I replied to somebody's discussion elsewhere on this site. I think it worthwhile to publish this as a blog. Reactions please...
I'm sorry to be a downer on such a well-intentioned discussion, BUT
a) Where do you get this idea that the first shot fired in the American War of Independence was "the beginning of a new age in human history"
This is the kind of USA-centred view of History, as if the USA were the inventors of all that is good and decent, that is taught in American schools. And I speak as one who has studied American AND World History... in schools both in and outside the USA. It includes such ideas as
i) It was the Americans who won the First and Second World Wars FOR the rest of the World.
ii) That they did so motivated only by the loftiest of morals. Pure Good defeats Absolute Evil!!! (Are you aware that - until the Germans sank the Lusitania [a ship carrying - among others - US citizens] - the US Gov't had considered
joining in the First World War as an ally of Germany... AGAINST Britain, France, et al? Or that the USA only entered the Second World War [against the "Pure Evil" of Nazi Germany] when attacked by the Japanese... AFTER years
of making FAT profits by trading with BOTH sides?)
iii) It was Lincoln who came up with the idea to free the slaves. Actually, the USA were several years behind Gt. Britain in abolishing the slave trade, and Lincoln was talked into doing so by his political advisers - against his early opposition to the idea.
iv) That the USA are some kind of Beacon of Light
and Champion of the Oppressed
, the True Defenders of Democracy
all over the World, the Inspiration
to those who yearn for freedom under oppressive regimes. In fact, the USA "cherry-picks" which oppressed people it will "aid" and which it will leave to suffer. In fact, the USA have even been instrumental in the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments (ONE EXAMPLE: Chile in 1973) and the economoc and political destabilisation of MANY others (e.g. Nicaragua in the '80s) with which they didn't happen to agree. ("We don't like the government that you elected, so you're not REALLY a democracy!")
It is a fact that every time
the USA wishes to intervene militarily in another country, it builds up popular outrage at home against the regime of that country. (I mean, can you imagine what kind of success the Gov't would have if it tried to start a war against Sweden
- for example - unless it first got US citizens to hate the Swedes? Or at least to hate the Swedish "dictators" and to wish to free the poor, oppressed Swedish PEOPLE from those evil dictators?)
Let me give you 2 fairly recent examples: The US Gov't was negotiating with the Taliban (YES, those Taliban!) to build a gas-pipe across Afghanistan. When the Taliban decided they didn't want to go ahead with that deal, THAT
's when those stories started up about the Taliban destroying religious monuments (works of art) and suppressing women. Do you really think that the US Gov't CARED about those statues of Buddha OR Women's Rights???
When the US Gov't wanted to step into the Middle East in a big way, they tricked Iraq into believing that they would NOT intervene in its private dispute with Kuwait. (Iraq was irate at Kuwait - a former province of Iraq, until Gt. Britain ripped it off them - for "welching" on their promise to help finance the Iraq-Iran War to the tune of millions of dollars). And then, when Iraq attacked Kuwait, to force them to pay their debt, a tearful young woman appeared on American television, PRETENDING to be a Kuwaiti nurse, who had witnessed Iraqi soldiers grabbing premature Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators and throwing them onto the hospital floor. What MONSTERS
these Iraqis were!!!... Only it later turned out that that was no nurse... that was the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UN, tutored to tell that emotive LIE to stir up World repulsion at the HEARTLESS
And that brings us to the subject of Neda
Why is it that the murder of !,500 men, women, and children in Gaza in 3 short weeks at the end of last year, beginning of this one, called down neither official, nor mediatic, nor extensive public OUTRAGE at that huge crime, and yet the shooting of one lone Iranian stirs the Media and the public into cries of "democracy for the Iranians"?
Might it be that the US Gov't - and World Gov'ts in general
- have NO intention of invading Israel (or even
upsetting its feelings), but would REALLY like to invade Iran???
Is it any coincidence that Neda happened to be a VERY
attractive - by Western standards
- young woman (whose age has been variously given as 16, 18, and 26)? Would we have been as
upset if she'd been a dowdy 47-year-old?
