Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Who teach children to hate and kill?

By Thaj Aluva

Of all the shocking scenes from Israel’s latest onslaught in Lebanon, what made me pondering most was a picture wired by Associated Press of young Israeli girls scribbling messages on a shell at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border. Israeli soldiers were preparing these shells for a sortie in Lebanon. Arguably, those innocent children might not have been aware of what they were doing. However, one can easily make out that the mood was deliberately created in a bid to fan patriotic feelings among Israeli masses at the backdrop of an escalating conflict with Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters. The picture spoke volumes about how the Israelis think of their military’s mission which was presented to them as “a cause to guarantee their safety.” Whose safety is at risk is not a question at this point.

Now, take a series of other pictures carried by most news agencies and images beamed by most TV channels of innocent children murdered in the incessant precision-bombing of Lebanon by Israel. Many of the bodies were charred beyond recognition or mutilated in the scariest attack the world has seen in the past two three years. In some heart-wrenching scenes, parents or immediate relatives were pictured digging out the bodies of their tiny tots. In Qana, the Israeli atrocities reached its peak as at least 37 children were massacred in a broad day-light bombing of a three-story building.

There is more than what meets the eye in the above two scenes. In the first, a group of innocent children unknowingly send a message in the form of missiles to another group of children. The latter receives it, unknowingly too. All these pose a big question that is starkly in contrast to what the western media was saying about the Palestinian children who were accused of being taught how to hate others. Here, the Israeli children not only being taught to hate others, but were caught young and being shown how other children are being killed.

On several occasions, the Israelis were being depicted as the poor victims of what is called Islamic terrorism. Never in the farthest corner of a newspaper or in the tiniest segment of a television bulletin the Israeli atrocities were referred to as being terrorist. Now, tell me, what should we call the day-light genocide of some 37 refugee children in Qana on Sunday? Even the UN has tasted a piece of the Israeli cake thanks to a deliberate bombing to death four of their peacekeepers, despite repeated phone calls to remind the Israelis about their presence in the area. Still, no body is bold enough to call that terror. Why? Because, that word has already been reserved for somebody else.

Look at the lead stories in Monday's New York Times and Washington Post, a day after the Qana bombing. Forget about terror, both newspapers even fail to call Israel's act as at least a "murder" or even "killing"! The intro in New York Times reads: "Israel agreed to suspend air attacks in southern Lebanon for 48 hours after one of its raids on the southern town of Qana left dozens of civilians, many of them children, dead on Sunday, the bloodiest day of the conflict so far." How careful the word-spinners in the newspaper are! Israel didn't kill those innocent people, but they were just left dead in the raid! Imagine this incident happened in Israel! There would have been no dearth of adjectives to depict the barbaric act. Washington Post agrees that it was killing, but makes it a point to mention in the first line itself that the Israeli warplanes were hunting for Hezbollah rocket-launchers, thereby abdicating the Jewish military of full responsibility for the bombing and shifting the blame on to the Hezbollah rocket-launchers! The world would be a better place without these spin-masters!

Tail ender: Aspiring presidential hopeful, Hillary Rodham Clinton, says Israel is fighting for establishing American values. Long live American values!