I didn't want to write this. I was hoping to pen my usual mix of inconsequential trivia and self-absorption; but my stuff has, for the moment, become collateral damage, because there is really only one story this week. There is usually a story each week. Last week it was Flight MH17, but we have to move on. I mean it is more than three years yes, that long, since Syrian children started to be murdered by State sponsored terrorism. Doesn't time fly when you are casually trying to disregard shocking acts of murder?
Back to Collateral Damage though; a phrase that first entered our consciousness during the first Iraq war when, as we know, it was a sanitised way of saying "killing innocent people". It sounded better for the well- oiled PR machines that western democracies need to have, to justify their actions, these days.
The Israeli publicity machine is as well-oiled as a Glaswegian on a Friday night, and it knows that "collateral damage" has run its PR course. Instead, the succession of media-savvy Israeli politicians and spokespeople we see paraded on our TV screens prefer another favourite of western governments, "human shields". They say that Hamas is deploying human shields and using them as cover to fire at Israel. All the evidence suggests they most probably are, and it's a cynical tactic. It isn't anything new.though. Have the resistance fighters we have praised in every war we have supported since the Second World War not done much the same? Sheltering in the houses of civilians as they fought? Yes, Hamas, which is cynically fighting for its own survival and not that of the people it claims to support, is culpable; but these human shields, or as I prefer to call them, "innocent women and children" are being knowingly, and it is hard not say "deliberately" slaughtered by the superior weaponry that Israel has.
No. I don't know what it is like to live constantly under the threat of attack like Israelis do, but, due to the lunacy of men, I fear I may one day. This seems to be affecting the judgement of the Israeli people though, because 90% of them currently believe that their Government's actions are justified. I would like to think that, if my Government was sanctioning the murder of innocent children I would be on the doorsteps of Downing Street telling them what a bunch of murderers they were. We keep hearing that Israel is a democracy-and 90% is a healthy majority. Like I said, I don't know what it is like, but surely, as it's a democracy, the people of Israel must see the same images of suffering children- those beautiful, wide-eyed but bewildered faces, that I see? Or do only the dissenting 10% watch? Maybe the rest prefer that new spectator sport of the deckchair on the beach or the sofa on the hill top, to watch the "show"?
I really want Israelis to be able to feel secure, and I sympathise greatly with their desire to live their lives, but it gets harder not to equate its government constantly targeting its neighbours because it has the support of the US, with allowing the school bully to beat up the little kids because his Dad happens to be Headmaster.
And what about me? What do I do? Well, seemingly I pop a few "likes" and "shares" on social media as if this was some videos of dancing cats. That will definitely show them won't it?
Furthermore, our own government is tacitly sanctioning this killing by repeating the well-worn "Israel has a right to defend itself" line that I heard from the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond. Phil,juts a tip, if I was in a new job, I might want to look keen and promote some new ideas, not just lazily repeat the mantra of the last bloke. Yes, of course Israel does; but knowingly killing innocent children is not defending yourself. Look at the "score" of casualties so far, 1030 versus 43. If it were a football match, it would be the forward line that was getting all the attention, not the defence. Alan Hansen would be in the Match of the Day studio saying,
"The Israel defence is playing brilliantly here, but its so easy for them; they could sit back on their deckchairs and watch their strikers score at will". He might also add, " ...but you'll win nothing by shooting at kids"- or something like that.
Our Government is also using metaphorical human shields- us. Hiding behind our apathy and laziness, to perpetuate its seemingly unqualified support for the Israeli government. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.
I know it is deemed borderline criminal to criticise Israel. Believe me though, if it were innocent Israeli children being murdered in their hundreds, I would be saying exactly the same thing. Now, can you please stop the killing so I can go back to the trivia?