Friday, January 09, 2009

In One's Image

The two stories were dissimilar only in the numbers of people involved.

For 96 hours, soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force refused to allow International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (ICRC) to enter an area that had been shelled to look for survivors. When they finally pushed through the soldiers and found the rubble that had once been home, the ICRC found six children barely still alive and six adults – all dead but all laid out neatly on mats.

The next day, again in the face of opposition from the Israelis, another 100 Palestinians were pulled from the rubble of buildings blasted by warplanes and tanks. As the offensive into Gaza continues – Tel Aviv rejected the UN Security Council’s demand for an unconditional and immediate ceasefire by all parties.

The continuing Israeli assault is madness – as in deranged behavior – that will kill many today and tomorrow and create even more embittered young men and women who will continue the fight for the right to live not in squalor but in dignity.

Treat someone – an individual or a group – like a mad dog for long enough and they will grow into that role, if only in the eyes of those who are oppressing them.

One need look no further – albeit in a much different context – to see a parody of the psychological transformation that can be fueled by inhuman behavior which is then fixed into the individual’s identity by the adoption of a new name (or nickname).

I refer, of course, to the world of “professional” wrestling. Here grown men (usually) select patterns of behavior that invite commentators, fans, or almost anyone passing by to come up with some outrageous nickname that the wrestler “adopts” and then plays back to audiences with outrageous antics and “costumes” in which they perform.

In the ring, this can be somewhat entertaining playacting.

In Gaza, treat people like mad dogs and they will become just that to their tormentors – always attacking simply to be able to survive..
Such treatment is simply criminal.


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