Politics, nonsense

04Jan09
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Errico Malatesta

I used to be a bit of a political firebrand in my youth (ha! quoth the graybeard), and ran the usual coming-of-age gauntlet of anarcho-communism. Actually, I still think anarchy and the ideal of mutual aid is actually a good one, so long as you take human beings out of the equation (at least until we learn that maybe, just maybe, our next evolutionary step is to learn that co-operation rather than competition is the winning strategy). I still don’t think that governments are a good idea, basically because the bigger an organisation becomes, the more I’ve noticed that any sense of personal responsibility diminishes in the component humans who make up those entities. ‘Computer says no’ syndrome, I suppose, when dogma and policy overtake compassion and need.

But I digress.

I gave up on politics when I realised that I was approaching it all wrong. I was interested in a discourse, in a pragmatic, logical examination of a given social or economic problem with an open-minded, genuine desire to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. (A part of me still thinks that’s how it ought to be, but there you go). When I finally realised that it was actually an argument, where the objective was to defeat one’s opponent by refuting every single point they came up with (and vice versa) until one of you eventually makes some monumental error of judgement or logic, or contradicts oneself, or reduces oneself to absurdity, or loses patience and calls the other person a fascist (or nazi, or whatever insult is flavour of the moment) – and loses the argument by default. I discovered that I had little interest in such yah-boo nonsense, and gave the whole thing up in disgust. Though I reserve the right to snipe from the sidelines every now and again.

Thus now.

Urban Wild Flowers, Or Hiltch (Flickr Creative Commons)

Urban Wild Flowers, Or Hiltch (Flickr Creative Commons)

Here we are, and the Israel/Palestine conflict flares up again. Yawn. Yes, yawn. I’ve been through the whole thing too many times before to get worked up over it again. Attempting to come up with any sort of analysis has only three possible outcomes:

1) Israel’s supporters decide you are being anti-jewish and call you a nazi

2) Palestine’s supporters decide you are being anti-palestinian/anti-muslim and call you an imperialist dog

3) Both sides decide you are sitting on the fence and therefore they both shoot at you

My point is, really, that the latest infarction is just another in a long line, and from where I’m sitting there’s going to be a hell of a lot more. I don’t mean to diminish the personal and real tragedy affecting the “ordinary” people (are there any other kind?) on either side of the divide, caught in the middle of another battle, I’m just saying that I can’t find it within myself to go into a detailed examination of why this latest episode has ignited, and the rights and wrongs and ins and outs of it. I’ve been there too many times before, and I just don’t have the energy.

This is politics taken to a violent and absurd extreme, and it becomes just such a grand, operatic, epic disaster that all one can do is throw up ones hands and wait for the climax. Only it will never come, because each side is now so firmly entrenched in their respective positions that neither can move, so they are chained to this stupid, ever-growing hamster wheel of tit-for-tat petty bloody vengeance. Hamas will never move from their position that Israel has no right to exist, even though it has now reach pythonesque levels of ridiculousness for them to continue to maintain that position. And Israel will never defeat Hamas, no matter how many troops they send into Gaza, because Hamas is like the hydra – for every one head they cut off, another hundred spring up. And even if they do defeat the organisation currently known as Hamas, the ethos will only be reincarnated in another group with the same philosophy but a different name until change in terms of both civil rights and economic opportunity is realised.

I’d say that the truth is that neither side can hold the moral high ground, and that neither accomplishes much by the continuous recitation of grievances in an emotive attempt to justify their stance by proving they have been wronged more than the other side. As it stands, both sides look set on a path of mutually assured destruction, and I’d be tempted to let them get on with, if it weren’t for the nagging sense of conscience that tells me it’s not fair on the people not directly involved in the fighting, and that there’s a risk it could drag the whole region into conflagration with it. It annoys me too, that instead of trying to solve the problem, the world’s leaders come down on one side or the other, and do nothing helpful, whilst the UN sit around endlessly talking, a toothless cur with neither bark nor bite, that no-one either fears or respects any more.

The only people who can bring about change are the people directly involved. The problem is, that until they get tired of fighting each other and sit down and really talk about a solution with a genuine and open intent to bring about a peaceful solution, it will never change. I can’t make them do it, and I’m bored of arguing with people who aren’t listening to anything except the sound of their own self-righteousness. So I wash my hands of the whole business, and will quietly hope that the change will come sooner rather than later, if only for the sake of all the mothers over there with children the same age as mine, who would like to see them grow up.

Crying Angel, Annikaleigh (Flickr Creative Commons)

Crying Angel, Annikaleigh (Flickr Creative Commons)

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