"The Insane Brutality of the State of Israel"
Atrocities in the Promised Land
By KATHLEEN CHRISTISON
former CIA analyst
Words fail; ordinary terms are inadequate to describe the horrors Israel daily perpetrates, and has perpetrated for years, against the Palestinians. The tragedy of Gaza has been described a hundred times over, as have the tragedies of 1948, of Qibya, of Sabra and Shatila, of Jenin -- 60 years of atrocity perpetrated in the name of Judaism. But the horror generally falls on deaf ears in most of Israel, in the U.S. political arena, in the mainstream U.S. media. Those who are horrified -- and there are many -- cannot penetrate the shield of impassivity that protects the political and media elite in Israel, even more so in the U.S., and increasingly now in Canada and Europe, from seeing, from caring.
But it needs to be said now, loudly: those who devise and carry out Israeli policies have made Israel into a monster, and it has come time for all of us -- all Israelis, all Jews who allow Israel to speak for them, all Americans who do nothing to end U.S. support for Israel and its murderous policies -- to recognize that we stain ourselves morally by continuing to sit by while Israel carries out its atrocities against the Palestinians.
A nation that mandates the primacy of one ethnicity or religion over all others will eventually become psychologically dysfunctional. Narcissistically obsessed with its own image, it must strive to maintain its racial superiority at all costs and will inevitably come to view any resistance to this imagined superiority as an existential threat. Indeed, any other people automatically becomes an existential threat simply by virtue of its own existence. As it seeks to protect itself against phantom threats, the racist state becomes increasingly paranoid, its society closed and insular, intellectually limited. Setbacks enrage it; humiliations madden it. The state lashes out in a crazed effort, lacking any sense of proportion, to reassure itself of its strength.
The pattern played out in Nazi Germany as it sought to maintain a mythical Aryan superiority. It is playing out now in Israel. “This society no longer recognizes any boundaries, geographical or moral,” wrote Israeli intellectual and anti-Zionist activist Michel Warschawski in his 2004 book Towards an Open Tomb: The Crisis of Israeli Society. Israel knows no limits and is lashing out as it finds that its attempt to beat the Palestinians into submission and swallow Palestine whole is being thwarted by a resilient, dignified Palestinian people who refuse to submit quietly and give up resisting Israel’s arrogance.
We in the United States have become inured to tragedy inflicted by Israel, and we easily fall for the spin that automatically, by some trick of the imagination, converts
Israeli atrocities to examples of how Israel is victimized. But a military establishment that drops a 500-pound bomb on a residential apartment building in the middle of the night and kills 14 sleeping civilians, as happened in Gaza four years ago, is not a military that operates by civilized rules.
A military establishment that drops a 500-pound bomb on a house in the middle of the night and kills a man and his wife and seven of their children, as happened in Gaza four days ago, is not the military of a moral country.
A society that can brush off as unimportant an army officer’s brutal murder of a 13-year-old girl on the claim that she threatened soldiers at a military post -- one of nearly 700 Palestinian children murdered by Israelis since the intifada began -- is not a society with a conscience.
A government that imprisons a 15-year-old girl -- one of several hundred children in Israeli detention -- for the crime of pushing and running away from a male soldier trying to do a body search as she entered a mosque is not a government with any moral bearings. (This story, not the kind that ever appears in the U.S. media, was reported in the London Sunday Times. The girl was shot three times as she ran away and was convicted to 18 months in prison after she came out of a coma.)
Critics of Israel note increasingly that Israel is self-destructing, nearing a catastrophe of its own making. Israeli journalist Gideon Levy talks of a society in “moral collapse.”
Michel Warschawski writes of an “Israeli madness” and “insane brutality,” a “putrefaction” of civilized society, that have set Israel on a suicidal course. He foresees the end of the Zionist enterprise; Israel is a “gang of hoodlums,” he says, a state “that makes a mockery of legality and of civil morality. A state run in contempt of justice loses the strength to survive.”
As Warschawski notes bitterly, Israel no longer knows any moral boundaries -- if it ever did. Those who continue to support Israel, who make excuses for it as it descends into corruption, have lost their moral compass.
Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 19, 2006 at 09:31:28
The Untermensch Syndrome: Israel's Moral Decay
Tell A Friend
by Manuel Valenzuela
The labeling as anti-Semitic of anyone critical of the state of Israel's policies in the continued destruction of Palestinian identity, and now Lebanese society and infrastructure, and the increasing domination into American foreign policy no longer has the sting of threat or intimidation it once mastered. For too long this masquerade has been used to silence those opposing anything Israel, shouted at anyone disseminating truth and seeking justice. Like the boy who cried wolf, this charade has lost its power or hypnotic control, and today only serves to breed more anger and resentment against the apologists and smear mongers protecting the cancerous tentacles of Zionism and the crimes against humanity it spawns.
A once powerful marketing tool used to sequester valid criticism and deny truth to millions has been eroded thanks to its overlords' continued over abuse and labeling of the term 'anti-Semite' to anyone even remotely critical of anything associated with Israel and the tentacles of Zionism. To criticize Christianity does not make one anti-Christian. To criticize Islam does not make one anti-Muslim or anti-Arab, just as uncovering truths about the Bush administration does not make one anti-American or unpatriotic. To speak truth about any government in the world does not make us racist or xenophobic to the people of that nation. Why then should criticism of Israeli and/or Sharon's policies subject us to false labeling and acts of intimidation whose only purpose is to silence truth into submission and hijacking justice from ever emerging and being served?
The time has come to stop bending over to the dictates of intimidation and scare tactics used by Israel's protectors, defenders and apologists. The time has come to say "Never Again" to such fictional libel and slander whose only purpose is the continued subjugation of truth and awakening. The labeling of "anti-Semite" does not bother us, nor does it stop us from writing truth to justice and reality to intimidation because we refuse to be frightened into submission and silenced into acquiescence by a mechanism we know to be false.
Our convictions, search for truth and want for justice supercedes the trash invented to protect the malfeasance ruining humanity and the crimes perpetrated against our fellow human beings. The time has come to stand up and be heard, refusing to believe the smears and the labels, instead living life in truth, devoid of veiled threats and intimidation tactics whose power over us continues to erode thanks to its incessant overuse and abuse. So smear if you must, defenders, appeasers and apologists of human wickedness, continue to blindly believe in the majesty of a fiction you know to be false, ensuring your daily complicity in the crimes against humanity being committed by those you protect and defend.
We are above your labels, above your intimidation and smear tactics, following the path of truth in the voice of our writings and in the convictions of humanity. If pursuing truth, fighting criminality and awakening justice makes us anti-Semites, then guilty we are. If seeing the dehumanization, exploitation and utter destruction of the Palestinian people makes the voices of reason anti-Semitic, then guilty we stand. To defend the humanity of other Semitic people is to defend humanity itself. To speak out against injustice and dehumanization makes us human, to defend it makes you complicit.
An Unbearable Likeness of Being
Here we are, living in the first decade of the 21st century, and still the violent animal in the human condition exists, thriving inside our carnal passions and still primitive mammalian brains, oozing out of humanity to release the demons of evil that only homo sapiens are capable of wielding.
Persisting in our primate selves as it has for millions of years, the greatest symptom of our disease remains uncontrolled, dominating the far reaches of man's Earth, turning barren once fertile soil and forever despoiling the utter beauty our civilization possesses. Man killing man, erupting violence upon our fellow humans, destroying what our own hands create, decimating energy and beauty, life and opportunity, this is the story of what our species has become. Through tribal affiliation and identity, which the nation state now is, (a tribe on steroids) the potency of violence and ill-treatment against others seen as different or alien is manifested.
The human condition dictates that auras of superiority appear with every tribe. What is nationalism today but a belief that our tribe is the best in the world, that the group of humans we are attached to in unity, be it of ethnic, racial, religious or regional (nation state) parameters, is the preeminent assembly of all humanity? Beliefs of supremacy of one's tribe and inferiority of others have marked man from the very first cluster of family clans. In order to achieve this most human psychological need, other subgroups have to be considered lower in stature, considered third-world, savages, barbarians and lesser humans, while others must be conquered and subjugated.
