The giant and the boy who threw stones

GAZA

GAZA (Photo credit: al-saber)

Most American Christians are familiar with the biblical story of David and Goliath. This story has all the features of the underdog coming out on top that Americans love to lap up with their New York Times and morning cup of coffee. Alas, the government of Israel also knows all too well how Americans love their mythologies from the one about how the early settlers (murdering conquerors) had a bountiful feast with the Injuns (rightful land dwellers) at Plymouth Rock to how an African American POTUS represents the culmination of the civil rights era and not the co-opting of it. For most of my naive, apolitical life I passively bought the story hook, line, and sinker of how Israel represents poor, little David standing up to the Philistine Goliath’s who would do them no little harm. In the Bible, when the two face off in the Valley of Elah, Goliath (giant) has on the full armor and shield of the warrior while David (little boy) has a shepherd’s staff and slingshot. We all know how the story ends and unfortunately, so do the psyops specialists employed by certain, savvy governments to “win the hearts and minds” of the people. In the latest episode of The Real World Tel Aviv the audience finds out that Israel, with the explicit acquiescence of the U.S. government, has perfected the art of stage managing the discourse by taking on the coveted role of the perpetual victim who is only acting in self-defense against the ruthless barbarians at the gates. There is one major flaw in this tale they recite which is the reason why any public school teacher will tell you that context is always a prerequisite to comprehension. In order to unwind the yarn this fabrication is spun from we have to concede that when God created the coin on the fifth or sixth day he made two sides to it, which is undoubtedly why he needed a nap on the seventh day. The flip side of this coin known as the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” reveals a story so heartbreaking and tragic that it gives lie to the falsehood that Americans love to root for the underdog. The reality is that many Americans enjoy the privileges that life affords them by having the biggest guns and baddest bombs on the global block and few countries have benefitted more from this splintered personality than the state of Israel.

David and Goliath Español: David y Goliath Fra...

Español: David y Goliath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like many other myths in my life, I once bought into the script spoonfed to me that starred Israel as a beacon of democracy surrounded by a supporting cast of hummus loving infidels. The main reason for this ignorance was my willingness to allow others to tell me what their version of the truth was rather than search for it myself. This left me an easy mark for the powers that be rude, crude, and oh so lewd to dictate the conversations in my head on the rare occasions when I thought about political events within the framework of my flat earth worldview. While more than 1,000 airstrikes, supplemented by American made drones, have pounded Gaza the narrative stays the same that Israel is acting in self-defense. Hmm, let’s see…Israel is a thermonuclear nation defending itself against a population that has to bring their supplies in through tunnels from Egypt and are not allowed to receive humanitarian aid or export goods to build their economy? The Palestinian fighter firing rockets from his shoulder is the equivalent of bringing a Swiss army knife to a gunfight. In what world is this argument even feasible from “respected” thinkers?  But…but…the Palestinians strap bombs to their chests and blow up innocent civilians. Well, dear reader(s?), again context is indispensable for comprehension. It’s a common tactic in wars of attrition to create the conditions economically, politically and psychologically, in which one side oppresses the other side to the point where tension and resentment build like a pot of boiling water to the point where violence seems like the only option. This is exactly what the oppressor wants as it then gives them the previously absent moral justification for the use of force to deal with the matter. When someone reads about a suicide bomber killing people in a crowded bus the reflexive reaction is that the victims have a right to defend themselves by any means necessary. Again, that two sides to every coin adage pops up its annoying head to remind us that the people of Gaza are the ones crowded into an out of sight out of mind concentration camp under conditions that are reminiscent of apartheid South Africa or the segregated South. Maybe the U.N. should just finally start calling Gaza and the West Bank reservations so at least they can build some casinos there.

gaza

Gaza (Photo credit: INSURGENCIA GRÁFICA)

