[lit-ideas] doubly disturbing headline of the day

  • From: Paul Stone <pas@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2004 14:35:40 -0500

I originally wrote this on Monday morning, but since I was leaving for two 
days, I didn't want to send it and then walk out of the potential flurry of 
discussion. I'm back and ready to field discussion. I want to know what 
others think.

"Israel shocked by image of soldiers forcing violinist to play at roadblock"

Complete story at: 

At first glance, this could be an "Onion" headline, but this story is more 
disturbing [to me], not because of what happened, but because of the reason 
that "Israel" was shocked.

Here is what is disturbing to me:

The violinist, Wissam Tayem, was on his way to a music lesson near Nablus 
when he said an Israeli officer ordered him to "play something sad" while 
soldiers made fun of him. After several minutes, he was told he could pass.

It may be that the soldiers wanted Mr Tayem to prove he was indeed a 
musician walking to a lesson because, as a man under 30, he would not 
normally have been permitted through the checkpoint.

But after the incident was videotaped by Jewish women peace activists, it 
prompted revulsion among Israelis not normally perturbed about the 
treatment of Arabs.

The rightwing Army Radio commentator Uri Orbach found the incident 
disturbingly reminiscent of Jewish musicians forced to provide background 
music to mass murder. "What about Majdanek?" he asked, referring to the 
Nazi extermination camp.

The critics were not drawing a parallel between an Israeli roadblock and a 
Nazi camp. Their concern was that Jewish suffering had been diminished by 
the humiliation of Mr Tayem.

Yoram Kaniuk, author of a book about a Jewish violinist forced to play for 
a concentration camp commander, wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that 
the soldiers responsible should be put on trial "not for abusing Arabs but 
for disgracing the Holocaust".

[in my best Lewis Black impersonation flicking my lips to make a 
bdbdbdbdbdb sound] WHAT?


Paul Stone
Kingsville, ON, Canada  

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