Monday 11 November 2013

Peace and poison

I thought the accent on pacifism sat rather uncomfortably in the remembrance edition of the Andrew Marr show yesterday. Shirley Williams was doing the paper review, and  to end the programme tenor Ian Bostridge performed a Benjamin Britten arrangement of O Waly Waly.   
Shirley’s mother, Vera Brittain, was a  well-known feminist and pacifist who was friendly with Benjamin Britten, (a pacifist) which provided two excuses to mention pacifism towards the end of the show, somewhat reverentially I thought.
I suppose that was in the interest of balance? Pacifism is one of those issues, like unilateral disarmament, that requires an ideal world and/or a genuine prospect of universal co-operation in order to be remotely feasible.  United we stand, divided we die. And who is likely to want to unite with, say, the Taliban? I know, I know, the Religion of Peace whose vision of Peace would necessarily involve universal Talibanisation.
So on the principal of resistance (to the collapse of civilisation) pacifism is on a losing wicket.
They insult the dead and advertise with pride the fact that they would not do anything to help you if you are under deadly attack. Their anger, which is considerable, is directed not at whatever it is that wants to kill them, but at those who, for reasons I find hard to fathom, would give up their lives to protect them from it.” 
“Widespread pacifism is an invitation to the world's dictators and maniacs. It tells them that the country in question is weak, internally divided, unable to hold together. Pacifism only appears in a society when it can be afforded: when it is flabby and decadent and hasn't been tested for a while.”
It’s a good article. I know many people in the Art World who fit this mould, and the thing is, their day-to-day conduct frequently displays high levels of intolerance. 
I absentmindedly broke both (today’s and yesterday’s) two-minute silences without intending to.
Did anyone spot Andrew Neil’s insightful remarks on Sunday Politics concerning Geneva? 
Blink and you’ll miss it. When the New Statesman’s Helen Lewis said “the only one” who was angry at the prospect of a deal was Israel, Neil corrected her quite sharply. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States are as angry, if not more so, said he. Pakistan is prepared to supply Saudi Arabia with Nuclear weapons if Iran gets them, added Nick Wat. (Guardian)
Someone kindly pass this information to Mishal Husain and the Today producers.


Talking of demonising Israel (when am I not?) what about the poisoning, or assassination of Yassir Arafat? Whenever the topic of the nearly-but-not-quite attempts to kill Hitler pops up no-one harps on about ‘moral high ground’ and Geneva conventions; they only regret that they didn’t go to plan. 
So even if the BBC and the MSM fall for the Al Jazeera backed scientific (Moderate) likelihood that Arafat was poisoned, who cares? 
Oh, I know, the pro Palestinian lobby who can add it to their list of accusations.
( Jews release wild pigs in the West Bank to destroy agricultural fields and rats in the Old City of Jerusalem to drive Arab residents out of their homes.More recently, Palestinian media outlets also reported that the IDF had been seen releasing snakes in certain areas of Bethlehem to intimidate Palestinians and drive them out of their homes. They also reported that Jews have been poisoning Palestinian water wells in Hebron.)
The BBC has plastered its website with speculative fluff..
I watched Al Jazeera interviewing Suha and the daughter, who don’t even need to bother specifically accusing Israel themselves. They don’t need to sully the sanctity of their bereavement by stating the obvious because they know they can rely on others to do it for them. The Palestinian-in-the street provides the soundbites and the BBC is sure to pass them on. “No, we’re not surprised he was poisoned” says a dark-eyed beauty, by the look of it  out and about for a bit of retail therapy (Note how ‘moderate’ has morphed to definite) “and we blame Israel of course.” 
Of course.
Yolande Knell is looking more wan by the day as she goes more and more native. In this clip she manages two “Rumullah”s, the second one being a heartfelt “Ruh’Muh’LLLah.   

1 comment:

  1. I had to read Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth' for my A-level. It was the dullest book I've ever read. I only have to think of it these days and I fall asleep straight awa.....zzzzzzzz.


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