The recent military actions in Gaza were precipitated by the killing by Israeli soldiers of a 13 year-old Palestinian boy playing soccer. This war of terror™ will not be televised by the Main Street media because they are too busy reporting on generals gone wild. What carefully measured reporting there is coming forth from the corporate controlled media has focused on the rocket attacks raining down on innocent Israeli civilians. The cognitive dissonance required to think that rockets fired from the clavicle are analagous to the shocking and awesome arsenal possessed by the Israeli military, much of it financed by tens of millions of George Washingtons every year from American taxpayers, that includes heavy artillery, armored tanks, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, battleships, submarines, ballistic missiles, and F-16 fighter jets illuminates the national case of Stockholm syndrome that too many of my countrymen suffer from. As long as we identify to a greater degree with our captors it prevents us from relating to our fellow captives whose subjugation is perhaps less complete than our own. At least, most Palestinians have no illusions that the government of Israel is working towards their best interests and not their destruction. While we argue over partisan politics in America, the ruling class behind the curtains are planning to import real austerity, aka the fiscal cliff, in full force to American citizens after taking it for a years long test drive in the Eurozone. It’s embarrassing for me to admit how much bloggers like Arthur Silber, Chris Floyd, and Linh Dinh among others have helped to change my thinking about my government. Meanwhile, as the story in Gaza continues to unfold, hopefully the real life boys (and girls) with stones will find support and solidarity from the global community in their struggle to overcome the giant in their midst and may November 29th be their independence day. Peace and prayers to the people of Gaza and to the Israeli citizens caught in the crossfire.

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44 Responses to The giant and the boy who threw stones

  1. missmetrodc says:

    I had three or four different comments, each one typed up and deleted. There is so much to say.

    Have you seen the play My Name is Rachel Corrie? Her words, better than mine on this:

    “If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours – do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed – just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how long it takes to make things grow and what a labor of love it is. I really think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I would.”

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and thanks for writing this.

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  2. A very powerful and moving post, and at the same time very informative. You’ve summed up for me a situation I’ve been unable to get my head around and given me a clearer understanding, as much as that is possible in a single post – thank you. My love, thoughts and prayers too go out to all those suffering in, and as a result of, this conflict.

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  3. Pingback: The giant and the boy who threw stones « patricktsudlow

  4. thelawguysa says:

    the situation in israel reminds me of apartheid south africa…keep in mind that i am south african and have lived apartheid. The levels of propaganda spewing to the masses is relentless and often confusing. Its the confusion that wins it for the government in the end, people either give up trying to understand or simply attempt to ignore it. Either way its a win for the gov as the real issues are avoided. The press as usual is alter boy,..always “impartial” and objective, yet a neccesarry tool to any gov in charge, yet the alter often gets abused at the the hands of the “father”. Democracy is therefore a complete fallacy and im not sure if such a notion or idealogy actually exists today in any form or any in country.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      In a previous post, I discussed the importance of language in decoding the hidden messages of the dominant culture. I agree that the Palestinians are on the butt end of the apartheid stick. Thanks for the interesting response.

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  5. Guls says:

    Great post, Jeff: some links you might like:

    a) an article by Jewish-American, Andrea Dworkin re the kind of brainwashing you’re describing above in relation to Israel: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/IsraelI.html – maybe you’ve experienced similar?,

    b) UK rock band, Marillion’s recent song ‘Gaza’ – written in response to MSM portrayals of the conflict: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A25VqWE5Zo

    c) You’ve already liked my reblog of Emily L. Hauser’s comment on the ‘Ambition Gap’ and maybe you’ve checked out her blog too? If not, the Israel/Palestine conflict is one of her main blog subjects; so here’s a link anyway: http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/reading-the-conflict-an-israelpalestine-reading-list/

    Take care,

    Andy.

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  6. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Just when my to do list was nearly checked off you go and add more to it…

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  7. Cynthia says:

    Your site is powerful. Thank you for stopping by my blog, Cancer Hits the Streets, and steering me your way. Keep up the great work.

