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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  • glenn_uk

    @Mary: “Right now Glenn UK I can do without your comments. I think you have got a bit of s nerve. There is history and I have a long memory.

    So do I. Not as long, perhaps, but at least every bit as good. And I recall quite well how you spit at anyone who dares to treat you with anything less than reverential deference, or receive your judgements (and lengthy C&Ps) as anything less than Received Wisdom.

    How dare they, eh? Commentators here angered you by failing to express deep concern over _why_ you were in A&E, for instance, and not on your actual comment – contempt for your fellow citizens in the waiting room.

    (Just FYI – none of the people you approve of here asked why you were there either. Didn’t notice you criticise them. Just sayin’…. )

  • Clark

    glenn_uk, you’ll find it much easier to talk to Guano if you think of God and natural law as different human descriptions of the same thing – or at least, use such a perspective as a starting point.

  • Clark

    Guano, my understanding of that part of the Lord’s Prayer has always been:

    [may] your will be done on Earth
    [just] as [it already is] in Heaven

    It is a request that human nature be perfected, that humanity may progress to a state of divinity.

  • Ben-9260th dojo katana

    “It is a request that human nature be perfected, that humanity may progress to a state of divinity.”

    Beautifully put, Clark. It stands on it’s own.

  • glenn_uk

    @Clark: We’re not, though. Something somebody interprets, based on absolutely baseless mumbo-jumbo which is thousands of years out of date, is not a useful starting point for any discussion.

    Not even a discussion, perish the though, but an absolute assertion of exactly how things are. If you fail to agree, you are apostate. Your crime will be punished, according to how bloodthirsty the religious freak who accosted you happens to be.

    Notice that religious delusions almost always revolve around how Someone Else ought to be behaving, and the degree to which they should be punished. Whether that Other Person is your wife, children, neighbour, another tribe, another country – it’s always about purifying _them_ with fire, never yourself.

    Be and let be. That ought to be the underlying philosophy, aside for the golden rule – do unto others as you would have done to yourself.

    But naah… religion is always about how to judge others, gain power through piousness, and a short path to whip up hatred.

  • Clark

    glenn_uk, Guano’s sentence:

    “I have heard it said in a lecture on Islam that even if the Holy sites of Islam were destroyed, they would continue to exist in heaven.”

    seems to have stimulated your “criticise religion” response so strongly that you missed what Guano wrote next:

    “This seems to me to be […] wishful thinking…”

    Science and religion both suffer from wishful thinking; look at Einstein’s rejection of quantum physics in his hopeless desire to save determinism.

    The assertion that material objects have some existence ‘in Heaven’ is not so different from Plato’s theory of Forms or ideas:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_Forms

    What about the Mandelbrot set? Is it an invention or a discovery? Can it really have no existence beyond the realm of human thought? We’d expect intelligent extraterrestrials to have ‘found’ or ‘invented’ exactly the same, infinitely complex pattern. Can we really rule out ‘Heaven’ as its origin?

    Maybe all human thought is mumbo-jumbo in the final reckoning. The vast majority of religious people never kill anyone, and a tiny minority of the non-religious do. Isaac Newton was a religious man, but he attempted to destroy the reputations of his scientific contemporaries so as to claim all the credit for himself, despite being in pursuit of precisely the same physical laws as they were!

  • Mary

    In Israel, only Jewish blood shocks anyone
    Killings of Palestinians by soldiers and policemen will never shock Israel. The propaganda machine will whitewash everything, and the media will be its mouthpiece.

    By Gideon Levy | Nov. 20, 2014

    There was a massacre in Jerusalem on Tuesday in which five Israelis were killed. There was a war in Gaza over the summer in which 2,200 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians. A massacre shocks us; a war, less so. Massacres have culprits; wars don’t. Murder by ax is more appalling than murder by rifle, and far more horrendous than bombing helpless people trying to take shelter.

    Terror is always Palestinian, even when hundreds of Palestinian civilians are killed. The name and face of Daniel Tragerman, the Israeli boy killed by mortar fire during Operation Protective Edge, were known throughout the world; even U.S. President Barack Obama knew his name. Can anyone name one child from Gaza among the hundreds killed?

    A few hours after the attack in Jerusalem, journalist Emily Amrousi said at a conference in Eilat that the life of a single Jewish child was more important to her than the lives of thousands of Palestinian children. The audience’s response was clearly favorable; I think there was even some applause.

