Thursday, June 03, 2010


I keep waiting for it to happen. Violence and revenge spiral into more violence and revenge. With each act it becomes easier to dehumanize the other side and the cycle of evil deepens. But occasionally an act so offends the sensibilities that it shocks the poisoned collective mind out of its hate and back into humanity. The naked brutality of the Amritsar massacre was a significant factor in making Gandhi's nonviolent approach successful in India. The deaths of innocent children in the bombing at Omagh broke the impasse in Northern Ireland and led to real progress towards peace.

And so it is through this lens that I looked at the Middle East wondering what it will take to shock the sensibility back to sanity on any side. My first thoughts after hearing of the disgusting and despicable murder of peace activists by the IDF and the sloppy and ham-fisted attempts to lie and cover it up was that maybe this was finally it. Maybe after Sabra and Shatila, maybe after the Gaza incursion, maybe after everything else, this was so nakedly terrible that this could be that moment when it becomes undeniable that present stances are irrational, immoral, and inhumane. Maybe this would be the point where any attempts to justify the evil right before our eyes would seem so patently absurd that things would have to change.

But then Netanyahu, in a move that would make Dick Cheney blush, used the phrase "violent supporters of terrorism" to label those bringing nothing but food and medicine to those caught in the middle and starving and dying as a result. And you realize that with scum like Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman in charge, things will only get worse.

And so the question is whether an Omagh moment is possible there. Have the minds of the region been so poisoned that a humanitarian epiphany is impossible? Could there be any act so horrific that it shocks the collective consciousness back into sanity?