Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Brothers in Arms?

(The above flag is that of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards; the lower of Hezbollah)

Even though we all know that Hezbollah is trained and equipped by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, it is rather surprising to see the shocking resemblance in their flags. Apart for the colors and the Arabic writing, the rest of the flag (hand, weapon, globe and leaf) are exactly the same.
Hezbollah is such a highly trained guerilla force, that it is now compared to the special forces of the Revolutionary Guards. Any thoughts on this close-partnership?

40 Comments:

Blogger Sean Piggott said...

Just a thought;

I can't read Arabic but the symbol on the IRG flag under the hand/gun reminds me of the on screen ident of the Hezbollah sponsored TV channel.

10:40 AM  
Blogger mrtez said...

Beirut Live Bloggers,
enough is enough.
We will from now on enforce one thing on this blog so that we can keep good, fruitful and smart discussions.
We will only allow people who have a user account to post comments. So if you want to join the conversation, please sign up to blogspot. Its an easy two-minute affair.
If this will not eradicate the childish conversations, then we will have to report abuse of the users who continue on insulting and bashing.
Sorry, this is not the way we intended to do things. We wanted an open forum, but it seems there is too much bashing going on. From now on, the amount of comments will be reduced, but hopefully it will also increase the quality.
Please keep blogging us at Beirut Live.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Boaana said...

i find it special that the flag of Hezbollah is of the yellow surface ... the colours make me optimistic regarding my suspicion of a possible application of "messiah-nism" in general. those who deny that to manifest, rebel, reject etc. is not important attitude in a religious paradigm, knows nothing about religion at all. the most dangerous for religion is to be absorbed melted into a society. religion has had always a socially reflecting role and this flag expresses it.
we are back in time twice: regarding to need to adopt the original idea of "messiah-nism" in a religious context as a hilliastic movement (it is not strange that westerns - Greenwich Village geogr. measurement - cannot cope with it, because they symbolize the role of the Roman cezars) and that the Palestiners identify the "2ww Jews".
the danger in my interpretation takes place if the definition of a rebel as a "personificated evil" would be applied, but it is a part o the western official christianity anyhow. they are mistaken in the definition using "resistance", because they fear their own honesty if "rebellion" used. Western society must coop with so many "rebellions" that to be confused and mess the global society is not avoidable. to would reform the western perception of basic dogmas seems anyway impossible, but for example, there are writers as Umberto Eco, Dan Brown and others who at least make people thinking and some as well doubting what is actually consisted inside the "doctrines of evil". by people's ignorance, only the money can b earned, but the heaven is promised to those and religion is supposed to be not orientated to the "earthly", would be better explained if "practical or "pragmatic" or "opportunistic" is used.
nobody would like fire-weapons, but it is a part of utilization of human inovation. i say, animals would as well fight back those people who slaughter senseless.
not to be misunderstood, i am an environmentalist by spirit and my goals, Allah is everything good and beautiful to me, and life challenges to must choose by the intellect and seek hat what prevents the best of it: life as it is - given with no costs of to live.

an overwhelming paradox!

the Hezbollah flag is a perfect one of contemporary time. of course, i would prefer if no weapon was needed.

i wonder as well what's written, because i neither read arabic. i regret this, tried to learn, speak few words, and i consider it as my "father's language".

11:52 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

well I think my thoughts about that relationship are so obvious I don't really need to repeat them in length :) let's just say I'm not surprised at the resemblances and I see in it a reflection of the leadership situation.

From a graphics point of view - one of the first things they taught us was the meaning of certain colours in print advertising (we started off the year with a workshop on the topic of xenophobia). Yellow, red and of course black are colours that instigate negative feelings - anger, tension, anxiety, fear. In various WWII era posters, both allied forces and german, these were the colours used in propaganda against the other side.

By the way these flags immediately reminded me of another parallel - they are similiar to the flag of the radical right, extremist religious Jewish movement Kach which stands for Kahana Hai.
Kach is a terrorist organisation, which has even sat in the Knesset for a short time. It has bred Jewish Israeli terrorists like Baruch Goldstein and continues to inspire some violent extremists (most recently a young soldier affiliated with the movement, called Eden Natan Zada opened fire on a Shfar'am bus). After Goldstein's 1994 massacre of Palestinians in Hebron the movement was officialy branded a terrorist organisation by the Israeli government and has been outlawed.
The Kach flag is also yellow, with the same fist raised in the air as HZ and the Revolutionary Guards. They borrowed the symbol and the motto from the Etzel (the Irgun - remember that post?)

3:06 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kach_movement

3:07 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Lilu

Yellow and red are chosen by Burger King and other fast fooders because those colors are very noticeable and are associated with good eating.

Hot colors are some of the best colors for advertising when it comes to products like fast food. Bright red and yellow are hot colors, indicative of fire, and they stimulate excitement. Warm and hot colors will encourage people to eat more, which translates to revenue. Virtually all logos, advertisements and menus of fast food chains feature these colors, which is no accident. Companies rely on the extensive research that has been done in this field, to get the most for their advertising dollars.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-best-colors-for-advertising.htm

Black panthers used to use the raised clench fist. It was a protest against existing conditions in the US and a show they intended to fight those conditions. Most - it was a symbol of solidarity in a cause which now has come to be seen as righteous.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

You're right about the food branding stuff, especially about the excitement - but in propaganda and politics, that colour induced excitement takes on a different meaning. Pair the black yellow and red with a political agenda and it leads to thoughts of struggle, existence, anxiety, and personal fear.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

I just realised I should have been clearer earlier about the context of the use of the colours.. sorry bout that...

3:48 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

A question, Lilu: You have been eloquent in your expositions. You have indicated a fair minded approach to the "situation" by saying, for example you don't agree with all the Israeli government has done. And, parenthetically, I see now the reservists in Israel are calling for an inquiry about readiness and mothers are calling for an inquiry about why their military children died in a war that did not accomplish its announced goal.

You also are eloquent in your condemnation of most things Hezbollah - including the flag.

And, of course, we've heard (and I've been one of them) loud condemnations of Israel from many on this blog. My point is that it seems we all pretty well agree about who hates who and that the "war" is not really the answer. Again, parenthetically, I cannot imagine how an "international force" could even pretend to be effective in accomplishing what Israel and the United States says is necessary.

So - with that long introduction, my question is this: Is there any middle ground in your estimation? Is there any solution short of annihilation of one or the other? Short of complete assimilation of one society into the other? Short of always being on guard for the next air raid or the next rocket?

I would think that such a question must be answered as an absolute pre-requisite to war - if "war" is really a violent extension of national policy when diplomacy fails. Because if the question is not asked and answered, the war really is an attempt at annihilation or, at the least, subjugation. Isn't it?

I really hope some of the thoughtful Lebanese and others who oppose Israel would comment as well. Perhaps we can talk about alternatives to hate and insult to the end of seeking a path with a little more sunshine and a lot fewer minefields. Or not.

4:25 PM  
Blogger dobegs said...

hi all, I just would have liked to hear mrtez's views and thoughts on this post? it doesnt actually say how mrtez feels about this post...

thanks

4:41 PM  
Blogger a sane voice in a mad world said...

Not just fast foods, but also the oil companies logos use these colors.

reason - simple, attractiveness. grey is hardly attractive. :)

5:20 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

At least the face of terror is growing under one flag; we'll have an easier time identifying them. Since they want to take over the world were starting to have a common enemy to face. One day soon unfortunately we’ll have a conflict that is not a policing situation but a full scale war and the only area that will be truly affected will the Middle East. Sure the civilized parts of the world will have random terrorist acts but nothing that won’t be easily fixed and soon forgotten. The Middle East how ever will be set back to many years to even comprehend. The current conflicts and mindset of the Middle Eastern powers are really helping the States get off their butts and develop alternative fuels and power sources. It will take some time but this will be very bad for the region. They need the money, it gives them a voice and power but it also funds the terrorists. Stop the constant consumption of fossil fuels and it will end the, well reduce the terror coming from the Middle East.

5:39 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

The clenched fist and rifle and other threatening aspects of the flags are understood better if looked at through the eyes of the flag bearer. Israel sees the flags as symbolic of aggression and terror and armed force. While Hezbollah sees it as a symbol of resistance and defiance and ability.

Israel's blue and white flag is peaceful and tranquil in color with the star of david in the middle. But there's a similarity there of a ninja throwing star.

The "Gadsen Flag" (Don't Tread on Me) was yellow with a coiled rattlesnake in its center. It symbolized America's decision to become independent of Great Britain. It was a source of pride and symbolized determination.

Here's a blurb on the flag:

I like seeing all the American flags. I do have my complaints about the American government, especially about how intimately the Washington D.C. politicians feel they should be involved in the daily lives of their subjects, I mean, citizens. But the flag isn't just a symbol of the American government. It's a symbol of shared American values -- especially our highest common value: freedom.

When it comes to symbolizing freedom and the spirit of '76, I do think there's a better American flag. With all due respect to the stars and stripes, I prefer the yellow Gadsden flag with the coiled rattlesnake and the defiant Don't Tread on Me motto.

The meaning of Old Glory can get mixed up with the rights and wrongs of the perpetually new-and-improved government. The meaning of "Don't Tread on Me" is unmistakable.

http://www.foundingfathers.info/stories/gadsden.html

Don't get wrapped too tightly about flags and their symbolism. Take pride in your own and understand others do the same.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Boaana said...

americans are brainwashed to a dangerous extent - design is a trademark by itself! typical anti-semitic conclusion of a western student sinking in sofisticated knowledge ....

good morning starshine, the Earth says hello
good morning sunshine, you twinkle above us, we twinkle bellow ...

the only danger and bullits of a war is ALLIENATION of the self as a natural species! horrible remarks .. congratulations to be patient!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

I just wonder if there is a single Israeli or Lebanese who don't aware of the connection between Hizballa and Iran ...

