The Weight of a Death 156

At least 28 people have been killed in US drone strikes in Afghanistan in November so far. Several of those were involved in tribal fighting against the Afghan government, but at least five were small children and total non-combatants were probably in double figures. These deaths do not go reported at all in western media. Cameron and Miliband both started at Prime Minister’s Questions today by condemning the killings in Jerusalem. No chance they will ever mention the ongoing US murders in Afghanistan, let alone the three Palestinians killed by Israelis lately, including a taxi driver lynched by Israeli illegal settlers.

No amount of “what-aboutery” can distract from the horror of the attacks in the Jerusalem synagogue, and I have no difficulty in condemning those killings unequivocally, too. But the hypocrisy of the Western media and political establishment, in terms of which deaths are important, is breath-taking. The truth is that the causes of these deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and across a swathe of other countries cannot be disentangled from the history of violent western aggression into those countries. But we are urged to forget context, forget cause and indulge in highly selective emotional outrage and indignation.

Some deaths count an awful lot. Some should not be noticed. It is a strange way of looking at the world.

156 thoughts on “The Weight of a Death

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  • N_

    The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) revealed in a recent press report that the Israeli occupation authority is putting final touches before opening tunnels and spacious halls under el-Mathara Gate.

    The Gate is only 20 meters away from the southern borders of Al-Aqsa Mosque, AFEH said, adding that the IOA [Israeli Occupation Authority] had been digging in that region for the past ten years.

    The foundation confirmed that scores of workers are working in the site and it observed some works that seem to be final, adding, “The IOA is planning to open this location soon under the name Behind our Wall”. The foundation managed to enter a few meters within the main gate and took some pictures.

    Source: Hamas website.

  • N_

    The Israelis have refused to hand over the bodies of the men who carried out the attack in the synagogue! They’re not even letting their enemies bury their dead!

    More than that, they fired tear gas grenades at the mourning tent.

    They seem to take pleasure in humiliating those who fight against them.

    Both Jews and Muslims are supposed to be buried before sunset on the day of death.

  • Mary

    November 19, 2014
    Self-Righteousness of Evil
    Israel at the Moral Cross-Roads

    ‘No, we must abandon the tit-for-tat schematization of Middle East violence, as though both sides were equally at fault, or, since the Palestinians, in isolated acts of terror, denied the advantage of legitimized violence, stand out as more conspicuous and flagrant, therefore appear entirely in the wrong. By my reckoning, the moral calculus reveals the opposite to be true: the institutionalization of violence and repression, exemplified in the always disproportionate application of force, convicts Israel as over the long-term bearing ultimate responsibility for what Palestinians seek to do in resistance or even revenge. That does not make it right. But neither can Israel plead victimhood, the injured party, oh, those rockets (literally a drop in the bucket, as casualties testify, the preponderant destructiveness coming from the Israeli side).’

    Listen to Netanyahu, as he, within hours, mobilized the machinery of repression with arrests, property destruction, incitement to further violence. He wasn’t alone. I turn to New York Times reporters Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner’s artlcle, “Four Rabbis Are Killed in Jerusalem Synagogue Attack,” (Nov. 18), biased toward Israel, yet with evidence—for they are excellent reporters—that shows Israeli officials and the public drenched in self-righteousness (its corollary, the subhuman qualities of the Palestinians). Understandably, they say, “Witnesses and Israeli leaders were particularly horrified at the religious overtones of an attack on a synagogue that killed men in ritual garments and spilled blood on prayer books.” I too would be horrified if that had taken place in our Saturday morning conservative minyan. Yet, “religious overtones,” of course—just as ultra-Orthodox groups threaten to desecrate the precincts of Al Aqsa Mosque, etc.; more important is the contrived way the blood-imagery and ritual garments figure repeatedly in the Israeli narrative. They quote Yehuda Zahav, leader of a religious emergency response team: “’To see Jews wearing tefillin and wrapped in the tallit lying in pools of blood, I wondered if I was imagining scenes from the Holocaust. It was a massacre of Jews at prayer.’”’

  • Mary

    el Sisi adds to the slaughter and mayhem on the Gsza border. 10 killed by missile and homes are being razed. Who is giving him his orders?

    10 From One Family Are Killed in Sinai Blast

    CAIRO — Ten members of one family, including children, were killed late Tuesday when munitions struck a home in the northern Sinai Peninsula, a region that has been the site of fierce battles between the Egyptian military and insurgent fighters, military officials and witnesses said Wednesday.

    There were conflicting accounts about who was responsible for the deaths. Residents of the area and a neighbor of the family said the home had been hit by missiles, possibly fired by an Egyptian Army helicopter or drone.

    Over the last two weeks, the military has begun leveling large parts of Rafah, a Sinai town bordering the Gaza Strip.

    Officials are trying to create a buffer zone that they say will deter the cross-border smuggling of weapons, a plan that requires destroying hundreds of houses and displacing thousands of people.