In the minds of those groups seeking to invade, conquer, pilfer and exploit, the invaded and conquered must be seen as sub-human, creatures not worthy of protection or life. The human mind, in order to justify the ruthlessness it will inflict on less able peoples, creates the impression that those now controlled are sub-humans and therefore not immune to the restrictions of human morality. Sub-humans are not humans, after all, and can be treated like animals or worse, like dirt.
The Nazi ideology of placing its Aryan blood above all others, believing its Germanic peoples the pinnacle of civilization, reflects a perverted mass psychosis brought on by a malevolent leader and a hypnotized tribe - namely Germany. In the delusional world of the Nazis, Jews, Gypsies and Slavs were considered inferior. These peoples were labeled 'untermensch,' the German word for sub-human. As such, labels became reality and reality became a holocaust, resulting in millions of deaths and untold levels of suffering. When a group of people like the Nazis begin to believe in the sub-human label they propel, the group afflicted becomes the equivalent of animals, free to be killed, tortured and dehumanized, free to be robbed of freedom, opportunity and happiness.
The Nazis, however, are not alone in exacerbating this phenomenon. On the contrary, it has been as pronounced in human history as advancements in technology. As long as there have been competing tribes the concept of untermensch has existed, released over and over through centuries and millennia. No nation or culture is immune; no epoch is innocent. With every war, invasion, occupation, domination, enslavement, oppression, exploitation, genocide and ethnic cleansing that has marked human time on Earth untermensch has been implemented, used by the powerful to justify the crimes, rapes, murders and dehumanization inflicted upon innocent fellow human beings. Untermensch is the tool used by the human brain that grants man the power to destroy humanity and all its virtues while inflicting untold levels of misery onto men, women and children without the interference or burden of human guilt, laws, theology, morality or righteousness getting in the way.
Yet our minds cannot fathom the long reaches of a history marked by incessant war, death and violence. Understanding the constructs of time and space are not talents we have evolved. Grasping the enormity of the passage of time, with the rise and fall of tribes, clans, city states and empires, the evolution of human society and spirituality from cave to metropolis, the genetic altering and evolution of diversity coming together and adding to the human spectrum, and the conquests, genocides and environmental changes created by our ancestors is not a skill endowed into our primate brains, and thus the enormous jigsaw puzzle that is human history remains a mystery. We can barely put together the pieces of our own eighty year existence on the planet, even as it is a puzzle that we experience first hand. How then are we to fathom hundreds of thousands of years of modern human existence, generation upon generation, century after century?
In an existence estimated at five million years, from primates living in trees to the dawn of living in one-hundred story skyscrapers, man has not deviated from our mammal selves. Our passions, emotions and behaviors yield to the animal inside us, and throughout our existence it has come out again and again to unleash terror on our unsuspecting species. For millions of years our species has consisted of one continuous epoch of aggression against each other, with periods of calm in between, - controlled at the individual level but becoming an unleashed monster at the tribal - destroying all we have achieved and the beauty inherent in our existence. Mammals we are, and mammals we will remain, yet the ego of our existence and the theology of our beliefs will not let us awake to our greatest truth.
Humankind's greatest demon is also our greatest threat, condemning us to continue a long history of self-inflicted war, death, suffering and subjugation. In this quandary we find ourselves trapped in, much like every generation that has come before, and, if we fail to learn and evolve, every generation that has yet to come. The worst of humanity opens the books of history once more, and in Iraq and Palestine we find what has been, what is, and what will become. The Reign of Terror upon ourselves continues the slow erosion of our existence along the inevitable path of self-destruction we traverse.
Is it any wonder that the virus attached to us since we left the jungles of east Africa keeps reappearing again and again, stomping its seal of death, violence and misery
on the face of human civilization, especially when we punish our own kind with the tools of despair, suffering and dehumanization? Can we expect the microscopic reign of modern man to purge an evil that primitive man could not exorcise in hundreds of thousands of years?
