28 June 2006

Torture En-Masse

June is anti-torture month.

This blog totally and unconditionally opposes torture.
I have promised to write at least one post against torture this month.

Now let’s consider the following:

Take 1.4 million individual and squeeze them on a stripped piece of desert of area 378 sq km. That is about 3,600 persons per sq km or 9,400 per sq mi.

Cage them in and control their every move on land, air and sea.

Create a situation where 70% of them are out of work. Stop any help from coming in. Make it so that those working get paid once every four months. Make it a situation that forces mothers to sell their golden earrings for $2.5 to buy milk for their children.

Overtly send agents and drones to assassin leaders and children (by mistake!) almost every day.

Demolish entire villages while people are still in their homes and impose collective punishment on entire towns, villages, and camps, for the acts of a few.

Cut off water, electricity, food, medicine, sympathy, etc. Distort the news.

Keep up these acts for decades.

And if any one of the Gazans dares to kick the table in anger, go into Gaza-the-stripped-desert with a force that will make the bones of their ancestors (and the ancestors of Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians et al) shake with fear in their graves.

This is just a short list of the acts of “mercy” that Gaza-the-stripped-desert and its 1.4 million inhabitants on 378 sq km have been graced with, courtesy of the Democratic Republic of Israel.

These are acts of torture.

Torture en masse.


Sophia said...

If, by chance, you can download google earth on your computer, do it. Look at Gaza and Israeli surroundings. You will see the contrast ! A picture is worth thousand words.
(Actually, the free version is quite impressive. I was able to locate the village where I was born in lebanon, with my grand'parents houses, our house and the neighbors)

bashir said...

Hi Sophia,
I have google earth. The problem is I use dialup for my internet connection at home and it is very very slow.
I will check Gaza the next time I carry my laptop with me to some wireless internet outlet. They are faster.

I love Munich said...

Moussa - I just found your blog (a few minutes after I detected you son's(?) - and am delighted I did!
I can only wholeheartedly agree you your solid anylysis and each and every person with a at least fairly sound mind should do the sae! I do indeed start to consider the fact, this whole "operation" is more than meets the eye ... and not ONLY about Gilad Shalit! After all .. they were talking about and threatening it for long enough - and the world sits silent! That is beyond me ... uttely beyond me!
Try out this link as welll ... Laila is the nice of Mona, a journalist (writing for the English edition of al-Jazeera and Guardian Unlimited) and currently with her husband and little son Youssuf in the States (her husband is an ophtalmologist and does his internship over there - she gives lectures about Gaza and the whole situation there).


You're cordially invited to come and visit my blog - and take a tour through my hometown munich - at present though "King soccer" is dominating the arena! Hope to see you soon!!

bashir said...

Hi Karin, thanks for the comment and the link.
HadiAram is my son :)
I will soon visit your blog.

I love Munich said...

You have a WONDERFUL son!! I hope he will NEVER have to experience violence and hatred ... I pray for that!

John said...

For your information, Gaza has NOT been under blockade for decades. Palestinians from Gaza used to commute freely to their jobs in Israel and back to their homes. Israelis (Jews and Arabs) used to go shopping in Gaza city and even went there for dental treatment. This only ended in the late 1990s as a result of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Bashir said...

Gaza has been occupied since the sixties.
Occupation is worse than blockade.
I am sure you know what I mean.

John said...

ya bashir, 7asab ra2i you forgot your history. The "Gaza Strip" has been occupied a lot longer than that! I guess it all depends on how you define occupation. When Egypt invaded the area of Palestine designated for an Arab state (May 15, 1948) and its troops took control of the southern coastal area, up until Isdud (Ashdod), was that not an occupation? I guess at that stage it was still an invasion. But by October 1948, Egypt was in fairly firm control of what is today the Gaza Strip, and they ruled it until they were defeated in the Six Day war in the summer of 1967. So was that not an occupation?
One more thing, if you were to talk to your average Ghazawi about the economic situation in the Gaza Strip before 1994 (Arafat's arrival in Gaza from Tunis), you will find that most will tell you that the economic situation was better under the Israeli occupation. The problem with you people who are barra is that you only conceive of Palestinians in terms of eternal victims, not real people.

