The last post on war: Thoughts, wishes, duty… a poem

poem

The last post on war: Thoughts, wishes, duty… a poem
The art of war or the tools of Collateral Damage

Any weapon that has triggers, buttons, LCD screens, joysticks, levers, switches, pedals or any other form of ‘human delegates to machine to kill human’ mode of operation is a weapon to be used mostly against civilians.

For the 1000 comments I received that rime with ‘terrorists hiding between civilians’, and regardless of the interpretation of the intentions of the people pulling the triggers, all modern weaponry are fundamentally designed to kill civilians, not soldiers! It’s with much hypocrisy that countries, defense contractors and armies say that they are out there to minimize civilian casualty, for they have never been able to! Battles are never confined to a field in the desert, they are always fought over and/or to control civilian areas!

With the smallest automatic weapon, one man can shoot 40 bullets in few minutes, 40 bullets can potentially kill 40 men. If each solider can potentially kill 40 men, then an army equipped with the smallest weapons can potentially kill 40 times its size! Those weapons have an ‘intrinsic’ potential allowing them to always extend their reach beyond the opponents ‘protected’ army and to extort a much higher cost from the more ‘vulnerable’ civilians!

The Math of modern warfare and weapons is freaky, and regardless of the declared intentions, these little geeky marvels with fancy names (and smart adjectives), auto-manage, every time, to claim back their role as mass civilian exterminators! And this always happens despite the sour, the sorry and the apologetic… All of them!

At the end, Soldiers are the only collateral damage in wars! The rest is the real intended damage…

Dissuasive arms and preemptive wars

The race for those increasingly more lethal weapons is always made while convincing the masses with the hypocritical alibi of strategic balance, dissuasion and strategic peace! In reality it is only a mater of postponing a conflict until you get a much bigger stick!

From the womb of dissuasion, mad-strategists (scarier than mad-scientists) who think straight out of their butts have been preaching the ‘benefits’ and ‘moral correctness’ of preemptive strikes. BS on the side, this is only fostered by their arrogant belief that having a much, much, much longer stick (that happens to work by pushing buttons nowadays) can neutralize a potentially, potential, potentialicious threat. As for verifying whether the potential for the threat would concretize! Why bother?! ‘If you have the strategic dissuasive advantage, don’t sleep on it! Use it!’, it’s cheaper than verifying anything… and it’s boring to wait anyway! Not to forget that, at some point, they also need a ‘when and where’ to test the XXX Billion dollars in offense (defense for them) technology invested every year and to generate new demand! (…And what country boasts about its huge defense industry despite its little size?)

One of the dimensions of the latest war over Lebanon was, also, a pre-emptive strike to neutralize the elusive potential of Iran waging war against Israel and using the ridiculously long stick of the Israeli air force against Hizbollah bases. Needless to say, that once again, the collateral damage on the armed Hizbollah soldiers was low, while the real and painful damage was only imposed on civilians and their infrastructure.

My ‘last war related post’ wish list

When I wrote my first anti-war posting, I didn’t suspect the aggression would last that long nor I thought that I would transform my photo stream into an open anti-war blog.

As the circle of violence expanded, my anger and my pessimism grew with it. The latest events since the 2nd Intifada and the Iraq invasion were not good indicators that such adventures in our region and especially under the current worldwide power imbalance could be mastered at all.

Having the Neo-Cons in charge in the US, a mayor in charge in Tel-Aviv, another mayor in Tehran, weak and visibly resigned (to an un-dead peace) Arab governments and a weak “false” majority in charge in Lebanon were not at all reassuring factors.

I was fearing for the worst, I’m still somehow holding my breath and hoping that things would fall into place until all Israeli soldiers are out of Lebanon and the Lebanese army (and UN forces) take control of the south… But before I can breath a sigh of relief, I will also be crossing my fingers all the long it takes to:
– Israel stopping its regular aggressions into Lebanese territorial airspace and waters
– Lebanese prisoners in Israel (and newly abducted) being swapped against the abducted Israeli soldiers
– Israel refraining from any new -rash- actions such as the ones preached in the last defeat speech of its mayor, for under these conditions Hizbollah will not disarm!
– Lebanese democracy growing stronger as the dynamic forces of the country claim again the power from the current corrupted corruptors and their associates the lords of darkness and civil war
– Hizbollah and Palestinian camps disarm peacefully and a Lebanese national defense force is allowed to rise to the height of the threats and to constitute a stabilizing factor

And my extended wish list

But things being connected the way they are in our regional village, I figured, I will need to keep crossing my fingers even longer! For, as dreamy as the previous wishes are, their concretization will not -unfortunately- be enough to end our plight! We also would need in a not so distant future for:
– Zionism discovering that it made a historical mistake in assessment for the past 100 years and apologizing to its Arab and Jewish victims alike (could be a silent apology even, a thought would suffice maybe!)
– Zionism and Israel denouncing territorial expansion and accepting Israel into the pre-1967 borders (while curbing their drive for negotiatory acrobatics as it has been the case since Madrid accords)
– A Palestinian state under equitable terms is hatched (illegal settlements unsettled etc.)
– A just solution is offered for the Palestinian refugees, duly compensating them for their 60 years predicament and allowing them to -at least- optionally exercise the right of return to their motherland
– The US pulls out gracefully from a ‘civil-war free’ Iraq
– The Middle-East becomes WMD free (…and maybe the rest of the world could follow the next day)
– The clash of civilizations is remembered as a reference to a ‘McDonalds shops fight Falafel joints over market share’ type of situation or to the Olympic Games.

And other wishes too… such as the NeoCons in Washington renouncing to their pipe dreams and scheming and starting to comprehend that the real world is more intricate than what their ‘war games’ and ‘probabilities’ can show them. And while those games can be, nevertheless, a good form of entertainment to the expensive ‘Think tanks’ and ‘strategic consultants’, those people shouldn’t be encouraged to Think anymore that they can apply them to the rest of us each now and then.

I guess whoever is still reading up to here gets the point of why I’m pessimistic, for maybe the 1st bunch of wishes are realizable with lots of good luck but the 2nd are only wishful wishes in the current state of affairs… And meanwhile, the strategic luminaries are still thinking ‘Maybe the stick needs to grow longer’ before the next strike!

Yet there is stuff to feel good about

Flickr has given me the opportunity to meet lots of nice talented photographers, but this time and with this latest wave of war blogging, it gave me the opportunity to dramatically widen my circle. It was heart warming to read all the people from around the world that supported and defended Lebanon (and Palestine) and understood to a great degree the essence of the conflict. I am particularly thankful to the Israelis that did it (and all Israelis who left comments).

Maybe awareness and rising public opinion to the real issues are the magic cure! Maybe this last unique worldwide phenomenon in the history of Arab-Israeli conflict was what contributed into accelerating this happy ending (regardless of its fragility). Despite the sad and hefty toll, seeing the displaced go back to their villages so fast was in itself the most comforting scene!

The more the world public opinion gains insight into the roots and realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the more power is taken away from the scheming schemers and given to the real courageous peace builders on both sides of the divide… And that is not a wish this time but the duty for all!

—-

This anti-war poem was sent to me by a good friend. The text, written by an Israeli poet (Chanoch Levin), is very beautiful and eloquent. I already posted one of his poems earlier. Using his strong words again, was the best way for me to end this series.

Chess Game

Where is my child, my child where has he gone?
A black pawn is striking a white pawn.
Will not return my dad, my dad will not come home.
A white pawn is striking a black pawn.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene,
The king is playing with his queen.

My child will never wake, he shall sleep forevermore.
A black pawn is striking a white pawn.
My dad is in the dark, and will never see the sun.
A white pawn is striking a black pawn.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene,
The king is playing with his queen.

My child who’s in my lap, now he’s in a cloud.
A black pawn is striking a white pawn.
My dad’s warm heart, now his heart is cold.
A white pawn is striking a black pawn.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene,
The king is playing with his queen.

Where is my child, my child where has he gone?
Fell down both black and white pawns.
Will not return my dad, my dad will not come home.
And there are no white or black pawns.
Mourning in the rooms, and the garden is serene;
On empty board remain just king and queen.

Chanoch Levin, 1968
Image by FlickrJunkie

@Museotron2009 @thekwlman Wheeeey. was the poem about porn? – by CoraaaaaX (Cora Simpson ?)

@paperpocketxo yup. My bestman speech was a poem…and funny I was told :/ (well, twas s'posd 2B) – by mattmooey (Matt Parsons)

RT @janeslyfemacate: WOW, ganda ng poem ,she would really appreciate it RT @autumnines : @janeslyfemacate sure did. :) http://www.twitlonger.com/show/9kahd7by autumnines (Autumn Ines)



12 Responses to The last post on war: Thoughts, wishes, duty… a poem

  1. KliX

    Hi FJ, maybe you can add George Galloway to the supporters of Lebanon an Palestine in his interview at SKY news.
    May some day no children end up in the clouds and no warm hearts become cold.

  2. arbitrarypromises

    It’s amazing how people like you miss the point. Do you really think Israel would waste time and money destroying Lebanon for no reason, or just because they love to kill civilians? Do you really think they are pure evil and the lebanese are all innocents? Did you forget why the israelis entered Lebanon during the civil war and why this last conflict started? The point is simple and clear: both the israelis and the lebanese are to be blamed equally for this silly "war". Besides, have you considered these 1000 people who said that "terrorists are hiding between civilians" may be right? Say whatever you want, at least the israelis manage to live in a developed country with a democratic system, with a strong army supported by the most powerful country in the planet. It’s a stupid idea to fight them. They will resume their lives after this "war" with minor problems. What about the lebanese radicals supported by the majority of the population who actually started this last conflict? Do you think the lebanese learned the lesson it’s dumb to fight a lost war against much stronger opponents? Eventually you may stop your bigotry and maybe you’ll take time to get a clue, but most likely you’ll live in rage and get into more trouble.

  3. Or Hiltch

    Hi Rabih,

    Firstly I would like to say thanks for providing me with the opportunity of getting to know some people on the other side of the fence. It has been great knowing you even though the circumstances are morbid ones.

    Secondly, I strongly agree with your opening: “Battles are never confined to a field in the desert, they are always fought over and/or to control civilian areas!”

    Never in the history of war, in times when people battled to destroy each other, was any international convention respected. That is the sad nature of the idiotic thing called war, and in my personal opinion it is very hypocritical to think otherwise.

    As for the wishful thinking of the last paragraphs, I’ll throw my dreamers version in:
    try {
    – Syria and Iran leave Lebanon completely and quit their encouragement to the aggressive military forces in Lebanon
    – Israel withdraws completely from Lebanon and from the Palestinian territories
    – The Palestinians are living in their own free state in the pre 67 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, and no borders between the two countries

    "And the land was silent…"
    }

    catch (DREAMEREXCEPTION) { }

  4. Embra

    Ignoring arbitrarypromises little diatribe, can I just add my thanks to you, and to the Israelis who’ve added (thoughtful) comments, even those I vehemently disagree with? Dialog is the way forward, and I don’t mean the dialog of screaming that one Army is better than another, but the tentative dialog between neighbours. oRcA_MaN especially, you’ve been thoughtful and considerate, even when you had problems with what those of us on the other side said, and that way lies reconcilliation.

  5. gusramadan

    @ Arbitrarypromises Thank-you for the advice i will make sure to pass your words to every Lebanese and to every soul thirthty for freedom.
    @Orcaman would you mind to toss the choice of return to the Palestinian,with the compensation for whatever they endure from creating the state of Israel?Fair… no ?

  6. Marja Reetta

    peace on earth..i don’t have anymore tears left…I miss you Lebanon

  7. ¡-click

    who thinks that the war has ended here is totally wrong! we wish but
    israel seems to have no respect for the resolution after the truce violation from israeli side!

    19 August 2006 – Statement attributable to the Spokesman of the Secretary-General on Israel and Lebanon

    The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities as laid out in Security Council resolution 1701. The incident involved an Israeli raid in eastern Lebanon on Saturday.

    According to UNIFIL, there have also been several air violations by Israeli military aircraft.

    All such violations of Security Council resolution 1701 endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation and undermine the authority of the Government of Lebanon. The Secretary-General further calls on all parties to respect strictly the arms embargo, exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701.

    The Secretary-General has today spoken to the Prime Ministers of Israel and Lebanon about this matter.

    He has further instructed that daily reports of compliance on the cessation of hostilities by the parties should be provided to the Security Council.

    New York

    19 August 2006
    http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp

  8. FlickrJunkie

    History Will Judge Us All On Our Actions
    Wall Street Journal
    Michel Aoun
    July 31, 2006 – RABIEH, Lebanon

    While aircraft, sea-craft, and artillery pound our beloved Lebanon, we Lebanese are left, as usual, to watch helplessly and pay a heavy price for a war foisted upon us due to circumstances beyond our control.

    Considering that this crisis could have been avoided, and considering that there is — and has been — a solution almost begging to be made, one cannot but conclude that all of this death, destruction and human agony will, in retrospect, be adjudged as having been in vain.

    No matter how much longer this fight goes on, the truth of the matter is that political negotiations will be the endgame. The solution that will present itself a week, a month or a year from now will be, in essence, the same solution as the one available today, and which, tragically, was available before a single shot was fired or a single child killed. Given this reality, a more concerted effort is required sooner rather than later to stop the death and destruction on both sides of the border.

    From the outset, this dispute has been viewed through the differing prisms of differing worldviews. As one who led my people during a time when they defended themselves against aggression, I recognize, personally, that other countries have the right to defend themselves, just as Lebanon does; this is an inalienable right possessed by all countries and peoples.

    For some, analysis as to this conflict’s sources and resolutions begins and ends with the right to self-defense; for others, Israel’s claimed self-defensive actions are perceived as barbaric and offensive acts aimed at destroying a country and liquidating a people. Likewise, some view Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers as fair military game to pressure Israel to return Lebanese prisoners; yet others perceive it as a terrorist act aimed at undermining Israel’s sovereignty and security.

    These divergences, and the world’s failure to adopt different paradigms by which Middle East problems can be fairly analyzed and solved, have produced, and will continue to produce, a vicious cycle of continuing conflict. If the approach remains the same in the current conflict, I anticipate that the result will be the same. This, therefore, is a mandate to change the basis upon which problems are judged and measured from the present dead-end cycle to one which is based on universal, unarguable principles and which has at least a fighting chance to produce a lasting positive result.

    My own personal belief is that all human life is equal and priceless — I look upon Israeli life as the same as Lebanese life. This belief stems not from my Catholic religion, but rather, from basic human values which have their historic home in Lebanon. It is no coincidence that a leading figure in the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was Charles Malek, a Lebanese citizen.

    I ask, will other Arab countries and leaders have the courage to acknowledge that Israeli life is equal to Arab life? Will Israel have the courage as well to acknowledge that Lebanese life is equal to Israeli life, and that all life is priceless? I believe that most Israeli and Arab citizens would answer in the affirmative. Can we get their governments and their leaders to do the same?

    Acknowledgement of equality between the value of the Lebanese and the Israeli people can be a starting point and a catalyst. The universal, unarguable concept of the equality of peoples and of human life should be the basis upon which we measure and judge events, and should provide the common human prism through which the current conflict, and old seemingly everlasting conflicts, are viewed and resolved. This is the only way to peace, prosperity and security, which is, after all, what all human beings desire, regardless of their origin.

    The ideological, political and religious differences between the party that I lead, the Free Patriotic Movement, and Hezbollah, could have been addressed either through confrontation, or through internal dialogue. Recognizing the value of human life, the obvious choice was the second option. We sat down with Hezbollah to discuss our differences.

    After many months of extensive negotiations, we came up with an understanding that included 10 key items which laid down a roadmap to resolve 10 of the most contentious points of disagreement. For example, Hezbollah agreed for the first time that Lebanese who collaborated with Israel during Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon should return peacefully to Lebanon without fear of retribution. We also agreed to work together to achieve a civil society to replace the present confessional system which distributes power on the basis of religious affiliation. Additionally, Hezbollah, which is accused of being staunchly pro-Syrian, agreed for the first time that the border between Lebanon and Syria should be finally delineated, and that diplomatic relations between the two countries should be established.

