal immigrants who illegally settled in Palestine and forced the rightful inhabitants out at gunpoint). You get the picture -- at least 50% of the Jewish population actually born in Israel would be deported under the Arab plan, but there's no place to deport them to. Sort of like how Eichmann wanted to deport the German Jews in 1938, but nobody would take them.

We all know where that one ends up -- concentration camps. And we all know what happens in the end with concentration camps.

The problem is that Israel is basically a concentration camp for the world's unwanted Jews, the Jews who have no other place to go. So they aren't going to go away voluntarily. They have no place to go. But demographics and economics say that eventually there's not going to be any choice. In the past Israel managed to win its wars and insure its continued existence due to spectacular incompetence on the part of Arab leaders and the backwardness of the Arab nations. But the Arab nations have made spectacular leaps and bounds in education over the past 40 years, and those children are now attaining positions of leadership. The recent Hizbullah fiasco in southern Lebanon may be an indication that the era of relying on the incompetence of Arabs may be over. In that case, the only thing that can maintain Israel as a viable state is massive assistance from the United States, which prefers those unwanted Jews to be Over There rather than Over Here. But the United States itself is swiftly losing the ability to provide such assistance due to its own economic and military problems.

So in the end, if Israel attempts to maintain itself as an ethnically and religiously Jewish state with preferential treatment for Jews, there will be a "Black Tuesday" where the last Israeli tank is destroyed outside the gates of Jeruselem and the Arab tanks pour in. The demographics and economics simply are too overwhelming in the long term. If the state of Israel has more than 20 years left in its current form, I will be quite surprised. Then what? Well, history isn't reassuring there. See, e.g., the history of the Spanish Reconquista, what they did when they reconquered their country from the Arab invaders. It wasn't pretty.

The only "real" solution is a multi-cultural state. There even is something of a model immediately to the north of Israel, where four large distinct religious groups manage to live (mostly) in peace with each other though they did fight a rather bloody civil war for 15 years before they figured out how to live with each other. The Lebanese democracy is fragile, and not everybody buys into it yet -- Hizbullah being the 500 pound guerilla in the closet there -- but despite the past history of mass murders, ethnic cleansings, etc. in Lebanon, from the time the peace treaty ending the war was signed in 1990 until the recent events Lebanon was a fairly peaceful place where the majority of people managed to get along with each other despite their differences. The Maronite Christians in Lebanon are in much the same position that the Jews in Israel would be in if the Palestinians were allowed to return home -- i.e., a minority in a country that was theirs for decades -- yet nobody is trying to exterminate the Maronites, and indeed, they were instrumental in getting Hizbullah its seats in the Lebanese parliament as part of their plan to get Hizbullah to "buy in" to that whole "democracy" thing and quit running around like they were their own nation-state, a plan which Israel has temporarily derailed by turning Hizbullah into Lebanese national heros but which everybody in Lebanon wants to have happen because Hizbullah is the last of the holdouts, the last group standing to have its own militia.

If the Israeli Jews want to survive past the next 20 years, they had better come to the realization that they will have to learn from the Lebanese how to live in peace in a multicultural society, and start the process as soon as possible before the Arabs force the issue at gunpoint at which point the results will be, well, unfortunate. Unfortunately, that will not happen. Because as far as the Israeli Jews are concerned, anyone who is not a Jew is "they", "those" people. And we all know about "those" people, right?

- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

6 comments:

  1. Word. Israel best be finding an "us" solution very quickly. Israel will not be able to count on Murkan military and financial backing much longer, as Murka's every resource will be needed to keep the Chinese from foreclosing.

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  2. I'm sorry you thought that was ugly, Badtux. I really am not an US or Them kinda person. I weep just as much for an Iraqi youth who has lost everything (family, home, society, culture, next meal) as I do for the US soldier being shipped home on a stretcher to face endless months of reconstructive surgery and rehab.

    You said the moderates SAY that they just want to send the Israelis back to where they were born, and I say - Israel, Bushco, the Arab Muslims and the African Muslims can SAY anything - and Bushco is the prime example of the danger of taking someone at his word.

