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A very short comment on the Gaza tragedy... A very short comment on the Gaza tragedy...
by Christos Mouzeviris
2012-11-26 07:16:54
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The Western media are rushing to make money by covering the situation in the Middle East and the escalating crisis in Gaza. "What should Europe do to help," many ask or ponder! "We must help those poor kinds in Palestine! Bring peace in the region! Europe must get involved!"

All so very humanist considerations! We should do something yes really; but think of this. Could Europe stand against Israel and do something about their aggression? We are always supporting or tolerating their actions, perhaps because of a sense of eternal guilt and shame for what we did to them in the past.

If Europe should get involved it should do so by imposing sanctions against Israel this time. At last! Oh, wait, we can not do that, because Uncle Sam will get too upset and stop the investments in Europe. So no, Europe can not get involved, apart from making statements. And plenty of statements it gives.

I am sure that every European politician will make a heart felt statement on the Gaza situation, if they haven't done it already. But if it was Iran bombing Israel, I am sure they would get the opportunity they wanted to get involved and attack Iran.

The Israelis have created a vast concentration camp in Gaza and they treat the Palestinians as the Nazis were treating them, minus the gas chambers. Instead of that they give them bombs. And if the Palestinians react they call them terrorists! That is shameful! Their ancestors that died in such camps I am sure they would not approve of their actions.

They did not die to see their descendants doing the same evil to another human being. No one who sacrificed his or her life, or suffered such horrendous fate would actually want that. Wouldn't it be better to compromise and stop building new settlements and give the Palestinians more freedoms? The more they force them into poverty and deprivation, the more they radicalize them. Why can't they see that?

Just because Israel has the full support of powerful "protectors" in USA and Europe it does not mean what it does is rightful. And I personally I am ashamed to share the privilege of being called human with people who allow such atrocities like these to happen!!

*************************************************************************

Christos Mouzeviris is the writer of the blog: The Eblana European Democratic Movement



   
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Emanuel Paparella2012-11-26 10:44:11
A very short comment: if I follow correctly the above mode of reasoning, it would clearly appear that we have come full circle: the anti-Semitic prejudice of the Nazis ended up in genocide via concentration camps all over Europe wherein six million Jews, plus five million other undesirable, were brutally exterminated. That is duly found reprehensible and if of course duly condemned by the above reasoning but then we are advised that we ought to free ourselves from feeling eternally guilty about this sad chapter of European history so that we can now duly attend the stopping of another equally horrendous genocide going on via the Israeli concentration camp named Gaza run not by Hamas but by Jewish capos; that is to say the Jews have become Nazis and the well meaning ethical Europeans should now stop them from doing to the Palestinians what the European Nazis did to the Jews in Europe. The same victims of the Holocaust from their graves would wish us to do that so that we can stop being "ashamed to share the privilege of being called human with people who allow such atrocities like these to happen!"

Admittedly some may find this line of reasoning a bit over the top, but then, given that the other side of the coin is conveniently bypassed in it, the question naturally arises: why have the Jews alledgedly have become like European Nazis and ended up with genocide persecuting Palestinians and placing them in a concentration camp called the Gaza strip and bombing as a substitute to gassing them? Could it just be that some of those peaceful Palestinians victims are regularly sending candies for Jewish children to be found inside the rockets and missiles surreptitiously acquired from Iran? That would surely do one better on the Nazis: the Palestinians are kindly sending candies to Israeli children in Iranian missiles and in response they receive bombs from the nasty Nazi-Jews. How outrageous indeed.

But wait a minute, since the Jews were given Palestinian land in 1946, nobles oblige from the Europeans, how did the Jews end up in Europe in the first place? Were they not evicted by those other Europeans called Romans and brought to Rome in slavery? Would it not be more fair to take the city of Rome, the original culprit who evicted the Jews from their ancestral land some two thousand years ago, and give it outright to the Jews and thus expunge once and for all that eternal European guilt over anti-Semitism? I suspect the Palestinians would find it more fair. And would that not settle the Jewish-Palestinian problem once and for all? But then one remains wondering if the six million Jews who died in European Nazi concentration camps, not to speak of the Jews alive today, would gladly approve of that kind of clever by half suggestion.


