Sunday, June 6, 2010

From Hero to Zero: Someone knows the cameras are running

As a rule of thumb, I think that anyone who says that they aren't really heroes are none-too-subtly hoping that they'll appear both heroic and modest. When in actual fact they are neither. Especially the ones where the first time you heard anyone calling them heroes is themselves saying that they're not really heroes.

Take for example, the Malaysian delegation of people who decided that they had extra time on their hands to get involved in the boat ride to Palestine:

Now, after the bla bla for the first four minutes or so, he finally gets to the I'm not really a hero bit. After which he calls out his fellow team-mates and talks about how, well, heroic they are. It doesn't take a semiologist to see that the message is here are these brave people, and I'm their leader.

I realize of course that international opinion is that the Israelis at best overreacted to the situation, and in the end there's unlikely ever to be a real agreement over who was right or wrong in 1967, and for that matter who is right or wrong today. I remember sometime back reading that usually everyone's at least somewhat at fault - otherwise arguments wouldn't last as long as they do.

My argument about the matter is that the people most vocal about these matters either:
1. Don't know anything more than what they choose to read
(like some dumbasses in Western-world protests)
2. Have vested interests unrelated to what's right or wrong in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
(like the Jewish-based interests forming the basis of the US support)
3. Are bound by a religious connection that has an equal amount (i.e. zero) of relationship to what's right or wrong in the Middle East.
(Muslim communities in Malaysia being the current example)

On the last point, all you have to do is have a look at Dr Mahathir's posting on the subject (link here). He mentions that "
Incidentally, the Rachel Corrie is named after a brave 23 year old American girl who stood in front of a bulldozer which was about to destroy a Palestinian house. The Israeli operator of the bulldozer simply ran over her and killed her." Heart-wrenching, right? That is, until you don't take Dr Mahathir at face value and do the most basic of background reading (link here).

However all these very complicated strands of self-interests and self-delusions play out, I can't see why Malaysians decided to promote their kaypohness to land up on a boat asking for trouble. At the end of the day you've got these people who firmly believe that Israelis are international terrorists, but if Hamas flings a bomb over the border and blows up Israeli children, then that's just self protection.

Which is a rather shaky position. The responsible thing for anyone to do before going before a camera, or on a boat, is to ask yourself whether you're impartial enough to open your mouth - and secretly pat yourself on the back. For now though, you say you're not a hero, and I'll readily take your word for it.