Write For Your Life
Most everyone knows someone who has intentionally endured a slight or injustice to demonstrate, to all the world, that they are indeed the aggrieved party. We have heard them describe the elaborate fantasies: 'then everyone will see' ... 'it will be undeniable that I' ... 'it will be clear that he', as they imagine themselves established in the right by the bestial behavior of the Other. In fact, no one gives a shit. People who willingly endure humiliation in the expectation of justification wind up with the humiliation sans the justification.
The two most common reasons given for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza were that it would shorten Israeli defense lines and prove to all the world that Israel was willing to make concessions for peace and therefore confer upon it the 'moral high ground'. Of the two expected benefits, only the benefits of shortened defense lines will be realized. As to achieving the moral high ground, let us turn to the Times of London.
Pillars of fire lit up the night sky even before the last Israeli tanks rolled out before dawn yesterday, as thousands of Palestinians swarmed into the forsaken settlements and youths set fire to synagogues and other symbols of the hated occupation. ... The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of cynically leaving the synagogues standing to make Palestinians look bad for demolishing them.
Ariel Sharon forgot the single most important fact of the media age, a fact that generations of Israelis had heretofore always remembered: that the mantle of victimhood belongs, not to the aggrieved, but to whoever can point the finger of accusation most vigorously. One of the most powerful properties of representation is that it transforms perception. It can make a city Mayor with hundreds of buses at his disposal into a supplicant wholly dependent on outside help to evacuate his constituents; it can transform Todd Beamer's heroic stand against Islamic hijackers into a Crescent of Embrace facing Mecca. It can transform reality so completely that, in the case of Gaza, it is the Jews who are ultimately responsible for the destruction of the synagogues because they left them standing. Were it not for the Internet, which has made it possible to revive the classic military memoir in the form of milblogs, the public would have no more idea of the battle against terror than they do of the whys and wherefores of synagogue burnings in Gaza.
The Pointing Finger points; and, having pointed,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
-- with apologies to Omar Khayyam