Sacred monsters: footnote to the genocide in Gaza

Published: Thu 8 Jan 2009 11:08 AM
Sacred monsters: a footnote to the genocide in Gaza
By Toni Solo
One can only hope Israel's genocide in Gaza makes it impossible in future for hypocritical, sadistic governments and their leaders, especially Israel's allies in North America and Europe, to defend Israel's occupation of Palestine. Those governments' sham efforts for a ceasefire have shown a clear willingness to allow Israel's leaders to murder as many Palestinians as they like. The corporate media, for once, have had little choice but to acknowledge the horror Israel has perpetrated.
That horror overwhelms the relevance of questions about the nature and structure of protest and denunciation. But they are still worth bearing in mind. People in Europe or North America have the luxury of picking their allegiances á la carte. Despite occasional terrorist attacks there is no systematic imposition of violence on them as there has been on the Palestinians for 60 years now.
For the moment, the general progressive consensus seems to be that Hamas is entitled to fight in self-defence against Israel's genocidal violence. Before, the consensus was otherwise. What has changed over the last month is the scale of things. Even the corporate media can no longer conceal Israel crimes against the Palestinians.
If it is all right now for Hamas to act in self-defence, why was it not all right before? Most people now outraged at the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians were quiescent at Israel's low level genocide of the previous months, of the last few years, of the last decades. The destruction of the Palestinians was slower in the past but just as deliberate.
What has happened in the last couple of weeks means people can no longer continue life-as-usual without becoming accomplices to the genocide. But the current massacres will end eventually. People will drop the protests and go back to their normal routine. Unless they continue to urge justice for the Palestinians they will indeed become accomplices to the genocide that has been supported for many years now by Israel's allies, the governments of the European Union and of North America.
The current outrage will probably subside quickly. The international betrayal by Western Bloc governments of the Palestinians will almost certainly continue. People in North America and Europe may protest and lobby from time to time. But their protests, campaigns and lobbying will be futile because their anti-democratic, anti-humanitarian governments are determined to deny for ever any use for the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights except as a wall adornment. The Palestinians will fight on for self-determination and justice to the bitter end, for all practical purposes more or less alone.
That reality makes it important for other peoples, faced for the time being with less extreme forms of imperialist extortion from the governments of North America and Europe, to take stock. They are up against the total hypocrisy and absolute sadism of Western Bloc governments and leaders along with the deep complicity of the Western Bloc corporate media. And they are faced also with the complete whimsicality of international solidarity. The case of Nicaragua is categorical in this regard.
A majority of Palestinians supported Hamas since before the elections in 2006. But progressive opinion still tended to reject the right of the Palestinians led by Hamas to armed self-defence. In Nicaragua, nationally a majority of people voted for the FSLN in the recent municipal elections. But progressive opinion still gave credence to claims of fraud by the imperialist aligned opposition.
Le Monde Diplomatique published an article by Monica Baltodano, one of the Nicaraguan opposition's token leftists, attacking the FSLN and claiming that the elections were indeeed fraudulent. Baltodano, a consummately hypocritical opportunist, has worked consistently with the right wing opposition in Nicaragua's National Assembly to destroy the FSLN's progressive programme of government. Earlier in 2008, Ignacio Ramonet, director of Le Monde Diplomatique, wrote forcefully in defence of another vicious, hypocritical opponent of the FSLN government, the poet Ernesto Cardenal.
In June of 2008, leading figures like Noam Chomsky, Mario Benedetti, Ariel Dorfman, Eduardo Galeano and Tom Hayden issued an ill-informed statement in support of Dora Maria Tellez, former revolutionary turned social democrat. Tellez was protesting that the FSLN government was persecuting her political party. In fact, her political party was subject to a legal-administrative action initiated by the right-wing Nicaraguan opposition PLC party.
Within months, Dora Maria Tellez and her social democrat colleagues openly aligned with the PLC, just before the municipal elections of 2008. Her protest was a complete sham. Still Noam Chomsky and others supported Tellez just as Ignacio Ramonet and others have supported Cardenal and Baltodano.
Eminent progressive intellectuals end up becoming sacred monsters. Among certain sectors criticising them is virtually taboo. Their disproportionate influence makes for a certain reluctance to challenge their foolish mistakes and disingenuous evasions. On Nicaragua, individuals like Noam Chomsky and Ignacio Ramonet have chosen to side with imperialist fellow travellers like Dora Maria Tellez, dishonest opportunists like Monica Baltodano and embittered narcissists like Ernesto Cardenal.
There is a deep sense in which they are all irrelevant, just as those people are who avow support for the Palestinians but look askance at Hamas. At grass roots, people support organizations that meet their needs and represent their aspirations. In Gaza, the North American and European governments support Israel because they want to destroy Palestinian support for Hamas. In Nicaragua, those governments act purposefully to destroy support for the FSLN.
Via their ally Israel, the North American and European governments seek to destroy the Palestinians as a people. In Colombia, they support the narco-terror regime of Alvaro Uribe. Against Cuba, they collude with the criminal US government blockade. In Bolivia and Venezuela, they support their local allies against the profoundly democratic and humanitarian revolutionary processes led by Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez.
People's responses to this reality depend on their class loyalties and the courage of their convictions. In Palestine or Lebanon people refuse to submit to the imperialist regional project the North American and European governments seek to impose though their ally Israel. Likewise, in Nicaragua, people who have worked against imperialism for decades at grass roots will continue doing so, regardless of foolish, disingenuous interventions from sacred monsters on behalf of the local allies of the North American and European governments.
toni writes for

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