AUTHOR NOTE: In the title, Cain reigns over Gaza.
In the Bible, Cain killed Abel. God did not approve, and neither
Why the obvious should require so much re-stating is beyond
me, but thanks for taking on the task.
This time I find it doubly depressing in view of the madness
that prevails elsewhere: the markets, Russia and even Stephane
Dion. How happy I would be if, during this last 20 or (hopefully)
30 years of my life, I could see the world putting to good use
the lessons of history. But I trust no one anymore.
What, you ask in your article, pushes a people to walk straight
into the jaws of death? My answer: the sense that the whole
is greater than any of its individual parts. A people is an
organism, and as with any organism, it will, if necessary, sacrifice
any of its singular elements for the sake of the whole. This
argument challenges mathematical logic. It is not utilitarian.
It is founded on love of nation. A deep rooted sense of having
"a common and unique homeland, history and heritage, language
and literature, song and story, traditions and customs.”
When these are taken from you as the world turns a blind eye
(or worse yet, encourages the pillaging, as is the case with
the Radical American Evangelical Movement, a cultist racist
movement which has done more damage to Christianity than anything
I can think of), it is not inconceivable that a people react
-- and react most irrationally.
Extremely well-written: Bravo! You have expressed so eloquently
everything that I know to be true and wish was common knowledge
in the United States and the rest of the world that is hell
bent on blaming Israel for everything gone wrong in the Middle
Great piece - I still like the idea of giving the Israelis New
Jersey and Florida, and leave Israel to the Palestinians. Nostradamus
The fulchrum upon which your whole argument turns--Hamas vs.
Israel = Iran vs Israel = Arabs vs Jews--is purely and simply
an error of fact. Iran is not Arab.
from Jeffrey Aarles
Your "God-awful in Gaza" article reads as though Goliath
were innocently standing by picking his teeth while David insists
on throwing rocks until the big guy finally lost his patience.
You might want to read a couple of good articles on the situation.
Here are three suggestions:
I've enjoyed Arts & Opinion, but this ill-thought through
and utterly insensitive article has infuriated me. Please UNSUBSCRIBE
me. Happy bloody New Year.
from Shahidul Alam
A relevant addition to the story. The smaller man is lying on
the ground fighting for his breath, while Arnold is standing
on him choking him, having weakened him in the first place,
by cutting off his food supply. Over the years, Arnold has also
killed many of his relatives and friends, and happens to occupy
his land forcibly.
With a kid majoring in Islamic studies, your article was hotly
discussed in this household. Ok, the Arabs have indeed used
the Palestinians as pawns in their battle royale with Israel.
But why did this happen? Because Israel stole Palestine. After
WWII, one can't blame the Jews for being, ummm, proactive in
establishing a state. I have heard Israeli settlers saying such
rubbish as, "Of course this is our land - God gave it to
us." Well, it ain't their land. I hold out for the New
Jersey-Florida solution. I would have rather seen the US offer
every Jew in tarnation a safe place to live in this country
rather than cause the ruckus in the Middle East. This didn't
happen, did it? I know more than a handful of people who have
colourful international family backgrounds due to their inability
to escape to the US during the Holocaust. There will never be
peace in Israel. The only way it would have worked out is if
the Israelis did what the US did to the Indians, and that didn't
happen. I was surprised to see a couple of pro-Palestinian demonstrations
in Massachusetts, given our support of Israel. I guess "Plan
B" is for the Arab countries to take in the Palestinians,
but I think it's only Jordan that does. What a mess. I just
hope it this doesn't become WWIII.
You know, Robert, one can hardly argue with you. History holds
many similar examples of the suicidal betrayals of whole peoples
by their leaders. Your point is well made. For example, how
dare those damned Indians resist white Christian civilization's
march across Turtle Island!? Their leaders only brought destruction
down on their own peoples. Sitting Bull, you know, was really
the one responsible for the massacre at Wounded Knee -- not
the US government or the bent on revenge 7th Cavalry; and clearly,
Crazy Horse should never have thrown those rocks at Custer in
the first place. You don't do that to white superheroes and
cultural and moral giants, after all.
This essay is despicable tripe -- tripe verging
on evil -- however banal and trivial the effort.
Take the analogy a step further, how would one want to help
the little man whom you perceive (rightly or wrongly) is being
bullied? Would you spend all your time criticizing the strong
man or would you advise the little, mentally incompetent man
to try to agree to some sort of compromise that would get the
strong one to stop pounding his face to a bloody pulp from time
When you are dealing with someone who is willing to die for
his rights, what can be said to him?Iif no price is too great
to pay (even paying that price, to him, is a privilege), why
even get involved? Stupid is as stupid does, and if someone
wants to get the life beaten out of himself because of stupidity,
let him; and the danger is that the more you get involved in
trying to help, the more likely you’ll be on the receiving
end of the little man’s foolishness.
Sorry, but I’m not really seeing what the problem is here.
Palestinians are playing the world like a fiddle, but they know
the west loves self-flagellation and only wants to gratify all
But is not just Iran and its friends; it is also Western Europe
and the US who have gone along as spectators.
Actually until 1950 the Brits did a lot to try and destroy a
Jewish lifestyle in the region.
They could have done something 60 years ago to stop the use
of “permanent refugees” as canon fodder by the Arab
They permitted the creation of UNWRA which serves no other purpose
than to sustain the grinding machine.
They have poured billions of $ into the extremist camp over
the years and have done nothing about this logistical support
that the PLO and Hamas have received.
And the stupid public cannot see that the Emperor is naked.
In Robert J.
Lewis's thought experiment, the 150 pound man continually tosses
rocks at Arnold Schwarzenegger type, perhaps in the belief that
the Arnold Schwarzenegger type is a civilized "gentle giant",
concerned about his own strength, who will tolerate such annoyance
without responding. However, the Palestinians are even more
removed from reality than the hypothetical 150 pound man.
This suggests a society that has a typical attribute
of the angry adolescent. The final step from adolescence to
adulthood requires an emotionally meaningful understanding of
the concept that every cause has an effect. In other words,
one's behavior has consequences in the real world. The Palestinians
behave as if they do not understand this. The lack of a conceptual
understanding of cause and effect animates much of Arab culture
and is an integral part of Islam as currently understood in
the fundamentalist world. The concept of Inshallah, Allah's
will, specifically precludes cause and effect and free will.
The codification of cause and effect, beginning with the early
Judeo-Christian idea that G-d has established a rational universe,
later as defined by Newton's laws of motion, especially the
idea that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction",
is part of the Western cultural core. Western children grow
up in a milieu that includes an implicit understanding of cause
and effect, an understanding that becomes refined through the
years and ultimately is deeply internalized by the Western adult.
When there is no cause and effect, the adolescent insistence
on experiencing the world as one would prefer rather than as
it actually exists, becomes extremely problematic. How can you
teach a child that their behavior has consequences when they
are explicitly taught by their teachers that all that matters
is Allah's will? In such a case, like a Western adolescent,
there is no agency, no free will, and no concern of consequences.
Here's an illustration: Google for 'chuhas.' These are children
who have been deliberately deformed by iron head squeezers,
to elicit money by begging. They are also called Rat Children.
The Palestinians are the political Rat Children of the Middle
THE REIGN OF CAIN
IN THE PLAZA OF GAZA
ROBERT J. LEWIS