Sunday, August 21, 2005

Elie Wiesel Hates a Parade 

Look, I hate to rip on Elie Wiesel, or most Peace Prize recipients for that matter, but this:

The images of the evacuation itself are heart-rending. Some of them are unbearable. Angry men, crying women. Children, led away on foot or in the arms of soldiers who are sobbing themselves.

Let's not forget: these men and women lived in Gaza for 38 years. Successive governments, from the left and the right, encouraged them to settle there. In the eyes of their families, they were pioneers, whose idealism was to be celebrated.

is a bit misleading. Many of those "heart-rending" images were of protesters who moved in around the same time as the news cameras, including a couple West Bank settlers hoping to produce enough of these images to make a West Bank withdrawal a little less politically expedient.

And here they are, obliged to uproot themselves, to take their holy and precious belongings, their memories and their prayers, their dreams and their dead, to go off in search of a bed to sleep in, a table to eat on, a new home, a future among strangers.

With only hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid in their tragic journey.

It's a fairly reasonable column, despite these little nits, though it does partake in one of my very favorite modern double standards -- holding Mahmoud Abbas personally responsible for individual Palestinians "organiz[ing] military parades with masked fighters, machine guns in hand, shooting in the air as though celebrating a great battlefield victory," but, after noting quite accurately that the settlers were encouraged and funded by people like Ariel Sharon, not holding him accountable for those settlers now behaving "in an offensive and undignified manner." The whole damn region is, like any other, full of assholes, and their biggest enablers are their leaders.

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