Anonymous said...

Of course, and that's precisely why Israel was more than happy about the Oslo accords: They made the occupation much cheaper, and your average 'ghazzawi' much poorer. Not to mention that those accords alleviated the 'demographic threat' to the 'jewish democracy'!

btw, does the use of a couple of arabic words- quite needlessly- add to the legitimacy of your argument?

John said...

Sorry, I just don't buy your occupation dogma. I really worry about the day that Palestinians are granted independence. I can just see Palestinian advocates spoiling the party. It seems that many pro-Pals are conditioned to see everything as "yet another manifestation of occupation". If occupation means that Israel continued to exercise a great deal of control over the West Bank and Gaza during the Oslo years, then you're right. You probably see that as some kind of moral injustice. I see it as understandable given the lack of certainty about the intentions or stability of the PA.

You're also right that Israel saved itself the money it would have spent running the civil administration. That role was supposed to be filled by the PA, and it got plenty of cash to do so from foreign donor nations.

Is it just me, or are advocates of the Palestinian cause mired in a determinism that leads them to attribute the desire to tighten the occupation to every move made by Israel? I think it's more useful to view Oslo as the product of improvisation and negotiation between several different actors, including the Palestinians, Israel and the United States. Oslo was not an Israeli conspiracy to perpetuate control over the Palestinians-if you read about the Israeli decision-making when Peres's back-track negotiations were revealed, and if you look at the motivations of the people involved in the negotiations behind the Declaration of Principles, you will see that many factors shaped what became known as the "Oslo System".

In many ways, Palestinian critics of Oslo remind me of Israeli right-wingers who depict it as a Arafat conspiracy or a trojan horse stragegy to build up and army close to Israeli territory and to eventually allow the destruction of the state of Israel.

Pierre Tristam/Candide's Notebooks said...

John... It seems to me you're using a great deal of Bushy rhetoric (they're all "terrorists" to you), shopping schedules (what occupier hasn't "allowed" its subjects to shop on its terms?) and somewhat silly comparisons about who was better off when (Germany was better off economically under the Nazis through the 1930s than it had been under Weimar; does that mean Nazi Germany was the better alternative?) to avoid addressing Moussa's central point about the inhumanity of daily conditions under occupation. That’s not to deny the inhumanity of a suicide bomber’s barbaric act in the middle of a shopping center. There’s no justification either way. But there’s also no sense using a hierarchy of horrors (i.e. what you contemptuously refer to as “Pals” do is terrorism, what the IDF—the most cynical euphemism in the Middle East—does is self-defense) as a device to demean what Palestinians are sustaining day in and day out, regardless of the misguided idiocies of their leaders or who begat whom five thousand years ago.

John said...

My dear Monsieur Candide, you're wrong, Palestinians are certainly NOT all terrorists to me. All I did was to highlight some of the problems with the occupation rhetoric that is so often bandied about by the likes of Mr. Mousa. According to the "Palestinian as eternal victim" narrative to which so many people subscribe, the occupation is to blame for every ill that befalls the Palestinian people... even once that said occupation is over! Israel is not the only reason why the economic situation in the Gaza Strip is terrible and has been declining in the past decade. There are structural factors to blame. These include: 1) a dependence on the Israeli economy where many people from Gaza were traditionally employed; 2)Political instability 3) Cronyism ... the list goes on. It always baffles me when people argue that Israel has some moral obligation to grant permits to Palestinian workers or to open border crossings from the Gaza Strip into Israel, especially when it is under attack from groups in that area. Does Israel owe the Palestinians the right to work in Israel or export their goods there? If Lebanon were to decide to close its borders with Syria to Syrian day labourers, would you accuse Lebanon of "caging in Syria" ?
I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your effort to keep this exchange civil and mutually enlightening.