I personally think , that the conflict between USA and Iran is inevitable.

And when Ayatollas fall , Hizballa will fall or at least diminish. Hamas will follow.

So there is a hope for peace after these events.

With the best wishes ,
emil

6:06 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Americans are brainwashed..... Thats commical, have you traveld much? If were brainwashed then the vast majority of people on this plant are brainless. We get to choose in ways most people only deram about. Sure were the target of the worlds hate but thats becasue we have it so good. We all have problems but compared to world, ours are trivial.

I have the Stars & Stripes over my desk and it is the most beautiful sight I could ever imagine or want to.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Yes, americans are brainwashed. I would choose to live in Lebanon any day over the US. (I have lived in both). Minus this latest war, you have no idea how spiritual, beautiful, lively and peaceful the country is..and lovely, generous and hospitable people...all at the same time. I would even prefer to live anywhere else but the US. I mean, its very practical to live here, secure everything, but its rather boring. Yes, boring. And to live around people who have no idea how the world operates, no sense of geography, only speak 1 language and thinks the world revolves around them..I cant deal for a very long time...of course not everyone here is like that, as not everyone in Leb is the same. But you cannot compare apples and oranges. A chaque son gout.

6:45 PM  
Blogger daooch said...

hcb

If there were to be a potential solution to this conflict that doesn't involve war, would Hezbollah and the ppl of Gaza accept it? Would Isreal?Especially if that culture's ultimate objection is annihilation of another? Seems to me that violence is the progress that has worked the best for them, or at least worked best in their favor. And which one is "them" anyway???

The thing that gets me as an ignorant American is that I have no relation to this conflict. I'm neither Jewish or Arabic. The US really has no such history with anybody else, where a deeply rooted hatred and bitterness is passed down from one generation to the next, and encouraged by extremists to the point of seemingly random violence. And this is from both sides of the war! The closest I can think of is maybe the history of Native Americans way back in early America. So, it makes sense to me to say they should just quit fighting and negotiate a package from which to build - kiss and make up already! Then I feel kinda stupid when others tell me to wake up and smell the bombs. Yet, I can't "wake up" from a nightmare that is not my own. At least blogs like this offer a chance to gain a different perspective.

Anyway, on another ignorant side tangent, how is "Hezbollah" correctly spelled anyway??? Think I've seen half a dozen ways the past month.

Ooch

6:52 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Hizballah, Hezbollah, HZ doesnt matter==all mean the Party of God. I wish they would go away.

As I stated repeatedly, one way to get rid of them would be to address the social aspects of their organizaiton. Leb govt should step in and take over the social benefits provided by HZ. This is what is keeping their popularity and necessity alive in the region. Maybe they will disarm eventually, but that is not something you can ask them to do right away when you have Israel breathing down their necks and violating their land and people. This makes the most sense to me.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Where did you live in the states, one language??? I gues you lived in one area and never went out. there is more culutre in one state than your entire country. Yes we have a national launguage but inside these lines are more spoken launguages than you can imagine. How many Native Americans are there? You guys have so liitle outside world culture. It's good your where a place makes you happy but make sure you know about an entire culture before making statments about it.

7:18 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

I think Doc's right about the short term - the apparenty meaningless destruction and resulting horror, homelessness and hate can't be ignored by anyone. But Israel doesn't only ignore it, Israel piles threats and more damage on what's already been done. How can a rational person not understand that hatred will simply be increased? And the people who already hate all things Israeli will be joined by other people who see the assault as overdone and driven by an even greater hatred fueled by meanness. Israel also ignores that Hezbollah lives ONLY because there is so much turmoil and hate and despair. A terrorist organization cannot survive in a stable environment where at least basic needs are assured - there's no need for the terrorists.

But - that's the short term. What about the real problem? That everyone in the area except Israel thinks Israel should pack up and move away? What about the idea that Israel says it simply wants to live peacefully but it needs a secure place to do that? Is there any possibility that Israelis and Palestinians or Lebanese or Iranians can EVER at least co-exist peacefully? Or is Israel simply the latest player in a long history of tribal and sectarian warfare? And, if the latter, is there any solution which leads to the peaceful life Israel insists it wants short of annihilating all the people who say "go seek peace in __________. Just leave?"

And, daooch - in addition to the "native americans" I think there still are some pretty deep seated hatreds in the US that bubble over from time to time - not to the extent of air raids and rockets but still pretty bad. Watts comes to mind. Chicago. Puerto Ricans in New York. Red necks in Texas. The difference is degree. But the hate is at the least equivalent.