Christos Mouzeviris2012-11-26 12:27:38
Mr Paparella, I understand where you are coming from. But to me the root of the problem is the constant expansion of the Israeli settlements. Plus the fact that the Palestinians are "boxed" in a tiny strip, with almost no diplomatic or trade relations with any country of the world.

The more the situation remains like this, the more they are going to be radicalized. It goes nowhere. And I am sure that you will admit that the Israelis are as guilty as Hamas is.

More than 100 dead Palestinians, with around dead Israelis. Is that necessary? Why don't they just stop building new settlements, give more freedoms to the Palestinians and sign peace.

Now you will of course question if the Palestinians themselves desire peace at all. Well once they taste how being free and have rights is, I doubt that they will focus on making bombs for Israeli children anymore. They will just want to buy this new i-phone that is being advertised. It worked in most countries.

No, I am sorry, I do not have the guilty feeling anymore. During the WW2 the Jews were not the only victim. 6 million died from all over the continent (if we take it with current population numbers)of 500 million. But also 1 million Greeks died out of a population of 10 million. Are you sure that the only atrocity against human beings was against the Jews back then?

Not to mention the millions other Europeans, both civilians and soldiers and yes even the German soldiers that were killed. That was not a Jewish only tragedy, it was a human one.

No, I do not hate the Jews, I do not deny the holocaust or anything like that. But I think it is time for us to untangle ourselves from the hatred of the past. I think they should also stop feeling threatened and the victims all the time. No, we should not and could not forget what happened. But if we are going to perpetually feeling so emotional about the Israeli state, then why don't we never do it for the Armenians, the Greeks, the Ukrainians, The Cypriots, the Polish and the many other nationalities that also suffered genocide or some kind of tragedy in the past?

To me the solution would be this: The Arabs accept the fact that Israel is there to stay and the Israelis stop building new settlements and allow Gaza to join the global community. Once the Palestinians become equal members of the global family, I doubt that their first concern will be to fire rockets against Israel. They have been in war for so long.

If I am wrong and the Palestinians do continue to behave like they do now, and be hostile to Israel, then it will be them that will be on the wrong 100% and the global community will turn against them and of course take action. The Israelis then will be once again "the victims" and have full right to do what must be done then. And no one will blame them! I hope that helps.


Emanuel Paparella2012-11-26 15:20:35
Not really Mr. Mouzeviris. Of course two wrongs never a right made, the Jewish genocide is not the only one that ever happened, ethical principles are universal (what Kant called the categorical imperative) and apply equally to everybody; what is good for the goose is good for the gander; terrorism remains terrorism no matter who carries it out. We obviously do not disagree on those ethical principles, but what I was pointing out in my previous comment was simply the curious fact that while those principles were applied unilaterally to Israel, somehow they were blissfully ignored when it came to the Palestinians Hamas who govern the Gaza strip, which you continue to characterize as an Israeli concentration camp. That is redolent of bias and unilateralism, not to speak of prejudice. You may wish to construe it as a rhetorical device, mere colorful language to attract attention to a festering problem, but it is not very helpful in bringing two adversaries to the peace table to characterize one of them as a dehumanized Nazi who has learned nothing from the lessons of the Holocaust (of which his ancestors were victims) and is now proceeding to do the same to other people, out to demonize those who disagree with them that they have a right to their ancestral land. To do that is to preclude any kind of fruitful dialogue ever taking place; it is in fact what I have called “over the top” sort of language.

I would propose, to the contrary that Tony Judt had it on target when he applied the concept of “misremembering” to the lessons of the Holocaust; that is to say, we in the West in general pay much lip service to the Holocaust, commemorate it annually, have conferences and university coursed on it, built monuments and museums to it, but we have never really learned and internalized the real lessons to be derived from it; we have in fact trivialized it to just another among the countless genocides of history. Here both Jung and his concept of “collective unconscious” and “collective guilt” and Levinas and his concept of “the other” could be very instructive but I suspect that precious few read their books nowadays.

In any case, it needs to be pointed out that the outright systematic brutal extermination of innocent people guilty of just being who they were (Jews) and nothing else, cannot be compared to soldiers dying on the battlefield, or political prisoners for that matter. Terror is terror and a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. No matter how one spins it, it remains a monstrosity of the first order that alas has not been fully grasped yet in our progressive democratic West in love with rationalizations galore and for which it behooves to acknowledge a modicum of collective responsibility and even guilt.

