Apocalypse Means "The Uncovering of Hell"
Apocalypse Means "The Uncovering of Hell"
The events of the past couple weeks in the Middle East are almost enough to make one quit writing political pieces, and stick to the contemplative dimension. But that would be too easy. Besides, as an Israeli field commander said, “nothing is safe” now. In the words of the Lebanese prime minister, Israel has thrown open “the gates of hell.”
Philosophy matters. The philosophy of the Israelis, and their Bush Administration backers, is enfolded in the words of Condi Rice: “A ceasefire would be a false promise if it just returns us to the status quo.” Explication? The killing of civilians and systematic destruction of a country’s infrastructure must go on, because they are after a “sustainable peace.” History will not forget that one phone call from George W. Bush could have put a stop to this madness. (Or did it start on the Bush Administration's prompting?)
Israel and the United States have enormous power, and they mean to change the dynamic in the Middle East by breaking the resistance of those they deem terrorists. Never mind that Israel used terror to carve out a state in Palestine. Never mind that history teaches that the best way to end terrorism is to include the aggrieved in the political process, as Lebanon was doing.
Of course the point is not peace, but domination--in the name of national security. For a couple of weeks before the eruption of violence in Lebanon, I was asking myself how these two trends would intersect—the phony “global war on terror,” and the fading sovereignty of nation-states. With excruciating vividness and sadness, the answer is now clear.
The rhetorical ‘global war on terror’ has entered a new phase, spreading beyond Afghanistan and Iraq into Lebanon. Because so-called leaders such as Bush, Blair, and Olmert believe that the Arab and Persian mind only responds to overwhelming force, and because they believe that military force can change the basic dynamic in the region and the world for the better, the rhetorical war will continue to spread its toxic effects until they have their world war. That is, unless and until they are stopped, which can’t be achieved by force.
The government/media line in the United States is that Iran fomented the war in Lebanon through their proxy Hezbollah in order to divert international pressure on its nuclear program. Iran supposedly also pulled the strings with Hezbollah to show that they, along with their ally Syria, are forces to contend with in the Middle East. But given how effectively the destruction of Lebanon by Israel has distracted and diverted attention from the continuing disaster in Iraq, that line is pathetically projective.
Are the American people buying the propaganda that the killing and abduction of two Israeli soldiers is the “root cause” (in Bush’s words) of Israel’s outrageous, disproportionate response? Many are. As one of the thousands of Americans being evacuated from Beirut said, “This rescue operation makes me proud to be an American. Our people have big hearts, and we will be back to help.” Yep, Blackwater and Halliburton will be there to “help,” just like they are in Iraq.
Of course Hezbollah don’t give a damn about civilian deaths and the disruption of hundreds of thousands of lives either. Being basically right about Israel and the United States doesn’t justify their means. Ends don’t justify the means; means justify the ends.
Even so, America and Israel (Amerael) have placed Hezbollah and Hamas in a double bind. They are (rightly) damned if they use terror by targeting civilians with suicide bombers. But they are also damned if they conduct military operations against military personnel.
Whether soldiers are conscripts, as they are in Israel, or mercenaries, as they are in America, war is their line of work. For Israel to obliterate a country because the evil Arabs killed and abducted a few of their beloved soldiers defies human decency and basic fairness.
What Israel and America are doing in the name of national security is evil. They are using the same mad, militaristic mentality in Lebanon that the Bush Administration is continuing to espouse in destabilizing and destroying Iraq: war will bring security, prosperity, and peace.
As the American commander in Iraq said today after another horrific weekend of carnage (minimally covered in the mainstream American media, which is relishing in stories of blood and tears, escapes and fears coming out of Lebanon): “We have not witnessed the reduction of violence one would have hoped for in a perfect world.”
Humankind is awash in darkness. Is this literally the apocalypse—“the uncovering of hell?” The human spirit must break, or break free.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.