7:18 PM  
Blogger daooch said...

Calling a country or it's culture "boring" is rather trivial. Anyway, the US is one of the most diverse countries in the world, if anything just by its sheer size and demographic origins. If you mean boring by it's relative lack of conflict - then thank gawd! :-)

BTW,
"And to live around people who have no idea how the world operates, no sense of geography, only speak 1 language and thinks the world revolves around them..."

holds true of most countries in this world. I wonder how many ppl in Japan or Brazil or Zimbabwe could point out on a map the location of Angola or Malaysia or Ecuador. Not many I mind you. The difference is that we may be ignorant of others but we insist on being involved in their business to a further extent. That does kinda suck ....

Ooch

7:20 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Boring is not trivial when that is important to you. True, there is diversity, but nobody here uses that to learn from each other..very few do..race is such an important dynamic... We have the worst sense of geography and history in the world. That is a fact. Brazil is more racially and ethnically diverse than the US (and less boring too). What I am saying is that there are places in this world that are perfectly fine to live in, in fact awesome--and that the US does not have to be one of them.

I speak 3 languages and lived in the US most of my life. Love the east coast and the universities here..regardless, I cannot stand behind this gov't policies, which are ignorant, to say the least.

7:48 PM  
Blogger daooch said...

Doc

In response to a previous post, lemme ask our fellow bloggers this question. If Syria and Iran and whoever else are behind Hezbollah's motivations and strength ... and it seems Hezbollah is really a source of social services and support for most of southern Lebonan and Beirut ... why wouldn't the other Arab countries push to integrate hezbollah into the Lebonanese gov't? Sounds like the social network and military oraginzation combined w/ Lebonan's political support would be a valuable asset to the country, no? Instead of getting rid of them, would Syria and Iran back an integration. Or, does the Middle East have a grudge of some sort against Lebonan?Whether the west would approve of such a move would prolly be totally different but it seems to be step in the right direction. This could eventually get Syria and Iran out of the way...this could allow Hezbollah to negotiate politically w/ Isreal instead of militarily....

Comments welcome. Just trying to be constructive :-) Later!

Ooch

8:18 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Well I wish that one day I can live in a perfect society like the ones you all delude yourselves about every day. Is it a requierment to use mind altering drugs before blogging? Or do you just froget the reality of the world before you log in?

Hey Hcb, great way to move right to the bad side. Every race in America has it's bad feelings about others in this country. No one group, race or sex is innocent. you feed on the negative, you keep the hate going. your the worst person here for that.


And still I'm here to stay.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Hizballah is ALREADY integrated into the Leb govt. All 18 or so religious and political sects are represented in the parliament. It is a very diverse country.

What I am saying is that without its consituencies, the S. Leb Shia, then the role of HZ will be diminished over time. How do you push their constiencies away? Simple. Provide needed social services AND national defense against Israel. This source should come from the Leb govt, of which HZ is a part. HZ is now operaing as a separate social and miliary force. They are already integrated politically. So, the Leb govt (with the help of the intl community) should push for the social re-structuring and aid, RATHER THAN focus on the miliary disarmament of HZ. The latter is not going to happen without the former. We should all think outside our guns and force.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Boaana said...

