One of the first causalities in a conflict is the blurring of reality.
By Mathew Maavak
As fighting intensifies in Lebanon, a concurrent battle for the global hearts and minds is being waged in any every possible fora, from the U.N. to the blogosphere.
Even children have been co-opted in this war of propaganda. They form the bone of contention at blogs featuring the now famous photos taken by Israeli AP lensman Sebastian Scheiner. Here, smiling Israeli girls from the battered, border town of Kiryat Shmona can be seen signing off on artillery shells destined for Lebanon.
The next photo, if there was one, would show the results of what those shells can wreak - the mauled remains of a dead Lebanese child.
One blogger named Gary Amirault aptly concludes: "Revenge is ultimately never sweet to anyone who desires it, Jew, Christian, Moslem or you."
He was an exception. Apologists were providing "contexts," without the photo of the dead Lebanese child. Arabs were displaying both as yet another visual proof of Israeli barbarity.
Those who strive for objectivity should take note that "contexts" and "barbarity" can be exchanged once a shell gets lodged in your rump, and when you live to relate your cognitive conversion.
One of the more visible non-Hebrew messages on those shells were "to Nasrallah with (love) from Israel and Daniele."
It is worthwile noting that the photo was taken by an Israeli, and he is currently keeping mum over contexts provided by others. In such "contexts," many shy away from the fact that children learn their hatreds from adults. It's from adults they learn prejudices, ethno-religious bigotry and eventually murder.
Children also form the first casualties of adult violence. Their little patters are never fast enough when the telltale whistle of a shell homes in. Even nature is not merciful to them. Small steps scurrying from a recoiling tsunami tide end up becoming one elemental tragedy for mankind.
Apart from those genuinely moved by this epic slaughter of innocents on both sides, children provide ample fodder for the propaganda beasts. No one can wash themselves off from this collective guilt. And neither can the combatants.
In Israel, a big question mark still exists over the fate of thousands of Jewish Yemeni children born in the immediate aftermath of 1947. Some of them were whisked away during childbirth, declared dead to their impoverished parents, and eventually ended up as adopted Ashkenazi children in the United States.
The Arab world is now pathetically rousing outrage over the massacre of Lebanese children while continually condemning Palestinian children as stateless vagabonds. That's how the massacre of Sabra and Shattila occurred; when the Israeli Army opened the keys of hell for their vengeful Phalangist proxies on Sept 16, 1982.
No cries are still heard today for South Asian kids who died as camel jockeys during races that titillated those who were never sanctified by "bacon for breakfast."
The progenies of these hypocrisies grow up to wreak untold misery for others. One such person is the billionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden. When all the epicurean delights of this world are spent, and when more than 72 virgins have been exhausted in this life, it is time for Jihad.
But first, it is the no-hopers, generally born and bred into poverty and religious intolerance, who should die as suicide bombers. Even Uncle Sam is showing him great respect by constantly overlooking his boltholes.
Never blame the neocons in Washington though for being true to fashion over Lebanon. When Israel began its invasion, the Organization of Islamic Nations could do nothing more than voice the usual, chimerically giddy pronouncements. One hare-brained scheme was a proposal to dispatch a multinational Islamic peacekeeping mission to southern Lebanon.
Among other reason why this is impractical: The leaders of these nations cohabitate too sleazily with Western elites, while their societies supply the arms, funding, ideology and militants for infidel killing "over there" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If this isn't a political menage a trois, what is?
The Iranians, despite their well-known double-entendre, will never agree to any Sunni-Muslim led peacekeeping force in Lebanon. If the Hezbollah is neutralized, the next target for regime change will be Syria, before checkmate can be attained in Tehran.
The Sunni Muslim world is a house of cards, blackjacked and compromised by hands adept that pulling up the ace called "divide and conquer." And these are really played out in casinos, bars and night parlors.
On the contrary, here is what Mark Steyn has to say about the tough Persian nut:
"The difference in Iran is simple: with the mullahs, there are no London escort agencies on retainer to supply blondes only."
That's it. That's the problem. The who's who of the Islamic world are rotuinely caught pants down while they belch up anti-Zionist hogwash from Amman to Kuala Lumpur. If the Brits can record their exploits, so would the Yanks, the Israelis, the Iranians and individuals who have already bet their retirement on a tabloid sensation.
For Pete's sake, call up the croupier or bartender you know in Vegas in case these words are jaundiced and console the families of those dead South Asian kids while you are it.
And ask the Israelis how they had managed to attain that all-seeing eye in the Arab world. They only have to outwit sophisticated security systems at plush parlours before the rest falls into a circadian symphony. Jihad at dawn, blondes and drinks at night, and snitching between the sheets.
But they can't do that with the Hezbollah, the only Arab army to have handed the vaunted Zahal its only military defeat. No shells have yet taken out Nasrallah Hassan, the fighting rages on, Merkava tanks have been knocked out, and the Syrians and Iranians would make sure that the Hezbollah's arsenal are well-replenished.
This might really get out of hand as the Syrians are not going to fall for the next trap. When Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Harriri was assassinated on Feb. 14, 2005, the West and the Gulf Arab states rejoiced at Syria's withdrawal and the consequential unfettered autonomy this vacuum conferred to the Hezbollah warlords in the south. One of those who joined the anti-Syrian festivity was Jacques Chirac.
Now, Frere Jacques has joined former "freedom fries" veteran George W. Bush in drafting a blatantly pro-Israel U.N. Security Council "peace proposal."
Trust Bush and Tony Blair to deliver messianic delusions of imminent "peace" and "freedom," of the kind that threatened a group of Korean Christians with mortal danger in Kabul.
Young minds, it might be deduced, should never be taught the story of Jesus; that anarchist who loved children, preached against violence, and who performed miracles including that Caesarean separation between governments and faith. What is kids stuff for cynical minds in one place can ignite unbelievable violence among adults elsewhere.
How will our great leaders and evangelists explain this before... children?
What will we tell them this Purim? That there is no kinship among men, no Esther and Mordechai and no debt of honor? That we have promised them a world where "nation will rise against nation," "kingdom against kingdom," and were famines, heatwaves and violent tides stalk their every little step?
Originally published in The Korea Herald on Aug 10, 2006
Most of Mathew Maavak's commentaries can be read here or visit the Panoptic World homepage.