THINK about it! [And have a look at this: NEDA - “ Iranian freedom-martyr” ( says CNN...you better believe it )
PLEASE! Let's be VERY
careful about allowing the Peace Movement to be highjacked by cynical political strategists... to set up their next invasion of a country that doesn't kow-tow to the Almighty USA!
When you write of Gaza, you are talking about a war that is horrifying and complicated. However you feel about the conflict now, there is the idea that after World War 2, everyone could see why the Jews deserved some kind of pay-back for what happened to them, as well as some kind of solution to the problem of Jews getting killed by Hitlers. The solution seemed to be to give them some land. This was a strange decision to me, because I am from this time, and do not look at America as the saviors of the world, Arabs as ignorant, etc... the opinions and prejudices that often drove presidents to act, despite their rhetoric otherwise Right now, Israel gave control back to them, and all they have done is lob bombs in on civilians. This scares them, and lets the Settlers say that they will make everyone safer.
The American press is very ethno-centric. The only way to get a handle is to read the news on the computer.The Gaza situation is often one-sidely promoted as a Jewish Issue in the press.
Thank you for taking this issue so seriously, and sharing your sharp insight. I am sure that on the more important matters we agree, and I am sorry to disagree with someone as astute as yourself. That is the truth, to me, so I do it. ,
By the way, my Dad fought in WWII and he was there to kill Nazi's and Japanese. He was so brainwashed that forty years later, he found he still had a strange dislike for Japan. He was a good man, with no prejudices, and even he was brain washed by that wave of propaganda. There are saviors here in the United States.. I assure you of that, because when they freed those prisoner from the death camps, they might as well of had halos.
On Iran, I began writing poetry against that invasion for years. I start out "The blood of the Persian Poets is still wet on our hands." I called the work NOT ONE DROP OF PERSIAN BLOOD. If a president of anyone starts saying we should start invading everyone who wants nuclear power, we as activists have to be ready to fight them at every turn, but I do not think Obama is going to invade anyone. I majored in Military Intelligence, and consulted some with the military, two years ago, when they really were thinking about invading. My impression was that they were not going to do it, and that was the Bush Regime... Not Obama. He has more war on his hands than he wants already.
Thank you again for your thoughtful comment.
Tens of thousands of German pacifists showed them just how "embarrassed and silent" they / we were by marching in Bonn (at the time, still the capital city) against the war.
Of course, the Powers-That-Be didn't listen to us, because WAR was on the agenda. A war in which - for the first time - bombs were coated in low-grade radioactive material... and years later, 8-year-old girls were still getting breast cancer!
Shortly after the bombs started to fall, we were being told that the Serbs were carrying out ethnic cleansing, and that therefore this was a complete justification for bombing them.
But - as Noam Chomsky has pointed out - the Serbs didn't start the ethnic cleansing UNTIL AFTER "we" started dropping bombs on them.
War NEVER is a solution!
True Democracy can NEVER be imposed by outside intervention... and CERTAINLY not by outside military intervention.
I am sorry that you feel that way. I don't think that is necessarily true about me.
I admire you a lot and the positive energy that you bring to this site.
It is not, nor ever will be my intention to hurt or insult you, so that I hope that you will read the following with an open mind, knowing that I write it with affection and care for you.
But if you think that real Peace is going to be achieved by looking at the World through rose-coloured spectacles, and saying "Wow! Life is just so GREAT!", I need to tell you that there's more to it than that.
Life IS great! And it can be wonderful.
But there are POWERFUL people out there who have a very vested interest in the Peace Movement failing spectacularly.
There are very rich people out there who made - and continue to make - their filthy fortunes by selling Death, Destruction, and Misery.
And if you believe that they are going to be converted to Sweetnes and Light by a handful of hippies (and I DO consider myself a hippy) saying: "Life is GREAT! Everything is wonderful! Everybody is beautiful!" then I believe that you are going to be sadly awakened.
I am NOT trying to be negative, believe me!
I am trying to be realistic.
They killed Gandhi BECAUSE he spoke out for Peace.
They killed Lennon BECAUSE he sang out for Peace - and gave us all an official Peace Anthem.
They imprisoned Ali BECAUSE he refused to go to war, to kill foreigners with whom he had no personal grudge.
