Thursday, April 12, 2012

regarding Gunter Grass' poem

German author Gunter Grass has released a poem he calls What Must Be Said.

Here is my response to it...

Our psychology, while developed to protect the individual, is very dangerous. At root is the thought that one’s own thinking is objective.

The individual easily assumes that his own reasoning is both logical and based on a hard reality. One also jumps to conclusions about the thinking of others based on suspicion. All of this swims within the mindset created by the psychological environment of the times, in which history plays a large part.

The frightening thing about Israel’s leadership is the mindset of victimization, of “never again”. This paranoia that gives rise to epic self-righteousness sees aggression and the stockpiling of weapon upon weapon as normal, it sees the unilateral pre-emptive strike as prudent. It sees “get him before he gets you” as common sense. With this mindset, what the world sees as peace will never come because no action on the part of the other except abject subservience will ever be acceptable.

Netanyahu and friends are incapable of seeing themselves in the other and do not have any conception that humiliation is unappealing to everyone; Jew, Arab and Iranian alike.
Outside Israel, the horror of the holocaust and feelings of guilt have created a different mindset, one that says “we must never criticize Jews, because they are a special case in history with which we are complicit” This is strongest in Germany for obvious reasons and it is made manifest by submarines and financial payments.

Put these two complimentary mindsets together and you have a license for Israel to commit all manner of mayhem – the perpetrators feeling no qualms about whatever they do, and the Western observers trying to assuage their consciences by saying little or nothing about the mayhem.

This is why Grass so perfectly titles his effort “what must be said”. He wants to shatter this rigid psychological crystal that binds both the Israelis and the West and makes Israeli initiated tragedy inevitable.

Israel is a not a result of the action of a group of dedicated Jewish fighters in Palestine. That was necessary but not sufficient for the creation. Far from a miracle of God as some would have it, Israel is the result of the complementary mindsets described above acting in concert. As with so many things, what seemed to many like a good idea at the time is now playing out into a disaster of human rights and potential world war.

Grass’ work will likely have little effect on his generation or the one after. It is only the youth who are born free of the mindset (before it is inculcated) that have the fresh eyes that will make it possible to stop feeding Israel with the weaponry that makes it the beast it was inevitable it would come to be.

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