    Afterward Amrousi tried to explain that she was referring to the way the Israeli media should cover events, which is only slightly less serious. This was during a discussion on the ridiculous question: “Is the Israeli media leftist?” Almost no one protested Amrousi’s remarks and the session continued as if nothing had happened. Amrousi’s words reflect Israel’s mood in 2014: Only Jewish blood elicits shock.

    Israeli deaths touch Israeli hearts more than the deaths of others. That’s natural human solidarity. The bloody images from Jerusalem stunned every Israeli, probably every person.
    But this is a society that sanctifies its dead to the point of death-worship, that wears thin the stories of the victims’ lives and deaths, whether it be in a synagogue attack or a Nepal avalanche. It’s a society preoccupied with endless commemorations in the land of monuments, services and anniversary ceremonies; a society that demands shock and condemnation after every attack, when it blames the entire world.

    Precisely from such a society is one permitted to demand some attention to the Palestinian blood that is also spilled in vain; some understanding of the other side’s pain, or even a measure of empathy, which in Israel is considered treason.

    But this doesn’t happen. Aside from exceptional murders and hate crimes by individuals, there is total apathy — and the obtuseness is frightening. Killings (we dare not say murders) by soldiers and policemen will never shock Israel. The propaganda machine will whitewash everything, and the media will be its mouthpiece. No one will demand condemnations. No one will express shock. Few will even consider that the pain is the same pain, that murder is murder.

    How many Israelis are willing to give a thought to the parents of Yousef Shawamreh, the boy who went out to pick wild greens and was killed by an army sniper? Why is it exaggerating to be upset by, or at least give some attention to, the killing of Khalil Anati, a 10-year-old boy from the Al-Fawar refugee camp?

    Why can’t we identify with the pain of bereaved father Abd al-Wahab Hammad, whose son was killed in Silwad, or with the Al-Qatari family from the Al-Amari refugee camp, two members of which were killed by soldiers within a month? Why do we reserve our horror for the synagogue and not consider these killings disturbing?

    Yes, there is the test of intent. The typical Israeli argument is that soldiers, unlike terrorists, do not intend to kill. If so, then what exactly is the intent of the sniper who fires live bullets at the head or chest of a demonstrator a distance away who poses no threat? Or when he shoots a child in the back as he’s running for his life? Didn’t he intend to kill him?

    The attack in Jerusalem was a horrendous crime; nothing can justify it. But the blood that flowed there is not the only blood being spilled here murderously. The degree to which it is forbidden to say that is incredible.

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.627369#!

    copied from the pay wall by a friend.

  • Mary

    HMG know how many from this country go to fight in Syria and elsewhere but not in Israel.

    Middle East:Written question – 207355
    Asked by Paul Flynn (Newport West)
    Asked on: 29 August 2014

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) British citizens, (b) British residents holding dual passports and (c) British residents holding foreign passports who left the UK in 2014 to fight for the (i) Israeli Defence Force in Gaza, (ii) Koma Komalên Kurdistan in Syria and Iraq and (iii) ISIS Islamic State in Syria and Iraq in 2014; and what his policy is in each such case.

    Answered by: James Brokenshire Answered on: 20 November 2014

    We do not hold data on British nationals fighting with the Israeli Defence Force: many foreign nationals (including British nationals) serve in the IDF, and also hold dual (Israeli) nationality. We do not hold data on British nationals fighting with the Koma Komalên Kurdistan in Syria/Iraq.

    We believe that more than 500 individuals from the UK have travelled to Syria since the start of the conflict. It is estimated half of these have returned. We judge that a significant minority of UK extremists currently fighting in Syria are affiliated with ISIL. British citizens fighting with proscribed terrorist organisations would clearly pose a threat to the UK should they return. Such individuals are among our primary counter-terrorism concerns.

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a particular place when we consider the risk to British nationals is unacceptably high. Anyone who does travel is putting themselves in considerable danger. The best way for the public to help is to donate to registered charities that have ongoing relief operations.

    Those who become involved in fighting abroad can potentially be prosecuted under UK law on their return including under terrorism or other offences. Fighting in a foreign conflict is not automatically an offence but will depend on the nature of the conflict and the individual’s own activities.

    Any allegation of an offence will be a matter for investigation by the police. Whether an individual is arrested or prosecuted will always depend on the facts and circumstances of the case and is an operational decision for the police and Crown Prosecution Service. Safeguards are built in to our legislation and we rely on the police and Crown Prosecution Service to make sure that prosecutions are pursued in appropriate cases. Whether any specific act falls within the definition of terrorism and whether any individuals or groups have committed an offence will always depend on all facts and circumstances of the case. Prosecutions can only be sought where the Crown Prosecution Service is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of any offence having been commissioned and that it is in the public interest to prosecute.

