Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Higher standards: What if Afghanistan was like Palestine?

One of the biggest gripes that the corporatists who rule Israel (sorry -- nobody uses the term "neo-con" any more) have expressed lately is that so many Americans are now siding with Palestinians instead of with them. "And also how come you never hold any other countries in this region to the same high standard that you demand from us," they complain. "Just look at the civil rights abuses in the Arab countries in the Middle East. How come you never get on their cases too?"

Okay. Here goes. Now I'm gonna get on Afghanistan's case.

First of all, one of the major reasons that we don't get on Afghanistan's case as much as we get on the case of the corporatists currently ruling Israel and Palestine is that who the freak even KNOWS anything about Afghanistan?

What if we knew as much about Afghanistan as we know about Israel and Palestine? What would we think about Afghanistan then? Would our standards for Afghanistan be as demanding as our standards for Israel? And would we require the same solutions to problems in Afghanistan that corporatist-controlled Israel now comes up with? Hmmm.

What if it was as easy to travel to Afghanistan as it is to travel to Israel (or even Palestine) right now? Would we be getting as much correct information from eye-witnesses about what is going on in, say, Helmand, as we now get regarding what is going on in the West Bank? (Gaza is a different story. No one is allowed to go there. Not many people know what is going on in Gaza.) But who the freak ever travels to Afghanistan these days?

I myself have been trying to get to Afghanistan for the past three years by embedding with the U.S. military there -- but with no luck. And do you know how hard it is to even GET to Afghanistan if you go there on your own? First you gotta come up with big bucks to fly to Dubai. Then at the Dubai airport you gotta get up at the crack of dawn to get in line at the Ariana Airlines check-in counter and elbow your way through a crowd of hundreds of Afghans who are, like you, also trying to get to Kabul. There are hundreds of people in the "stand-by" line, including you. Plus they don't call Ariana the "Inch Allah" airline for nothing. Last time I flew Ariana, we landed in Tehran instead of Dubai -- by mistake.

Flying into Kabul, you can still see ragged old airplanes and broken-up tanks lining the runway from back in the day, back from the Afghanistan-USSR war. And the airport's baggage claim area? Craziness. Yes, even getting to Afghanistan is a big pain in the [bootie]. And once you are there? It's not like they have grand hotels and tourist information bureaus at the airport -- or even in town. And then you get mobbed by determined beggar children on Chicken Street -- or perhaps even blown up. The ATM machines there are fortified with barbed wire, blast walls and checkpoints. Kabul is NOT Tel Aviv!

We all know that Afghanistan was brutally occupied by the United States under Cheney and Bush back in 2001, with lots of bombings and killings of civilians in a gigantic take-over that was pretty much illegal -- no matter what the occupiers claimed. But the same thing happened to Palestine approximately 63 years ago. It was the exact same thing. So. What will Afghanistan be like in 63 years? Will there still be all that military occupation going on there like in Palestine today? And will us taxpayers still be paying for this occupation 60-odd years from now the same way that we now pay (and pay) for the occupation of Palestine? Yeah? Yikes!

In this respect, Palestine and Afghanistan are already very much alike -- both of them have become military money pits that American taxpayers can't seem to climb out of.

And there are other ways that Israel-Palestine is as bad as Afghanistan. In both Afghanistan and Palestine, money is being spent on weapons instead of medical care and schools. But, in that respect, America is pretty much as bad as Afghanistan and Palestine as well. You can't make huge profits on medical care and schools-- either there or here, not like you can selling weapons!

But enough of that. Let's get back on-topic. How else can I get on Afghanistan's case for being worse than Israel-Palestine? Well, I gotta admit that Palestine's resistance fighters are pretty much wimps compared to Afghanistan's Taliban. What if Palestine had radical Taliban-style insurgents fighting its occupation like the Taliban now do in Afghanistan? The Israeli corporatists who now run the Israeli government should thank their lucky stars that Palestinians are more patient and tolerant and not that violent and mean.

However, if the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine keeps going the way it has been going for the last 60-odd years -- with land theft and torture and aerial bombings of homes and unjustified civilian deaths and destruction of civil rights and huge concentration camps -- Palestinians may finally get desperate enough to become like the Taliban too. And, from what I can tell, the Taliban seem to be winning in Afghanistan.

But in some ways, corporatist Israel-Palestine is actually worse than Afghanistan. What if Afghan Christians were persecuted and killed like Palestinian Christians have been persecuted and killed for the last 60-odd years?

What if Afghan refugees, like Palestinian refugees, were never allowed to return to the place where they were born, to their childhood home -- never ever again?

And what if Afghanistan were to suffer a bloody and brutal occupation like Gaza's, with tanks and bombs and guns giving children nightmares every night? Oops, too late. In that respect, Afghanistan already has.

So. When Israeli corporatists whine that we get on their case more than any other country in the region, now they won't be able to complain about that particular issue any more -- because I just got on Afghanistan's case!

PS: This week, Israeli corporatists came up with yet another weird thing to complain about. Israeli corporatists have now started complaining about JEWS. Yep, you read that right. The Anti-Defamation League, an American organization that is highly influenced by Israeli corporatists and tends to follow their party line to the letter, has just condemned "Jewish Voice for Peace" for being antisemitic! Huh?

According to Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast, "...the ADL has also shown itself willing to smear human-rights activists when it thinks Israel’s interests demand it. It is in this context that the organization’s misguided new report on the 'top 10 anti-Israel groups in America,' which includes Jewish Voice for Peace...has to be understood.

"The ADL’s list also includes The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition that aims 'to change those U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 40-year [sic] occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all.' Among its member organizations are the American Friends Service Committee-Iowa, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA." What? Quakers and Unitarians are now antisemitic too?

So. When is the Israeli corporatist government finally going to give up its assault on Muslim and Christian Palestinians' civil rights and also their paranoid fear that Americans like me are all out to get them? Perhaps this will happen someday soon -- but only if Israeli corporatists finally lose power in Israel, so that normal Israelis can finally stop worrying about all this corporatist intrigue and start getting on with their lives.