Tuesday, March 11, 2008

crying wolf

by Quincy Saul

Never cry wolf, we have been warned. This taboo has held my tongue for over a week now, even while witnessing this rapid escalation of violence and the means thereto, an increasingly global military deployment concentrated around a small strip in Palestine. But I hold my tongue no longer. Common sense suggests that one should cry wolf while one still can. After all, that opportunity is lost when the wolf has your throat in its teeth. Ask any Gazan.

So who and what is this wolf? Let’s get specific. Does the U.S. dog wag the Israeli tail, or is it the other way around? Who is really in control, and to what end? In light of recent history and events, I am lead to agree with Israeli commentator Michel Warschawski: "There is neither a dog nor a tail, but one global war of re-colonization, and one aggressive monster with two ugly heads."

Global war is the wolf I am crying about. Gaza has become the focal point of a world war of occupation, center stage in the spotlight of imperialism, the locus of a whirlpool into which the globalized military apparatus is spinning, faster and faster.

The architects of the war on Palestine are well aware of this. Several days ago, the military intelligence chief for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Amos Yadlin remarked that "the fact that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are not shooting now does not mean they are out of the battle".

The US, never one to miss out on international military conflagration, has stationed the USS Cole and two other destroyers off the coast of Lebanon. These warships, US commentator Justin Raimondo reminds us, are not on a cruise:

“The USS Cole and accompanying warships are not merely making a strong gesture; they have also effectively blockaded the Lebanese coast and will surely be intercepting any arms coming from Turkey or elsewhere, readying the battleground for the Israeli incursion.”

The diplomatic effect of this move by the US military has no fewer repercussions. The governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have all warned their citizens to get out of Lebanon as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Lebanon is going through a contentious electoral process, which has already been delayed 15 times. The shadow of the US military can’t help but empower extremists. Fuses get shorter and matches are piling up everywhere.

To what extremes of violence could this conflict escalate? Olmert has declared that as far as Gaza is concerned, “nothing is off the table.” In politician-speak, this has always been code for the use of nuclear weapons. Of course, the size and scale of geography in Palestine would preclude a nuclear strike from any kind of sane perspective. But sanity has never been a prerequisite for power. We were not consoled to read in Haaretz that the Israeli Defense Department has recently purchased a new supply of “Logol” pills that treat the effects of nuclear radiation.

So. It’s tempting to be optimistic, to assume that some degree of sanity is present in political and military leadership, and to bury our fears in the “never cry wolf” narrative. But power just doesn’t listen to these conversations. Soldiers shoot, torturers torture, civilians die and mourn and fight back. Bombs fall and innocents die buried beneath rubble. Farmers starve and children beg while skyscrapers soar and stock markets boom. So disposession and extermination straddle the globe, posing themselves as an incontestable ultimatum to any resistance.

This is the wolf in the living room, a global war of recolonization.
Gaza is on stage, but as Marcos reminds us, there are no seats outside the ring.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Check the net; check what’s left of your collective conscience. Tanks are rolling, bombs are falling, blood and bile bathe the Holy Land. The death toll is climbing through the blackened clouds of toxic fallout. We are helplessly torn and crushed between screams and speeches. Nothing makes sense but fear and anger. Not only buildings are demolished, not only Palestinians die, not only bodies burn. We are all debris.

The blood of Gaza flows through all of us. Paralyzed in front of our screens full of slaughter, we too are at war.

It is another holocaust, grotesquely inverted. The Israelis were the first to invoke this ghost they will not let die, and now the label cannot be revoked. At the expense of the world, we must relive a nightmare that will be carried out this time with impunity. The whole world trembles and resonates in the unbearable dissonance of this historic treachery. Not only the Gazans are weeping. And not only the dead die. Everywhere, life becomes death: The dead in this conflict are the minority. The living can live only death.

Meanwhile US warships are positioned off the coast of Lebanon. Any excuse will do. The Gulf of Tonkin narrative awaits rewriting. Trigger fingers quivering, the US war machine circles in eager anticipation. Vultures have long ago replaced eagles. They are thirsty for the next unimaginable atrocity, and they are well prepared to disguise it as a war. The Arab countries are trapped, no less than the Palestinians, no less than any of us, at depleted uranium-loaded gunpoint.

Everything is overwhelmed. It is difficult even to think. Turbulent tides of emotion churn and surge beneath our skin. A shell-shocked fog of rage, misery, shame, and fear finds no outlet. Not even a point of entry.

But even through this almost impenetrable storm, analysis pokes its ugly head. Whether we like it or not. There is an agenda hidden in the confusion, there is a strategy disguised by the violence, there is a theory behind this brutality. It is an unwelcome, unkempt and undeniable story. A story that is about all of us.

Welcome to modernity. Welcome to yourself.
Before we were apprehensive, maybe even hopeful -- in any case we were reserved in our judgments. But the reality we were afraid to recognize has now forced itself upon us. As we stare into Gaza it stares back into us. We cannot hide from it any longer.

Gaza has become a laboratory for the ruthlessness of our era. The world is Gaza writ large.The concentration camp has become the mirror image and inescapable outcome of modernity. Now we see its tendential inertia towards massacre. Gaza tells the story of the world, and we mustn’t forget that we’re all part of this story. There is no room for maneuver. The proof is in the Palestinians. Any residual naiveté is blinded by smoke and obliterated beneath tank treads.

The ultimatum of modernity is delivered to all life equally and without exception: Dispossession or extermination. No one escapes. Niceties and counter-argument are drowned in deafening gunfire and screams. Not even the freedom that remains in this world can escape the ethos and pathos of annihilation. The universal has arrived. The striptease of modernity is over. Nothing is authentic but pain and hate.

We all live in Gaza, in Waco, in Treblinka, in Guantanamo.
The concentration camp is the inexorable result of this system of expansion built on diaspora.

Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.
Change the names and the story is about you.
The moral is incarcerated along with the rest of us.
The cards are on the table.
Oblivion pretends invincibility. The death machine will not tolerate alternatives.

Where are our limits? What daren't we do?