Saturday, October 14, 2023

I read the news today, oh boy!

Landscape from a dream by Paul Nash
...The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 
The ceremony of innocence is drowned; 
The best lack all conviction, while the worst 
Are full of passionate intensity...

What an awful week it has been for news. 
First, the Israel-Hamas War is going to be terrible. 
I can't help but be reminded of Gary Kamiya's 2003 Salon article Sleepwalking toward Baghdad where he talked about the difference between "politics" and "history":
...For we have gone from being in a political moment to a historical one.
I use the words somewhat eccentrically, to distinguish between events that are simple enough to be fully explicable ("political") and those that are too complex to be defined ("historical"). ...
The distinction also has a moral dimension. To exist in history is to have passed beyond the pieties and slogans of the political. History is tragic: politics is not. History is glorious. It is also fatal.
The two great competing ideologies of the 20th century, fascism and communism, were both self-consciously historical movements. As Czeslaw Milosz brilliantly noted in his classic study "The Captive Mind," it was precisely the abstraction of communism, its claim to have attained the summit of morality and to have incorporated into itself all possible contradictions, that made it so meticulously horrifying. In similar fashion, fascism contained a kind of blankness at its core: the self-glorifying violence of the state simultaneously concealed and revealed the emptiness of its founding concept, the national tribe.
The lesson every government should have learned from the bloody 20th century, one written in blood across the tortured soil of old, very old Europe, is very simple: Avoid history at all costs. History is too big, too abstract, too dangerous. Avoid men with Big Ideas -- especially stupid men with Big Ideas. Take care of politics: let history take care of itself. In a word, don't play God.
We are, right now, living through another historical moment. 
In the coming weeks, I expect neither Israel nor any other country will be able to find a way to negotiate with Hamas thugs to rescue any of the hundreds of hostages abducted by Hamas last weekend. They are lost now, martyrs to a evil cause.
And it appears Israel is going to invade Gaza - the Israeli Defense Force will perceive no other way to regain their tattered reputation. 
Here is a New York Times article which describes in terrible detail what happened: The Secrets Hamas Knew about the Israeli Military
...Hamas, the militia that controls the Gaza Strip, managed to surprise and outmaneuver the most powerful military in the Middle East last Saturday — storming across the border, overrunning more than 30 square miles, taking more than 150 hostages and killing more than 1,300 people in the deadliest day for Israel in its 75-year history.
With meticulous planning and extraordinary awareness of Israel’s secrets and weaknesses, Hamas and its allies overwhelmed the length of Israel’s front with Gaza shortly after dawn, shocking a nation that has long taken the superiority of its military as an article of faith.
We have no idea how many thousands, or tens of thousands, will die, nor can we predict how Israel can avoid finding itself in an unwinnable quagmire,
Moving on, the news from here in Saskatchewan has been awful too. 
The Scott Moe government has now brought in its legislation to allow teens to be deadnamed in school unless their parents approve, and Moe is using the notwithstanding clause to avoid court challenges. Hundreds of people marched on the legislature to object: Next, is everyone else as tired as I am when Poilievre and his CPC use national and international events only as an opportunity for drive-by smears of Trudeau? Canadian airlift from Israel? International statement from US and Europe? They don't care if some line of attack is proven to be untrue, or just doesn't work - they just move on to the next thing.

No comments: