Monday, December 29, 2008

Change! Change! Change! Mr Obama

Six bishops in the Church of England have now criticized the government over their being wedded to continuous economic growth. Gordon Brown wants us to start borrowing again. He wants the banks to offer easy credit once more.

As someone who is relatively rich I find it hard to criticize those poor people who want more, but I have to ask the question, "How much is enough?"

Through my letter box today came a magazine offering me such goodies as a telescope that will magnify 60 times for £60. Why would I want one? How about an official Swiss Military chrongraph for £300. It looks awfully like a wrist watch and I have one of those already. How about a car hammock for £25 or a slobber-free 'fetch' toy for dogs at only £9 or a giant electric lint shaver for £15? An instant stick-on shirt button? A solar marker light for paths and drives? Spykee - the first ever wi-fi robot, a snip at £279.95? Rechargeable color-changing flame lights? A natural woven willow hideaway for a wheelie bin?

Is this what is needed to keep the economy running? I sat down this morning wondering whether I should replace my VHS collection with DVDs. Yet I see in this magazine the offer of an old fashioned radiogram so I can play my old 45s or 33s. On my hard-drive recorder I have so many films and TV programmes recorded that I shall never have enough time to watch them. I started watching one tonight - Funny Face with Audry Hepburn and Fred Astair. I've never seen such tosh.

Our society has taken a wrong path. Perhaps bread and circuses are necessary to keep the peasants under control, but if so, what a mess we have made of our lives. Are there no real problems to solve in this world?

Israel declares total war on Hamas. I can see how they have been provoked, but is it likely to solve anything? People have selective memories. A man on talk radio was cursing the Israelis this morning. He complained that Palestinian territory had been annexed in 1967, as if there were no reason for it. As if the six-day war had never taken place.

He was probably too young to remember it - it was 41 years ago. He talked of the Palestinians as if they were not Arabs. Such ignorance! Here was someone who had not been subject to 60 years of brainwashing against Israel. What hope is there for a resolution.

The Old Testament solution would be to wipe out every last Hamas supporter; man woman and child. King Saul was punished even for sparing the King. I doubt that genocide would escape the notice of the world's press, and even George W Bush would be upset with them.

On the other hand, what can the Israelis do when hundreds of rockets rain down on their southern towns? Why do Hamas do it? They inflict very little damage on Israel. Is it to provoke a reaction like this? Do they hope to win a propaganda war? Do they think that Israel cares what the Europeans or the Russians or the Arabs think? Do they imagine America will abandon Israel when a large proportion of the American electorate believes that the return of the Jews to Jerusalem is one of the signs that presage the Second Coming?

Hamas won an election by promising to end corruption, to introduce good schools and a decent free health service. Wouldn't we all vote for motherhood and apple pie. They also promised to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. You probably wouldn't vote for a party that offered free health care, free education, and lower taxes. Your little grey cells would murmur, "It can't be done."

The West Bank and Gaza always was a failed state relying on hand-outs form a guilt-ridden Europe and America who together brought about the state of Israel, in part because of guilt about the Holocaust, in part to assuage Jewish voters and in part because of promises made by our grandfathers. This aid was only forthcoming if two mutually incompatible concepts could be believed at the same time: a free and secure Israel and a peaceful Palestinian homeland. Hamas won't buy into the former so the aid dried up.

The rockets are deliberately fired from densely populated areas. Hamas intends for civilians to be killed. How else can they mobilize the Western Press? Israel doesn't care. They know the Press will hammer them and they don't care. They might care if Obama withdrew American aid, but I bet he won't.

Result: stalemate. The war will continue - cold or hot.

Zadie Smith, the novelist, was guest editor on Radio 4 today. She sent a reporter to Liberia. Remember Liberia? That refuge for freed slaves from America? They elected a female President promising to end corruption. A renewed aid program began with her election. Hasn't it made a difference! Actually no. The aid has flowed into the hands of corrupt rulers; the poor have nothing.

Want to make a difference in this world? Plant a tree; write a book; father a child.

Now what's on television tonight?

1 comment:

Brian Koffman said...

It is the clarity in your moral compass and piercing vision that makes your comments so worthwhile.
Thank you
Happy New Year