i am rather confident that PURE PHOTOSYNTHESIS is deeply rooted in the motives of Hezbollah, i only doubt that all the members and sympathizers are conscious and sufficiently educated to would understand what is the actual synergetic affection, which unites them the goal i doubt everybody would agree completely consensual .. i trust to Allah, but as a comparison have some looks what has all happened to the Palestiners' legitimate chosen governement.
what legitimates IDF (??) to arest a PM of the government they themselves aproved to have been formed in a general election proces supervised by the global audience and UNO.
where is the ethics and respect of a political process, which seem as to be neglected and deprived of everything but motives of VERY CERTAIN POITICAL MORALITY that tends to justify itself simply by few words:
1. AL Qaida
2. Al Qaida
3. Al Qaida
Befor THIS, Jasser Arafat was an excuse for in general defined as STATE'S NATIONAL TERRORISM.
Yes, AlQaida exists in the east, but colonialistic empires cannot deny their economical and politically very functional presence there since rather few centuries.
I doubt they have ver awoken from the FATA MORGANA that has sicken the westerns feeling lust for spices, (black) gold and beautiful women thay wish to would all prostitute themselves for the ideal incororated into the context of WAR (white-anglosaxon&rich).
yes, designing the future, that's been THE slogan PRETENDED to would push the whole universe of human and naturalresources at the knees of one race and people, who abandoned the old continent frightning that some day they shall return and show the horns put on their smart heads.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Howard, returning to the question you asked me at 4:25, of course there's a middle ground. There has to be. Realisically, an extreme solution will never really work in the long term. The middle ground just has to be found - we all can't go on living this way.
What that middle ground is? hard to say. Personally, I see HZ as a problem to finding that middle ground, because they do not believe in a middle ground. I would like at this point to note I am differentiating the Shi'a people from the organisation Hizballah.
HZ must be eliminated as an organisation. (Realistically, I also think, that after everything that's happened any Israeli government would find it difficult to find the will to negotiate with HZ, so if we really want to being about negotiations they will have to be taken out of the equation). How could this be done? HZ's strength in Lebanon lies in the people it has been established to serve. As others have suggested, maybe the key is providing alternative sources to the Shi'a population to turn to. Maybe the Leb. government should make that effort - but if they are encountering difficulties focusing on thay, maybe another idea would be an alternative organisation that should represent Shi'a interests, but a non-violent one. This organisation could replace the social role HZ are taking, and show the Shi'a that their interests can be covered in a non-militant way. Then it would probably be easier to eliminate HZ as an organisation, and send Nasrallah to his pals in Iran.
The Israeli government would be much more inclined to negotiate and compromise with a non-violent organisation and government, as the security needs would be better met, and thus would re-inforce the view to Shi'ites and other Lebanese sects that Israel CAN be talked with. Trust could start to build on all sides.
Of course, this is purely addressing a middle ground between Lebanon and Israel. In the Palestinian Authority maybe this would be achieved if Abu Mazen was able to take control and find a way to similarly provide the Palestinian people with a non-violent alternative to violent Hamas. I don't know that the conflict between Iran and Israel could ever be solved short of a change of Iranian regime to a more moderate one than the current, because frankly Ahmedinejad looks insane beyond help. And as for Syria... I imagine if change starts with other countries, Bashar will probably follow with his views, has he tends to sway with whatever direction the wind seems to be blowing.

It would be a long process for the whole region. Maybe the only place it could really start with is Lebanon. Key is - willing partners on all sides.

(I'm out on US conflicts with other countries, wouldn't know where to begin even :) )

4:10 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

By the way, Daooch, when did violence work best for any of us here? most of the people, the regular civilians, in all countries and territories, are sick of it. And it just breeds more violence - it works short term but long term just pushes us down farther.. and more people are realizing it every day, I'm waiting for the day everyone is unified in that realization.

4:15 AM  
Blogger daooch said...

Lilu

I of course was not serious when I said violence does work best for anybody. But, I consider the following: Isreal has traded terrorist captives in exchange for it's own ppl abducted by Hamas and HZ militia - in one culture's mind violence worked. Isreal negotiated and implemented a pull-out of southern Lebanon and parts of Gaza(or is it the other way around - out of Gaza and parts of southern Lebanon?) after innumerable terrorist acts upon the Isreal - in one culture's mind violence worked. Isreal bombs southern lebanon to smithereens and executes a naval blockade to at least force the international community to deal w/ HZ and here we all are - in one culture's mind violence worked.

So, I was in effect agreeing with you, that it seems to work short term. But, my point was if there was a "middle ground" to solve this conflict, how popular would it really be among the masses when one side is bent on the annihilation of the other? And that other side is bent on breaking the first side into submission? And the habit of both side to achieve these goals is to resort to more violence - how can this habit be broken when, thus far, it's what's worked best for them? And, not necessarily "them" that pull the trigger or martyr themselves by taking others with them. But "them" who support the cause of the aforementioned...share their extreme values....water the roots of hatred from one generation to the next....market "an eye for an eye" violence confident that the other will give in first even if it takes a millenia - "them".

That was my ponderance of the moment when a light came on - "and who is 'them' anyway?" You, lilu, and most of the bloggers here don't sound like one of "them". I can only hope there are enough of "you" to outnumber "them". In time, I believe that will happen. But, how it comes about is what we're really dealing with here, I guess.....

Wow, I can really go on a rant. My apologies for getting maybe a bit carried away but thanks for your time and patience.

Ooch

6:32 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

I got what you were saying about the violence - and that's what I meant by it working short term. Israel disengaged from Gaza and withdrew from southern Lebanon after terrorists attacks, short term the 'resistance groups' violence worked but in the long term the problem wasn't solved because Israel ended up doing worse damage in the next round. Israel blows southern Lebanon into the sky and gets the world's attention to HZ, short term the IDF violence worked but in the long term HZ is still very much alive, same for Iran, we lost alot of good people on our end and got a lot of damage, and in the long term we're still probsbly heading for regional war. Violence works as temporary solutions but obviously it guarantees escalation further down the road. I think, in a sense, maybe this is part of Olmert's reasoning for the Israeli retaliation to the soldiers' abduction - to show that the 'usual' solution of prisoner exchange, that HZ was expecting, wasn't acceptable anymore. He wasn't going to continue with the violent short term solutions, he wanted a long term solution once and for all. Unfortunately he thought he could do it by outdoing HZ's violence to an immense extent, 'showing them whose boss' - and that's an obviously doomed strategy.

