Eyeless in Gaza

25 Aug

The pseudo excuse of “compassion” or “disaster” fatigue doesn’t explain the lack of sympathy and outpouring of outrage about the treatment of Palestinians, Central Americans, Amazonian Indians and other oppressed minorities.What then? Might it be ignorance. In the case of the plight of Palestine and currently Gaza, there are easily accessible sources of information:

Activist intellectual Noam Chomsky comments on Israel’s 29-day offensive in Gaza that has killed over 2,000 people (516 children)and left close to 10,000 wounded..

It’s a hideous atrocity, sadistic, vicious, murderous, totally without any credible pretext. It’s another one of the periodic Israeli exercises in what they delicately call “mowing the lawn.” That means shooting fish in the pond, to make sure that the animals stay quiet in the cage that you’ve constructed for them…

Gaza In Crisis by Noam Chomsky  & Illan Pape

Gaza In Crisis by Noam Chomsky & Illan Pape

Chomsky, no newcomer to the Palestinian conflict and American foreign policy, has weighed in with Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians (Haymarket)with Israeli historian and socialist activist Ilan Pappé(The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine). The book recounts Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead also known as The Gaza Massacre, against the context of overall hostilities. Is this a partisan take on the Israeli Palestine conflict or a clear eyed and accurate presentation of the facts? It strikes me that everyone’s view is partisan—most of the all the combatants. Which luckily leaves us with observers such as Chomsky and Pape.

And you can have a look at Saira Shah/James Miller’s(an effort which cost Miller his life) 2004 documentary Death in Gaza.

Gaza: A History  Jean Pierre Filiu

Gaza: A History Jean Pierre Filiu

Professor of Middle East Studies Jean-Pierre Filiu argues for a two state solution in his comprehensive Gaza: A History (Oxford University Press).Filiu traces the history of the 140 square miles situated between two deserts (Negev and Sinai) and the Mediterranean, from 18th century BC through 1948 when it was engulfed by 200,000 refugees, up to the current strife.

Genesis by John B Judis

Genesis by John B Judis

John B. Judis’s Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict (WW Norton)focuses on the origins of failed(U.S.) policies that have cont-ributed to the sixty year Middle East debacle. Judis argues that ill conceived decisions made during the Truman administration(1945-1949) led to the ongoing Israeli-Arab discord. With a historian’s faith that an understanding of the origins of this deadlock may lead to viable approaches to ending it,Judis reviews George W. Bush’s ill-conceived efforts and Barack Obama’s failed attempts at resolution.

Palestine   by Joe Sacco

Palestine by Joe Sacco

Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco

Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco

Comic book journalist Joe Sacco’s (The Great War has spent serious time researching and traveling to Palestine and Gaza, conducting hundreds of interviews to createPalestine (Fantagraphics) and Footnotes in Gaza: A Graphic Novel (Metropolitan Books). Palestine which won an American Book Award in 1996 includes an introduction by historian Edward Said. For Footnotes in Gaza published in 2010, Sacco spends time in Rafah, a town at the bottommost tip of the Gaza Strip,and uncovers the 1956 massacre of 111 Palestinians by Israeli soldiers. Sacco uses that discovery as a lens with which to view the subsequent half century of a desperate and intractable struggle. The black and white illustrations are indelible images of misery and violence and Joe Sacco, a master of visual narrative, tells a powerful story.

The Battle for Justice in Palestine  by Ali Abunimah

The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah

Chicago based journalist Ali Abunimah(One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli Palestinian Impasse), recipient of the recipient of a 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship,co-founder and director of The Electronic Intifada articulates the case for the Palestine solidarity movement in The Battle for Justice in Palestine (Haymarket Books)

Much traveled journalist Nathan Deuel and his NPR correspondent spouse Kelly McEvers spent time reporting from and starting a family in Saudi Arabia and Beirut. In Friday Was the Bomb: Five Years in the Middle East (Dzanc) collects some essays on his experiences from 2013 until he and his family moved to Los Angeles last year.Poet Nick Flynn opines :

Nathan Deuel is alive to the myriad contradictions of being a sentient being at this moment in history—the painful, necessary awareness that ones presence carries an entire empire in its shadow. Friday was the Bomb is about the tension between how much we want and how small we are—some will make war, the world will makes storm, and the rest of us will try to hold onto some fragile connection with each other. This is a book for the rest of us.

Currently reading The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Random House)

9 Responses to “Eyeless in Gaza”

  1. Joseph Orlando August 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    Of the 2000 people in Gaza dead, 516 are children. Thank Israel and the United States!

    • Brane Serjin August 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

      Joseph, your comment is completely indicative of the overall problem and why it’s not being solved.

      Each side is too busy blaming the other than to admit there’s culpability on both.

      Stop finger pointing, accept that neither side will get 100% of what it wants and just f/cking compromise already.

      • El Duderino August 29, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

        How does one compromise with someone who wants you dead? Or is that a misstatement of the oft repeated Hamas, “Palestinian” position?
        I am not a Jew, but I can sympathize with them when they take existential threats to annihilate them seriously.

      • Harvey Friedson September 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

        What are the moral imperatives in negotiating with an adversary whose primary objective is to get strong enough to annihilate you?

      • robertbirnbaum September 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

        The moral imperative is to avoid adding to the suffering of innocent women and children (and men). If my family was wiped out by an aggressive occupation subjected to inhumane treatment, I might want to annihilate the aggressor…


  2. Harvey Friedson October 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Since the question was rhetorical I will attempt to answer it. There are at least two moral imperatives in dealing with an adversary whose intent is your destruction.
    The first imperative is to insure your own survival by whatever means are at your disposal. The second is to do so as humanly as possible.

    • Harvey Friedson October 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      Forgive the typo, “as humanely as possible.”

      • robertbirnbaum October 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

        This all starts with the ongoing criminalization of all Palestinians—the imperative you cite is analogous with USA ‘s hiding behind “national security for its manifold sins and then the frenzy to maintain secrecy about those acts.

        Do you think that the Israelis are blameless in the Palestine mess?

      • Harvey Friedson October 15, 2014 at 2:17 am #

        Hello Robert,

        No. I think Natanyahu has not been good for Israel. I find him to be disingenuous and arrogant and I am not sure what his true objectives/goals are. That being said, the bedrock issue remains, and always has been, Arab acceptance of a two state solution, meaning an Arab state and a Jewish state. The Jews have been willing, since the founding of Israel, to accept a two state solution and I think they still are. The Arabs have never accepted the idea of a Jewish state in the Middle East. It has always been in Israel’s self interest to have peaceful, prosperous neighbors. The Jews left Gaza. The Arabs in Gaza diverted money and manpower into building tunnels into Israel which could have been spent improving their part of the world. It is completely understandable why the Israelis are concerned about what goes into Gaza, when it is obvious that much of it would be used to terrorize Israel. In addition, I am not sure what response would have been acceptable in the face of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel when it is clear that the rockets were fired from densely populated areas, deliberately.

        I put down my home email. Feel free to use it. I would like to hear from you.


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