The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

STATING THE OBVIOUS: You might have missed this—I know I did the first time around—but the Israeli Cabinet, as wise and statesmanlike a group of pols who ever truckled for a vote, has declared the Gaza Strip hostile. When I first read this bit of news, I immediately thought that there’s a bunch of guys with a firm grasp of the obvious. I might be wrong about this, but after years of shelling, airplane hijackings, suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and cross border raids, along with various and sundry other mayhem along the way designed to give newspaper reporters something to do with their time other than sit around the bar at the Tel Aviv Hilton drinking whatever the Israeli version of a Cuba Libre is and thinking of new ways to pad their expense accounts, you would think that the governing body of the State of Israel would have noticed a certain ongoing ambivalence on the part of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip towards Zionism as a political ideology in general and to its practical application in the Middle East in particular. Having made this exhaustive leap in logic, I fully expect that the Israeli Cabinet will now, after extensive consultations with the Israeli military, the Opposition in the Knesset, the United States government, any number of learned scientists, and the chief rabbis of both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities, declare that Israel will support, in general principles and without in any way prejudicing the right of the Jewish state to exist, the proposition that the Mediterranean Sea is now and has always been wet.

This is a controversial opinion, to be sure, and not one that will gain Israel friends in either the region or in the wider world. Questions as to the alleged wetness of the Mediterranean have circulated for years, with many of the front-line Arab states claiming that the Mediterranean has never been totally wet, only a little damp around the edges, and that any claims to the Mediterranean’s complete wetness are nothing more than the fevered imaginings of Zionists and Crusaders with imperialist designs on their buttocks. Other Mediterranean states, such as Italy and Spain, have vehemently disputed this Arab claim . Both governments have spent millions on advertising in the United States and the European Union showing happy vacationers getting thoroughly wet in their respective parts of the Mediterranean and see no reason why the never-ending Arab-Israeli dispute should effect their nonaligned tourist industries. In order to prevent any sort of tourist backlash, the two governments have now appealed to the United Nations Security Council for a resolution conceding the complete wetness of the Mediterranean from one end to the other, a resolution many other Mediterranean states say they will back, if the governments involved can agree upon the wording of the text. The Greek government, however, which promised at first to support the resolution, reneged when it learned that the Turks wanted to support the resolution as well. A Greek amendment to the resolution, claiming that the Mediterranean was wetter on the Greek side of the sea than on the Turkish side, caused riots in Istanbul and a score of other Turkish cities; in Ankara, Turkish nationalists tried to set fire to the Greek Embassy in protest. Failing that, the furious mob then attacked the local Blockbusters and other video rental outlets, smashing every copy of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Zorba the Greek they could find, and stealing all the copies of Big Blondes Do Greek I through XXIX. This would seem to put an end to any Turkish involvement in this matter, although it is still possible that the Turkish military may compel the government sign the agreement if the Greeks respond to American and EU pressure and remove the offending amendment. The Turks may want to get into the European Union, but not at the expense of its national pride.

Other nations, however, are examining the Mediterranean issue with great care, seeing the Arab claim of less that complete wetness as a wedge issue wherein other powers can make claims on their national sovereignty. Saudi Arabia, for example, usually an absolute backer of the Arab frontline states, is privately less than supportive of the move to declare the Mediterranean merely very damp. In this case, the Saudis are looking at the Iranian claim that the Persian Gulf is not very wet, either, and so Iran goes all the way across the Gulf to the Saudi side, a claim the Saudis are obviously not willing to countenance in any way. The Saudis are, of course, blaming the Israelis for causing all of this trouble; if they had not declared the Mediterranean wet, the frontline Arab states would not have felt compelled to say otherwise, and thereby open issues better left unopened. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t; well, it’s not like the Israelis haven’t been there before, is it?

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  • At 9:56 PM, Blogger Joseph said…

    In August 2006, Scientific American ran an article on the effects of wild bears on nutrient distribution in forest ecosystems demonstrating that the wild bear does indeed defecate in the woods.

  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger lgude said…

    I'm thinking that the Israelis should set up a very large hair dryer and direct it at the Gaza strip in order to dry it out. I admit in advance that this action may dry up the Mediterranean thereby adversely affecting the tourist business in a variety of locations around and about the former sea. As we say in Australia - stiff bikkies.

  • At 8:18 PM, Blogger miriam said…

    A salient comment on present-day international affairs.


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