    ::

    Brokenshire is a member of CFoI and last visited Israel in May 2014
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/person/9255/james-brokenshire

  • Mary

    Back to Blair and that Save the Children award.

    The Medialens editors posted this:

    Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children
    Posted by The Editors on November 20, 2014, 5:45 pm, in reply to “Save the Children give an award to Tony Blair”

    Ah, okay:

    ‘In 2004 Justin was recruited to Number 10 by Tony Blair where he led efforts on poverty and climate change, and was one of the driving forces behind the Make Poverty History campaign.

    ‘He was to stay on under Gordon Brown, becoming his Strategic Communications and Campaigns Director, helping to use new communications strategies to reach the British public on a range of issues, from knife crime to climate change.

    ‘Justin was appointed as Chief Executive of Save the Children in September 2010.’

    http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/people/executive-directors

    and this is his salary

    Save The Children bosses get £160,000 in bonuses as MP calls for greater scrutiny on charity finances
    Charity Chief Executive Justin Forsyth earned £163,000 last year
    His salary is now known to include £22,560 in performance-related pay

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2386616/Save-The-Children-bosses-160-000-bonuses-MP-calls-greater-scrutiny-charity-finances.html

    No irony.

  • Macky

    What a despicable post from Glenn_uk at 12.59; A coward who runs away when confronted;

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/11/it-is-racist-to-be-worried-about-immigration/comment-page-2/#comment-492569

    Only to attack Mary again when he feels he is around friends.

    Not at all surprised he tries to rubbish Religion, I would have been very, very surprised if he didn’t, as I’ve long since noticed that although a person doesn’t have to have religious beliefs to be a decent, moral & compassionate, and that some who profess to be religious are actually venal & cruel, overwhelming my experience has been that those with real spiritually are filled with kindness, and those who ignorantly & arrogantly rubbish religious beliefs, are filled with condescending spite & malice. ”Just sayin’…. )”

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Brian – thanks for your addition to the St. Blair saga. I don’t want to criticise the work of Save the Children in any way. But it seems there is the usual disconnect between the top of the organisation and the frontline workers. This, from the last major Israeli atrocity:

    http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/donate/actions/gaza-and-israel-conflict-stop-killing-children

    Together, we can ensure no child, Palestinian or Israeli, has to suffer the terrors of war again.

    Can we? With the current Middle East Envoy? Who has presided smugly over three major assaults, in defiance of international law, on Gaza, during his tenure?

    http://www.imemc.org/article/68429

  • Sofia

    Clark, Guano, Ben et al

    Re all that religion stuff, let me simplify the issue in the words of some philosopher or other whose name I kan’t recall.

    “Reason, in order to be taught by nature, must approach nature with its principles in one hand, according to which the agreement among appearances can count as laws, and, on the other hand, the experiment thought out in accord with these principles-in order to be instructed by nature not like a pupil, who has recited to him whatever the teacher wants to say, but like an appointed judge who compels witnesses to answer the questions he puts to them.”

    Thus, “error is only effected through the unnoticed influence of sensibility on understanding, through which it happens that the subjective grounds of the judgment join with the objective ones.”

    While some of these polysemous words may appear problematic and indicative of a doubly intolerable usage to describe underlying the component internalisms and subjectivisms, a few moments taken to examine their normative reductive propositions, notwithstanding one or two naturalistic fallacies, will reveal a single seamlessly equivacated and obvious truth, thus rendering me confident that my simple ans logically watertight explanation will have now be cleared up the matter once an for all, allowing us to return to the more pressing issue of how on earth to move towards a just resolution of the problem the rougue state of Israel.

    If all that sounds a tad tendentious, remember that Dad’s in hiding because Craig posted about you know what, and I just thought I’d fill the gap. :-0

    Ba’al. 9 53am

    Lower Blair picture. Scary!

    Is that a spell he’s casting?

  • Sofia

    Oop!

    Another Italics cock up.

    Now I know what happens When I try …

    Only the quotes from Kant were supposed to be in italics.

    It must have been a bit confusung!