    You must therefore judge their intentions by what they do when they are in a position of power - legitimate or illegitimate power.

    The arab Muslims in Darfur are committing genocide upon the African population, with the support and connivance of their own government. Our govt is ignoring the whole thing. And, I realize that the specific sect may not be the same in Africa as it is in the mideast.

    The muslims have a long history of conversion by the sword, the rise of Sikhism in India was a direct opposition event in response to that.

    On the other hand, Spain in the time of Moslem rule was a golden area (and era) of peace and tolerance.

    Do you blame me for wanting alot more than the word of the moderate-on-the-street? Our government is not responsive at all to our moderates. The elected governments in the mideast are leaving their moderates behind.

    It's disgusting to me the extent to which our govt is encouraging, supporting, and committing violence around the world.

    If it's true that Israel has less than twenty years left, don't you think that after all this time with our govt singing their praises, we would open our arms to the Israeli people? That prolly would not sit well in the south, but I cannot imagine NYC, or for that matter, LA refusing them.

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  3. SB Gypsy, the "Arab" nomads in Darfur are about as Arab as you and I. They're all Africans. As I pointed out, the violence there has no more to do with religion or race than in Rwanda. It's classic nomads vs. farmers, Tutsi vs. Hutu, Gingawid vs. Fur, Mongols vs. Eastern Europe, Navajo vs. Hopi. It's what happens when nomads get driven out of their own home range by drought, overpopulation, or outside forces, migrate elsewhere, and start driving the farmers off their lands so that they can graze their herds there. You persist in reading some sort of race or religion message into something that has nothing to do with race or religion.

    Regarding conversion by the sword, there hasn't been any of that done by Middle Eastern Arabs since around 700AD. Indeed, around 20% of Israel's population is Middle Eastern Jews (who the Arabs call the "Arab Jews") who lived in Muslim countries for 1400 years without being converted at swordpoint or exterminated. Seems to me that's 1400 years of "what they do when they're in a position of power" to fall back upon.

    As for Sikhism in India, you distort the reason the Sikh religion was created. It was created as much because of Hindu violence against Muslims as the converse. Hindu violence which, I might add, still is ongoing. 'Nuff said.

    _BT

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  4. If the version of history I learned is distorted, it's because I learned it from the Sikhs. Their version says that the Hindus were believers in non-violence, and would not defend themselves. Thus the Sikhs formed themselves as a force to protect against injustice.

    I also know that history is the story told by the victors.

    If this is wrong, I apologise for messing up your thread with erroneous info.

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  5. I've been thinking this same thing for some time, that the only viable long-term solution is to create a multi-ethnic state.
    The current situation reminds me too much of post-Civil War south.
    Integration.
    Inclusion.
    Plurality.
    That stuff might not always yield ideal results, but it's better than the alternative.

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  6. I spent a couple of sleepless nights thinking about this, and I spent Saturday morning online looking up anything Islam or Arab. I learned alot of things.

    I'm here to say: Mea Culpa.

    Yes I was acting in just the odious way that you described in your post.

    No excuse, but perhaps an explanation. If you are not interested in an explanation, you can cheerfully stop reading now.

    I was stuck on the issue, and didn't know why myself, but after a sleepless night I recognised that my sticking point was and is sharia law.

    I had the impression that wherever Islam gains a super majority, sharia law follows. I was wrong. First, Turkey is the lone secular non-repressive state that is nearly all Islamic. They have gone to the extream of writing it in their constitution that they won't have sharia.

    I was wrong also in the impression that it takes a super majority. Even in western democracies, when there is even a sizeable minority, there have been calls for the institution of sharia law.

    Italy, Great Britian, Australia and Canada have all had to fight off sharia movements. Canada had to close it's religion based family law courts, to fend sharia law off. France recently outlawed headscarves - and note here that Turkey also banned headscarves.

    So, I find I am intolerant, of an intolerable sore on the face of human society. The Islamists are going backward, and a BIG part of the blame for that is our own hard hearted, stubborn, stupid headed interferance into their governments and into their internal affairs - and all for filthy lucre.

    *we should know better, but there you are*

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