Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Saw One Of Those "Must See" Films

There's an eternal naiveté about war and it's one that inhabits most its proponents who most claim to know its dangers. As all the world truly is a stage, those with war in their souls must sell that war and thusly turn a blind eye to the true reality of its futility and useless wreckage. That is why even after all this time we still hear (and trust) the chant, "War is hope! Peace is doom!" But there is no ultimate profit to the illusion.

America has a unique war fetish. One day we were walking along and saw a bully beating someone up. We stopped the bully and felt really good about ourselves. Then we saw someone who was thinking of being a bully and so we beat that person up too. Then we someone who looked like a bully to our eyes and so we beat him up too. Until finally, slowly, we became the bully - but in our minds are still doing the Lord's work. That's the illusion of war.

America, of course, is not unique in her self-deception and stupidity about war. Like any drug, the longer you take it the more it corrupts you until you become the very thing you're fighting. You have no choice but to become that to which you give all your energy. And that's how Israel took the "role of the Nazis" in her early 80's siege of Lebanon as described in the animated documentary "Waltz With Bashir".

It has been described as an anti-war film. It is not. It is a pro-truth film, one intent on fact finding. It is the truth that is anti-war. The film's director was a participant in the Lebanon siege but has suppressed his memories of it. Like James Clavell in "King Rat", he must visit the past in order to keep his future. He seeks out his comrades in arms, retracing the descent that led to the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

Here's an abridged Wiki on the event:

The Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp was surrounded by the Israel Defense Force. In that period of time, Israel was at war with the PLO in Lebanon. Israeli forces occupied Beirut, controlled the entrances to the refugee camps of Palestinians and controlled the entrance to the city. The exact number of victims is disputed, from 700–800 to 3,500 (depending on the source).

Israeli forces enabled the entrance of the Christian Phalangist militia to the refugee camps by firing illuminating flares over the camps. The Phalangists were enraged by the assasination of Lebanese Christian president-elect Bashir Gemayel. The forces were under the direct command of Elie Hobeika, who later became a long-serving Member of the Parliament of Lebanon and, in the 1990s, a Lebanese cabinet minister.

Lebanon or Aushwitz?

Janet Lee Stevens, an American journalist, later wrote to her husband, Dr. Franklin Lamb:

"I saw dead women in their houses with their skirts up to their waists and their legs spread apart; dozens of young men shot after being lined up against an alley wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror; countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into garbage piles."

In 1982, an independent commission chaired by Sean MacBride concluded that the Israeli authorities or forces were, directly or indirectly, responsible. The Israeli government established the Kahan Commission to investigate, and in early 1983 it found that Israeli military personnel were aware that a massacre was in progress without taking serious steps to stop it. Therefore it regarded Israel as having indirect responsibility. The commission held Ariel Sharon personally responsible for having disregarded the prospect of acts of bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps and not preventing their entry.

Families lined up against the walls and shot in cold blood. Genocide deja vu. And the director was one of those shooting the flares into the murderous night of screams to enable the slaughter. All the more shocking when he reveals his ancestors were in Auschwitz, another place of genocide. With this he must make peace.

There are no Jews, no Christians, no Islamists, no atheists or agnostics, no blacks, no whites, no Germans, no Americans, no anything - it's sheer hogwash made up in our heads to make our wars seem justified. We are each merely a soul in need of love, nothing more, nothing less. But rare are those who believe that, because to do so means we kill for no reason.


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