    This week, the military said it was doubling the size of the security zone so it would extend more than half a mile from the border, essentially covering most of Rafah, residents said.


  • Mary

    How very cosy.

    Unmanned Air Vehicles:Written question – 213867
    Asked by Mr Tom Watson
    (West Bromwich East)

    Asked on: 07 November 2014

    Ministry of Defence
    Unmanned Air Vehicles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for which periods officers in the armed forces have been trained on the operation and use of drone technology in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the last two years.

    Answered by: Mr Mark Francois on: 19 November 2014

    In the last two years training on the unarmed HERMES 450 Unmanned Aircraft System has been conducted by Army personnel in Israel on a regular basis. The last training took place in July 2014. This training was a mixture of individual and pre-deployment training for HERMES operators, and technical training for support personnel. Over this period, more than 270 personnel received training by the civilian contractor in Israel. No training has been conducted within the Occupied Palestinian territories.

    Just like the Met officers who shot Jean Charles. Some had been to Israel for ‘training’.

    PS Mark Francois has visited Israel as a member of Conservative Friends of Israel.

  • Mary

    Finally, please ask your MPs to sign this EDM.


    Tabled on 18.11.14 by Jeremy Corbyn MP

    That this House applauds the exemplary work of all health professionals in Gaza, be they medics, social workers, occupational therapists, ambulance teams and others who continue to look after the 12,000 injured, including 3,374 children long after the media have taken their cameras away from the one vantage point permitted them during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge attack on Gaza in August and September 2014; notes the death toll of 2,200 Palestinians, 1,500 civilians including 500 children, and 71 Israelis, five civilians; further notes that many of the injured are now permanently disabled and will require a lifetime of physical and psychological rehabilitation; commends all those who have donated their services to looking after the people of Gaza; deplores in particular the conduct of the Israeli authorities in refusing entry to Gaza of medical personnel from abroad including the indefatigable and determined Norwegian surgeon Dr Mads Gilbert who repeatedly works in Gaza whilst it is under attack, and who is the latest victim of such unjust treatment; and calls on the Government to press the Israeli government to respect international law and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and to lift the siege on Gaza.

  • Kempe

    “At least 28 people have been killed in US drone strikes in Afghanistan in November so far.”

    A total of 1,564 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2014. According to UNAMA 74% by anti-government forces. Little mention of them anywhere in the MSM either.

  • Kim tan

    On a bbc interview about the synagogue killings, the Israeli interviewee says that the Jewish dead had been “butchered” whereas the palestinian attackers had been “neutralised” by police. They weren’t even killed. Palestinians can merely be “neutralised”.

  • Googler

    The hypocrisy has always astonished me too. Our media are a outrageous disgrace to humanity, and complicit journalists need to feel the pressure from some watchdog just as much as they feel the pressure to conform from their hack line managers.

  • T

    @Mary – “Just like the Met officers who shot Jean Charles. Some had been to Israel for ‘training’.”

    Interesting – I didn’t know that. Are you familiar with the actions of Michael Winner on the day Jean-Charles Menezes was murdered?

    He’s ‘involved’ with the host country’s police.

    On 7/7 too the Zionist network went into overdrive in London. It must have been like when thousands of Jews in London were asked to check local hotels and boarding houses, looking for Mordechai Vanunu.

    You had people like Maureen Lipman (on record as saying words equivalent to ‘who will rid the world of this turbulent Ken Livingstone?’) stopping at bus stops giving people lifts northwards from central London. Gathering intelligence about people’s feelings on the politics of it all, no doubt. I mean how often does a millionaire actress like her give a lift to complete strangers accustomed to travelling by public transport?

    And never forget that Israeli “consular officials” contacted hospitals in the hours after the bomb attacks, supposedly trying to find Israeli nationals. I suspect they may have lost contact with one of the team.

    There are glaring aspects that the utterly under-control ‘truth movement’ won’t ever touch.

  • nevermind

    Another horrific indictment of Israel’s fascists nature, of a western complicit media that has the intelligence services embedded in their editorial rooms. Even if there was a journalist worth his salt who wanted to dispense with fax journalism and party political press releases, he would be doomed to starving, be slapped down from great hight.

    Thanks for the great links Brian Mary and many others, so what do we all do about it?

    vote Green and SNP, that’ll show them.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Watching the BBC is agony these days. When Obama describes a hostage beheading as an ‘act of pure evil’ it is simply reported without challenge. No reporter ever points out that Obama presides over a weekly meeting where ‘kill lists’ of drone targets are drawn up. Many if not most of them will be innocent civilians. How is that not also an act of pure evil? If the BBC can’t point something like this out, which is not even disputed, what are they for?