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  8. I have to agree with your observations. Neither side is exactly innocent, but the oppressed need to stand their moral ground and make sure every move made by the other is recorded and documented. Of course, when your neighbor cuts down your trees and puts his fence there, it would be very difficult to not respond in kind. Unfortunately when you do, you give them the ability to obfuscate the situation and make you look bad. The only real solution i can think of is for Palestine to regularly find ways to show the world what their life is like from a common sense, level headed platform. Personally, I don’t really subscribe to the notion of nations when global corporate interests buy politics everywhere. We are all hostage to the greed of the rich. oh and thanks for hitting up my blog!

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I agree that recording and documenting events is important but showing the world what their life is like should be the responsibility of the strong not of the weak. Like most political situations, the everyday citizens on both sides end up as pawns in a distorted game of chess.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree that the oppressed should not allow the news to be suppressed. But the question is how can an oppressed people anywhere have access to an unbiased, involved media? Who will report the whole story? Who will go to the scene of the crime and be able to get anyone to report what is happening?

      Although serious news reports have been far to few, I have heard heart wrenching accounts of brutal treatment from both Israeli and Palestinian victims. I have also heard rational Israelis and Palestinians appeal for victory for all, with malice toward none, to be accomplished through compromise.

      Forgiveness will have to happen if peace is ever to be achieved. I know that won’t be easy because of all the bloodshed and mayhem. But in order to bind up the wounds, independent representatives from sides will have to go to the press, on their own accord, with proposals for peaceful co-existence. There will be those from among their own people who will call them traitors. Let us unite and remain loyal to the cause of peace.
      Mona O’Connell
      Authormgtobe@aol.com
      monahasaquestion.wordpress.com

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  9. janetkwest says:

    I couldn’t agree more. My brother and I have a saying about our upbringing, “Once, I too believed”

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  10. Piazza della Carina – you may find this blog of interest. I will send another like it soon

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  11. Ashana M says:

    That’s interesting. The intifada were literally the boys with stones. I’ve always seen Israel as the Goliath–given its greater wealth and development. I assumed anyone seeing it through the lens of giant and upstart would see it that same way.

    Both groups have developed cultural identies that have their status as a victim at their cores, as well as hatred for each other. It makes de-escalating the conflict a threat to who they are both for Israelis and as Palestinians. I don’t expect killings on either side will stop within my lifetime.

    It should be a lesson to the world about the importance of healing group traumas before they are passed on to further generations and recreated, but I don’t think many have paid any attention or learned anything from it.

    It does seem that Ervin Staub has had some success with his work in Rwanda, but time will tell.

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  12. Paddy Noble says:

    Wow very good reflection and it speaks the truth for many out there. Thank you so much.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Thank you for the kind words and taking the time to read this. I read some of the insightful articles on your blog about working as a priest in Cambodia.

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      • Paddy Noble says:

        Thanks. I studied to be a priest but I put that on the back burner. I work with interfaith work here more for human rights, social justice. I did study for the priest hood I discovered that it wasn’t my calling at this time. Nonetheless I enjoy what I’m doing and I’m sure God is very much reflected in my work I hope. Thanks for reading my blog.

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  13. MonaOConnell says:

    I thought the article I read in your blog regarding the Israeli Palestinian conflict was well written and thought provoking. The media has not told the story in a way that will inspire an honorable peace initiative so the Palestinian and Israeli victims of violence must speak out. I believe the only way to achieve peace in this tiny part of world, the size of NJ, is for independent people from both sides to go directly to the media, on their own accord, and offer a plan for peaceful coexistence. Because of all the violence and mayhem, I know it won’t be easy to bind up the wounds. But forgivenes on the part of both the Palestinians and the Israelis will be essential to accomplish peace through compromise. There will be those whose own people will see anyone demanding peace as a traitor. Let us remain loyal to honorable people who refuse to remain silent regardless of the risk.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I believe in forgiveness also but it is difficult to realize when one is being actively oppressed and beaten down. Perhaps, in the future when the Palestinians have their land, livelihoods and dignity restored to them then reconciliation can take place but for now survival is their priority. I agree we should support those who stand up and speak out against these injustices, Bradley Manning also comes to mind.

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  14. 2bBritt says:

    I am one of the people who believed, for the most part, what I have been told about Israel. In part because we have family that chose to live there, though they never spoke of the trouble there. It is true that there is always more then one side to a story. I think there are also various shades of a story.

