“Romantic” revolutions and “humanitarian” missions

Arundhati Roy says

“I love it when people accuse me of romanticising the Maoists. I believe in the romance of revolution.”

I never thought that someone could describe a revolution riding on bullets and bayonets as being romantic.

And

“Naxalism had to be an armed movement. It’s not that they (Naxals) took to violence all of a sudden. They debated long before resorting to this form of struggle,” Roy said while delivering her lecture on ‘The War on People’ organised by Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, here.

“Besides, the followers of Mao were always armed men. But look at them, they are only using bows and arrows while security forces of the government are using the most sophisticated weapons.”

Bows and arrows indeed. Toys.

If those who had legitimate grievances fought only for that cause, and took up arms to accomplish that, it would be a just war, especially after decades of indifference and persecution. But once Mao’s ideology is brought in and they band together to replace the government with one of the Maoist variety, one cannot feel any sympathy for such a movement, not if one considers the bloodbath the reds are responsible for over the last century, all in the name of the “common good.”

Israel. One cannot offer complete support to the country in the best of circumstances because it’s in the same league as the US, India and a few other western democracies—a country that is only (still) relatively free. Once the Islamic world, and Hamas, recognizes its existence, and the fact that a two-state solution is the only solution, there will be peace. Till then, its war. And there is no place for selective “humanitarianism” in such a war. Of course this is with reference to the flotilla raid and subsequent deaths. Two pro-Israel pieces. One, in the NYT, by the country’s ambassador to the US-

There is little doubt as to the real purpose of the Mavi Marmara’s voyage — not to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, but to create a provocation that would put international pressure on Israel to drop the Gaza embargo, and thus allow the flow of seaborne military supplies to Hamas. Just as Hamas gunmen hide behind civilians in Gaza, so, too, do their sponsors cower behind shipments of seemingly innocent aid.

This is why the organizers of the flotilla repeatedly rejected Israeli offers to transfer its cargo to Gaza once it was inspected for military contraband. They also rebuffed an Israeli request to earmark some aid packages for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for four years.

In the recent past, Israeli forces have diverted nine such flotillas, all without incident, and peacefully boarded five of the ships in this week’s convoy. Their cargoes, after proper inspection, were delivered to non-Hamas institutions in Gaza. Only the Marmara, a vessel too large to be neutralized by technical means such as fouling the propeller, violently resisted. It is no coincidence that the ship was dispatched by Insani Yardim Vakfi (also called the I.H.H.), a supposed charity that Israeli and other intelligence services have linked to Islamic extremists.

The other by Ed Cline

The Mavi Marmara was a setup, designed to entrap Israel. Note that terrorists usually prefer to be referred to as “resistance” fighters, when in truth they are the aggressors. Oft times they are called “freedom fighters”; we should take that term literally, because it is freedom they are fighting.

Further, one must question the “humanitarian” compassion of the flotilla activists who were not terrorists. I have yet to hear of them organizing an underground railroad for Iranian dissenters. I don‘t recall them demonstrating in protest of the murder of Neda Soltani, the Iranian girl killed by a government sniper during the June demonstrations last year against the rigged reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Have they launched a raid on Cuban prisons to free political prisoners, or sent aid to Venezuelans suffering under Hugo Chavez’s impoverishing tyranny? No.

But when the regimes of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela employ force against their political opposition, either in the streets or in violent purges, the silence of these “humanitarians” is deafening. We never hear of them organizing a flotilla with the purpose of “embarrassing” a dictatorship and bringing world opprobrium to bear on it.

These humanitarians are very selective of which tyrannies they oppose. If it’s a moderately free country, which Israel is, and especially if it is productive despite its socialism, then they’re against it. Never mind that its committed enemies wish to destroy it and initiate a second holocaust. Never mind the many Israelis murdered by Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, and other “freedom fighters”; they were guilty by association and deserved to die. As for Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela — well, these are cultural matters beyond judgment and it would be arrogant to meddle in those countries’ affairs. Why, it would be the height of moral hegemony!

Shobhan Saxena of the TOI had this to say on the matter-

A new video released by the Israeli government shows one of the soldiers who took part in yesterday’s bloody attack on the Gaza Freedom flotilla. In this propoganda clip, the Israeli soldier justifies the attack, claiming they were attacked first by the people on the flotilla. “It was a lynch,” says the soldier. “Every guy that came down the ropes was taken aside, and everyone there had metal rods, knives, slingshots, glass bottles.” Since the Israelis can only be victims, and never aggressors, the soldier tries to justify the cold-blooded murder of 10 people armed with “rods, slingshots and bottles.”

Enough is enough. It’s time to declare Israel a terrorist state. That’s what it is. It reacts to slingshots with machine guns.

