THE VILLAGE SOAPBOX
Ron speasks out against recent events in Gaza, the use of ethnic nicknames and bonuses
I am so angry over the whole situation in relation to Gaza and especially the BBC's excuse of impartiality for not broadcasting the humanitarian appeal. In April 2006 an independent panel for the BBC governors reported on the reporting of the Palestinian conflict:
"one important feature of the BBC's coverage is the failure to convey adequately the disparity in the Israeli and Palestinian experience reflecting the fact that one side is in control and the other lives under occupation - it is so marked and important that coverage should succeed in this if nothing else".
The attitude of the USA and the UK towards this conflict is so one sided and hypocritical it beggars belief and the BBC tends to follow the same line. How on earth could broadcasting a humanitarian appeal be regarded as taking sides? The BBC claims that there was support for their decision but where did that support come from? From the Israelis, Zionists and Israeli sympathisers in the States perhaps? Who is influencing the BBC?
The root of all the trouble that exists between the Islam and the West is the injustice to the Palestinians that has been meted out by Israel with the unconditional support of the US. It is said that we must stop the flow of arms to the terrorists, in my view this is down to the US. They are supplying the Israelis with the very latest weaponry and the Israelis are using these weapons with a disregard for human life and are terrorising a beleaguered, impoverished undernourished population trapped in a narrow strip of land. Who are the terrorists? Until this supply of weapons is cut off there can be no settlement.
The Israelis have a history of being complicit in the massacre of 1700 Palestinians in refugee camps in the Lebanon, of invading the Lebanon, causing 17,500 deaths in 1982, mostly civilians, and again in 2006 with the blessing of George Bush and Tony Blair but against the views of the rest of the world. They have built settlements all over the West Bank in defiance of UN resolutions so that there are now over half a million Israelis living illegally in Palestinian land, thereby making the two-state-solution that Tony Blair and the US pretend to support no longer viable. They have maintained a blockade of Gaza for the last 18 months. These actions have done nothing towards bringing about peace in the area, rather they have fostered an undying hatred that will ensure conflict for years, if not centuries. Unwisely, the Palestinians in Gaza have continued to show their defiance of Israeli domination by the only means available to them, firing little rockets that have inflicted minimal casualties. Unfortunately this gave the Israelis the excuse to deliver another crushing blow, killing hundreds of Palestinians and destroying many buildings and much of the infrastructure. The British Government tended to blame the Palestinians but most of the world's nations have not accepted the excuse and condemn Israel. A cynic might suggest that they chose the time whilst George Bush was still in office.
The United Nations Charter requires Israel to support collective measures to remove threats or breaches of the peace and it is incumbent upon the US, as a founder member, to support collective action and condemn unilateral action. Israel and the US have treated the framework that was established by the UN with complete contempt.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait there was considerable damage to Kuwait property. After the war a UN Security Council resolution required Iraq to pay $53bn in compensation for the damage, much of this was subsequently paid by Saddam before the invasion of Iraq. Can we expect a similar UN resolution requiring Israel to pay compensation for the damage in Gaza or will this be another example of Western hypocrisy?
The Israelis like to perpetuate the myth that they are under threat from the Arab states but the majority of Arab nations have long since recognised Israel's right to exist. Israel is far and away the strongest military power in the region, it is a ruthless nuclear state with a stock of missiles, chemical and biological weapons and the means of delivery. They do not respect international laws and conventions and do as they please.
It was reported that Rabbi Avi Ronzki, the Israeli army's chief rabbinate, prepared a booklet for the troops in advance of their recent attack on Gaza. In this book he claimed that sometimes cruelty is a good attribute and that the Palestinians are like the Philistines, a warlike menace. The booklet makes reference to earlier Jewish teaching where it is said that one must not be enticed by the folly of the gentiles who have mercy for the cruel. It is appalling that a religious leader should preach in this way to soldiers invading another nation. It might help to explain the claims that Israeli soldiers deliberately shot women and children.
The truth is that the Israelis do not appear to be seeking a settlement with the Palestinians but seem to be intent on eventually colonising the whole of what was formerly Palestine. There is no wonder that they are hated by the Palestinians and their fellow Muslims in the region. Sadly that hatred is not restricted to the Israelis but extends the West in general and, because of our support for Israel, to us and the USA in particular. The conflict will leave a legacy of hatred and distrust that will last for generations. It need not and should not have been allowed to get to this stage if only the UN had been permitted to act on the high principles that were established when it was created after world war II.
What's in a Name
When a group of men work together or see each other on a very regular basis, especially young men, even schoolboys, it is quite usual for them to have nicknames. It is also quite usual for them to pick on some physical peculiarity in order to decide on a nickname, something that is unique to that person. I was called Dumbo when at school, as you can guess I have rather large ears, a feature that was even more noticeable when I was a schoolboy. I did not take offence and there was no ill intent on the part of my peers, it was a friendly name. I was not alone, of course, another of our group was known as Schnozzle, there was Bunter and Carrots as well as others. When I was an apprentice my nickname was Killer, not because of any aggressive tendencies, simply because of the association with kilowatts, and there was Shorty, Tubby, Lofty, Haggis, Dusty, Pongo and so on, all good natured. A similar situation exists in the armed services. We didn't have any black or brown colleagues at school or amongst our apprentice group, if we had I am sure that that physical characteristic would have been picked on as the source for a nickname. If we had had a Pakistani he might have been called Paki, although I think we might have been more imaginative, if we had had a black man, 'Sooty' would have been a good choice.
These would have been nicknames, what was all the fuss about when Harry and Charles admitted to using such names for their friends?
We need to pay huge bonuses to bankers in order to attract and keep the most able people; if we did not we would finish up with people running the banks who have had little or no banking experience and who have no banking qualifications. People like that could bring he whole banking system crashing down, but paying huge bonuses should ensure that that couldn't happen???