    Thank you for presenting the other side of the story.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I have heard that many Israelis do not support the hard line stances of their government and hopefully more will continue to speak up on behalf of the Palestinians so that real peace can be achieved. I like how you state there are “various shades” to any story, that’s a good way to put it.

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  15. Pingback: The giant and the boy who threw stones | Young Canadian Voice – Hopeful?

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is a good article. It is very informative and unbiased. Please keep up the good work on exposing such issues. I feel very hopeful about humanity when I read articles like yours.
    Thank you

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  17. Awesome analysis

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  18. Pingback: We are all Palestinians « Deconstructing Myths

  19. So good to see so many people are seeing the true reality of this ridiculous war. The irony I find is that the Christians, Jews, and Muslims claim the same God! So these are not religious wars, they are wars of race, power, and politics. The reason Israel exists is because no Western nation, including the USA would welcome the Jewish people. I could write on and on, but we’re all on the same page. thinks for liking my blog and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      One thing to make clear, when I discuss the Israeli occupation of Palestine, my pen (keyboard) is aimed at the government responsible for the oppressive policies in place not the general population. As in America, many Israelis do not agree with the heavy handedness of their “elected” officials but just as in America, they’re held captive by a ruling class that makes the real decisions and stage manages the discourse from the theater’s wings. I do not make ad hominem attacks against ethnic groups for the sake of context, especially when the narrative adds no value to the discussion. Thank you.

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  20. sojournerbe says:

    AWESOME site Jeff. I am glad to have connected with you. We share similar ideals. Yes- we are the messengers getting the WORD out in whatever way it moves us to do so.

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  21. vgonis says:

    Brilliant post! It is peculiar I didn’t see any replies/attacks from Israelis. I totally agree with you. I should only add that when blood is spilt (and both sides have been doing so for almost 70 years) the collective hatred amongst populations grows deep roots. If the majority of the people had as their first concern to stop the bloodsheding, they would probably vote (or punish by not voting) the correct politicians. I know it is easier said than done. About the Eurozone austerity mentioned, (and Greece in particular) take a look at this, if you have the time! : http://greeceindirestraits.blogspot.gr/

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    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I was a bit surprised not to hear from more pro-Israel commenters also. It is embarrassing how little we in America know about what is happening in Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. Its also interesting how little has been reported on how Icelanders handled their banking crisis, i.e., arrests and convictions of bankers, debt relief and a collective middle finger to the IMF. Thanks for stopping by Vassilis and commenting.

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  22. Nick says:

    This reminds me of the “just war theory,” or basically altruism applied to self-defense, and its suicidal consequences. It is the only moral theory of war that is taught in the US military. This explains why so many things are going so disastrously, as many Americans haven’t yet completely bought into self-crippled self-defense–especially when it involves them or their relatives as the sacrificial fodder.

    http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-spring/just-war-theory.asp
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/176196-1

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  23. I remember reading a long time ago that there will come to pass another revolution in America. When I read this I begin to wonder if it’s inevitable. It feels like critical mass is fast approaching.

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  24. Pingback: Manning down | Deconstructing Myths

  25. Great post as always. The best argument that you had was about the suicide bombers. Although I do condemn suicide bombers because suicide and the killing of innocent people are both sins in Islam, I think you made it clear that the oppression done to the Palestinians has caused them to revert to such desperate measures. I mean to them, what’s the poing of just ‘running through hell’? I have a fear deep down inside of me that I won’t live to see the day that Palestine is finally free and it brings me so much pain to see people suffering and not be able to do much about it. Imagine what it must feel like to live in Palestine.

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  26. Craig says:

    The arabs in gaza have fired tens of thousands of rockets, each one capable of killing a dozen people. That’s hundreds of thousands of attempted murders. Proportion-wise, Israel has been very lenient considering having 10,000+ deadly rockets fired at then in a few years.

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  27. Pingback: A Nation At-Risk: American hustle | Deconstructing Myths

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