November 17, 2012

The World as Slaughterhouse

Thank God we're all so damned "civilized":
Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels. ...

A massive explosion rocked the Gaza City soccer stadium this morning and speculation was that the target was a rocket launching site. The Israeli bombing campaign expanded into other areas and included the government infrastructure. The cabinet headquarters was flattened.

There were reports of civilians among the casualties. At least half of the Palestinians killed in the conflict so far have been civilians, including at least eight children and a pregnant woman.
Dead children are now a commonplace of the ceaseless death campaigns conducted by the United States and Israel. That alone reveals a great deal, more than anyone decent cares to know, about the nature of the "civilization" involved. But ... a pregnant woman. That's a new and creative touch. Does someone in Israel get extra points for that? A special medal for extraordinary heroism? I suspect so.

As to the "blistering assault" on "a vast network of smuggling tunnels," see my earlier post about the critical significance of those tunnels to Gaza's economy, and to the Gazans' ability to survive in anything close to a recognizably human mode of existence. Israel appears determined to deliver the "knockout blow" that I discussed.

The story also has this:
President Obama spoke with Israeli leaders on Friday night reiterating Israel has a right to defend itself.
Israel's "right to defend itself" -- to defend itself from what exactly? The prisoners of a concentration camp? This is reality and morality turned upside down and inside out. This is the reality and morality of a serial murderer, who ceaselessly and repeatedly kills innocent human beings and who is proud of what he does.

But, Arthur, some people object, why do you call it a concentration camp? Why do you exaggerate in this ridiculous way, thus destroying your own credibility? As I explained, the central question is: under what conditions are the inhabitants of Gaza permitted to live? As I also explained, the logical and inevitable final result of Israel's policy is the deaths of roughly a million and a half Gazans. From that perspective, I could have described Gaza, with complete justification, as an extermination camp. That is exactly what Israel, with the fervent, enthusiastic support of the U.S. government and the Obama administration, seems intent on turning Gaza into.

These events bring back to me, with a horror that is overwhelming, a passage I wrote almost four years ago:
The general pattern described above, and more particularly the devastation visited on Gaza, remind me of an especially harrowing sequence from a fine film, Hud. The story concerns a cattle rancher and his family. It is discovered that some of the cattle have contracted hoof and mouth disease. To prevent the spread of the disease, and because he can think of no other means to control it, the head of the family decides that all the cattle must be destroyed.

A large pit is dug, deep enough to prevent the cattle from getting out. The cattle are driven into the pit, with all means of escape closed off. The men stand around the edges of the pit, and they lift their rifles. They begin to shoot -- and they shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and shoot.

Finally, after endless, terrifying minutes, all the cattle are dead.

Cattle, the inhabitants of Gaza ... what's the difference? They're all animals and subhumans, diseased or possibly diseased, incapable of being saved, beyond redemption. Kill them all.
As deeply terrifying as this is, it is not the end of the horror. If anything, it is only the beginning of a large scale death campaign for the new century. I described that in the concluding section of this essay.

Gaza sets the pattern; expect to see it repeated in the years and decades to come. And most people still refuse to see what is happening.

More and more areas of the world will be turned into a charnel house. It happened twice in the twentieth century on an ungraspable scale, and it occurred many additional times in a more limited manner, which was no less horrifying for the victims. It seems the only lessons we learned from all these catastrophes are how to do it more efficiently and effectively, and with less resistance from the world at large. The victims change; the pattern does not. So for us at this moment in history, the slogan is not, "Never again!" The slogan is: "Always again!"

And again. And again. And again. Until time runs out.