Untermensch is part of the disease we possess, or rather possesses us, attached to the constructs of fear and hatred, ignorance and superiority, emboldened by the tribe or nation state. The mega-tribes of today only serve to strengthen and release the fury of human evil onto those less fortunate. It is a syndrome that, until now, has yet to be contained. Its vicious mechanisms erode the basic foundations of humankind, birthing suffering and human destruction, both in spirit and in life, rendering all six billion of us less human every day. Into the depths we descend, living the misery of Iraqis and Palestinians, feeling the pain that the powerful inflict on the weak, losing energy with each drop of blood that is shed and cowering in shame with each act of decaying dehumanization.
The Untermensch Syndrome is alive and well, resilient as ever, surviving as long as humans exist, thriving off our own shortcomings, evolving with each passing generation and festering once more to infect yet one more amalgam of human tribes from which enlightenment seems never to arrive.
In the land claimed holy and promised the madness of humankind persists, extending the perpetual violence and oppression of the weak by the powerful. Palestine today tells a story of human evils past and present, of the worst actions capable of being manifested by the human phenomenon. Lands ancient and strategic, crossroads and focal points of man's brief history, once more seem engulfed by competing claims and boiling hatreds.
Malevolent crimes against humanity, those activities that repulse and anger, are methodically being perpetrated against peoples who have been raped of all their ancestors once possessed. Atrocities and dehumanization on an unparalleled scale are being committed, becoming the present reincarnation of the past's dreaded evils.
In no other place on Earth is the suffering of our brothers and sisters so prevalent. In no other region is the tyranny and wickedness of humanity so present. For the lands holy and promised have been cursed by archaic fables, beliefs and myths, by fictional claims of days long extinct, condemning its native inhabitants to the bowels of Hades and the desolate realities from which loud cries go unheard.
To be Palestinian Arab in the land usurped by European Jews is to be considered untermensch in the territory your forefathers once called home. The devastation fifty-five years of invasion, occupation and state terrorism has had on both people and land has created the conditions by which Gaza and the West Bank can today be called Hell on Earth, pockets of destitute emptiness where opportunity is extinct and any relevant future is a but a hollow fantasy.
Unearthed from the colon of the planet Palestinians dwell, the squalor in the occupied territories is beyond compare, instituted and exacerbated by the state of Israel in acts of unhindered and systemic malevolence. The intent of such inflictions of emotional distress and incessant pain and suffering is the breaking point of millions of Palestinians, the realization that it is better to leave the land you know and love rather than live in perpetual imprisonment of spirit and humanity.
The desire to expand borders and territory, an addiction to greed and the aspiration to cleanse Palestine of Arabs manufactures in the Israeli government a policy of wicked objectives bursting with cold and calculated cruelty. Thus, the ill-treatment of Palestinians by Israel makes life so unbearable, so hard and depressing that it is a triumph of the human spirit that so many remain, unwavering and strong, even as the weight of utter wickedness is enforced generation to generation.
Living in the occupied territories is like living in Warsaw ghettos of the 1930's and South African Bantustans. It is akin to dwelling in Indian reservations, those cesspools of nothingness in the lands of America from where millions rotted away their once vibrant existence. Gaza and the West Bank are squalors of humanity acting as giant prisons, where dense refugee camps are considered cities, their perimeters encircled by fences, walls, Israeli tanks and the ever watchful eyes of trigger-friendly snipers. Enormous prisons within occupied lands, preventing contiguity, freedom of movement and any semblance of a sovereign state are the true definition of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
To live inside these vast prisons and internment camps is to struggle with the daily existence of Israeli suffocation and dehumanization that you know is purposeful as it is deliberate. It is to feel Israeli claws strangulating your esophagus, denying you of the air to breathe and the sustenance you need to survive. Life under Israel's merciless rule means that sixty to seventy percent of your people are unemployed, unable to provide for their families, as commerce is almost non-existent and access to Israeli business almost impossible. It is to live in worlds of child undernourishment and lack of healthcare, as Israel's policies make indigent millions of families who desperately need to feed and treat their children.
To be Palestinian is to be trapped in a vicious circle that refuses to let you escape. From birth your undernourishment outmaneuvers your development, stunting your growth, making your immune system weak and altering your ability to learn. Lack of nutrients and perpetual levels of stress make your environmental upbringing unlike anything on Earth, a constant battle being lost by both your body and mind.
Psychological behaviors associated with extreme levels of stress and dangerous levels of undernourishment affect hundreds of thousands of your fellow brothers and sisters. Feelings of imprisonment and virtual subjugation, not to mention the extreme hatred of anything Israel your environment forces upon you creates unsurpassed hatred in your mind. Education is limited, resources to tap the oasis inside you is but a dream and the talents and abilities ingrained in your being get eroded more and more with each passing year.
You see the vanishing energies of neighbors, acquaintances and family that die at the hands of the IDF and the Israeli government's callous disregard for your people. After all, to them you are nothing but untermensch, lower to or on equal par with animals. From an early age you realize that, since you are seen as sub-human, IDF soldiers treat you with impunity, allowing themselves the pleasure of taunting your friends, shooting your cousins, demolishing your home and dehumanizing your mother, all done knowing that accountability does not exist.
Growing up Palestinian is to see with one's eyes the hatred boiling inside the cities you live in, where the fruitless throwing of rocks towards tanks by dozens of youth is the only vent from where their bursting fumes can be released. Later on in life, these youngsters will become members of the resistance, graduating to Kalashnikovs and home-made bombs, lurking at night to defend their ever disappearing homeland. In this society, death at the hands of the Israelis is so commonplace that it is celebrated, becoming both a rallying cry and mechanism of strength. Martyrs are elevated to the skies above, becoming the role models of the very young and the heroes of the populace, their faces plastered on posters lining streets and walls.
In this society, born of occupation and seething hatred, the only way to keep living is to keep dying, and the sadness of such reality is that just as our children wish to become pilots and firemen, theirs strive for nothing more than martyrdom. It is this that Israel's policy of untermensch has created, a mechanism where every day creates new resistance fighters and revolutionaries seeking the triumph of the human spirit and the dawn of independent freedom.
Collective punishment upon millions of Palestinians goes hand in hand with the Untermensch Syndrome, where the acts of a few result in the decimation of the many. When millions of Arabs are considered sub-human, long living in lands claimed by false divinity and thousand year old fables of peoples primitive and unenlightened, their death, destruction and prolonged suffering is inconsequential. It is state sponsored terrorism that has lasted more than eighty years in a pre-emptive attempt to ethnically cleanse by subjugation, dehumanization and cold and calculated suffering.
Breeding of fear by the intimidation of army incursions, tank deployments, sniper killings, Apache helicopter missiles and fighter jet low altitude flyovers is state sponsored terror, stressing out millions and making life under occupation an unbearable existence. Imprisoning millions and subjecting them to perpetual indigence, without ability to traverse their own lands or go one day breathing tranquil airs of calm and freedom is collective terror upon a populace. Not knowing if your home is next to be demolished by monstrous Caterpillar bulldozers, usually with a few minutes warning by the IDF is state terrorism, robbing families of their homes and their belongings, leaving thousands without the only dignity they ever possessed.
Treating Palestinians as untermensch allows young Israeli soldiers, most of whom are born hating Palestinians, to walk over innocent people only trying to survive day to day. Stinging verbal abuse, humiliating body searches, purposeful closures and damning delays at checkpoints, where the Untermensch Syndrome can be seen in full bloom, exhibits the wicked treatment of the powerful over the weak. Selected closures that can last days that in effect prevent Palestinians from getting to work, indiscriminate authority to harass and stop anyone from passing, the apartheid mechanism of different license plates for Jewish settlers - with unhindered passage through checkpoints - and Palestinians - who oftentimes wait hours in line before being allowed through - are all symptoms of the sub-human treatment and collective punishment of Palestinians.
Even ambulances, oftentimes transporting gravely injured or sick people, many of them pregnant women on the verge of giving birth, are forced to endure long hours waiting at IDF checkpoints, with the full knowledge of soldiers. Many of these people, not unexpectedly, end up dying while waiting, as precious time is squandered and criminally left to pass. If this is not terror, then what is? If this is not collective punishment and a symptom of the Untermensch Syndrome, then where has our humanity gone?