Regarding middle ground - a middle ground would be popular among the masses, because the people on each side who are genuinely 'bent on the annihilation of the other' are not that many, these are not the masses. Most people are mostly concerned with their own personal safety and quality of life. As time goes on more and more people, on all sides I think, become more aware that the violence is short term and doesn't really solve the problem, and people are realizing diplomacy and compromise is the only way. We've all lived here long enough to see that the violence is a cycle and wont do the job. After years of wars, the newer generations are tired and they want an end to it. I can tell that here in Israel, public opinion has greatly shifted in the past 10 years. Around 1996, when the rain of suicide bombing started, there was alot of rage and calls for revenge. But things have changed drastically. As the new intifadah broke out, and now it's been going on for 6 years, and suicide bombings have become the norm throughout Israel, people are weary, tired. And there has been a great shift towards moderation, calls for dialog. People are beginning to get realistic. See last year's diengagement from Gaza - the settlements used to be supported and cuddled and regarded as a strong part of the fight. Then people got realistic, and the disengagement was supported by the majority. That's a very significant change. And even now, with all the violence and the soldier abductions, people's opinions haven't changed much. People are beginning to understand.
And by the way, it seemed to me Lebanon was going through the same process - the Cedar Revolution was to me a sign of the peaceful direction they were taking.
There's potential for hope here - people just have to stick to the state of mind they were developing and not let themselves be swayed back to anger and hate.

And so much for an answer to who is 'them' :)

1:22 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Lilu, with respect, the "middle ground" of which you talk requires a great deal of "them" but not much of Israel. In fact, you say Hezbollah "must be elimintated" and, if I'm understanding you correctly, that is an absolute condition precedent. The heart of your position, I think, is: "The Israeli government would be much more inclined to negotiate and compromise with a non-violent organisation and government." Is that not the same as, "Hezbollah is much more inclined to negotiate and compromise with a nonpviolent organization and government?" In other words, both sides would be saying, "yes, but, I won't deal with YOU." Olmert is making that clear when he rejects, even, contributions to the "International Force" from countries with whom Israel does not have diplomatic relations. He makes clear Israel doesn't trust anyone and doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone not considered a friend. That's the Bush approach - he absolutely refuses to deal with "terrorist organisations" Period. So, he won't permit the United Staes or Israel to talk to Iran or Syria. At the same time, though, he and Olmert say Iran and Syria are the real problem. If that's so, talking to France about the terms of a "cease fire" doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

For there to be a "middle ground", doesn't Israel have to give up something? Maybe not land - I don't know. But maybe it needs to talk about the "right of return" (we're talking a little about that in the topic above this one.) Or about providing aid - with US assistance but directed by Israel. It seems clear to me, though, Israel MUST get off = or at least moderate - the hard line about Hezbollah and Hamas. That doesn't mean I think they are even "good" organizations. And that doesn't mean the longer term goal shouldn't be their "elimination." But for the short term, Israel is saying exactly what they are saying - they want rid of Israel and you want rid of them. (I know - they are not states and Israel is - that's not the point.)

Israel MUST get off it's high horse - don't you think? Look what has happened with Bush and Olmert so high in their saddles: America is now hated in more parts of the world than ever before and the hate is truly intense. Way back when I was travelling in Europe and the mideast, danger never entered my mind. Now I'm a target simply because I'm American. And, as impossible as it seemed just a month or so ago, Israel is hated and distrusted even more and by more people than before. The lead topic on this blog this morning is about Israel's "war crimes." Being a free country, you have internal inquiries and investigations into the conduct of the war demanded. Being a free country with a leader like Bush, your leader is saying, "no - let's don't look at what was done, look, rather, at what must yet be done." Israel has become the world's favorite country to hate - well, actually the SECOND favorite country to hate. We're first.

No matter the righteousness of your position and idea, it cannot work as suggested. You would say, "yes, I want a middle ground, yes I want peace, but, here's what you must first do if you want me to talk about it seriously." And the question remains - what is the middle ground even after your condition precedent has been satisfied?

What about the Golan Heights? What about the wall? What about reconstruction in Palestine? In Lebanon? What about the "right to return?" What about the store of nuclear weapons? Especially, what about the nuclear weapons?

What about future relations with neighbors - cooperative? Or simply tolerate? Strict borders? Or open?

For there to be a middle ground, both sides have to move in that direction. I don't think it's possible to get to the "middle" by having only one of the sides move in the direction of the other. Because the "middle" keeps moving toward one side.

