Tuesday, 6 January 2009

But Here We Are

I drove in a car and flew in a plane
To come to your house and kick your door in
Now it's down to this, it's just you and me
I'll blow your fucking head off for my country

"Most of the soldiers now fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza were three or four years old when the U.S. launched the First Gulf War. Most of them have no memories of this war, but their parents remember. They remember these toddlers being rushed to shelters, wearing the special child-friendly version of gas masks. They remember an Israel that doesn't respond to the daily barrage of missiles sent from Iraq onto Tel Aviv and Haifa. A wise decision at the time - the U.S. had asked Israel not to make trouble for the delicate international coalition in which Arab countries were also members - but one that added to the erosion of Israel's deterrence power. Thus, while the U.S. was slowly getting over its Vietnam Syndrome and getting its military groove back - for better or worse, Iraq was the prelude to the Balkan intervention, which was the prelude to both Afghanistan and the second Iraq war - Israel was losing points. The once-mighty regional force was being bombed without reciprocation."

- Shmuel Rosner, Getting Over the Lebanon Syndrome, The New Republic

The war is now somewhat truly affecting because my dad can't put his mind at ease with my business study mission trip down to the troubled country and is quite adamant on cancelling it. This is quite a stupid way of feeling for whoever's plight or frowning upon war and violence but it has no doubt become personal and, in an indirect and small way, much more significant.

Israel and Singapore are fascinatingly so similar and so contrasting at the same time. Both are young nations with small land areas and populations and both have conscript armies. Both lack natural resources and seek to trail-blaze in post-industrial sectors. Both had to do with the British and govern with states borne out of British mandates and laws, and both have an immigrant-supported population. But when one looks at the political situation of the two countries, Israel has been residing in a tumultous pressure cooker with no lack of neighbours with hostile appetites, while Singapore has had it relatively peaceful.

Some people think that this is like a bully whacking a boy in the face with a baseball bat just because the boy pushed him. Personally it feels that, if the baseball bat was indeed used, the boy must've been jabbing the 'bully's balls in a seemingly harmless and periodic fashion for a long stretch of time such that the baseball bat now becomes justified. Hamas militants have been firing rockets into Israeli towns for a while now. Short of a ground battle, Israel has been taunted for its air strike despite rising civilian casualties. Hamas terrorists just want the deadlier ground battle without regard for the escalating death toll of innocent people.

Life goes on in Israel, and even for civilian families who call the battered Gaza Strip area their home, in spite of the missiles whizzing overhead.

Audio Candy:
Damien Rice - Rootless Tree

No comments: