The Fern Sidman Commentaries:
August 1st, 2006: "THE RESURGENCE OF ORWELLIAN IDEALS"
When George Orwell originally penned his classic novel "1984", I would venture a guess that neither he nor his readers ever actually envisaged a world that would embrace these warped and twisted values. Fast forward to the year 2006 and we are witness to a world that is being taunted with such strikingly similar values. We live in a world where otherwise educated and civilized people perceive an aggressor as a victim and the victim as the aggressor. Ideals and organizations that are predicated on a theology of terror and espouse a mantra of hate have been elevated to a heroic like status. They have garnered sympathy and support, while the world expresses its unabashed opprobrium towards concepts and countries that espouse justice and respect for life.
We need only look to the current crisis in the Middle East for qualification of the latest version of Orwellian values. The organization known as Hezbollah, an internationally renowned terrorist organization that is being sponsored by Iran and Syria, countries that espouse terrorism and the ultimate demise of Israel and the Western world, staged an unprovoked attack against Israel on July 12th. Since that time, Israel and Hezbollah have been embroiled in a war that raised the ire of the world. The Lebanese people have been used as human shields by Hezbollah whose main objective is to transform the fledgling democracy in Lebanon into another fundamentalist Islamic state.
Hezbollah is a well organized and thoroughly trained band of guerilla fighters who fight their battles while living in civilian populations and blending in with the civilian infrastructure. Since the inception of this current conflict they have fired thousands of Katyusha rockets into Israel from civilian strongholds and neighborhoods throughout southern Lebanon and in Beirut. Civilians are warned each and every time Israel prepares to strike back at Hezbollah terrorists. Thousands of leaflets are disseminated through these civilian areas, imploring all civilians to leave the area.
The recent incident in Qana, which aroused worldwide condemnation of Israel for the killing of 56 civilians, mostly women and children, deserves closer examination. According to writer David Horowitz, "Qana, be it noted was the source of 150 missile attacks on Israeli civilians, and the population of Qana was warned to leave but chose to stay alongside the terrorists. Like most of Lebanon, the population of Qana is on the side of the aggressors, and apparently like most Muslims in this part of the world, death for them is a badge of martyrdom and honor, and a noble pathway to heaven. They are willing instruments of the Islamist jihad."
Further evidence of Hezbollah’s intent to place the Lebanese civilian population at risk has been revealed by Israel Insider’s Reuven Koret, who filed on a report on 7/31/06 which stated, "On the morning of July 30, according to the IDF, the air force came in three waves. In the first, between midnight and one in the morning, there was a strike at or near the building that eventually collapsed. There was a second strike at other targets far from the collapse building several hours later, and a third strike at around 7:30 in the morning. There too the nearest hit was some 460 meters away, according to the IDF. But first reports of a building collapse came only around 8 am."
Thus there was an unexplained 7 to 8 hour gap between the time of the helicopter strike and the building collapse. Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters, in a press briefing, told journalists that "the attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear."
Gen. Eshel appeared genuinely mystified by the gap in time. He said, "I’m saying this very carefully, because at this time I don’t have a clue as to what the explanation could be for this gap," he added.
The army’s only explanation was that somehow there was unexploded Hezbollah ordnance in the building that only detonated much later.
"It could be that inside the building, things that could eventually cause an explosion were being housed, things that we could not blow up in the attack, and maybe remained there," Brigadier General Eshel said.
Eshel reported that as recently as two days ago, military intelligence reported the building area had been used by the terrorists for storage or firing of weapons. It was a bad place to cram dozens of women and children.
There are other mysteries. The roof of the building was intact. Journalist Ben Wedeman of CNN noted that there was a larger crater next to the building, but observed that the building appeared not to have collapsed as a result of the Israeli strike.
Why would the civilians who had supposedly taken shelter in the basement of the building not leave after the post-midnight attack? They just went back to sleep and had the bad luck to wait for the building to collapse in the morning?
These are questions that have yet to be answered. Perhaps in the days that follow investigations of this incident will uncover facts that Hezbollah would prefer to hide from the world. Hezbollah has already won the public relations battle. They clearly have the United Nations in their corner, an international governmental body that sits with bated breath at every opportunity to condemn Israel. They have the EU and the Arab countries on their side. South American and Asian countries have chimed in with their vocal and strident condemnation of Israel as well.
Hezbollah has won the hearts and minds of the Lebanese people, however, in retrospect that wasn’t an arduous battle. The Lebanese people have thrown their support behind Hezbollah as is evidenced in the composition of the Lebanese parliament. Over 20 percent of the members of this parliament are Hezbollah representatives. The Lebanese people never demanded that their government implement and enforce United Nations Security Council resolution 1559 issued in the year 2000, which placed the responsibility of harnessing Hezbollah forces in the hands of the Lebanese military.
The Lebanese people, particularly the Shiitte population in southern Lebanon, view Hezbollah as a big, warm and giving social service agency. Hezbollah has adroitly filled the stomachs of its constituents, fattening them up, metaphorically speaking for the kill. For the beneficiaries of Hezbollah’s outreach and social service programs are now being called upon to pay the piper. They pay with their lives and the lives of the children as human shields for those who gained favor in their hearts for all the "goodness" that was bestowed upon them.
It is of no great revelation that we hear that Lebanese president Faud Siniora praised Hezbollah for its efforts in defeating the Israeli enemy as he attempts to shore up even more support from the Lebanese population for Hezbollah, thereby encouraging even more of them to die as martyrs to an organization that cares nothing for them, their lives or the future of their children.
And yet we hear no sounds of outrage and indignation at the murderous policy of Hezbollah directed at the Lebanese people. We hear of no raucous and explosive demonstrations directed at Hezbollah for placing the lives of its own people in death’s doorway. Instead, we are deluged with condemnations and denunciations of Israel’s military actions in Lebanon. We hear the world condemn Israel’s "disproportionate" response to the constant barrage of Katyusha rockets that have rained down on Israeli cities and towns. We hear admonitions directed at Israel to exercise self-restraint when attempting to defeat their hardened enemy that seeks its destruction.
As Charles Krauthammer stated in his article entitled, "'Disproportionate' in What Moral Universe?'" (Washington Post, 7/28/06), "When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right — legal and moral — to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one’s security again."
Mr. Krauthammer goes on to state that, "The perversity of today’s international outcry lies in the fact that there is indeed a disproportion in this war, a radical moral asymmetry between Hezbollah and Israel: Hezbollah is deliberately trying to create civilian casualties on both sides while Israel is deliberately trying to minimize civilian casualties, also on both sides.
Israeli innocents must die in order for Israel to be terrorized. But Lebanese innocents must also die in order for Israel to be demonized, which is why Hezbollah hides its fighters, its rockets, its launchers, its entire infrastructure among civilians. Creating human shields is a war crime. It is also a Hezbollah specialty.
Had Israel wanted to destroy Lebanese civilian infrastructure, it would have turned out the lights in Beirut in the first hour of the war, destroying the billion-dollar power grid and setting back Lebanon 20 years. It did not do that. Instead it attacked dual-use infrastructure — bridges, roads, airport runways — and blockaded Lebanon’s ports to prevent the reinforcement and resupply of Hezbollah. Ten thousand Katyusha rockets are enough. Israel was not going to allow Hezbollah 10,000 more."
Today the nation of Israel faces even more deadly attacks from the Hezbollah terrorists. Today the nation of Israel, which represents the values of preserving human life, of upholding the loftiest of moral concepts has been transformed into the world’s bogeyman. It is viewed as a giant and ruthless murder machine, which displays a callous disregard for civilian lives. Today the nation of Israel is being raked over the proverbial coals by a world possessed by Orwellian values. Bad is good, right is wrong, justice is injustice. The aggressor is now the victim and the victim is now the horrific aggressor.
Mr. Orwell, wherever you are, we send you a message that your ominous vision has manifested itself. It is a world gone mad, and all vestiges of morality and conscience are slowly and methodically becoming obsolete.
At this most frightening and difficult period in history, those of us left with a modicum of morality, ethics and values must speak out. We must orchestrate a campaign to challenge the purveyors of Orwellian thoughts and to neutralize their vitriolic and incendiary rhetoric.
It is indeed a dark moment in the history of the Jewish people and of the nation of Israel. Our values and ethos must come from our unwavering faith and trust in the Almighty G-d of Israel. Our morals and values must be derived from our G-d given sources of Torah. Our values must reflect the words of our prayers to G-d. Our morals and values spring forth from the divine words of King David in the book of Psalms. It is time to rededicate ourselves to serving our G-d with devotion and passion.
May the Almighty G-d of Israel protect His nation, Israel and may we see a world that can distinguish between light and darkness and of right and wrong.