If you don't know by now that THEY WILL STOP AT NOTHING to stop Peace from getting a chance, you have a very rude awakening ahead of you.
Is it negative to open my eyes to the facts?
Is it negative to speak the truth as I perceive it?
Is it negative to state that I will go on working for Peace even if they DO try to kill me?
If so, I am a negative person, and you might be better off avoiding everything that I write.
Love and Peace,
You write that "[you] think ]that I[ underestimate the United States, and ]that my[ view of war is cynical".
What exactly do you mean by "underestimate the United States"?
Do you mean that I underestimate the POWER of the United States? Certainly not!
Do you mean that I underestimate the INFLUENCE of the United States? Certainly not!
Do you mean that I underestimate the SIGNIFICANCE of the United States? Certainly not!
Do you mean that I underestimate the GOODNESS of the United States? Their honest desire to aid the rest of the World, to succour the needy, to feed the poor, to heal the sick? Certainly
Do you mean that I underestimate the UNDERSTANDING of the United States vis-a-vis the rest of the World? Their INTEREST in how the rest of the World is faring... or its KNOWLEDGE of where the rest of the World is even located? Certainly
Because the sad truth is that the United States Gov't - and an alarming amount of its citizens - seem to care sweet f.a. about the rest of the World... and the rest of the World is very aware of that fact. Believe me: I have lived in the United States and even more extensively in the rest of the World. "They" do NOT look up to "you" as the Protectors and Saviours that you seem to believe you are.
Of course, you realise, I'm not talking about politicians who are shored-up by US dollars, or statesmen who have to be polite, and want to stay on the good side of the ONLY Superpower left.
I'm talking about the people in the street, the ones I share my life with. They are VERY distrustful of the honourable intentions of your Gov't... and with very good reason, based on close observation of past behaviour (and blatant future prospects).
So that "Defenders of Democracy" doesn't wash when applied to a country that fought "for" Kuwait - a country where both before and after that war only 8% of its citizens had the right to vote. A country that called on the Kurds to rise up against Saddam Hussein... then left them in the lurch, to be cruelly punished for that insurrection.
Is THAT what you meant when you wrote that my "view of war is cynical"?
Well, if it is, I'll leave it like that. I'd rather be cynical about war than believe that it's EVER fought without motives of Greed, Hunger for Power, and Macho Posturing.
And you must forgive me for disagreeing with you when you assert that: "There was no way to change the Middle East without blood."
Let's just say that blood was the easiest - and most profitable (to SOME) - option.
The United States has about 4.05% of the World's People.
The United States consumes one-quarter of the world’s oil and yet possesses just three percent of the world’s reserves.
And - while I am here visiting in the United States - I have to listen to my host saying that their is no such thing as global warming: it's all a plot to justify making him pay higher taxes. That God Almighty chose the United States as His Country, that the prisoners at Guantánamo were treated with velvet gloves and were pampered, that the United Nations is an evil organisation... and that Darwin was a liar and a scoundrel.
Now, WHAT was it about the United States that I underestimate?
How, really, do you explain the different acounts of what her age was? That Mossad, CIA, and MI-6 were not very well-coordinated on the version they'd distribute to the media? Or is it not easier to explain it in the way Iranian regime didn't let any foreign media report and indeed a lot of reportage was based on rumours on Iranian twitters, blog posts etc. And is it Mossad that has taken over Wikipedia? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Neda_Agha-Soltan
Now seriously. The reason I post my comment here and react admittedely so strongly to this post (and you saw what I wrote Peacenut - I thought I was writing it to you), is not necessarily that I'm in strong opposition to other views of yours, and it's not my nationality, nor my position with regard specifically to Iran. What makes me disturbed by your suggestion, is the very fact of denying that people are murdered (Neda and many others were). It's exactly as though I will tell you, oh, those pictures you saw from Gaza? This was a manipulative fabrication of the anti-semitic world media. Nobody died in Gaza, actually! I won't say it, of course; there was an Israeli operation in Gaza that was quite brutal, and hundreds of non-combatant civillians were killed by Israeli fire. This is the truth. (BTW, "1500 men, children and women were murdered" is not. Hundreds of Hamas fighters, some of whom had been launching rockets on civilians within Israel for years, not "murdered", but died in battle. But I'm already off topic). It is also the truth, that many people were shot at by police and basij in Iran (from 27 according to what the Iranian government was willing to say - as opposed to how you phrased it, "shooting of one lone Iranian" - to 150 according to western estimates. I took it from Wikipedia).