A terrorist state. I guess if the JuD flew a plane across the LoC on a “humanitarian mission” into Kashmir, he would expect the Indian army to look the other way. And if the plane was brought down, then that would be a “terrorist act,” and India a “terrorist state.”

One more thing. I don’t understand the bows and arrows vs. guns, and broken bottles vs. guns, argument. Guns can kill. So can arrows and bottles. A weapon is a weapon.

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Comments

  • you12  On June 11, 2010 at 1:22 am

    All incidences point to one thing only. The failure of the concept of “monopoly on force”.

    A terrorist state. I guess if the JuD flew a plane across the LoC on a “humanitarian mission” into Kashmir, he would expect the Indian army to look the other way. And if the plane was brought down, then that would be a “terrorist act,” and India a “terrorist state.”

    You don’t think Kashmir’s occupation is disputed? And is it ok to shoot down some plane or ship just because of the owner’s ‘record’?

    One more thing. I don’t understand the bows and arrows vs. guns, and broken bottles vs. guns, argument. Guns can kill. So can arrows and bottles. A weapon is a weapon.

    Sure but potency and training matters.

    Israel. One cannot offer complete support to the country in the best of circumstances because it’s in the same league as the US, India and a few other western democracies—a country that is only (still) relatively free. Once the Islamic world, and Hamas, recognizes its existence, and the fact that a two-state solution is the only solution, there will be peace. Till then, its war. And there is no place for selective “humanitarianism” in such a war. Of course this is with reference to the flotilla raid and subsequent deaths. Two pro-Israel pieces. One, in the NYT, by the country’s ambassador to the US-

    I don’t buy it. A state cannot claim immunity just because of situations.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On June 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    # You don’t think Kashmir’s occupation is disputed? And is it ok to shoot down some plane or ship just because of the owner’s ‘record’?
    I dispute the whole concept of a nation state. Kashmir is nothing compared to that.

    Here, I’m asking a conventional question. After all, Saxena works for a conventional newspaper with a conventional stand on Kashmir. Israel controls Gaza, India controls Kashmir, China controls Tibet etc etc. Therefore, regardless of one’s philosophical position, it would be foolish to assume that one can just waltz into one of these territories and not face any resistance.

    About your other point, civilized countries don’t shoot down planes or sink vessels on sight. They first warn them and “escort” them. If the vessel refuses to obey the request, only then is some other action taken. This flotilla was not about aid (some others were), but about short-circuiting the political process. They don’t want a solution that includes the recognition of Israel. As far as most of the Arab world is concerned, they would be very happy if Israel were wiped off the face of the map. This has been going on for decades now.

    As an aside, Israel should be thankful to the likes of Helen Thomas. Her outburst forced the west to tone down their criticism-

    On May 27, a right-wing rabbi, David Nesenoff, stuck a video camera in Thomas’ face during a Jewish heritage celebration at the White House and asked her for any comments on Israel.

    Thomas said, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people [the Palestinians] are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.”

    She was then asked where they should go and she answered, “They should go home, to Poland, Germany and America.”

    In her defense, she said this just days after Israeli forces attacked a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza and killed at least nine activists in international waters.

    As long as such people exist, and people like Ahmadinejad, there is still hope for Israel.

    # “Sure but potency and training matters.”
    They do. But…if some one ran towards you with a broken bottle, and you had a gun, what would you do?

    # “A state cannot claim immunity just because of situations.”
    I don’t get it. What immunity? There’s a low intensity conflict that’s been raging for quite some time, and until the other side accepts a compromise that results in the end of the war, Israel has every right to protect its citizens. There are two things the flotilla organizers could have done—allow the IDF to check their cargo, or openly attack the IDF without hiding behind “aid.” They chose a non-existent third option.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On June 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Fu@k the “security v/s development” argument. The indian state is herself responsible for the current situation. It cannot even provide the basic necessities like logistics and health care but feels free to scare away the local tribal population and settle on the mineral resources of that land. I hope the naxals take over delhi. Would they care then? Yes. Fu@king vultures. Ghosts of progress dressed in slow death.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On June 12, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      I didn’t think you would take an anti-state position on this one. Perhaps you’re becoming more libertarian by the day.

      Yes, the “security vs development” argument is an overused cliche. I’m not worried about the Indian state. I’m worried about the average citizens. The Maoists are brutes of the worst kind.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On June 13, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Why are you worried? The tribals did whatever necessary to keep the vultures away. I doubt they even know what communism or democracy means. The maoist leadership gets an army of foot soldiers. The tribals get to stay on their lands. The SEZ and the mining barons watch from a distance and begin lactating in anticipation. Priceless.

    If they didn’t do what they had to then the state would have made sure they faded away in uncertainty.

    Anyhow, insurgency cannot be defeated militarily unless the world is prepared for unprecedented civilian casualties. The current age is perfect for a hitler to thrive.

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