Wednesday, 14 January 2009


You can go here and get a tiny little idea of what it must to be like to sit in your building and look out over a city that is slowly being blown back to the dark ages.

A normal looking city. Pretty Jordanian, really, no?

Full of ordinary people. Families. Decent people. Good people. Bad people. Smart people. Dumb people.

You know, people.

They've been living in blockade for 18 months. A blockade, effectively sanctions, that has been more tightly applied than those of Iran or, back in the day, Iraq. A blockade that has been so absolute, it has even included banning media and cutting off supplies of fuel to the only power station. Food is scarce and fuel to cook it on even scarcer. Now the water shortage is starting to bite deep.

So they can only sit by (because there is no work) and watch the black plumes of smoke rising over the buildings, watch the occasional streak of silver in the sky, the rumble and the little puff before the sound wave of the explosion hits. And then watch as the puff turns into black, roiling clouds of smoke that will rise up into the dirty air and smear across the skyline.

Now you can join them. Leave the camera on in a tab so that you can listen to the traffic noise, the honks of lorries and then the crump of high explosive and the sirens that follow it.

Now you, too, can be in Gaza.


the real nick said...

Full of ordinary people. Families. Decent people. Good people. Bad people. Smart people. Dumb people.

People who voted for, and continue to support a terrorist organization. Dumb people, you said it. It's shame that civilians die. Even though they brought this fate onto themselves.

Mai said...

Do you honestly believe that the murder of nearly 1000 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children, is justified in anyway whatsoever? Do you honestly believe the Israeli statements about Hamas using all of these innocent civilians as 'human shields'? If you do then God be with you because I cannot for one second imagine how you can watch this happen and think 'they deserve this' and still be human.

sara said...

Try not forget the years of history and context that have made this situation what it is today.

Where one stands on the Israeli/Palestinian question isn't even the issue. We are seeing the unhindered continuance of a crime against humanity as defined by the Geneva conventions. The indiscriminate killing of women and children is unacceptable - regardless of who they voted for when exercising their democratic right to choose a government.

Unless you have a viable alternative for the Palestinians, I would suggest less of the unsubstantiated, and fairly offensive, commentary.

rosh said...

OMG just shup up Nick, please!
You know, things aren't that black & White! The sort of blind support for Israel's "bad people" and pointing blame on those innocent who've lost their lives, is goddamn appalling.

rosh said...

Thanks for the webcam Alex. I hope they know, "people" are with them. That we, as people, feel their loss, pain and absolute agony! God help mankind.

alexander... said...

Sorry, Nicko, I've often agreed with you in spades, but not on this one.

They voted alright - in free and fair elections.

But their government wasn't recognised. Not by the USA, not by Israel. Because it was an 'inconvenient' government and an 'inconvenient' caprice of democracy. And yet it represents the will of a people offered NO alternative.

6,500 rockets say the Israelis. But they didn't kill 1,000 people, did they?

Hamas is making prisoners of the Gazans, the say. But Hamas didn't shut the borders for a year and a half and cut off the food, the fresh water, the fuel and the jobs, did they?

If I were in a room full of Hamas people I'd be scared. I don't believe they're very nice people, to be honest. I don't think they'd bat an eyelid in engineering my own fate if I fell into their hands.

But the Palestinians didn't make Hamas. And the Iranians certainly didn't. The only people that made Hamas knew what they were doing: brutalising, killing, marginalising and slowly, inexorably, exappropriating an entire people from their land. The Gazan's ardent support for Hamas was forged in an Israeli fire.

No, the Gazans didn't ask for this fate. Nobody eking out the sparse existence that Gaza offers to its pitiful people asked for this fate. Eating shitty scraps, cooked on rubbish black-smoke plastic bag fires and carrying their maimed relatives to hospitals that haven't got reliable power, let alone supplies. Drinking warm, foul water from the bottom of the smashed fibre-glass tanks and hiding from the constant bombardment ahead. Your kids crying and wondering why they can't play again today. Why they're always hungry.

Nobody would ask for that. Not even a people offered the panacea, the miracle choice of 'democracy'.

Ammouni said...

I kinda like nick's rationale here coz then many nations should be wiped off the earth for democratically voting for the wrong people. First to go are the americans for bringing in the dumbest person on earth not only once but TWICE!!! Second to go will probably be the israelis as Olmert wasn't exactly the smartest smarty in smartyland!

the real nick said...