And what I really want to say is, that I'm disturbed by the thought that some people harbour, that there is only evil on one side - all world's evil is actually concentrated in one place more or less (America/Israel - yes, why won't we invade Israel really, as you perhaps suggest, for the sake of world peace) - while in some other parts of the world (such as Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, North Korea etc.), as they are considered evil's enemy, that essentially ,akes them all 100% pure, angelic, free of sin, free of common worldly (western) ugliness such as power-lust/machoism/repression of women/ethno-centrism/racism/repression of minorities/wars/violent repression of the weak to maintain one's political superiority, power etc.
When human right violations are reported from Israel, then the way the media reports it is 100% true (otherwise, it's because the media is hiding how much worse it is in reality, maybe because of the Jewish control of the media). When they violations are reported from Iran, it's a lie. It can never be true.
Now - talk to so many Iranians and ask them. I have the feeling you haven't really met Iranians, otherwise you could hear from THEM what they think about the Iranian regime and whether repression of massive demonstrations using gunfire is possible or not in Iran. Why do you think it isn't? And do you really think that the picture of one woman killed can serve for justification to invade a country? Violent repression of demonstrations has NEVER been used as an excuse to invade a country. And as I wrote Peacenut in the message she forwarded you, I really don't believe anybody plans to do so, certainly not when Obama (who is an admirable president in my view) is in power.
Now, suppose there is a chance that what you claim is true - but that at the same time, there is also a chance that it's not. Suppose there IS some possibility that many dozens of Iranians WERE murdered, and tortured in prisons, some to death, in the course of those demonstrations. And suppose there is SOME POSSIBILITY that nobody sits and plans to invade Iran (which is a mad, mad idea - nobody will or can do it. Iran is no Iraq or Afghanistan, plus, as I said, the regime in US is changed). Now, think what it means for those who died, for Neda's family, for the many youngsters in Iran who struggled so desperately, risking their lives, to smuggle information to the world's media about what's really going on there - with all their love for Iran, and with all the resentment/insult of many of them with regard to western patronization, I don't think that what would make them happy is posts such as yours, claiming that what we saw in our media coming from Iran was fabrication, and that nothing happened there, it's just some western conspiracy.
BTW, it's true that nobody speaks of invading Israel after the Gaza war, it's also true nobody speaks of invading Iran after the demonstrations. Actually, by the time I'm writing this comment - this whole thing in Iran has been quite forgotten in the western media and public. And nobody spoke of invading China after Tiananmen.
And nobody wanted to invade Sudan after Darfur. Or perhaps the genocide there was a fabrication on part of the white racist western world. Nothing happened in Darfur.
I'd also like to add a comment in reaction to the comment of John Scott Ridgway. I'm opposed to the idea that the middle east can be salvaged through war. This Bush/Neo-conservative doctrine was a disaster in my view. However, I think I kind of understand John's line of thought. If you're preaching USA to stay away and pretend to be the saviours of the world, then are you also saying it should have stayed away during WW2. Are you saying that? Are you saying that US is ALWAYS and has ALWAYS been in the wrong? In that case you're distorting reality and history, and what's more, you're coming very close to being a racist (sorry, and I know I'm not using the correct term). Especially when in your comment back to John, you're telling about your recent visit to USA and your host who said this and that - so what does it supposed to show? That all Americans are this way?
To see the United States as a sole evil of this world, is a total absurdity. Believe me, evil is quite equally divided among, and has generously been portioned to, many parts of the (human) world. And in many world conflicts, it would be erroneos to see one side as evil and the other a total victim. There are goodies and baddies here and there. Plus, there are "the system's" (and they are quite everywhere, too, including, well, in each one of us).
Having said all I said with regard to Iran, I don't deny that the media is many times used cynically by the regimes (not just in the west BTW...). I just think that probably it's not one of those cases.