Pierre Tristam/Candide's Notebooks said...

John... There's an interesting comparison between how Palestinians would say that every ill befalling them has its roots in the Israeli occupation, and how blacks in America might say the same about white America--once we agree that, in reality, neither Palestinians universally nor blacks universally make that assumption. I think it's a matter of perspective and overriding factors: it's fair to say that for black Americans, the heart of the matter was ensalevement until 1865, then opression by other legal and extra-legal means for the next hundred years. Obviously blacks had their own issues having nothing to do with slavery's legacy (as anyone, any group, any collection of individuals in any circumstance have their issues) but the fact remains that the root of the problem, overridingly, is what whites did to blacks. We hope that's less and less of an issue as legislative and judicial "fixes" have, by trial and error, attempted to move us past those points. But Palestinians can make the case that they're not even at the stage where fixes are in, except for fixes against them still. The overriding factor is still Israel's occupation and the legacy of these decades of perversely co-dependent conflict; the overriding power is still Israel's to wield, the Palestinians' to sustain--often through desperate acts. The analogy with Lebanon doesn't hold because Lebanon is not even a power--it has no leverage over Syria (or not much, anyway), anymore than Paletsinians have much levaregb to speak of against Israel. But leverage the other way around is much more potent. To get back to the original comparison: that's why it's still fair to say that white America "owes" more to blacks, to level the field, than blacks owe white America. The hope is that with time the debt will be repaid (with interest) and the two sides, such as they are, will truly be on par with each other. Back in the once (and maybe, barely future) Holy Land, the only way to a true settlement is when the two sides operate from the same sort of assumptions: harm has been done, harm should be righted, but everything is not relative to the point of indemnifying Israel's responsibility for Palestinian pains just because Palestinians are also very capable at shooting themselves in the heart.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Quite ironically, Yahweh’s glorious army is now fighting a war to the death (ethnic cleansing would be a more fitting appellation, but I’m digressing) with Hamas’ Neo-Hambalized Palestinians puritans, whose only raison d’être happens to be their stubborn belief in the most literal (“Al-Harfiyyah”) interpretation of the Hebrew Leviticus!

Verily, the paths of Allah are full of mysteries…

bashir said...

Pierre, you read my mind.

Solomon2 said...

Take 1.4 million [I don't accept this number] individual and squeeze them on a stripped piece of desert of area 378 sq km. That is about 3,600 persons per sq km or 9,400 per sq mi.

Neither they nor their parents nor even their were enslaved or massacred as their ancestors did when they conquered all these lands over a thousand years ago. Is it "terror" to refrain from killing Arabs? Furthermore, not all Gazans are descendants of refugees, but many have lived there for generations. How much "squeezing" occurs because family plots have subdivided again and again as the population has multiplied, thanks mostly to Jewish and Israeli medicine and technology?

Cage them in and control their every move on land, air and sea.

Do you really believe sure that Arabs who launch rockets into Israel are controlled by the Israelis themselves?

Create a situation where 70% of them are out of work. Stop any help from coming in.

Who destroyed the greenhouses that Israelis built and other Jews purchased for the benefit of Gazans? Who created the situation of joblessness? How many truckloads of televisions were imported by the P.A. just in time for the World Cup?

Overtly send agents and drones to assassin leaders and children (by mistake!) almost every day.

Do you mean that Israelis should instead kill only civilians and do so deliberately?

Demolish entire villages while people are still in their homes and impose collective punishment on entire towns, villages, and camps, for the acts of a few.

When the U.S. Army invaded Germany in 1945, villages showing the slightest resistance were reduced to "Third Army memorials". Patton, the commanding general, thought it a terrible thing, but never doubted that the Germans deserved such a fate - nor did the rest of the world, once they were liberated from the Nazi tyranny.

Israel has the physical capability to do the same to Gaza. Do you really want that to happen? If so, why?

usaCHRISTIAN said...



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