Entering The Terrorist Phase
Thirty-seven years ago, on 10th February, three Palestinians attacked El Al passengers with guns and grenades at Munich airport. One Israeli was killed and 11 were wounded. The three attackers were captured and arrested. The Action Organization for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility. This can be considered the opening shot in what became the public terrorist phase of the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
Hypocrisy and Democracy
As an anarchist, it is right good fun watching the leaders of the "democratic" world condemning the results of a free and fair election in Palestine today. Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel made the basic claim:
"Hamas is surely not a democratic movement."
Surely, Mr Weisel, if a party receives the most votes in a free and fair election, that is a better definition of a "democratic movement" than anything you might be thinking of. And Bush, not surprisingly, said, in effect, that the current regime in Gaza should essentially ignore the results of the election:
"[Abbas] is in power, we'd like him to stay in office."
Well I'm sorry, George. Perhaps you missed the part in your civics class where the folks who get the most votes get to be in power, and the people who don't, get to leave. How would it have been if your Daddy had decided to stay in office even after he was spanked by Bill Clinton and the voters? Chaos, eh?
The Secretary of Hypocrisy, Condi Rice, dismissing the results, claimed that:
"You cannot have one foot in politics and another in terror."
She forgets, of course, that such a description fits many of the regimes and organizations that the United States has supported vigorously over the years -- not least the Mujahaddin and then Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. Moreover, it is a description that accurately reflects the US's own position on so many issues.
Hypocrisy on so many levels. It's fun to watch the crazy people dance.
The Courage To Speak Out
Celebrities have the position from which to make very public matters that are of great concern to them around the world. Most don't bother, and the minority that do tend to stick to fairly safe topics, or choose the elitist (and also safe) circles of Davos and the UN to make their statements. Not so Daniel Barenboim. The Jewish conductor was receiving this year's Wolf Foundation Prize for service to the Arts in Music. The reception took place in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Here's what he had to say:
"With pain in my heart, I ask today whether a situation of conquest and control can be reconciled with Israel's Declaration of Independence? Is there logic to the independence of one people if the cost is a blow to the fundamental rights of another people? Can the Jewish people, whose history is full of suffering and persecution, allow itself to be apathetic about the rights and suffering of a neighboring people?"For his honest talk, Barenboim was roundly criticised by Israeli President Moshe Katsav and Education Minister Limor Livnat. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin had already boycotted the ceremony because Barenboim had had the temerity to conduct a work of Wagner's some while ago.