I want to apologise for not replying to your comment sooner. My personal life has been in a lot of turmoil recently and I have been trying to deal with that. It is true that I have continued to be active in MyPeace and elsewhere in that time, but a reply to you is going to take a lot more careful phrasing. People who read this comment will think: "Hey, what is he talking about? Tere's only 18 hours between Asaf's comment and Jimmy's reply! That's not too long a delay." But you suspect, and I KNOW that peacenut passed on to me your messages to her several days ago, so I have known of your opinions on this subject for some time. Why didn't I reply to you personally several days ago?
Well, partly because of the reason I've already given above. And partly because you made some very valid points and I felt (and peacenut agreed with me here) that they should be aired in this open debate. So I was waiting for you to post them, and I want to thank you for doing so... And partly because my reply (below) would have taken up at least six personal messages to your inbox.
First I want to concede a point: You are right, my choice of the word "murder" in the original article was ill-conceived. You are right: some of those killed were enemy combatants who went into battle knowing that that always carries a risk of dying themselves. And to write a phrase such as "the murder of !,500 men, women, and children in Gaza" really makes it look like my opinion is that Israel didn't care one iota if ALL of those deaths were all innocent women... or ALL innocent children. That it was only because of a statistical probability that there was a mix of men, women, and children. And I regret the use of the word "murder" to cover ALL of those deaths. Unless you believe that War is murder, and I'm not going to go into that now.
Having said that, let me put a few points to you:
a) I believe that you concede the 1,500 death toll (I will not quibble here: I first read 1,300, then 1,400, and - most recently - 1,500. Perhaps 200 extra bodies were discovered in the meantime. But let's accept the lowest figure of 1,300). How many of those were "Hamas fighters, some of whom had been launching rockets on civilians within Israel for years"? Hundreds, you say... How many hundreds? I really don't know. I honestly want your opinion. 500? 800? Let's take the higher figure and concede that 800 deaths were perfectly legitimate war deaths, combatants killed while in the act of attacking Israel. How many does that leave us? A VERY conservative estimate of 500 "civilian deaths" - SOME of whom were women and children. Well, WAIT a minute! Am I not a feminist? Why should I consider that a woman is more of an innocent victim than a man, purely based on her sex?! That is sexism, surely! Well, OK... so we're left with maybe ONLY a couple of hundred of the REALLY innocent: the children. And surely a couple of hundred of innocent lives lost is a very small price to pay for Israel's security? I apologise to any readers that can't deal with sarcasm. But I get MEAN when I get angry. And when I get mean, I use sarcasm. And the deaths of even a couple of hundred children makes me angry. I apologise... But anger derailed me. I wanted to ask you this: Would you consider those couple of hundred dead children to be victims of murder? Or will we agree to use that oh-so-polite phrase, "collateral damage"?
b) Do you think that the Israeli action in Gaza DID help to make Israel safer? Or will things just escalate further?
c) I want you to consider this question (carefully please): If you were living in a rather large concentration camp, where a barrier of barbed-wire fences and/or a huge concrete wall stood between you and your children's school, between you and decent hospitals, between you and your beloved cousins and elderly aunt... If your (or your children's) permission to pass through the gates in that barrier (even in an emergency) depended on how much fun a few teenaged soldiers wanted to have that day, teasing and taunting you (and you had to swallow your anger, because if you show it there's NO WAY that they're going to let you through)... If soldiers "just for fun" - or maybe out of honest fear, or "just in case, to ensure their safety" - fired bullets through the windows of the room that your children sleep in (and - when it comes down to it - seeing that those are YOUR children, does it really matter WHAT the reason for the bullets are???)... In short, if YOUR back was up against the wall, wouldn't YOU consider firing a missile or two on the people who were doing that to you? I'm not asking if you'd DO it: I'm asking if you'd CONSIDER doing it.
c) Home-made missiles? Better quality ones smuggled in at great risk? Against what? One of the most heavily and most expensively armed armies in the World! Ever hear of David and Goliath? Were you cheering for Goliath? Or even praying for his safe return to his family? Unfair question. I know that you're a pacifist.
But we've both allowed ourselves to get off-topic.