When an occupying power gives carte blanche to its military to treat the occupied as sub-human, crimes against humanity are not too far behind and the moral fabric of those imposing the will of the powerful through the barrel of a gun quickly vanishes. In Palestine, and as has become quite apparent in Iraq, indiscriminate and methodical dehumanization, without regard for human rights, has flourished through the aura of ethnic, state and cultural superiority and the invincibility of modern military might.
Pitting rock throwers against Apache helicopters and Abrams tanks is nobody's idea of a fair fight, and in this unequal capacity to wage war we can see how the Untermensch Syndrome is furthered. One side seeks independence using only the weapons their dwindling land provides while the other is provided with the most sophisticated and lethal technology known to man. It is a battle of primitive versus modern, the Arab animals versus the Israeli westerner. And so, in order to try evening out the fight, suicide bombers, with the desperation, hate, thirst for vengeance and hopelessness ingrained in their atrocious actions, compete with the state sponsored terrorism of guided missiles raining down from the sky, artillery from tanks and incursions by an infantry trained and supplied with the best equipment American money can buy.
The equation of occupied and occupier has been the same for time immemorial, with the subjugated resorting to the creations of the human imagination and the resources at their disposal for weapons while the conqueror uses rationales of untermensch to deceive its own morality and unleash the fires of human hell with the grand weapons of war that riches provide onto the people invaded.
In Palestine, untermensch has meant the demolition of thousands of homes without regard for human life. It has meant the dehumanizing conditions by which millions live under, usually in poverty and lacking meaningful education, healthcare, infrastructure, opportunity and future. Israel's treatment of an entire race of people has destroyed the fabric of society and the aspirations of its citizens. The Untermensch Syndrome has resulted in centuries old olive trees bulldozed for no reason other than to make miserable the lives of the farmers who owned them. It has categorized Palestinian as inferior to Jew, marginalizing millions who are expropriated of their land and homes.
Because of the Untermensch Syndrome Palestine has been carved up into dozens of enclaves, separated by walls or fences, imprisoning people in their towns and refugee camps. Traveling from town to town is virtually impossible. Children have been separated from their schools, university students from their colleges, workers from their jobs, families from each other and farmers from their fields. This has been accomplished by Israel systematically and without remorse, serving no purpose other than to dehumanize and make unlivable the daily lives of millions.
Lands with higher ground are routinely expropriated, as are those with fertile soil and abundant water aquifers. These stolen lands are then granted to the swell of settlers rushing into once Palestinian lands and farms. In other instances, Palestinian land is taken for bypass road construction that now dissects the West Bank into easily controllable blocks. Of course these roads can only be used by Israelis and Jewish settlers, while the Palestinians, whose land is now covered by asphalt, can only watch as Jewish cars circumvent the last vestiges of a land they once flourished in.
In the course of the present intifadah 3000 Palestinians have died compared to 1000 Israelis. The terrorism has been mutual, one modern and technological, the other born out of hatred and desperation. Palestinians see their native contiguously- inhabited land being gobbled up by Israel and the never-ending stream of European and American settlers. Their water is being taken, their crops destroyed, their livelihoods eviscerated. An enormous apartheid wall is being built, separating camp from camp, robbing them of still more land as it snakes deep into occupied territory, making the West Bank an amalgam of Bantustan-style reservations and internment camps. The Untermensch Syndrome has been unleashed by an Israel that is intent on 'transferring' out an entire race of people.
Like a Virus the Syndrome Spreads
Like an enormous wave crashing on shore, the Untermensch Syndrome is devastating everything in its path. In order to maintain a Jewish majority, which demographics tells us is impossible if Arabs remain, Israel is making the life of Palestinians a virtual dungeon of misery from where air and light are squeezed out of the dark, damp caves where Palestinians now dwell. The goal is as simple as it is macabre: the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the 'Promised Land' by means of starving millions of a life worth living and through the self-exodus of Palestinians who cannot take the severe punishment and dehumanization any more. This clandestine maneuver would thus be seen as self-inflicted and as an independent move by the Palestinians, yet it is Israel pushing them off the cliff through its criminal acts against humanity.