    We also agreed that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should be disarmed, that security and political decision-making should be centralized with the Lebanese government, and that all Lebanese political groups should disengage themselves from regional conflicts and influences.

    Last but not least, our extensive negotiations with Hezbollah resulted in an articulation of the three main roadblocks regarding resolution of the Hezbollah arms issue: First, the return of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli prisons. Second, the return of the Shebaa farms, a tiny piece of Lebanese territory still occupied by Israel. And third, the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to provide for Lebanon’s defense, centered upon a strong national army and central state decision-making authority in which all political groups are assured a fair opportunity to participate.

    This structure, if joined together with international guarantees which forbid the nationalization of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and which protect Lebanon from Israeli incursions, and if tied on the internal level to a new, fair and uniform electoral law, is the best hope for peacefully resolving the Hezbollah weapons issue.

    This is the essence of the comprehensive solution we seek. Because it embodies a shift from a policy based on military force to one founded upon human values and reconciling the rights of parties, it would stand the test of time. If rights are respected, and if parties are treated with the deference that they implicitly deserve as human beings, then the long-term result will be not only physical disarmament, but also a disarmament of minds on both sides.

    Our party presented this solution internally to all Lebanese political groups, the Lebanese government, and the international community — including the U.S. administration — repeatedly, for an entire year before this crisis began.

    Rather than help us to resolve the weapons issue peacefully and avoid the current agony our country is now enduring, the international community and Lebanese government flatly ignored the proposed solution. Many of Lebanon’s main political players cast us aside as "pro-Syrian" "allies" of Hezbollah. No matter. These are the same individuals who — only a year before — branded me a "Zionist agent" and brought treason charges against me when I dared to testify before a Congressional subcommittee that Syria should end its occupation of my country.

    You see, after Lebanon was liberated from Syrian occupation, the international community (apparently enamored by the quixotic images of the Cedar Revolution) demanded that the Lebanese elections take place immediately and "on time"; it brushed off our grave concerns about the electoral law in force, which had been carefully crafted by Syria and imposed upon Lebanon in the year 2000 to ensure re-election of Syria’s favorite legislators.

    This flawed electoral law — initially imposed upon us by Syria and then reimposed upon us by the international community — has had disastrous results. It brought to power a Lebanese government with absolute two-thirds majority powers, but which was elected by only one-third of the populace. With a legislative and executive majority on one side, and a popular majority on the other side, the result was absolute gridlock. Currently in Lebanon, there is no confluence of popular will with government will, and therefore the government cannot deal effectively with this or any other problem.

    History will judge us all on our actions, and especially on the unnecessary death and destruction that we leave behind. The destruction currently being wrought upon Lebanon is in no way measured or proportional — ambulances, milk factories, power stations, television crews and stations, U.N. observers and civilian infrastructure have been destroyed.

    Let us proceed from the standpoint that all human life is equal, and that if there is a chance to save lives and to achieve the same ultimate result as may be achieved without the senseless killings, then let us by all means take that chance.

    (Mr. Aoun, the former prime minister of Lebanon and commander of its armed forces, is currently a deputy in the Lebanese parliament.)

  9. David Lewis-Baker

    I’m admin for a new group called War and Memory in Art and Photography, and I would love to have your piece along with any others that fit the genre added to the group.
    david:>)

  10. bypheakkley

    i love people with a lot to say!

    lovely.

    We’re having a poetry contest! Over 200.00 in custom and free paintings and fair trade prizes! You can browse out albums to see examples of commissioned works and paintings.

    Ends October 21st. I thought you might be interested! We’d love to see you there.

    Our goal is to get people expressing themselves in every aspect of their live and art! Thank you! Take care!

    http://www.pheakkley.wordpress.com

  11. mikescottnz

    Given the latest Wall St Bankers debacle there’s a sense that history repeats.For the interesting ,alternative history overview of the US or our western financial system ; that has perhaps promoted a false engagement in several wars for the bankers profits, the Zietgeist movie clips are a ? must see or allow one to think outside the mainstream or square.See below. It can’t all be dimissed?

    http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_149 10.cfm

  12. David C. Foster

    Hi,

    Great photo; can you send it to this group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/worldpolitics/ ?

    Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>