Saturday, August 05, 2006

A magnificent display

Greetings from St. John's, Newfoundland, where I've been on holiday for the last week. (In case you're wondering, the photo on the left is from Beirut, yesterday. Be patient: I'll draw the connection in a moment.) The other day, I visited the Newfoundland and Labrador Museum, now housed at The Rooms. One of the exhibits related to the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, which took place on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. In less than a half an hour, 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment were killed. Describing the event, the Divisional Commander wrote:
"It was a magnificent display of trained and disciplined valour, and its assault failed of success because dead men can advance no further."
Translation: eight-hundred men charged straight into the line of machine gun fire and were almost instantly cut down. The folly of war is so sad.

Fast-forward 90 years, and where are we? Israel is busy pounding the hell out of Lebanon, killing hundreds of civilians in the process. Another "magnificent" display of human folly. And here's how our Divisional Commander (Prime Minister Stephen Harper) sees things (as quoted on Deonandia):
"What we refuse to do is to be drawn into a moral equivalence between a pyromaniac and a fireman ...”
What a nuanced view! I guess the "trained and disciplined valour" of the Israeli firemen is to be contrasted with the murderous extremism of the Hezbollah pyromaniacs?
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Blogger mamegann said...

As if firemen drowned people who carry matches . . .

3:47 PM, August 05, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

It is unbelievably tragic - so much death, so much destruction - and for what? Maintaining the status-quo. Since the State of Israel was founded, its direct and indirect military actions serve only to keep hatred towards the State of Israel among neighbouring countries white hot, ensuring an ample supply of terrorists/freedom fighters well into the future.

Pretty much all of the Palestinian resistance groups formed in the last 50 years did so in response to ridiculous atrocities committed by the State of Israel against civilian populations. The State of Israel acts like a bully in the truest and most horrifying sense of the word - what can the bullied do by try to fight back?

The People of Israel have contributed greatly to all that is good about humanity - a rich cultural heritage, astounding scientific breakthroughs etc in a relatively short period of time. I fear this contribution pales when compared to the death and destruction wreaked on the people of Palestine and the surrounding countries in the State of Israel's short history.

It's sad - and it won't end. Actions like the ones in the past month are effectively a seed. A new generation of widows, orphans and childless parents has been created; the poverty and suffering of countless millions has been secured. The status quo has been maintained.


1:08 PM, August 07, 2006  
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