1:42 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Lilu: I hadn't read your subsequent comment before I responded. You said:

" And there has been a great shift towards moderation, calls for dialog. People are beginning to get realistic. See last year's diengagement from Gaza - the settlements used to be supported and cuddled and regarded as a strong part of the fight. Then people got realistic, and the disengagement was supported by the majority. That's a very significant change. And even now, with all the violence and the soldier abductions, people's opinions haven't changed much. People are beginning to understand."

I think you are entirely right. You make the point that the government is deaf to the people. Olmert now has announced the end of "disengagement" in the Gaza. His cabinet agrees it's no longer realistic. Olmert says it's so the money that would have been spent on disengagement can be spent on rebuilding and fortifying the north.

Meanwhile, there will be no pullout of Lebanon, the blockade continues and Amnesty International condemns Israel (and parenthetically Hezbollah) for war crimes that must be investigated by the UN.

I hope the no confidence in Olmert vote happens quickly. For Israel's sake. It's unfortunate we don't have a similar parliamentary procedure here.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Howard,

First of all, I have no idea what goes in Olmert's mind, he's apparently a deluded stubborn ass (pardon my french). I wasn't talking specifically about Olmert.
What I said about an Israeli government's will to negotiate applies as a general to any Israeli government that would sit in Knesset. Let's put aside the matter of Olmert specifically, when I mean Israel, I'm not talking about the loon that is currently heading it, I'm talking about the Israeli state of the Israeli people. We can talk about what should and shouldn't happen till the sun goes down, but that doesn't mean we're being realistic, and if we're not being realistic, what good is our talk doing? I'm trying to be realistic here - as much as the Israeli people want peace, it wont be at any price. We wont get up and leave Israel like everyone would like for the price of personal peace and freedom, and we probably wont want to have anything to do with HZ. Look, it's not about pride that I'm saying what I'm saying, it's about the reality that HZ seems less and less like any sort of partner everyday, more and more dead set in it's ultimate goal to destroy us.
I think your problem is you keep sticking to the results in your judgements of each entity. In talking about long term solutions, and this is what must be addressed because we've all had enough with short term and it fails every time, you need to stick to the matter of motives and intent and goals. You can't really compare Israel to Hamas and HZ, though right now all have committed atrocities against civilians.
You say: "The Israeli government would be much more inclined to negotiate and compromise with a non-violent organisation and government." Is that not the same as, "Hezbollah is much more inclined to negotiate and compromise with a nonpviolent organization and government?"
No, it's not the same, because HZ are not inclined to compromise, period. They can say whatever they like and you can believe them, but I think that would be a mistake. The Israeli people, when faced with the option of real peace, are very willing to compromise. Things have changed. You can see people are already talking about forefitting the Golan. The Israeli people have real intent for peace, HZ doesn't, which makes the issue of negotiating for peace with them unrealistic. Israelis are plenty happy to get off their high horse, if you give them a willing partner, otherwise - why should we? for what? in the long run this will damage us.
This is about the people on the ground. The Israelis have the capability of choosing their leaders and replacing them. They have much more influence on their leadership. Hell, I dare say if the entire country goes into the streets crying for peace with HZ, even Olmert would do it to maintain his constituents. He's the American politician in more ways than one. But HZ is very different - they will do whatever they want regardless of the opinion of the majority of Lebanese, because they are in fact under Iranian control. They don't just have Lebanese interests and agendas, they have Iranian interests and agendas (maybe even more than Lebanese interests). So if the majority of Lebanese cry out for peace with Israel, HZ wont sway in that direction, they'll just say they know better. It's not like they haven't done it before. This is why there needs to be a seperation of HZ from the Lebanese people, including Shi'a, so that the government can step in and take control because it is their job to represent the people. It is a much more likely situation that the minute you have an HZ-free Lebanon (and again, this doesn't have to be done in the form of violence), an Israeli government would geniunely give up alot, things you yourself mentioned there.

You keep regarding HZ as a viable leader. It isn't. This is the problem. Seniora is probably the viable leader, but HZ is a renegade organisation with imperialstic Iran behind it. You seem to think that getting rid of HZ is just serving Israeli interests, and that HZ's existence serves Lebanese interests. That's the thing, it isn't. Quite the opposite. Getting rid of HZ is not a one sided solution - it ultimately serves the Lebanese people too, and not just because of the dangerous implications on liberal Lebanese lives if an Iranian-minded organisation takes over the government - because its existence, like it or not, is an obstacle in dealing with Israel. Get rid of HZ and the Lebanese people could get alot of things they want from Israel, because these could be regarded as reasonable demands.