  • YouKnowMyName

    Co-incidentally, on the subject of deaths in Asia, in case Craig wonders what (future president) Rustam Inoyatov is up to, (having recently integrated the Uzbek MOI into the SNB it seems), then this document might give some ideas

    if you’re too busy to read the near hundred page pdf, a trite summary might be “shady companies with links to Israel/UKUSA enable monitoring in less democratic regimes”

    or just “shady companies enable monitoring EVERYWHERE”

  • guano

    Without my religion I am not alive. Presumably the warmongers and those who complain about their murdering on this blog but who have no faith would never be able to admit to themselves that Muslims are being killed because of their faith. Without that understanding it must be very difficult to understand the world and the world will therefore never change.

  • LesleyB

    I notice there has been no mention of the fact that the Jerusalem synagogue where the killings took place is at Har Nof. Har Nof was built over the ruins of Deir Yassin where the Irgun and others massacred villagers in 1948.

  • doug scorgie

    20 Nov, 2014 – 10:48 am
    “Without my religion I am not alive.”

    Without religion I am free.

  • Clark

    Guano, without the creator we are not alive. Religions are (at least partly) the work of humans, and thus susceptible to corruption; cf. what you describe as ‘political Islam’.

  • Silvio

    A young Los Angeles resident, Jewish by birth, explains how she seized an opportunity to correct the misconceptions of a couple of IDF supporters regarding the circumstances surrounding the most recent Israeli assault on Gaza.

    Schooling Zionists on Recent Gaza Invasion
    Debunking just SOME of the myths surrounding why “Operation Protective Edge” happened after getting into an argument with some Zionist IDF supporters at a local park.”

  • John Goss

    All these illegal deaths by drone strikes do not get reported because the UK is in on it as the Independent pointed out two years ago. It is all part of the ongoing war of Theresa May and others against Muslims.

    I have tried to bring this, and other abuses against Islam, into the public domain. I have pointed out how Theresa May, daughter of a CoE clergyman and professedly a devout Christian, is unaware of the teachings of the religion to which she purports to adhere.

    She should be excommunicated!

  • Abe Rene

    All communities value members more than outsiders. Whether the West is better or worse than (say) the Islamic world or India or China in this respect is hard to say. But there is greater freedom to report injustice in the West.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Meanwhile (O/T – just another shitty day in Jerusalem, after all..)…

    Point to ponder:
    Mr Blair has close connections to Save The Children. Chief executive of the charity’s UK arm is Justin Forsyth, who was an adviser to both Mr Blair and his successor, Gordon Brown, before going into the charity sector.

    And who would blame him, at £163,000 a year?

  • Kurtan

    Who remembers the Hebron massacre? A settler beserker with a gun.
    27 dead.
    Palestinian lives are not valued in the least by Israeli Jews.
    That British politicians make such a fuss over 4 deaths ,but none over 2400 Palestinian deaths opens ones eyes to the kowtowing to Zionist lobby.Their deaths are very sad but the incident should be put into perspektive.

    And the Afghan war that is not yet over except for the media.
    Mulla Omar says from his speech at Eid ” You would have, by now, come around to know what sort of unqualified figures, being loyal to foreigners’ interests, have been imposed on you by the Americans. You have seen in the (past) 13 years, the astronomical dimension of the atrocities that the invaders and their domestic supporters have unleashed against the people. The long-drawn and contentious process of the elections conducted under the shadow of occupation has portrayed the broad scope of credibility loss that the invaders do face with the passage of each day. As we had predicted earlier, the public of the world and the country men noticed that the process of the publicity stint under the name of elections was only aimed at misleading people. The votes of the Afghans were no more than a fanfare…,-mullah-mohammad-omar-mujahid,-may-allah-protect-him-on-the-eve-of-eid-ul-odha

  • KingofWelshNoir

    John Goss

    ‘She should be excommunicated!’

    Come on mate, there’s nothing in the Bible that says you shouldn’t remove someone’s British citizenship before you murder them!

  • Rehmat

    “The life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs,” Rabbi Eliyahu.

    So why blame Ed Milliband or David Cameron. First one was born into a Zionist Jewish family while the other claimed that his grandparents had Jewish family roots.

    Baroness Warsi has already clarified the death of four rabbis – one British and three Americans. All four held Israeli passports and were among the extremist Jewish groups rioting at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the so-called “Wailing Wall”, which has nothing to do with the Temple Mount. The wall is part of an old Roman fortress.

    American archaeologist and author, Professor Dr. Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002) had conducted archaeology work in East Jerusalem. In his controversial book ‘The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot’, published in 1999 – Dr. Martin claimed that Muslim sacred places, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of Rock are not built on top of the Temple Mount ruins.

  • Rehmat


    Rabbi Bruch Goldstein who butchered 50 Muslim worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1994.

    The occupation of Afghanistan was planned ten months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was planned for exploiting Caspian oil reserves and uplift opium cultivation banned by Taliban regime in 1999. Israel was the main beneficiary from both.

  • John Goss

    Mary, thanks for the Assange link. It was not the news that I wanted to hear and I wonder how much the CIA had to fork out to get that wrong decision. Probably as much as it cost them to get Lord Justice Phillips to wrongfully dismiss JA’s Supreme Court appeal against extradition. Let’s face it. It is not justice. It is politics.

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