To now come around and brand the descendents of those victims as Nazis doing to others what was done to them only sixty years ago in Europe seems to me unconscionable, to say the least. You have not convinced me that it is mere rhetorical flourish and if it is it is inappropriate. As Levinas has taught us, if we continue to refuse the pondering of the lessons of that preeminent monstrosity of the 20th century which happened in a civilized country in a civilized continent proud to have spread civilization to the rest of the world, I am afraid that we will end up repeating it eventually and the second time around it will make the first one look like a picnic.


Christos Mouzeviris2012-11-26 23:56:35
Hmmm... So excuse me, but then why is the West go bananas with China over human rights abuses n China or Tibet? Haven't millions of Chinese died during the Imperial Japan's attack and invasion during WW2? Don't they deserve some kind of "immunity" from western criticism?

I guess this is some kind of double standards from our side.

And no, I do not think that criticizing Israel brings any danger of repeating the same mistakes again. One nation is not always the victim or the aggressor. It can be the victim at some point in history and the aggressor the next. Each time it has to be dealt differently and accordingly.

And about the Israelis coming around the table with the Palestinians? They do not want to have the issue resolved, unless it is for their favor. Thus keeping the occupied land for themselves.

That is the problem. And you think that they are going to be offended if anyone has my views? You call me biased? Well why is it biased to support the Palestinians and not if you support the Israelis? Is this a multiple choice test question with only two possible answers?

I do not support either of them. I criticize them both. But while the Palestinians have endured decades of sanctions and blockade from any international participation, the Israelis have the full support from America and the West in general.

That does not sound like trying to find any "unbiased" solution, rather "you do as we say or else."

In my opinion both sides are in the wrong and both must face the music for breaking human rights. Until now only Palestine suffers consequences. Perhaps it is time to put some pressure on Israel too. To save some human lives from both sides..

I understand that this may upset some readers but I do not think we have any other choice. If in the future we have another war in the Balkans and this time it is the Muslims of Bosnia or Kosovo that become the aggressors, will we spare them from punishment because they have been victims of discrimination too in the past?

If anything else, they should avoid doing what was being done to them.

So I do not understand how you expect any issue to be resolved if you are afraid of using "over the top" language. You do not want to offend the Israelis but by just telling them that it would be good for their own reputation globally not to kill Palestinian civilians does not stop them from doing it.

And the more Gaza is cut off from any chance of prosperity the more this war will continue. It has been going on for so many decades. Nothing happened with our attitude towards the situation so far, because some people have the same sensitivities like you do.

Well I have them too, as I said I do not want to make the atrocities of WW2 any less important. But on the other hand I do not think that this should give anyone any immunity. We all lost during WW2. Some countries like Russia, Greece, Poland and others saw a terrible loss in the CIVILIAN population.

It was not a racist persecution. But it was hunger, deprivation and cruelty. People in Athens had to eat rats to survive, their own pets or their neighbor's pets. There have been even cases of cannibalism reported while the Western allies had cut off Athens to weaken the Nazi troop's resources.

300.000 Athenian civilians died because of that. Has anyone given Greece any immunity from criticism?

No. Has anyone given the Russians any immunity from criticism and they were among the worse hit countries in Europe, in human lives in WW2. Both civilian and military. Yet the West has always been critical of them, since WW2.

We do not help in solving the issue by siding with one side because of guilt. We are actually making it worse. History can not and should not be forgotten. The victims must be remembered. We have to make sure that this does not happen again...

But tell that to a Palestinian and he won't understand you. To them with the end of WW2 and the resolution of the Israeli state "problem" started their own misery and long fight for their rights. The West solved the problem of an Israeli state, but created another one. The Problem of Palestine.

And while their organizations are terrorist and must be stopped, the way that Israel is dealing it is simply wrong. And the more we support it only makes it worse.

See the UK. They have had attacks from the IRA. An organization that bombarded them and terrorized them for decades. I am not going to enter the argument if this was right or wrong. But did you see the British cutting of Ireland from any international organization? Did you see them forcing a blockade? No.

Ireland was left to prosper and tensions were defused bit by bit. Britain got its way, Ireland got something too. There may be some dissidents but overall peace has been established.

That is how you win both your way and stand your ground and solve a dispute. Not with what is going on in Palestine and emotional support for one or the other side.


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