Friday, 20 November 2015

Only Grownups Can Have Peace

I was reading an article from an Israeli writer who was saying that the rest of the world needs to now finally learn from Israel on how to handle terrorists. They have been doing it on a daily basis and this writer thinks they know it all. He even praised Benjamin Netanyahu's plan on how to deal with Iran that was brushed aside by a know nothing Obama, yeah the writer was a little bias. 

If you went by how the Israeli's treat the Palestinians you'd see that they aren't just trying to keep themselves safe but that they really don't like them, it works both ways as many Palestinians hate Jews. This doesn't mean that they all hate each other, the angry ones always tend to have the louder voices and after a while just plain decency becomes harder to do. 

Israel was founded by people who were terrorists, the Stern gang and the Irgun being the main two. In 1946 the Irgun blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing of 91 people. 41 Arabs, 28 British and 17 Jews. Sounds like something the IRA would do. Sure the Arabs were carrying out acts of terror too but they weren't very well coordinated ....  much like our Loyalist paramilitaires. 

In March 1947, martial law was enforced when 16 Brits were killed. That year the Irgun claimed to have killed 347 Arabs and British. The Stern gang killed 28 servicemen when they blew up the Khantara to Haifa Express in 1948. From 1947 -1948 214 British servicemen were killed. The British soldiers did fear the Jews far more than the Arabs.  

My point is that the Israelis didn't have that far to fall in order to become as bad as their enemy, they were already there. 

In Northern Ireland we were having similar experiences to the Israelis but people either don't know or forget about this tiny backwards tagnut on the arse of Britain. Both our sides hated each other's very existence. As like in Palestine both had their terrorists, their supporters, the decent people and of course British, trying to enforce law and not always getting it right. 

Belfast city center had checkpoints at the main streets, you'd get patted down by a soldier or police officer, the females and children would have female police officers, your bags and strollers would all get checked too. Buses would have someone come on and walk through the bus to make sure there were no suspicious objects left behind. 
We had armed police and soldiers doing daily patrols. Funny how all of that including being evacuated for a bomb alert becomes normal. Bus or train delays because of suspect devices didn't strike fear into your heart, they became an annoyance. Did the terrorists not have anything better to do? 

Most buildings had bollards to prevent cars being driven into them, taxi depots which have always been a source of employment for terrorists and their supporters had bullet proof widows, buzzers to let you in and glass windows like you'd see in a bank. Bus drivers still sit in a little plastic glass cage. Bars and clubs had bouncers who would search you on the way in. 

     A normal world of cages and turnstiles. 

Is that what the rest of the world needs to be like? You don't notice half the stuff until it's gone and maybe it all did raise tensions just a bit as a subconscious reminder that you had to be alert. People become suspicious of everything and notice strangers very easily. Walking into a pub and having everyone turn their head gave you the knowledge that maybe you had to tread carefully in that place. 

 Soldiers and police had to be secretive, loose lips not only sunk ships but targeted your family. Unlike England and the US you wouldn't catch a soldier in uniform off duty and police always ate takeaway during their breaks. 
A haircut, your body language and even your clothes can be a give away to which side you are from. Knowing a person's name can tell you if they are Protestant or Catholic 98% of the time or a local just knows. 
The English soldiers hated civvies because they were all paddys to them and the civvies hated squaddies.    

I'm sure Israel is very similar to Northern Ireland during the Troubles. 

We prescribed to YOLO before it was even a thing, we worked hard and played hard and didn't let the daily news of death or the near misses in real life get to us, some really bad tragedies did give us pause to reflect as if it wasn't us who got the unlucky terrorist lottery it was someone we knew. 

Should the west really live like this? Can the west live like this? Before there were cell phones and Facebook people were mostly secretive about where or what they are doing but the younger generation that didn't have that worry posts their every move and who their friends are. They are even slack with their online security never mind who or what is about them.  

Here is a picture I took of the same place where the cage and the barriers would have been. Now it is all open, buses trundle through at speed, guys in red jackets look out for anyone who looks like a tourist to try to sell them a seat on a city tour bus where you can see our murals and where the Titanic was built. The road sweeper has to stop for a chat because hey, it beats working.

Ugly ass expensive sail like things stick out of the street for no reason but we haven't gone full soft, you can see the mast with a CCTV camera on it, we are always being watched. 

 Some homes still need protection.

We should protect ourselves but not in cages and behind bullet proof glass, that changes you, that makes you mean. What happens when the barriers come down? Then you realise all the little things you've missed that everyone else takes for granted, you become just a pleb, a person rather than a potential terrorist and that's nice. All that alertness you got so used to having is no longer needed and gets in the way of living. Being on full alert is tiring for normal people but is second nature to anyone who has lived with terrorism. 

When the cages come down you realise that you are more than just a target and those years of refusing to think about things end, and you can fully embrace your depression that you drank to forgot and your PTSD can be recognised, just like everyone else's.       

Israel needs to be more like us, not the other way round. We won with compromising and addressing the real grievances that the other side has and maybe by admitting that some of the shit we did wasn't cool. 

We accepted that hey maybe the enemy isn't a blood crazed fiend who takes orders from the Pope and just isn't like us .... except they are. We finally see that religion is just an excuse to be a dick and you could just as easily switch out religions for football teams and see it's all gang related and totally primitive and tribal. 

When both sides are at fault it's easy to get caught up in the tit for tat bickering that mirrors the tit for tat violence. 
Peace can only happen when those sides doing the fighting listen to how fed up the decent people are with it all. 

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