In this Edition: Three remarkable incidents in Israel/Palestine this morning. Each tragic. Each extraordinary. Each potentially cathartic.
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Watchout! Poetic Revolution Underway
What is an act of God?
In the insurance industry incidents like this morning’s collapse of a building in Jerusalem (killing 25 at least with the death toll climbing as this is published) are attributed divinity, not because their causes are divine - building collapses tend to be engineering failures - but because the level of damage is so high.
Large storms, cyclones, floods and earthquakes are also routinely described in the media as “acts of God”.
And then there is the amazing, the freak unusual event. Apollo 13’s survival, children who survive down wells for days, parachutists who survive free-fall collisions with the ground.
Finally there are events which because of their otherworldlyness, or intrinsic irony, take on semantic meaning. These events, especially in folk mythology, are also attributed to divine causes.
This morning New Zealand Time Israel and Palestine have been in the grip of such events. Three incidents, each tragic, each extraordinary, each potentially cathartic.
Tragedy No. 1.
Israeli tanks and youths battle each other in a refugee camp. In the crossfire a disorientated, deaf, Palestinian boy is shot by Israeli forces outside his house. He can’t hear the gunfire! And this happens in the middle of an alleged Israeli ceasefire.
Tragedy No. 2.
A Cessna plane takes off from Lebanon without permission piloted by a student. The pilot is accompanied over the border by the Israeli airforce. After he allegedly fails to answer repeated calls on the radio the plane is blown up mid-air. It is suspected of being a Kamikaze mission. And then the body of the pilot falls through the roof of a building belonging to the Israeli Navy!
Tragedy No. 3.
A building in Jerusalem collapses during a wedding. The disaster is sudden, huge, and comes without warning. Jerusalem's greatest tragedy since the beginning of the intifada is not an act of terrorism!
Sludge reckons taken together the above are enough to influence the views of even the most mildly superstitious.
But for the average devout warring resident of the Gilo and Beit Jala, these events ought to provide enough food for several days of thoughtfulness, and hopefully a period of peacefulness.
Anti©opyright Sludge 2001