Much is said of physical torture, yet it is the mental kind that truly kills and maims, condemning the millions of Palestinians to a life unbearable at best and cruel at worst. For many decades now Israel has waged collective war against the native inhabitants of Palestine, slowly but surely implementing the means by which it can achieve its ends. Mental torture is a crime against humanity, in direct contradiction to universal principles of humanity. It has been persistent, incessant and coldly calculated. If the treatment of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel is not terrorist in nature and evil in substance, then we have vanished underneath a rock of shamelessness and barbarity, becoming that which we most loathe.
What is occurring in Palestine today is nothing short of criminal, reminiscent of the Nazi treatment of Jews and all other untermensch during 1930's Germany. It reminds us of the extermination and subsequent incarceration of Native Americans by a fledgling US government riding the coattails of Manifest Destiny. Reservations are today a sad reminder of the cruelty and inhumanity by which the American government methodically eliminated the indigenous peoples from the birth of a new nation. Parallels with the South African Apartheid Bantustans are being made as more truth emerges from the cages of the West Bank. The worst in humanity is now compared to the Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people, and not without merit.
The Nazi ghettos and treatment of all untermensch in 1930's Europe during the reign of human malevolence, which caused untold levels of suffering, anguish and mental torture, lasted about a decade. The Palestinian ghettos, Bantustans, reservations, cantons, prisons, gulags or enclaves, - however you wish to call them - on the other hand, have withstood the sands of time for several decades now. Under virtual imprisonment, unable to move freely, without rights, liberties and freedoms and increasingly under a state of siege and apartheid, Palestinians find themselves struggling to survive and remain living in the lands they have continuously inhabited for thousands of years. Their very existence is being threatened; their society is being imploded. Mental torture has become their way of life, like an unrelenting leash controlling their lives, ceaseless in time and devastating in magnitude.
They are, if you will, an endangered species, considered sub-human by their occupiers and the Israeli puppets in the White House and the Congress, who, even after the International Court of Justice overwhelmingly condemned the Apartheid Wall as illegal under international law, voted overwhelmingly to support Israel and condemn the Court, also pressuring the cowardly UN to prevent the imposition of sanctions on Israel. If our elected leaders in Washington show such solidarity with the state of Israel in its inhuman acts of criminality, do they think of Palestinians as untermensch as well? The implication sure makes it seem that way, as does their treatment of the Iraqi people.
Those who were once called untermensch are today subjugating those they consider untermensch. The sub-humans of decades past have become the subjugators and exploiters, spreading the disease that once tormented their ancestors. Those who once suffered enormously are today inflicting untold levels of suffering onto an entire group of human beings. As if committing human evil on those it considers sub-humans will exorcise the demons of horrors past, Israel's treatment of the Palestinians serves no possible purpose other than to devastate millions who are rotting away their existence in sewers of hopelessness, hoping an entire people will simply disappear or pack up and leave, thereby springing forth a final solution to the Palestinian question.
The Untermensch has become the Übermensch, the Nazi word for overlord, or supermen. The cleansed have become the ones doing the cleansing, and those upon whom human evil once enveloped are today reincarnating that same malice onto a world trying to never again repeat the errors of past generations. Yet the Untermensch Syndrome refuses to be laid to rest, living like rats among humans, forever to follow in our footsteps, feeding off our crumbs and forever destined to haunt our inner demons. If those it was once inflicted upon are today its conductors and proliferators, does there exist hope for the human race?
As long as we let it control us, the Untermensch Syndrome will linger, separating us from each other, seeing ourselves as superior and others as sub-human. The situation in Iraq is a truth to this reality, it simply repeats itself, no matter how enlightened we think we are and no matter how modern we claim to be. If the pattern persists throughout our existence, is there reason to hope for its demise?
What makes us human is not our ability to kill and destroy each other but our vast potential to bring goodness to our fellow beings. Killing, maiming and inflicting misery onto ourselves is nothing new. It is rather easy for humans to do this. Just look back at history. What is hard, and what makes us human, differentiating us from the animal world, is the ability to turn the other cheek, see each other as equals, accept our incredible diversity and stop the madness before we all end up smoldering from the fiery hell we have contained in silos and missiles. If we can create nuclear technology, enough to destroy this planet thousands of times over, can we not put our heads together and get along?
