If a Tree Falls in the 21st Century – and Other Things Learnt Last Night

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth,
and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth;
 
    – – Proverbs 24:17

During the recent conflict in Gaza I have watched live on Israeli television’s Channel 10 the phone call that Dr. Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish had made to reporter Shlomi Eldar. If you are not familiar with the incident, please read this post first.

While watching it live I could not really understand it but I instinctively knew our daily routine, as Israelis, has been disturbed. You see, up to that point hundreds of people were killed in Gaza but as an Israeli you want to believe that they were all terrorists, every last one of them. The Israeli army does not target civillians, and so you really want to believe that no one is killed by accident. The thing is when a man, a doctor, who speaks Hebrew fluently, and works in Israel, when he tells you his innocent daughters were just killed by a tank shell – well that was impossible to dismiss.

As an advocate of freedom of information and an avid believer in sunlight as the best disinfectant, I felt all I can do at the time was upload the TV recording to YouTube. I also posted it on my blog, but made no commentary except for some Israeli song lyrics that seemed an appropriate preface. Later I uploaded English subtitles for the video.

Now, a long time ago I came to the realization that the Internet brings all the crazies out of the woodwork, and so I almost never engage in any form of war of words. I usually let the Keyboard Fascists wear themselves out and that is exactly what I did in this case:
I just sat down,
read the comments,
noticed the video going viral,
and made notes.

Now, 43 days later, here are my notes as written in the first couple of days following the event:

Things I learned last night:

  • In the 21st century, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to document it, most people just do not care whether it makes a sound or not.
  • Thousands of years later, antisemitism is alive and well – it just bears different names now.
  • Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies is always in effect.
  • People* see what they want to see and only allow in new information if it reaffirms their own preconceptions.
  • People* have a dichotomy view of the world.
  • People* think that validating the other side’s pain surely must invalidate theirs.

 

* Instead of “People”, I originally wrote “Most people”, then changed it to “Many people”, then changed it to “Some people” – but now settled for “People” as I cannot ascertain the amount.

Israeli TV Airs Gaza Doctor’s Desperate Pleas

Shooting and crying,
Burning and laughing,
When did we learn how to bury living people?
 
   – – “Shooting And Crying” – Si Himan (translated from Hebrew)

 
[singlepic id=130 w=320 h=280 float=right]JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli television broadcast desperate cries for help from a Palestinian doctor on Friday after his children were killed in an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip and troops later helped surviving members of the family.
The telephone calls created extraordinary scenes during evening news broadcasts as the doctor, a Hebrew-speaking physician who spoke regularly on Israeli television, said three of his children were killed in a tank strike and others were wounded.
“My girls were sitting at home planning their futures, talking, then suddenly they are being shelled,” he said in a voice shaking with emotion. “I want to know why they were killed, who gave the order?”
Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish is a gynecologist who worked in one of Israel’s main hospitals before Gazans were effectively sealed off behind an Israeli-led blockade on the Hamas-controlled enclave. He often gave interviews to Channel 10 television.

Reuters story continues here, The Associated Press has a follow-up here.

Video is in Hebrew, but can be understood by anyone now includes English subtitles:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLUJ4fF2HN4