Thursday, September 20, 2007

The dizzying pace of our progress

Sursock on the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon, 1951 and 2007:




Meanwhile, Daniel Pipes' call for war crimes in Gaza has been heeded by Israel. The invasion is coming, and not a moment too soon because, as the Washington Post helpfully points out, Hamas is contributing to a mass outbreak of beard growth. (I know we're not seriously expected to blame Hamas for the effects of a vicious blockade and encirclement policy). Israel, forever embattled, forever defending itself, forever the land of the little kibbutz populated by advanced human beings and surrounded by Arabs transmogrified by fungibility into a faceless, deindividualized horde. Invading Gaza - to expand the frontiers, press forth the outposts of civilisation, and conquer the untameable, esoteric wilderness - is nothing but a response to "Islamic imperialism". This kind of "imperialism" is completely unlike any other we know - subtracted from history, from politics, from production and appropriation. It is a timeless yearning for violent subordination to superstition, an insatiable ferment beneath every kufi, an effort to expand the zone of Oriental despotism and stultify progress. Speaking of progress, we all know - don't we? - of the boundless generosity of whitey when it comes to providing for the natives. Despite their ingratitude, he has been preparing an allotment for them for some decades - where they may, under strict supervision, content themselves with their curious customs. Yes, the amount of Palestine currently left to the Palestinians is 8% of the original, and that is latticed with 'Jewish Only' roads (all of which will one day lead to Damascus), "settlements" and garrisons. But statehood is in the works, selflessly crafted by Dore Gold, Ehud Barak and Avigdor Lieberman, by the light of a silvery moon and under the careful tutelage of Dick Cheney, Ribbentrop of Arabia. You watch, and wait. Don't do anything, for heavens' sake.