What is happening to the Palestinian people is a travesty, one more black mark on an already bruised human society. It is up to the Other Superpower to seek change, helping to bring an oasis of humanity to a suddenly barren strip of earth. Our elected leaders will not act, and neither will world organizations. It is up to us, the people of the world, to stand tall and shout with one united voice from deep within our bodies that we are in solidarity with those considered as untermensch, that if Palestinians are sub-human, then so are we, because they are human just like you and me, deserving of a life lived in happiness and opportunity, free of occupation and tyranny.
For the moral high ground cannot be usurped as easily as Israel robs Palestinian lands bearing higher ground, strategic locations, water aquifers and fertile land. The moral high ground in this battle is on the side of the occupied and subjugated, of justice and humanity, of those resisting and fighting for land they once possessed and freedom once enjoyed. It is void and non-existent in the grip of the occupiers, exploiters and criminals who produce life unbearable and dehumanizing. For this battle they cannot win because the travesty of the Palestinians is the reality billions of eyes and minds now see. Is it any wonder why the rise in anti-Semitism worldwide coincides with the escalating campaign to destroy the Palestinian people? Can we not see why Israel is considered the most hated nation on Earth, from opinions resulting in the last few years, and why its policies are endangering innocent and peace loving people of Jewish faith worldwide who only want to live free of the hatreds of the past and in full acceptance of the happiness of the years to come?
Never Again, Never Again
The time to boycott Israeli products has arrived. Let the sanctions imposed by the Other Superpower begin, unleashing the economic might of billions to punish those few who care nothing for international law or the universal declarations of human rights. May the cancer spreading dehumanization and misery on our fellow human beings stop being spread by the power and medicine of the people of the world. We succeeded once before, halting the destructive forces of apartheid South Africa, now a nation evolving forward in time, not regressing backwards in history. We will once more quash wrongness, wickedness and human evil. It is the echoes of justice and human rights emanated by the voices of truth that will tear down yet another wall of shame being built to imprison and condemn.
Let us punish American and multinational corporations that help arm the IDF, those that help bulldoze homes and lives, those that profit from human misery and those that through their instruments of death and destruction contribute to the murder and slaughter of innocents. Let us pressure our so-called representatives to stand for human rights, dignity and justice, not tyranny, misery and subjugation.
What is transpiring in the Holy Land is anathema to human civilization; it is an embarrassment to six billion people who are good, decent human beings. If our governments refuse to act, then so we must, for the sake of innocent and peaceful Palestinian and Israeli people, for the sake of human decency and for the sake of our future generations. Walls and fences that imprison and dehumanize cannot stand, for they help set mankind back in time to days dark and repressive, unenlightened and barbaric. Together, united as one we can become the massive tremor that helps bring walls and tyranny down.
"Never Again" should not just be a catchy slogan, an artifact at museums, a banner espoused but never practiced or a phrase attached to nostalgia. It should mean what it says, and, as the Other Superpower, we should interpret it literally, enforcing it upon those whose crimes against humanity make us all less human by the day.
In numbers we find strength; in conviction, reason to exist. Those seeking freedom can never be defeated; the triumph of the human spirit can never be erased. The seeds of justice have been planted, let us reap its bountiful reward. Let us once more make a beautiful oasis of a land both holy and promised, devoid of barren intentions and evil inclinations. Let olive trees grow anew, let children play and laugh, may the light of day return and once more bring forth skies of blue.
This essay, first published in August 2004, is dedicated to the over 3000 Palestinian and 1000 Israeli dead, who, in the last five years, have perished thanks to the sickness of human nature, as well as to the hundreds of Lebanese civilians and tens of northern Israelis slaughtered by the latest wave of Middle East violence. This essay is also dedicated to the thousands of injured on both sides, the thousands more who have lost loved ones, and the peace-loving, tolerance-striving, justice-seeking peoples of the Holy Land, all of whom have suffered enormously for the last four years. May you have the strength to put an end to madness and the worst in the human condition. May your troubled land find the peace you and the world desperately needs.
Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet columnist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at email@example.com. Mr. Valenzuela is also author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel made available at most online book sellers.