The giant and the boy who threw stones

(Photo credit: al-saber)

(Photo credit: al-saber)

In America, most flag waving, apple pie eating Christians are familiar with the biblical story of David and Goliath. This story has all the attributes of the underdog coming out on top that Americans love to lap up with their New York Times and morning cup of joe. Alas, the government of Israel knows all too well how Americans love their mythologies…from the one about the noble settlers (murdering conquerors) who had a bountiful feast with the savage Indians (rightful land dwellers) at Plymouth Rock to the African American POTUS who represents the culmination of the civil rights era and not the cynical, co-opting of it. For most of my naive, apolitical life, I passively bought the story hook, line, and sinker about 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 recycled tale which is the reason why any public school teacher will tell you that context is 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 sixth day he made two sides to it. This 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 perks and 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.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like many other myths in my life, I once bought into the script spoonfed to me that featured 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 rewriting history to dictate the conversations in my head on the rare occasions when even 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 is 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 readers, 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 segregation-era American 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.

(Photo credit: INSURGENCIA GRÁFICA)

(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 typically 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 humbling to realize how much bloggers and independent journalists 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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61 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Like

  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.

    Like

  6. Jeff Nguyen says:

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

  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!

    Like

    • 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.

      Liked by 2 people

    • 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

      Like

  9. janetkwest says:

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

    Like

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

  12. Paddy Noble says:

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

    Like

    • 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.

      Like

      • 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.

        Like

  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.

    Like

    • 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.

      Like

  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.

    Like

    • 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.

      Like

  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

    Like

  17. Pingback: We are all Palestinians « Deconstructing Myths

  18. 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.

    Like

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. 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.

    Like

  20. 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/

    Like

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. 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

    Like

  22. 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.

    Like

  23. Pingback: Manning down | Deconstructing Myths

  24. 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.

    Like

  25. 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.

    Like

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

  27. skulzstudios says:

    One by one we must unhook the chains that bind us to our perceptions. These chains are hooked to a human soul, one by one, by those that would insist we see the world as they’ve created it. When the last chain is unhooked, the human soul is freed and the perceived world stops. Then one can see the world is it exists in all it’s raw glory. That is the moment of clarity and one is never quite the same.

    Like

  28. Pingback: Gaza, where you have 58 seconds to live | Deconstructing Myths

  29. I happen to think perhaps some of the more powerful countries and global media like to focus on the boy who threw stones, because it takes attention away from the giant holocaust that resulted from a war on terror! You’re right Jeff, some people like having the biggest bombs. But this war is really, really quite devastating.

    Like

  30. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Reblogged this on Deconstructing Myths and commented:

    Once more with feeling…Israel is a nuclear powerhouse, Gaza is a ghetto. Shoulder fired rockets ≠ F-15 fighter jets. Peace and solidarity to all of the Palestinian and Israeli people caught in the crossfire.

    Like

  31. Nicola Kirk says:

    It’s the people my thoughts and prayers are with – don’t care what religion they practise. The ones who are unwillingly funding this campaign of misery inflicted by self-imposed politicians using tax, justifying it with fear-mongering and threats (not through choice), and the victims walled in, movement restricted, denied basic human rights, and being torn apart for making the only attempts they can toward their ultimate freedom. The only glimmer of hope is that God was on the side of David – not Goliath (and it’s very clear who stands in the shoes of Goliath now – for the same reasons as back then) – and the awareness of what is happening has been sharpened and honed globally after years of this – look at the comments on all the news feeds – the majority opinion indicates that this cannot continue indefinitely (the Goliath sympathisers – well, some are sincere in their belief, and many are just paid to write opinions and objections – you can easily identify them – they’re the ones replying individually to people’s opinions with swathes of information and resorting to ad hominem attacks when their logic is defeated). Even distraction tactics are failing as we can all cheer at the world cup, realise that there is not a single institution left with Any integrity or credibility, while at the same time know exactly who is the Goliath in the room.
    My prayers are for all people. May they see sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Debra says:

    Apologists always throw out the lie that no country would ever tolerate rockets aimed at their citizens. If the Isrealis were seeking peace instead of genocide they might find kindness, compassion and equality before the law to be powerful tools.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Well written and full of heart and intelligence. Thank you, Always.

    Like

  34. AsGrayAsGray says:

    Reblogged this on Shit's Gotta Stop and commented:
    A well-constructed piece on the Israel/Palestine affair from Deconstructing Myths (reblogged, with thanks!). Go read it.

    It’s a little over 18 months old, and has surfaced again in line with the currently ongoing bombardment and mass-slaying. Well worth the read, and well worth following up with many of the informative links in this post.

    Peace. Out.

    Like

  35. Carl at FSJ says:

    Interesting I scanned through your comments and found no one taking a position against what is a very complex situation and that makes me wonder. Are you so right as no one can disagree with you or is everyone so scared of taking the other side?

    I for one find your blog loaded with so many nouns and adjectives that one would believe you are describing not a world/history changing events by the most recent fashion that will gone tomorrow if no one would write flowery statements about them today.

    I know I will be cat called for taking a differing side. however I do not believe your words as much as most appear to. Please do not take me for a fool nor a person who would side with the Israel’s in this or any other matter. I do on the other hand believe that both peoples are to blame for both the history and current situation and both need to take stock of their ideals and beliefs if they truly want to end this violence, for all time.

    Having said that I believe neither side wants it. I say this because if either side wanted it, it would stop. This is true no matter if we are talking about this conflict the conflict in the Ukraine, Africa or the American Revolution. Both side want the fight and both side fight.

    How can I say this? Well if either side was/is willing to give up their fundamental/core beliefs then there would be nothing to fight about. If the Israel’s did this regarding the right to THEIR land, THEIR god, THEIR security. Then they could take down all barriers and live with Palestinians or the Arabs or the Christians. The same is true of the Palestinians of course. The fact is neither will give up their beliefs and so they fight to keep these beliefs and no other purpose. Not god, religion, security or even land, just beliefs.

    Interesting that the Christian world appears to get along with everyone. I know this is not true but hear me out. There is a simple reason for this. Most Christians are willing to give up their fundamental/core beliefs.

    Bring on the hoards. :)

    Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!
    Carl

    Like

  36. Angela Grant says:

    Reblogged this on Failure to Listen and commented:
    “Like many other myths in my life, I once bought into the script spoonfed to me that featured 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”

    Like

  37. mjh333 says:

    Very well put. Indeed they are in our prayers!

    Like

  38. floridaborne says:

    History is nothing short of a chronicle of recycled mistakes. The problem isn’t Palestine and Israel or religious or cultural differences. The problem is human nature. In the US, the aboriginal people who populated North America also had slaves. The people pouring into our country from Europe overwhelmed the aboriginal people and brought in slaves from Africa. Now the US is being overwhelmed by people from countries south of the USA and anyone else who can pour over the southern border.. It doesn’t take a genuis to figure out how this scenario is going to end.

    Like

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