This topic was about Neda, wasn't it? Well, actually, no, it wasn't. It was about how the very cynical HYPOCRITES in Power, those who WANT War because they make FILTHY amounts of profits out of Death and Destruction (because what gets destroyed has to get built again... and the contract goes to friends of those on the winning side), are VERY clever at manipulating popular opinion so that even the most decent Peace-lover can be convinced that those people are just pure EVIL. And they MUST be stopped... even if it means war. Read peacenut's comment again. In Germany, a left-wing paper tried to convince PACIFISTS that the war against the Serbs was NECESSARY. The first time since the 2nd World War that Germany was involved in a foreign war... and the Foreign Minister at the time was the leader of a party (The "Greens") that had as part of its constitution that it was a pacifist party! Well, they fooled some pacifists... but not all of them. Peacenut and I were both at that anti-war demonstration in Bonn. Along with tens of thousands who didn't buy the lie.
But, to get back to Neda, I NEVER said that she didn't exist. I NEVER said that she wasn't killed by Iranian Police using brutal methods to try and stop Democracy in its tracks. I honestly don't know the truth... but then, neither do you. All I was saying is that we should be very careful about getting all steamed up to the point where we think that another Gov't is EVIL (without sufficient proof). Because that's the first step towards becoming CONVINCED that that Gov't MUST be toppled... by foeign intervention if necessary. And no, they're not talking about invading Iran now... not yet. It took several years of PR against the EVIL Saddam Hussein to work up the US Public to the point of WANTING to attack Iraq. Even after 9/11, it took them a year and a half to actually attack.
I NEVER said that Neda was the only victim, nor even the only fatal victim. You put the number at between 27 (official Iranian Gov't admission) and 150 (some foeign estimates). I won't dispute either figure. I never said that "one lone Iranian" was shot. I said that "the shooting of one lone Iranian" was used to stir up foreign opinion against the Iranian Gov't. Because it was NEDA who was used. NAME ME (from memory... no looking it up in Internet) just ONE MORE of those killed. Can you do it? Did we see an old man who was killed? Did we see a 54-year-old woman with wrinkles? No we saw a VERY attractive - by WESTERN standards - young woman. It was SHE that was turned into the martyr. Because, frankly, MOST US citizens don't care anymore about scabby little stick-insect children with huge eyes and covered in flies dying of malnutrition in Africa and Asia. We've seen too MANY of those. And the fact that THEY are dying doesn't make us angry. And the death of a dumpy-looking middle-aged university professor - man or woman - peace activist rotting in a cell in Russia for daring to speak out against Putin doesn't make us angry and join Amnesty International. And the deaths of 150 faceless Iranians doesn't make us angry... or we should get angry about the THOUSANDS that US forces have killed in Iraq (not counting the actual combatants). No, we got angry about ONE beautiful young woman... whose death someone was filming with a cell-phone (instead of going to her aid). And if you'd visit the web-site to which I give a link, you'd discover that some people are doubting that she actually died. there's a video that seems to show blood flowing upwards across her cheek. (Painted in later onto the film? [I mean digitally: nothing as crude as celluloid])
Asaf, I'm not even saying that these doubts convince me. I'm just saying that I'm not convinced that she DID die. I keep an open mind. And I'm CERTAINLY not going to go to war over it.
I'm not saying that the USA will invade Iran BECAUSE of Neda's death. But there's such a thing as a snowball effect. Living in Israel as you do, do you know what I mean by that? A snowball rolling downhill will gather more and more snow, growing bigger and bigger... and it CAN get so big that it would destroy a house. (And some people start snowballs rolling on purpose.)
I NEVER said that the USA and Israel have a monopoly on lying and deceit... just that they're both so good at it. Nor that they are ALWAYS in the wrong... But - as a pacifist - I would say that every time that the USA has been involved militarily in a foreign war since 1945, they HAVE been in the wrong. And it's a fact unknown to many US citizens, but the USA has been involved militarily in foreign wars EVERY SINGLE YEAR since then. And I will say that - after the way the Jews were treated by the Nazis - it's VERY sad (and maddening) to see the way that their state treats the Palestinians.
