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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Monday, July 17, 2006


"Forget the Mideast governments for a moment. Hosni Mubarak may be president of Egypt but that doesn't mean that what he says is what the man on the Cairo high street is thinking. Likewise the kings of Arabia and Jordan. Some Arab leaders have managed the trick of saying one thing to their home crowd in Arabic and another to the massed microphones of the world's press in English. Yasser Arafat was a dab hand: renouncing terrorism one day and promoting it the next. Saddam Hussain doesn't care who knows what he thinks. Nor does Ahmadinijad. Or maybe they do and it's all just publicity for the other side.

Either way, take a look at the demonstrations around the Arab world, see what ordinary people are telling journalists and emailing: there's a definite sense of elation. Why? Look what's happening to Lebanon. In a week there'll be nothing left. Look at Gaza. There was nothing there to start with. There's even less now.

Is this something to smile about? Of course not. But that's not why they're happy. They're smiling about having poked a finger in Israel's eye, having nabbed three soldiers, killed a handful of civilians, and wrecked a train station in Haifa.

At what cost you may wonder. Arab casualties are mounting by the hour.

It doesn't matter comes the reply. It's revenge. That's why they did it and that's why they're happy. Vengeance, honour, vendetta. Revenge for what some soldier did to a relative two years ago, revenge for a house lost two generations ago, revenge for something that someone said someone did to someone sometime way back when. Who cares? It's revenge.

When you're taking revenge it doesn't matter that you'll die, and half a dozen with you, or that you'll lose more than you were left with the first time round.

Revenge isn't about gaining material advantage. Revenge means giving up all thought of gain, except honour. Imagine the glorious romance of dying for honour while taking revenge.

Could there be anything more futile? Anything more useless and stupid?" Continue.


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