Home Page

carol gould

Join our email list for updates.




We hope that you'll feel our website is worthy enough to contribute a few pounds to the bandwidth bills.



A Sobering Synchronicity
Last uploaded : Monday 17th May 2004 at 22:59
Contributed by : The Editor


Please scroll down to our Letters section to read an accompanying piece or go to:


from the Editor of Current Viewpoint

There is a terrible synchronicity about the events of the past week. It is hard to believe that in the space of a week, the pro-Moscow president of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, has been assassinated; a group of mourners assembling to commemorate a pregnant mother and her murdered children has been attacked by terrorists; thirteen Israeli soldiers have been killed and their heads paraded by the young in the Philadelphi quarter of Gaza; Nick Berg was beheaded on video by yet another terrorist and the Allied War Cemetery in Gaza grievously vandalised.

The hideous synchronicity arises from the circumstance in which the atrocity in Chechnya was perpetrated: the President was attending a ceremony to commemorate the end of Russian involvement in World War II, similar to our VE-Day. On the same day the one hundred-year-old War Cemetery in Gaza was severely vandalised and plastered with copies of images from Abu Ghraib prison. Slogans, the most notable of which was ?Your evil will be avenged into eternity? were attached to the photographs. The graveyard, in which primarily British soldiers killed in World War I are buried, ( a television report said several Jewish wartime soldiers have found their final resting place undisturbed there for ninety years) has been meticulously maintained by generations of one Palestinian family and has never been damaged, even by military conflict.

In the same week in Gaza two Israeli tank crews were blown up by Palestinian attackers and their body parts reportedly collected as souvenirs by the locals. Israel launched a major operation in the Strip to recover the remains; only intervention by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak enabled the body parts to be released by those who had confiscated them. The attacks happened in the Philadelphi crossing near the border with Egyptian territory.

Whilst this story was being reported, an extremist website released to the world a video of the execution of Nick Berg, a twenty-six-year-old American civilian electronics technician from Philadelphia who had been freelancing in Iraq. One could not being chilled by the synchronicity of the Philadelphi connection: so many young souls departing this earth in violence and hatred in that benighted part of the world. Conflicting stories about the purpose of Berg?s visit to Iraq have been broadcast; he carried both a tallit and a Koran and had been accused by various media outlets of a connection with ?twentieth hijacker? Zacharias Massaoui -- accusations that sound nebulous and far-fetched. His father has been railing against the American government but has had to admit that ?the clincher? was the tallit in his bag. The Israeli stamp in his passport would have been his death warrant.

Commentators on American television seem to be possessed of incredulity when reporting on the violence in post-war Iraq. Those of us who have been students of Israeli history know that every imaginable permutation of generosity and kindness was attempted by Labour governments upon their Arab neighbours during Oslo and the Clinton years. Even the peace between Begin and Sadat that saw the Sinai -- won with the blood and tears of Israelis in what I like to call the ?War of Threatened Annihilation? -- handed back to Egypt was a result of Jewish magnanimity urged on by Jimmy Carter. What infuriates Americans is a manifestation of what they perceive as ingratitude from Iraqis. They ask: How on earth can Shi-ites be attacking us? Why are people rioting? Why are kids throwing bricks at British soldiers in Basra?

It is lamentable that no matter how the West tries to bring its ways to the Middle East, violent rejection follows. Many times in these columns I have commented that the region would have been a vastly different universe had the Arabs greeted the small band of European Jews arriving in the early part of the twentieth century as valued assets. Pierre van Paassen observed in ?Days of Our Years? that in the 1920s and 1930s enlightened Jews settled in Palestine and immediately set about initiating innovative irrigation and agricultural methods as well as forming cultural and scientific institutions. Their brilliance and hard work was met with anger and suspicion by the indigenous population; a handful of Arab leaders wanted to cultivate the new arrivals but they were overruled by the majority.

Every time I watch a Sunday talk show, a commentator from the region complains about the way his or her people are being held back. By what? There is no oil in Switzerland but it is an immensely advanced society. If western societies had tons of oil to sell to the world they would not be complaining about being ?held back.? Shiekhs and princes build themselves countless palaces whilst their people struggle with poverty. It beggars belief that the world accepts the notion that poverty and squalor in the region (I include Palestinian territory in this) is the result of outside oppression. When Jews have become refugees they have been rescued by worldwide Jewish charities. Much as they would like to have the millions of homes returned to them from which they have been expelled over two thousand years of persecution and dispersion, they are peaceably resettled in other countries. When they go to Israel, European newspapers rail about the ?Zionist threat? to the region. (How is it that a race that represents so small a percentage of the world?s population can pose this horrendous threat to any region of the globe? Jews seem only to win Nobel prizes, compose music and make films and write books wherever they settle. When they establish a tiny nation they are the world?s pariah state when they defend themselves from perpetual attack by neighbours.

When one reads of the destruction of the War Cemetery in Gaza; the hideous event at the Second World War commemoration in Chechnya; the beheading of the young Jewish Philadelphian and the murders of the Israeli soldiers at the Philadelphia crossing, one wishes a miracle could descend upon the region and the Arab population suddenly imbued with a deep and enduring wish for peace with its special neighbours.

Jews, Brits and Americans have tried to be special neighbours. They have stuck their necks out time and again to preserve democracy and civilisation in the shadow of tyranny. It is time the Arab world took responsibility for its peoples and gave them democracy, prosperity and opportunities to excel. In these columns I have never expressed affection for Ariel Sharon. But taken as a whole, the history of Israel is one of courage, creativity, scientific and cultural achievement, equality for women and the most dynamic and unfettered press in the world.

When I see ?Boycott Israeli Goods? banners in Trafalgar Square as I did this past weekend I am saddened. Every deed enumerated at the beginning of this article was perpetrated by enemies of democracy and creativity. They need to be quoshed by their own leaders and marginalised by their own societies. I fear this will not happen in my lifetime, but it would be a blessing for the Middle East, the Gulf and the world.


Read more Editorials    go >>



Web Design - Web Designers
© current viewpoint .com

All Rights reserved.
No copying of any text or images allowed in any form digitally or otherwise,
without the prior written consent of the copyright holders.