  • Sofia

    Can’t show the basic formatting for patronising but I’m sure you’ll have wortked out where it was menat to be. ;-0

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The smart money’s on religion being an evolutionary necessity in the context of tribal pack-apes capable of communication. Keeps the neo-chimps’ society focused, and its members uncritical of temporal authority. Rather like ‘fear of the other’, even…

    My life-enhancing friend opines on Israel:

    http://www.newsmax.com/GlobalTalk/Israelis-Palestinians-two-state-solution/2014/11/20/id/608637/

    “The two-state solution is still possible. It’s not that it can’t be done….”

    By someone else, Tony? You’ve had seven years and a privileged position with full permission to try, old fellow.

    ….But, it requires a situation on the ground, which starts to help people prepare for peace and for a two-state solution,” Blair said.

    IOW, If I were going there, Your Honour, I wouldn’t start from here. Risible guff from the master of risible guff. Still, being away with the fairies, he is unlikely to notice that the situation on the ground is irreversible, weighted intentionally against a two-state solution, and deteriorating daily.

    Retard kant that he is.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    That should have been; “My life-enhancing and religious friend opines on Israel…”, sorry.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Is that a spell he’s casting?

    No. He’s re-enacting that night of passion with Cherie at Balmoral he described in his memoir and for which he just missed the Bad Sex award. A consummate actor, note how well he is miming ‘sticky’.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Not my heart, dear heart. You seem to be obsessing about your invented accusation. However, that’s an interesting -if slightly incoherent – piece and is probably near the truth in partially explaining Blair’s attachment to neoliberal globalism. Partially. The main drivers probably being his awful wife, and cash.

  • glenn_uk

    @Mary : “ Glenn UK Why bring a comment from the previous thread to this one? I replied to you there.

    Why not reply to it here anyway? Oh, I forgot – you’d _never_ go off-topic on a thread, would you.

    *

    @Macky: “What a despicable post from Glenn_uk at 12.59; A coward who runs away when confronted…. Only to attack Mary again when he feels he is around friends.;

    Well not to worry, eh Macky? As long as there’s some lickspittle like your good self to leap to the defence, when the unimpeachable Mary is asked to account for her comments.

  • Macky

    Glenn_uk; “As long as there’s some lickspittle like your good self to leap to the defence, when the unimpeachable Mary is asked to account for her comments”

    No wonder the Habbu-Clown can now take time out for uncharacteristic breaks away, his job is almost done here; he did suffer a serious setback, after a heavy investment of months of grooming, with the loss of the Villager Idiot, but he stuck with it, and now at least three once rational Posters, have suddenly morphed into Habbu-Clown clones !!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    at least three once rational Posters, have suddenly morphed into Habbu-Clown clones !!

    Translation; at least three posters whose uncritical support Macky had taken for granted in all matters, reveal themselves as holding some opinions divergent to Macky’s. Worse, they express them. Shock, horror. So Macky, in true Sofia’s-Dad mode, resorts to ad hominem. Look at yourself. Honestly.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Macky: “… with the loss of the Villager Idiot …”

    He/she/they are still here.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just dropped by to see how bad this site is, and it sure is when it comes to dual-state Israel rabbis who advocate the elimination of Gaza, and collective punishment of Palestinians for whatever their leaders do or say – what results in their being murdered when the IDF acts upon their recommendation with a vengeance – and shall not be returning any time soon.

    The weight of death is still seen in a most biased way.

  • Sofia

    Dad’s still hiding so I’ll have to do my best to fill the yawning viod.

    Murrayistas and others. I cannot help but notice that regretfully, in my abscence,
    the course of otiose argument for individual or social constructions of knowledge on a range of issues, from religion to immigration has become somewhat deracinated and a Cartesian parallelism between individual and social idiosyncrasy has arisen, rendering further contributions to the thread by my good self redundant.

    La vita non c’è gusto senza te!

  • Macky

    Ba’al; “at least three posters whose uncritical support Macky had taken for granted in all matters”

    Baseless nonsense; I’ve never looked for, desired, or needed any sort of support.

    Ba’al;“reveal themselves as holding some opinions divergent to Macky’s. Worse, they express them”

    Wishful thinking, or is it wishful smearing ? I welcome divergent opinions, but only if rationally sound.

    Ba’val; “Look at yourself. Honestly”

    Here’s a little thought experiment, take some of Glen_uk’s latest posts, or Doug Scorgie’s last few on the previous thread, and try to imagine another Poster who has posted almost identical comments in virtually identical words.

    Node; “He/she/they are still here”

    On what basis do you think that ?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I welcome divergent opinions, but only if rationally sound.

    LOL. You were disagreeing with me agreeing with you at one point. I’ll leave you to work out where.
    Heh.

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