Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blindness in Cairo

The story of the 1,300 demonstrators stuck in Cairo continues not to attract much attention. The Guardian, generally exuberant in seeking vehicles to cast mud at Israel, doesn't seem to be noticing: I think this is because they're embarrassed. Even the editors of the Guardian don't see how the tale can be told without somehow attracting attention that it's the Egyptians, not the Israelis, who are doing the blockading. The BBC visited the story yesterday, but seems not to have returned today. Been there, done that.

The Mondoweis universe is, of course, bursting: Electronic Intifada, Antony Loewnstein, those folks (but not Richard Silverstein, for whatever reason). I continue to be fascinated by Mondoweiss itself. Yesterday they offered us the reflections of Emily Ratner:
We remember the more than 1,400 that were murdered. We remember the hundreds more who have died as a result of this horrific siege. We remember the tens of thousands who are still homeless, one full year later. And we remember our sisters and brothers on the other side of the Rafah border who have breathed life into this historic march every day for months, who have guided our feet to Cairo, and who light the shadowy path to Gaza. Most of all we remember that they will still be caged in Israel’s massive open-air prison long after we’ve safely returned home.
She sees the Egyptians blocking her, but her hatred of the Israeli prison is unaffected. She's in Cairo, for crying out loud, a city where millions live in squalid cinder-block structures under an undemocratic regime, and in the dimmest way she even knows this, but what comes out is a mishmash of romantic verbiage:
The Egyptian government taunts us, encouraging us to enjoy the tourist attractions Cairo offers during our mandatory stay in the city. And some of us do. We even take Gaza with us: Yesterday, Abdullah Anar, a Turkish Muslim, and Max Geller, an American Jew, raced up the face of one of the pyramids to unveil a 12 meter by 6 meter Palestinian flag. For about three minutes one of the most resilient structures on earth proudly called the name of one of the world’s most unbreakable people. We smuggle stories like this one through the tunnels connecting our hearts, exposing them in whispered reminders of the beauty and truth in this struggle, and the unending patience and flexibility we are slowly learning from our friends in Gaza.
Tunnels connecting hearts in beauty. Do you think she can image real people, living real lives?

Ratner is young, I"m told, not that that's much of an excuse: she's of my childrens' generation, and since they've all carried life and death responsibility by now, they don't need to wallow in such nonsense. Phil Weiss, however, is my age, more or less and can't cite youth to defend his malice.
No one here is talking about the two-state solution or land swaps. They know what the Goldstone report says–those missiles aimed at houses with sleeping children–and they are morally clear on the question. They reflect an international consensus: the end of patience for war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and an ideology of Jewish exceptionalism supported by western governments. Those governments have failed to act so we are speaking out as civil society
At the end of his report Weiss is quite revealing:

We didn’t do what the brave French did, and try to claim the UN plaza with sleeping bags and tents, but when we left we sang We Shall Overcome, mingling the American civil rights anthem with this international cause. Gaza will be free-ee-ee. No it doesn’t look like we will be getting into Gaza, still we are doing important work in Cairo, to transform ourselves and our presence on the world stage. (my italics)

It's all about ME, isn't it, Phil. At the end of the day, it's an exercise in narcissism.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what they imbibe these days to come up with such verbal garbage ...
every one of them trying to imitate the Zolas of this world and thereby exposing themselves us veritable nut-cases - but dangerous, very dangerous, I've been at enough events to know that such language may induce a lot of swooning

Anonymous said...

I noticed something funny when I returned to the US from my visit home: I really didn't care about the news while in Israel. What mattered to me was that I was in Israel, nothing else.

Now back in the US unfortunately, I find myself ensconced in the news again. I read your blog every other day while in IL to keep up with opinions but not much more than a glance at Haaretz and Ynet. My main news concern was the Texans and Rockets sports teams.

I believe the Mondoweiss and Gaurdian people know all too well that not many people care about what their opinion is. I surely don't.

Israel is here to stay. More people are coming home from the Galut. More babies are born everyday, secular and religious. If we could just find a way for a larger part of the Haredi sector to contribute more, you have the makings of an economic juggernaut.

Just my opinion on the Mondos and Gaurdians - I flatulate in their general direction.


Barry Meislin said...

...just an exercise in narcissism?

Actually, it's a very public demonstration of insanity and Israel bashing.

De rigeur at that. No wonder they're so terribly confused.

(Alas if it were only narcissism.... )

Unknown said...

If there's any justice in this world, these people, especially the execrable Phil Weiss, will get lost in the Sinai, never to be heard from again.

Sylvia said...

According to a sound video in the French Journal "Le Monde", 250 Europeans took the road on a bus to Gaza, but they were stopped 80 km from Cairo and escorted back to their hotels by the Egyptian security forces.

The level of arrogance - and perhaps downright racism is evident in the closing sentence of the video, when the speaker patronizes the Egyptian authorities "not to fall into the trap set for them [by the Israelis], namely the brutal shift of responsibility for the current situation from Tel-Aviv to Cairo."

This level of stupidity begs the question: why even take notice?
the only ones they can hurt are the Gazans.


NormanF said...

The Egyptians don't seem to have much tolerance for the moonbats. There's no sympathy for the Gazans in Egypt. Its revealing the bulk of the anti-Israel demonstrators are Westerners rather than Arabs.

And that is quite telling.

Zach said...

The Guardian may have ignored the GFM's, but the Huffington Post couldn't get enough stories about them:


They published a grand total of nine op-eds and news stories about the marchers.

Empress Trudy said...

You know you can't shame the shameless. Pointing it out to them is even less productive. This is why paranoia is so hard an illness to treat....they're all 'in on it', aren't they?

AKUS said...

"They know what the Goldstone report says–those missiles aimed at houses with sleeping children–and they are morally clear on the question."

For one brief moment I thought he was referring to kassams aimed at Jewish houses with Jewish children sleeping in them.

No such luck.

Avigdor said...

AKUS, I read it the EXACT same way! :)

It's amazing, isn't it?

Gavin said...

I find these people a bit scary because they're dangerous when they get together in these kind of numbers. I haven't heard rhetoric like this since the big anti-apartheid protests in my country back in the eighties. They feed of each others stupidity & get more radical & irrational as the numbers grow.

There is some humour to be found however. Been 15yrs since I was in Cairo but I can still recall the poverty & I've heard things are a whole lot worse there now. I keep picturing hordes of Cairene urchins turning up to watch the bizarre spectacle of well-padded westerners going without food for a few days. A hunger strike.... in Cairo? You just couldn't make that up.

The english language usually has a delightful range of scathing epithets to describe these people; smug, patronising, condescending, arrogant, supercilious, egotistical.... This time it's failed me, the words all seem so inadequate.