Take me to the Promised Land (the long way)

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 15:26:01 +0100

If we're going to part the Red Sea, it would be silly not to stop for a
day in the middle to look at the view 

At a time when many people complain that politicians are obsessed with
spin, it's so refreshing to hear Israeli spokesmen, who refuse to make
the slightest concession to PR whatsoever. Asked for their attitude
towards the shooting of a baby by an Israeli soldier, instead of any
waffle about regrets or needing to see the evidence, they'd say "What
was the baby doing there? It was crawling in direct contravention of the
curfew, it was shouting insults such as 'ber berder gabababab' at
innocent civilians. Instead of accusing Israel of over-reacting, why
don't you ask the dead baby whether it condemns suicide bombing?" 

As they're fans of the Old Testament, they must wonder why the writers
of the Bible didn't take a similar approach. So the story of David and
Goliath would end with Goliath treading on every settlement in Judah,
justified by a spokesman saying "Let me show you the young Philistine
mother hit by a stone thrown by Mr David. And if the Lord wants us to
withdraw our giants, why doesn't he condemn the use of slings and

Colin Powell could learn from this forthright approach. Attacked for
taking so long to get to Israel, he could have said that if he was going
all the way to the Middle East, it would be rude not to pop in on
friends in nearby Morocco and make a week of it. Again, he was simply
following Biblical tradition, as the original version tells of how Moses
said to his people, "Follow me unto the Promised Land. But on the way we
might as well stop off in Galilee to see Terry and Eileen. And if we're
going to part the Red Sea, it would be silly not to stop for a day in
the middle to look at the view and buy some souvenirs." 

It's not easy to see why he bothered going at all. Sharon has responded
to his demands in the same way a teenage boy reacts when his parents are
screaming at him to get up. "Alriiiiight. In a minute. I'm coming, just
stop going on about it." 

Nonetheless, even the softest parent can usually extract something more
than a promise to be ready in a week. Which is why Powell, not usually
the most timid figure, answered questions at the press conference with
the air of a schoolkid who hasn't been listening to the teacher. "Er,
ceasefire," he said sheepishly at one point, so that it looked as if the
question was "Powell, have you been paying attention? All right then,
what was the last thing I said?" 

To be fair he did eventually manage a whole sentence, "The specific term
'cease-fire' has not quite the same significance as what actually
happens." All week the world was waiting for his statement and there it
is. He'd have been more use if he'd said, "Oo dear, still, they'll never
get on, the Jews and the Arabs, it's gone on for years. It's like my mum
says, never talk about politics or religion, it always ends in a row." 

So it seems there's nothing America can do. Or, to summarise, they're
preparing to go to war with a country because it's rumoured, with no
evidence, they're building weapons of mass destruction. But they can't
possibly withhold a cent of the $2.7bn they send a year to a country
that secretly built nuclear weapons and illegally occupies whole
settlements and slaughters the inhabitants. They have no choice but to
invade a country for refusing to allow uninhibited access to inspectors
in all areas, but can't hold back as much as an air rifle to a state
that won't allow the Red Cross into a battlefield. And a country must be
invaded for ignoring UN resolutions but another country ignores UN
resolutions and is referred to in every sentence as a friend. 

Maybe it's a mathematical thing, the only UN resolutions that count are
the ones divisible by seven, or the prime number ones. In other words
they can do what they like. Israel might as well invade Kuwait for a

And with every statement comes the call for Arafat to condemn suicide
bombings, as if they only happen because he orders them. I suppose he
rules Palestinians with such authority that when he commands someone to
blow themselves up, they think, "Well, I'd better do as he says, because
if I disobey Arafat I'll be in terrible trouble." 

Arafat, as all the players out there know, is despised by Hamas and the
groups who support the suicide bombings. He's seen as out of touch with
current events, and must be even more so now he's trapped in his
compound without access to a television. He probably doesn't even know
that Beckham's broken his toe. So it would make as much sense to
surround any random figure and insist they bring a halt to the violence
by condemning suicide bombings – Charlie Dimmock, perhaps, or the cast
of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Followed by an official spokesman in dark
glasses snarling "You ask us to condemn the invasion of the London
Palladium, but can you imagine the terror that could be caused by a
flying talking car?" 

Source:  Independent  

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  • » Take me to the Promised Land (the long way)