Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

This animal is very malicious...

"Cet animal est tres mechant; Quand on l'attaque il se defend."

("This animal is very malicious; when attacked it defends itself.")
-La Menagerie (Traditional French song.)

If you go over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Io4_vjiyM

you'll find something you don't want to miss, a video with voiceover by the incomparable Oriana Fallaci. (Found at Atlas Shrugs: http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/ )

If you go here: http://www.hsje.org/oriana_fallaci_on_antisemitism.htm
you'll find an English transcript of the article "Sull'antisemitismo," published in April, 2002.

But watch and listen to the video by all means, you don't want to miss that passionate woman speaking in the language of passion.

My God, I wish I'd known her! When I hear Fallaci, I think, "the last Roman."

The term "Ultimus Romanorum" was historically given to any man whose life embodied the values and virtues of an idealized vision of a Roman citizen. Which virtues became extinct on his death.

People who've been honored as "the last Roman" include Julius Caesar, the first so called. And ironically, to the leader of his assassins Marcus Junius Brutus, "the noblest Roman of them all."*

Others who have earned the accolade include: the 5th century Romano-British Dux bellorum Ambrosius Aurelianus, the Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius, the philosopher Boethius, and the last de facto Roman Emperor of the West, the otherwise undistinguished Romulus Augustus.

Now we can say Orianna Fallaci was "the last Roman," there may be no other. Future generations may date the death of Europe - from hers, the last, most courageous defender of European civilization.

The occasion of the post is of course, the Israeli attack on the Hamas strongholds in Gaza. After enduring daily rocket attacks for months, the Israelis are striking back.

In part it's a cynical political ploy by an Israeli government about to lose power, because of a widespread realization that a policy of appeasement is just flat not working.

The Israelis are responding to deliberate, albeit clumsy, attempts to maximize civilian casualties, with surgical strikes designed to minimize civilian casualties.

Which is made difficult by the Hamas practice of basing their attacks among civilians, precisely because any retaliation inevitably results in the maiming and death of non-combatants. Which plays well in the western and Islamic media.

One wonders why the Israelis bother anymore? No matter what they do, no matter how much they try to limit their response to actual combatants, they are going to get blamed for any deaths.

Those who care about the survival of Israel, America and the West, point indignantly to the double standard in judging Israel and the terrorists.

They miss the point entirely. It's perfectly logical if you consider the ultimate goal, the extermination of the Jews. Not the end of Israel as a nation - but the death of all Jews. Everywhere.

We don't need to guess in the case of the jihadists, because they tell us that's what they want. It's we who aren't listening.

The west Europeans and appeasing Americans are not quite as candid, at least not in public. But the fact is, more and more it is becoming apparent that a lot of people in Europe and America would breath a sigh of relief to see the last Jew buried, or burned as the case may be.

And if you'll look at the pictures of anti-Israel demonstrators in America and Europe, these are not redneck Southerners, or Slavic peasants, but the products of university educations in New York, Paris, London, Brussels, etc.

So as the old joke goes**, why the Jews?

What I'm guessing is, it's the classic trinity of greed, shame and cowardice.

Greed: The Islamic states have the oil Europe can't do without. Israel does not.

I'm often reminded these days of meeting a middle-aged Dutch couple about 20-odd years back. It was during another oil crisis, when U.S. Navy ships were escorting oil tankers through the Straits of Hormuz, past the warring Iraqis and Iranians.

We were talking about the then-current mess in the Middle East, and I expressed my sentiments, which at the time were pretty isolationist.

The woman interrupted passionately, "You've got to protect those ships, that's OUR oil!"

Shame: Eric Hoffer observed, we hate most strongly those we are most conscious of having wronged.

The Holocaust happened in Europe. Though perpetrated by the German/Austrian Reich, France voluntarily passed "racial purity" laws that were actually stricter than the Nazi occupation authorities demanded.

Now they are trying to promote a cosmopolitan pan-European identity, centered around a Franco-German alliance. But the existence of living Jews is a constant reminder of how fragile that pan-European civilization is.

When the Jews are gone, they can forget their history.

Cowardice in several forms:

1) Islamists will kill you for offending them. Americans and Isrealis do not. So who is it safer to offend?

And while cowards through and through, they can posture as brave, "Look at me, I'm shaking my fist at the mightiest power on earth!"

2) Victim-blaming; the desire to believe the victim "had it coming," to distance yourself from the idea that it could happen to you.

3) Appeasement, what Winston Churchill called, "feeding the crocodile in the hopes it will eat you last."

