Saturday, August 12, 2006


Madness is around the corner.

One or two more department meetings and all vestiges of pretend-sanity remaining in me will soon perish. If you haven't attended any, do so. You'll know what I mean.

Also, there is supposed to be some sort of 'vision' for our group. Called 'group vision'(title suggested by crack squads of market analysts), this indicates the direction in which our group is supposed to head over a period of time. All right, a noble enough objective. What is particularly irksome is meetings are held every week(Friday evenings, when the weather outside is fantastic, being cloudy and windy, and you're dying to get the hell out and yell, just for the sheer pleasure of yelling out on a Friday evening) and they go on for more than an hour. In Thoughtworks, they take about five minutes, according to reliable accounts. But in companies based in Deutscheland, things are like this only. Also, when one of the suggestions to spend the money left over from some milestone is to buy Big Bazaar coupons so that the month's groceries can be taken care of, you know things are not going well.

Something troubling now. Israeli forces are pushing into Lebanon further than before. This pushing has already resulted in the death of more civilians and the capture of some suspected Hezbollah militants. This takes the death toll to more than 600 on the Lebanese side, according to reports, while about 50 Israelis have died so far. These new incursions(they are no better) on the part of Israel come after magnanimous gestures like a 48-hour cease-fire announced by them two Sundays ago. And close on the heels of the widely abhorred attack on the village of Qana, where children were the unfortunate victims of Israeli air strikes. And now Ehud Olmert is ordering for more intense ground offensives.

All this came about because two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by the Hezbollah about a month ago. Whether this deserved such a brutal retaliation from Israel is a question that will be scoffed at. It did, its experts and other pro-Israeli commentators will argue. Israel did what a sovereign state had the right to do:- protect its citizens. If one of its citizens, even one, is in danger, Israel showed, it will not hesitate to take the severest steps to punish the perpetrators of harm upon said citizen. This seems a valid stance, given that citizens should not be in danger of being whisked away by terrorists at every pretext. Any responsible state would do the same.

But sustained assault and battery upon a populace consisting mostly of hapless civilians(with many children) with the purpose of ‘neutralizing’ a few terrorists is not only tragic but gravely unacceptable. The severity of the attacks and Israel’s seeming disregard about whether they hit terrorists or civilians or even UN observers has (rightly)incensed the Arab world and much of the rest of the world. Israel had no right to take civilian lives at will. The Hezbollah were hiding out in the houses of civilians, spokespersons of the Israeli armed forces said. So, we had to hit them. What is surprising is statements like this coming from the people who executed the raid at Entebbe.

The US issued, as most likely is written down in their constitution, a statement supporting Israel, saying the operations by Israel were in self-defence or something. However, as soon as the Mumbai blasts occurred, there were statements issued by them saying India should 'show restraint in her reactions.'

I don't get it. I mean, geo-politik and all that is fine. But is the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in the US Congress the only reason they're pandering to the hegemony of the 'Zionist state'(the PLO's official name for Israel) so much? I would think they'd gain more by siding with India on issues like Kashmir(strategic interests et al). The rhetoric spewed by them every time a terrorist attack happens in India is nauseating enough to rouse even the calmest citizen. It is this selective apathy that the US shows that translates into attacks against them and their allies in the 'war against terror.'

Now don't get me wrong. I am not an apologist for Hamas, the Hezbollah or their ilk. Far from it. Violence in any form is deplorable if it takes innocent lives. It is just that Israel's retaliation, bestial and brutal in nature, has blurred, in fact obliterated, the difference between them and their 'aggressors.' They are no less killers and terrorists than the ones they have set out to neutralize.

But if we want to do the same against the terrorists in PoK, we are 'hasty' and must show restraint. Wonderful.

Instead of rambling for this long, I could just have said, surf-style:- "Dude!! Israel's wrong! Far out!!"


Karthik D said...

For the US, the rest of the world is just a game. They support some set of people sometimes and bludgeon their heads the other times, depending on the mood of Prez Bush.

Harish said...

But, Arjun, why blame the US when our government itself is not willing to take action against the terrorists lest it hurt the vote bank of our "secular" government.

Arjun Sharma said...

[Karthik]Yes, the whims and fancies of one nation decide the fate of another, or many others. Funny behaviour, for the vanguard of democracy.

[Harish]This government blamed the previous one for being weak-kneed(and they made good use of this pun after Vajpayee's operation) when they did not act against terrorists. And when they banned some organizations and promulgated the POTA, they were blamed for being dictatorial.
Though I am no fan of theirs, they were atleast doing something to keep terrorists in check. Repealing the POTA and considering revoking the ban on afore-mentioned organizations, in order to follow a policy of rapprochement, as this government is doing, seems to be foolhardy.