One final point... and then I'm going to give this subject a rest: You write "And is it Mossad that has taken over Wikipedia?" I'm sorry, but this is just so naive. ANYBODY can add, amend, or delete information in Wikipedia. I could access the entry on Adolph Hitler (to give evertbody's favourite example) and write that Adolph Hitler was a Sephardic Jew, who earned his living wuth his hauntingly beautiful singing voice until he was kidnapped by Gypsies who swapped him for the Kanzler of Germany at age 43 without anybody ever noticing the difference. (The whole of Germany was suffering under hallucinations brought on by LSD poured into all the reservoirs.) He did his best to save his People (the Jews) from the Russians, who were really...
ANYBODY could submit that as fact in Wikipedia... and it would stay there until somebody ELSE changed it back. That's an extreme example. But ANYBODY could have written ANYTHING about Neda... or Iran, and - unless you're an expert and know it to be false - are YOU going to correct it?
Reading back over my reply to you, it occurs that it may seem that I am angry at you. And that is very far from the truth. I sincerely thank you for posting your comments, because they gave me a chance to clarify - if anybody will take the trouble to read my over-long rant - my thoughts about this Neda incident... and about the manipulation of public opinion. I can see how you might have thought that I was saying (in my original article): "It's all a lie! We must refuse to be concerned about the shooting of so-called innocents, because those so-called innocents are always CIA agents!" or something of the sort. I hope that after reading my reply, you will understand my position better.
I hate hypocrisy! (My recent personal turmoil had to do with my confrontation with a pair of AWFUL hypocrites who had a certain power over me, so perhaps that made me even angrier.) And HYPOCRITES were using Neda's death (whether factual or ficticious) to try to manipulate foreign (i.e.OUR) public opinion into taking sides in an Iranian election results debate. Do we KNOW that there was election fraud? Of course not! But we're more likely to believe it because a pretty young woman died (or maybe didn't).
It's because I want that young daughter of yours (and ALL children) to grow up in a saner, safer, more peaceful World that I hate these manipulating hypocrites (the ones who don't want that to happen) so much. And I have been criticised by very nice people on this site for expressing that anger, for not trying to love everybody, to be willing to transform them with love.
But it's hard (for me, at least) to love SCUM.
First, sincerely thank you for your long, deeply thought and passionately (as always) written reply, and no, it didn't seem like you're angry at me. Contrary, I appreciate very much your reply. All the more so at this time and I wish you that whatever you're going through to come out of it strong and healed.
I indeed see now what you meant, not saying Neda didn't die but rather believing that her supposed death was manipulated by foreign powers to start this snowball.
Honestly, I can't and have no reason to argue about it. As really, I'm not informed enough to be able to do so.
With regard to what you write in your second comment to me, about finding it hard to love scum, I kind of know what you mean, I'm the same. Still, always feel just not informed enough to be certain where exactly the whole truth lies. (Where does the truth lie - nice. Is my use of English correct here?).
I am quite in accord with what you say in the end about finding it hard to love scum. Neither do I share the illusion that all people are similar and that all want peace. The very existence of psychopaths among us, for example, can illustrate that.
With regard to the Israeli Palestinian issue (or rather tragedy), and to your questions, well, I follow mainly the Israeli media (which is, contrary to a popular belief in the west, is open and very critical of the government in general, and its policies with respect to the Palestinians in particular, and especially so in the case of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz which I read, www.haaretz.com. It's true that with regard to Gaza for example the media here had to rely on figures it got from the army but then at the same time it was always citing foreign and Palestinian sources as well, and always it many times tends to be sceptical about information from the army. Of course, this changes from one reporter to another, depending on the reporter's world view, but broadly speaking, I feel the media here is open and that there are enough reporters, in the mainstream media, who are unbiased. As much as a media on one side of a long armed conflict can be. But obviously, the media here is many times manipulated by so many parties: the army, politicians and spokepersons, etc. But one (if one is minimally intelligent) can always discern when it happens, especially when, well, some of the reporters at least, are highly individualistic and open and you can discern that they really try to seek the objective truth). Now, from my memory, I do remember hearing figures of something like proportions of half civilians, half innocent non combatants - including, indeed, women and children (and no, I don't call it collateral damage. This phrase by the way is an English-language media jargon, which doesn't have a hebrew equivalent - here it was widely called on the media, in translation from hebrew, "killing of innocents"). At the same time it was said by reporters, that the real precise numbers are hard to tell.