Frankly, I think it is a smaller price to pay for the Lebanese people to replace HZ with something non-violent, than for Israel to go into a marriage with an organisation who moves to annihilate it. To the Israelis it is a matter of national security because of what HZ is ultimately after. Forget pride, forget respect, this is what is blocking all of us from being able to compromise - we need to be practical and realistic. Forget history even - look at the situation on the ground right now. HZ as they are today, are not a viable partner plain and simple, because they are seeking the unrealistic goal of ending the state of Israel. You and I know that's not realistic, but they believe it is and if they go on in the status they are in today I believe they will keep trying with whatever means are available to them, including diplomatic ones, to achieve that goal - and this is the danger. Maybe if the connection to Iran and Syria was severed, they could be talked with. But let's face it, how likely is that option?

3:18 PM  
Blogger HCB said...

Lilu, you make eminent sense and, "realistically", I suppose I agree with you nearly completely. I think you read more into what I've said (or maybe, less) than what I intended.

I do NOT mean that Hezbollah is a viable government or even a viable leader - certainly not in the long run. But that organization presently is a force to be reckoned with - Israel has emphatically said so with the bombs and tanks. However, if I understand the current situation, the bombs and tanks method didn't work. It may have weakened them tactically for the moment, but they appear to be gaining strength now that they appear capable of "standing up to" the Israeli Defense Force. My conclusion that Hezbollah must be dealt with differently is based in that fact - it simply is impossible to "destroy" the organization. No matter how evil, no matter how wrong and no matter how right you are that it will never negotiate in good faith.

But the way Israel goes about its business(and I don't mean simply Olmert in that regard - read, for example, Jaeger's comment in the post above this one)assures Hezbollah is seen as viable by ALL your enemies. Couple that with a general refusal by Israel and the US to even talk to Iran, Syria or Hezbollah about what can or should be done, and there are no alternatives to continued violence. Are there?

We put some pretty smart people in our diplomatic corps - some of them not so smart as others but, generally, pretty smart. What has to be done, I think, is to give those people broad guidance that "we want to stop this and we want you to figure out how to do it." Anyone trained in diplomacy will quickly realize that it is not successfully conducted at the end of a rifle barrel.

Of course Israel will not work for peace "at any price." That is not "peace" and I would never do it myself. That's what the Ameican Revolution and Civil wars were all about. But we don't have a classic set of belligerents anymore. Read, for example, the very good book The Transformation of War. As you correctly point out - Hezbollah is not a country and it is not a government. Then how do you propose they surrender? But Israel blames Lebanon for permitting Hezbollah to operate there and, therefore, blows up Lebanon. Go to Lebanon and work (with US or French or German or Bangladeshi assistance if it will help) to the end of ridding Lebanon of the "cancer." Determine a way to do that by helping Lebanon rather than blowing it up.

And talk to Syria and Iran. About the Golan Heights, maybe. Again, if I've read it correctly, Syria was ready to do that but the US backed Israel away from the table.

I think the REALLY real problem is Israel's neuroses. They are well based, of course, but they also prevent thinking about solutions without thinking first about adverse results. That's why it may be helpful to have someone friendly at the table - at least initially, Someone like a thoughtful American who would say, "listen - Israel is here in good faith and is taking a helluva chance. We want to see it work and hope you do too. But if we're wrong and you decide to trick us, you are going to be a radioactive lake. Now - let's talk reasonably about how we can all live together."

I surely do wish we could have a beer now. My head is hurting again. As is my heart.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Well here's the thing. Maybe the only way to properly deal with HZ for everyone's sake is not in the hands of Israel and never will be. Peretz and Olmert thought we can achieve control - obviously, we can't have control of every situation. Who can get a hold of the situation? maybe only the Lebanese government. Maybe they are the only ones holding the ticket out of the disastrous path we are on - if they could just act against HZ (and again, it doesn't have to be with violence, it can be with taking over their roles and thereby diminishing their power in Lebanon), this will make it easier for everyone else to take responisiblity for their part of the situation.
I think this is the first thing that should be addressed, along with rehabilitation. I doubt Israelis would see any problem in partaking in that, but I don't see where Lebanon would accept Israeli help on this matter. And maybe for the sake of restoring Lebanese self-confidence and sense of independance the Lebanese people need to work on this themselves.

Anyhow, I don't know about you but I plan on having me a frosty Guinness in a couple of hours.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Boaana said...

in the times of Roman cesars similar to the uprisings against the rulers in the Helenistic world (hillios = 1000), were the MILLENIastic social movements rather regular. one of the most famous from those times is the revolt lead by the slave Spartacus. history of human kind has got by the modern manners of communication a chance to sign itself underlining better intentions as those, which concluded those uprising movements. the motives were liberating, but ended by oppression - the history teaches and warns us!!!

those who oppose to muslim people the right to fight refering at the life of profhet Mohammed (pbuh and the people of Islam), deny as well the past of people of other nations striving for better life and cultural rennesaince.

10:41 PM  
Blogger daooch said...

Wha'?

6:54 AM  
Blogger Boaana said...

i am european and midd. eastern and mediterranian and asian, and i went to school, didn't you?

11:01 AM  

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