Genocide, Defence, or just Horrific Vengeance? — Lack of Nuance and Focus as Obstacle to Peace
No one sets out to alienate over 80% of a targeted audience. In fact, trying to convince a dog to meow, is likely to be a more successful venture than persuading Israel’s many cheerleaders, or Hamas’ throngs of apologists, that the opponent they reflexively vilify may have some justified agenda, even as the means by which these are prosecuted, are repulsively and indiscriminately horrific, in both cases!
Now that the court has ruled – kind of – announcing a decision that is (unsurprisingly) celebrated in Palestine and (likewise) derided) in Israel, it is time to turn away from the showmanship of this predictable circus, and return focus to the real crisis.
Nuance – always elusive – is usually the second casualty following immediately on the heels of the carnage, in contexts of terrorism and war. It is also (paradoxically) crucially essential for the achievement of just resolutions. Nowhere is it as critical as in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet nowhere – in no other currently pertinent global context! – is nuance as demonstrably absent, daily. Access any print, digital, or visual “news” media, from the Middle East to Europe, from North America to Africa (and anywhere in between), and even the most cynical will be confronted with irrefutable validation of this assertion, which the following is intended to combat. It is, in fact, almost as perilous to advocate for nuance these days, as it is to publicly advocate (in the “wrong” place) exclusively for the “rights” – homeland, safety, defense, existence… – of one side or the other. People have been harassed & vilified (everywhere), doxxed (in the US), fired from long-held jobs (UK, US, Israel), even jailed and criminally charged (Israel!) for merely suggesting that the “other” has some legitimate plaints, or that “our side” may be overstepping reasonableness.
It is against this background that, notwithstanding the obstacles that include realistic danger of material backlash, one is nevertheless compelled by instinct, outrage, and minuscule residual optimism (without which all is hopeless) to argue for nuance and focus. Giving nuance its justified prominence might lead to focus on essential constructive action everywhere. The promotion of peace and preserving human lives ought to the primary considerations.
Moving from philosophy and generalizations to a particularly egregious and florid recent affront to both nuance and focus, South Africa’s pointlessly wasteful project in the Hague, and the myriad arguments (often eloquently thoughtful, but all equally wasteful) in support or opposition, must be addressed from a third perspective. WHAT A WASTE!
To what end?! How will judgement by a toothless (and somewhat compromised institution) save even one life?
Wasting time, effort, and focus, all better invested in more practical endeavours, are, of course, hallmarks of human folly since recorded time. Curiously (but also tellingly), blaming, shaming, strutting, and vengeance-seeking are reserved for man-made disasters. When a volcano buries entire suburbs (in Italy or in Iceland), or an earthquake devastates a region in Japan, Turkey, or India, the primary task is clean-up, followed closely by recovery, and attempts at prospective disaster prevention. Imagine if these practices were applied in the case of this decades-long Middle East conflict. They never have been, but that is no justification for either inaction or (possibly the worse sin) wastefully pointless action.
The world, or at least a forceful majority coalition of “leading nations” along with supporting actors (both unaligned, as well as, genuine [nation and individual] friends and defenders of each side) can, and must, put an end to this quickly. And this will not be achieved by supporting or alternately objecting to a pointless, attention-grabbing gambit by a nation that is itself no model of an incorruptible human-rights/lives defender.
As October 7th has demonstrated beyond doubt (and the discovery of hundreds of miles of tunnels under Gaza, designed for only one purpose, has confirmed), Hamas is neither for peace, nor for the Palestinian people. On the other hand, as (now totally ignored) internal events in the months preceding the October 7th atrocity have shown, and Israel’s mindlessly indiscriminate vengeful reaction subsequently confirmed, its government has agenda that is nakedly incompatible with the desire for general peace and the protection of its people. Neither Hamas’ remote control murderous leadership, nor Netanyahu’s criminal-zealot cabal, are agents for peace or for justice. Nor is the courthouse in The Hague.
It’s time to stop playing the political alignment games that have served mostly to facilitate and often promote destruction and human suffering. Time to meaningfully prioritise peace and human lives over all other objectives in the financing of both current regimes. Stop financing destruction by supplying weaponry (directly, or in “reconstruction” donations that are notoriously, and regularly misappropriated). Stop facilitating the protection of criminals in Qatar or in Jerusalem. Offer to finance only constructive alternatives going forward – No “defense” or otherwise euphemised military subsidies to Israel; No “reconstruction” funding to Hamas.
Isolate Hamas and destroy its strangle-hold on the Palestinians. Concomitantly facilitate the inevitable internal reckoning consequent to the October 7th Israeli failures, which should lead “the only democracy in the Middle East” to divest itself of its current government in favour of one that is more motivated to promote a secular and peaceful agenda that is consonant with the ideals and realities of peaceful coexistence with similarly minded Arabs.