"Democratic fair elections" - about as democratic as the elections that brought the Nazis to power, I guess (Oh, it may have helped to have groups of Nazi hooligans patrol the streets and harrass and intimidate people to vote for their party).
I cannot believe someone could take the words fair,democratic, and Hamas in the mouth, in the same sentence.
You also may not have read my post on this subject, where I argued that civilan deaths are the fuel that keeps Hamas going. Theirs, for fucksake, is a manifesto of hate and death. Hamas don't give a shit about the Palestinans and a political solution - and you don't think there could be any other? I doubt any of you ever read the Hamas Charter.

Just like the Nazi regime, just like any totalitarian and violent regime, Hamas has become detached from the initial cause and only exists to support itself by all means. And if it means using civilians as shields, so be it. It's not unusual.
As seen at under the Nazis, or Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Reza Shah Pahlavi, a regime often turns against its own people.

Hamas are terrorists and have been bombing Israel for seven fucking years. And here they sit,limp wristed Guardian reading wimps and are blinded by the blight of civilans who regrettably got caught in the middle. This is NOT the full picture - it's but a pixel.
It's war alright. People die. And then it's over. And then it starts again. It's human nature. Homo homini lupus.
Please, take off your blinkers and try to understand what it must be like for Israel to continuously come under attack or threat of, be intimidated by its neighbours and further afield.

Sorry, no go. You cannot detach the civilian tragedy that plays itself out in Gaza from the hate that Hamas spreads and lives. These are the two sides of the same coin. Cause and effect. Action and reaction. I don't make this up, and I don't like it. I don't like war, thank you very much. It's a shame people die. On both sides. War sucks.

More than 1,000 Israelis have died in the last sixty years, blown to smithereens in pizzerias by suicide bombers. But that, it seems, is OK - because it is the effect of a cause, yes? The cause of denying Palestinians their land. So, intentionally killing civilian Jews is justified, yes? But retaliate and accidentally killing Palestinian civilians is not?

alexander... said...

You're just shouting now, Nick.

Hamas exists because there was no alternative. Hamas exists because Israel followed a policy of penning in and brutalising the people of Gaza and, yes, the West Bank. Hamas exists because there was no tenable choice - the only other government was rendered effectively non-viable by Israel's policy of systematically reducing what little infrastructure of governance there was to rubble.

It's not tit for tat. But the deaths of Palestinians to Israelis is wholly disproportionate. Thousands more Palestinians have lost their lives since this whole story kicked off in 1948. Thousands. Gassed, shelled, bombed, shot at, starved and driven to despair by a systematic denial of their right to exist.

Would a people given hope support bombers?

I don't think so. Now you tell me who denied them the hope? It's the despair that made Hamas. And Israel created the despair. Syllogistically, that means Israel created Hamas.

And only Israel can un-create it. But not through more brutality, killing and despair. Through humanity and generosity, reconciliation and respect.

And no, you are wrong I am afraid. Hamas was elected by the people, in an internationally observed free and fair election.

Anonymous said...

A little known fact (or much ignored in the west anyway) is that in its early days, probably even before funding from Iran, Hamas was actually largely supported by the Israeli secret service in order to undermine the PLO (back when Arafat was alive and in control). Reap what you sow, if you like, kinda like al Qaida coming back to bite the US in the arse.

Also please dont ignore the very important fact than early in its inception and until relatively recently hamas was a charity organisation, providing health care education etc all for free, heavily funded by Iran of course. Once they had the trust of the people the goals of hamas changed. If you want to blame a desperately poor and optionless people for making bad decisions, go ahead.

Its one thing to look down on a people with a serves-you-right-for-being-so-stupid attitude, but at least do it in context for 'fucksake'. I guess its a shame Palestinians couldnt be as civilized or proactive as Europeans back in the day and massacred every jew that came off the boat. Maybe europeans who are 'fed-up' with palestinians are really secretly terrified the jews will get fed up and decide to move back to their real ancestral lands in europe.

the real nick said...

That old chestnut again - that Hamas was created by Israeli secret service, just like Al Quaeda was created by Pakistan and CIA - is just totally irrelevant: organizations can turn,are usurped by nutters and turned to their advantage. What kind of imbecile point is being made here?

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