In this case, "Give them the Jews, and they'll leave us alone."

And, shame + cowardice: After the war, the west Europeans cowered behind a ring of American steel while "communism wrung the necks"*** of their fellow-Europeans in the east, and they pretended not to notice.

Rather like a man who locks himself in the bathroom and runs the shower so he doesn't have to notice the burglar is raping his wife.

The European Jews who became Israelis, learned to fight back.

There is something that every person who has ever successfully defended themselves against an aggressor learns. A certain kind of people are going to think you are a bad person for doing so.

The very existence of someone who dares to defend himself, is a reproach to everyone who dares not.

Update: See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Xl68kP4wo&eurl=http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2009/01/gaza-war-brings-out-moral-bankruptcy-of.html

for a video of a Dec. 30 demonstration in Ft. Lauderdale, during which the Palestinian demonstrators made their sentiments known.

This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world 'This was a man!'

-William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act V Scene V

** An SS officer in Europe stops an old Jew in a concentration camp and demands, "Who is responsible for all of Germany's problems today?"

"The Jews and the bicycle riders," the old man responds.

"Why the bicycle riders?"

"Why the Jews?"

*** "Communism wrung our neck while the honorable democracies issued communiqués." Romanian newspaper retort to Jacque Chirac's remark that the Eastern Europeans "...missed a good opportunity to shut up," during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.


  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    There is something that I don’t get about the joy that people experience in opposing Israel and America. I know their types, I can draw conclusions about them, but if someone were to ask me, “why do they do it?” – I wouldn’t be able to explain it. I was wondering if you could explain it, given your Anthropology background.

    I have seen videos of American college students who travel to the Palestinian territory for the sole purpose of engaging in daily “demonstrations” (for lack of a better word) in which they purposely goad Israeli Soldiers into firing non-lethal munitions at them and, sometimes, to fire warning shots at them with rifles. It’s kind of an adventure-tourism type of program that the Palestinians run for propaganda effect and American college students eat up because, well, I guess because they’re spoiled brats. I recall one of the students, when asked why went there to do it, replied with a list of grievances that he wanted to help “raise awareness” about (basically shaking his fist against power), and in classic smartass form, he added, “to get shot at by American bullets.”

    What is it about hating America and hating Israel that gives such a sense of fulfillment to these people?

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    Israel has a lot of enemies that are not necessarily Palestinian:
    The very UN that fabricated it, for example - the ultimate bastion of the "Middle East appeasement process", where the loudest cries against anything she does originate.
    Then there are the Khazars, who are not actually Hebrew, but successfully palm themselves off as such while dragging the bloodline Hebrew community down with their corrupt exploits, and give the socialists more license to interfere in the not-so-free-anymore market (A prominent one actually ripped off Jews for millions, recently).
    There is no victory in a war until one or the other side is completely defeated and the survivor dictates terms, usually under the guideline of "You'll do WTF you're told, or we'll kill the rest of you!" This is especially true in dealing with an enemy that shoots in the back while cowering behind women and children for cover.
    There will be no "peace" until such a victory is achieved...May the better, win.

  • At 5:13 AM, Blogger Jim Sullivan said…

    "The very existence of someone who dares to defend himself, is a reproach to everyone who dares not."

    That is both true and golden.

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    I've said it before Six, it's unkind and inflamatory but I think it's cowardice posturing as courage.

    "Hey look at me, I'm shaking my fist at the mightiest power on earth!"

    So when did they shake their fists at the Soviet Union? The Khmer Rouge? The genocidal Hutus or Janjaweed milita?

    When will they shake their fists at Hamas?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  • At 12:42 PM, Blogger Atomic said…

    I think it's more than just cowardice masquerading as courage, though that's certainly the root of it. It's an acted-out fantasy; they don't really care if their actions have any positive effect, they're getting to play out a fantasy of being On The Side of Righteousness against an evil and pervasive oppressor. The cognitive dissonance of why the evil oppresssor doesn't, y'know, act evilly in ACTUALLY killing or silencing them doesn't matter because cognitive dissonance never does in fantasy- you're deliberately suspending disbelief in order to participate. I think conspiracy theories serve roughly the same mental function for most of those who hold them- you get to live in a world of high drama and intrigue without the anxiety that would accompany an actual deep awareness of living at the mercy of such powers.

    And thus, Israel and the US get to serve roughly the same function a pro dominatrix does, except they don't get paid and they don't get to dictate the terms of contract.


  • At 2:21 PM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    I LOVE that metaphore!

  • At 10:36 PM, Blogger froggy000 said…

    This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.



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