Singh has been hit by a car, and his colleague Santa Singh is
visiting him in the hospital. Seeing Banta swathed in bandages,
Santa racks his brain for something cheerful to say.
he observes, "Oh Banta, look at it this way, at least it is only
your left hand that's broken, not the right."
Singh brightens up immediately. "Aha! At last, a person who appreciates
my presence of mind! You know, actually it was my right hand that
was under the car at first. I thought to myself how terrible that
would be, so I quickly withdrew my right hand, and put in my left
my late friend, philsopher, and guide, D. Subbarao.
Singh's logic appeals to you, then you should have no difficulty
applauding the wisdom of the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Dan
of the deaths of ordinary men, women and children in Qana and
other places in Lebanon, Mr. Gillerman told the Security Council
that Israel regretted every casualty, and was indeed so concerned
to avoid them that each time, before bombing, it dropped leaflets
beseeching people to leave the area. His nodders, assistant nodders,
and sundry yes-men on the US side, including John Bolton, Condoleezza
Rice, Tony Snow, Hillary Clinton and why, even Bill Maher, have
been echoing Mr. Gillerman's words in their own remarks.
they said they were ultra-careful
to hit the correct building.
Then they said they were sure
Hezbollah was holed up near,
if not inside the building itself.
Then they said they had used
precision missiles. Then they said
they were sorry, but this was war,
and errors do happen.
statements exceed even the old Billy Bunter double-defense, "I
never touched that cake. Besides, it tasted terrible". First they
said they were ultra-careful to hit the correct building. Then
they said they were sure Hezbollah was holed up near, if not inside
the building itself. Then they said they had used precision missiles.
Then they said they were sorry, but this was war, and errors do
happen. This is why they dropped leaflets in the first place.
have given a warning, you are absolved. What next, complaints
that Israel only dropped printed leaflets, of omitting to put
up warnings on the web and send out an email message to everyone
in Lebanon? (A Jewish state sending out spam?) Some people are
fresh piece of Israeli-American logic, however, Hitler's atrocities
are mitigated, if not absolved, because he had given umpteen warnings
to the Jews, all the way from Mein Kampf on, of their impending
fate if he came to power. If people didn't believe him, stuck
around and suffered the consequences, it was because they did
not follow their many smart cohorts who left Germany when they
were warned. Hezbollah and Hamas, too, are similarly exculpated,
because they have never left any Israeli in doubt of their intentions
towards Israel. As is Osama bin Laden because, long before Khobar
Towers, Cole and 9-11, he repeatedly warned American to leave
the Muslim lands.
to the 21st century version of "Let them eat Cake".
this fresh piece of Israeli-American
logic, however, Hitler's atrocities are
mitigated, if not absolved, because he
had given umpteen warnings to
the Jews, all the way from Mein Kampf
on, of their impending fate if
he came to power.
with this argument for a moment, assume that I, as a resident
of Lebanon at whose feet a floating Israeli leaflet has just landed,
decide that prudence is in order, and taking the warning seriously,
depart town with my family. I return two days later to find my
roof lying on my living room floor, my town devastated, my water
and power supply busted. One million Lebanese are, like imaginary
me, estimated to be refugees within their own country, having
left their residences in heed of Israeli warnings or fear of being
buried alive by a bomb. Surely they are beside themselves in gratitude
for Israel's pre-bomb warning leaflets.
tendency of the human mind is to equate the protagonists in a
fight. In the subconscious of world opinion, then, the Hezbollah
is acquiring co-equal status with Israel. Current reality too
has added to the perception. Once upon a time, Israel finished
off three whole countries and doubled the territory under its
control, all in less time than God took to create the universe.
Today it cannot advance more than two miles along a narrow front,
against an entity that is not even a regular army (maybe for that
its tactics, which have killed
ten times the number of people as has
Hezbollah, Israel has also obliterated
any distinction between itself and
its enemy which, as it says,
does not care about the human toll.
By its tactics,
which have killed ten times the number of people as has Hezbollah,
Israel has also obliterated any distinction between itself and
its enemy which, as it says, does not care about the human toll.
Along with its leaflets, myths of Israeli military invincibility
and moral superiority too have dropped out of the sky, making
their way to the ground where Hezbollah stands.
Singh analogy does not end with Israel, however. Those who rejoice
in the damage to Israeli myths should be equally mindful of falling
victim to the mystique of Hezbollah. The tragedy remains that
it has taken a religious and sectarian militia to accomplish what
broad-based nationalist and secular movements could not. To take
heart in Israel's discomfiture, ignoring this reality, is to emulate
Banta Singh's smug satisfaction in salvaging the right hand by
sacrificing the left. No pun intended.
Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast. His
writings can be found on http://www.indogram.com.
He can be reached at [email protected]
or visit http://njn-blogogram.blogspot.com
Other articles by Niranjan Ramakrishnan:
Power Of Arrogance
Trade Or Free Speech
Use It Or Lose It
Paradox Of Prosperity