I think it's terrible, to say the least, I also think that I and probably most other Israelis have even lost our sensitivity to the full significance of it. It's become distant, just something on the news. At the same time, when sometimes thousands of Palestinians were cheering and dancing every time a Hamas-sent suicide bomber killed women and children inside Israel in the days when Israel and Palestinians (PLO) were trying to negotiate an interim political two-state solution in the mid-90's - and that was before the blockade on Gaza (after ) or the "security wall" in the West Bank - this too was no sign of sensitivity to innocent human lives. And yes - I know that in the eyes of many Palestinians, no Israeli Jew is innocent. To these Palestinians, we are all soldiers, or people who came from abroad and ripped off their lands and then in 67 occupied some more land from Arab countries where they had settled, to control them forcefully and even bring our religious settlers in. And to many Palestinians, who in the course of the decades have become very religious, this is backed by radical, biased interpretations of Quran preached to them by their Sheikhs, saying that all Jews are enemies of Allah etc. Israel has not been exactly conductive in convincing them that they're wrong and that we can be their best friends. I understand that and their anger and even hatred, and to your other question - yes, I assume that if I were a Palestinian in these situations you describe, that occur too much - the checkpoints is indeed an everyday reality - I'd want to go mad and I'd hate Jews. And how their anger is only growing the more this snowball that you wisely mention grows and the Israeli military is becoming more and more present and oppressive to them. However, also please consider that the wall and the checkpoints are also the reaction of a frightened society after undergoing the shock of a long series of terrorist attacks (I'm saying terrorist cause this is what it was) on buses, cafes and where not, in the middle of Israel (I remember myself then in Jerusalem where I was studying and later in Tel Aviv, riding the bus everywhere and always shivering whenever someone who looked weird got on the bus. "Shall I say something to the driver? No, that will be awful if this is an innocent person, and besides, I'm too shy. No, I'll just wait and see what happens"). This wall, which I in those years supported like most Israeli public, simply out of fear and wanting to be secure from suicide bombers everywhere (and not understanding the full nature of the wall - how it also cynically serves at some places to put territorial/political facts on the ground, taking some lands that belong to Palestinian villages for the sake of Jewish settlements, etc). The fact is, by the way, that since the wall was built, hardly any terror attacks inside Israel occured. Now - does it make this policy justified? In the eyes of many Israelies, yes. In my view, the fence and the checkpoints are an unhumane collective punishment, especially so when the security argument is exploited for other, non-legitimate purposes as well.
With regard to the missiles into Israeli towns, somehow this was always carried on by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, not by PLO groups, who have always opposed it as they understood it's the Islamists' way of objecting (and distancing) a political dialogue with Israel (and, if you like, ripping Israel off its excuse to make the lives of Gazans harder through the blockade on the borders of Gaza and determining what comes in and out). So, from the perspective of many Israelis, these missiles were not (as Hamas always tried to put it) a means of "resistance" to Israeli oppression, but a means of making sure that a military conflict with Israel is always steadily kept. And if you ask many Palestinians, I believe you'll hear a similar view (depending maybe which faction they support). I'm not saying there are no Israelis who are not interested in a political, two-state solution and in putting an end to occupation... So, you see what I'm saying - there is a problem on BOTH sides. Religion, of course, plays a vital role in it. And yes, to the well-known metaphor of David and Golyath, of course Israel is a mighty military power, and we're far from talking about a conflict between two equals. Each side fights with whatever it can fight to achieve its perceived interest (and I believe both sides are tragically wrong in their perception of their own interests. At least speaking of Hamas, on the Palestinian side. THIS maddens me).
I can't agree to your notion of a snowball. The Jewish-Palestinian conflict over the land that was called Palestine (and Eretz Yisrael by Jews), has indeed been just that, from its inception already in 1882 - the first massive wave of Jewish immigration to Palestine. Ever since, it's been a snowball (or an ever increasing fireball). I genuinely wonder how you would solve it. For example, if you were the leader of the world with an unlimited power and you could just impose whatever solution you wanted on both peoples - what would you have done? I'm really asking that. Although this I guess (as this whole comment of mine) should have been on another thread.