The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Evil That Men Do

Outside in the yard five dead boys lay on the ground … The youngest, Abbas Mahmoud Hashem, lay on his back with his head turned to the left and his right leg drawn up. A dummy hung on a blue plastic chain round his neck; powdered concrete covered his face and hair. No one seemed to know his age but he looked about 18 months - Guardian

Anthony McIntyre • 29 July 2006

Today Israel continued with its systematic massacre of Lebanese citizens. Its aerial Einsatzgruppen selected for mass killing the civilian population of Qana. At least 60 reported fatalities were occasioned by the US sponsored flying death squads, 34 of them children. This came at the end of a week in which the ground was carefully prepared for the intimidation of the international community. United Nations peace keeping troops were also butchered by Israelofascist military death squads in a bid to deter other governments from committing themselves to a UN presence in the Lebanon short of Israel securing its strategic objectives.

Hanna Arendt, having observed the 1961 Jerusalem trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, coined the phrase 'banality of evil.' Since Arendt's death in 1975 others have stepped into the breach to show how the mediocrities of ordinary daily life perpetrate the extraordinary monstrosities that have blurred the line between human and beast; none more so than Christopher Browning in his aptly titled Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.

There seems little that would merit special attention for the mass murderers of Israel in the absence of their penchant for infanticide. They epitomise Arendt's banal. Just as victims of child molestation are not inured against dishing out the abuse in kind, those who have strong cultural roots in the holocaust seem inclined to seek out vulnerable victims so that they too can do what was done to them. Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano makes the caustic rejoinder that:

For centuries the slaughter of Jews was the favourite sport of Europeans. Auschwitz was the natural culmination of an ancient river of terror, which had flowed across all of Europe. How much longer will Palestinians and other Arabs be made to pay for crimes they didn't commit … How much longer will Israel and the United States be allowed to exterminate countries with impunity?

It is a cause of puzzlement from where the banal pilots who make up the IDF Einsatzgruppen draw inspiration when they take to the air for the purposes of executing their murderous mission. Perhaps they have heard of the names Otto Ohlendorf, Franz Walter Stahlecker, Otto Rasch and Artur Nebe. If so, why do they embrace the activities of such men rather than recoil from them?

Evil, because it is banal, does not always come with an accompanying explanation. The world may ultimately uncover only sanitised snap shots of the lives of Israeli war criminals which show them in their banality rather than their evil. We might find:

that little Gretchen from Gevin's normal passion in life was music from which she was wickedly wrenched by the enemies of Israel. And so to take her mind of the odious task of strafing the fleeing children in her sights, she hummed Wagnerian opera in the blue skies above Beirut in tune with the staccato of her weaponry;

that Jurgen from Jaffa really preferred photography to flying. Consequently, for solace, at night when the day's bombardment was over, he found himself staring at the 1942 photo of the Jewish woman running across fields at Ivangorod, gripping her child as some Nazi brute takes aim to murder both;

that big Heinrich from Haifa with a love of history, before he lapsed into sleep in the evening ahead of the massacres planned for the following day, ran through his mind the 1942 events at the ravine at Babi Yar simply to acquire some idea of what a mass murder pit should look like. It is much easier to carve out with a F16 than a shovel;

that Reinhard from Regavim, an avid reader who in his time out from the unpleasantries of necessary infant incineration, turned the pages of Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners for a more rounded understanding of what rationale may be employed to abdicate individual responsibility for one's genocidal urges and transfer it to the amoral and amorphous collective that is the state.

Who knows what ultimately will be written about such bomberkommandos? The motivations prompting mass murder on the part of those claiming to be from God's chosen people may remain as mysterious as God himself. What we do know is that their actions come accompanied by that old refrain, 'nothing new under the sun.' They have visited the world before. The names of the places previously scarred by them have a special significance because human society underscored such names in bold print with the words 'never again'; places like Jósefów, Lomazy, Sebezh, Bikernieki Forest, Ivangorod, Babi Yar.

The banal evil that pulverises children from the skies high above Lebanon goes uncurbed. Rather than evil being prevented from manifesting itself in the Middle East Israel receives military hardware from the president of the country which prides itself on confronting the so called axis of evil. The George Bush pretext is that Israel is under some serious external threat. Yet the death rate ratio is 14:1 in Israel's favour. US endorsement of Israel comes on similar terms as it did to Chile at the time of the 1973 Allende overthrow. While Pinochet was busy squelching US life in Santiago, President Richard Nixon was pumping in support. American citizens stranded in Lebanon and at risk from Israeli air strikes has not diminished US ardour for the murder campaign nor its endorsement of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Southern Lebanon.

Consequently, Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, in seeking to explain the current situation in Lebanon, poses the very pertinent question, 'why would the puppet be any less evil than the puppet master?'

That we are on occasion hoaxed into thinking otherwise is explained by the ability of the puppet master to conceal his vile hypocrisy behind democratic and humanitarian rhetoric. Hanna Arendt, had she been around, might have chosen to provide us with the following insight in response to the Roberts question.

What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.










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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

3 August 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

A United Ireland or Nothing
Liam O Comain

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 1
Michael Gillespie

High Noon
John Kennedy

Fest or Flop
Dr John Coulter

Irish and Republican Music
Ray McAreavey

Qana Massacre again: Foreign and Domestic Enemies of our Constitution
Mazin Qumsiyeh

Israel Murders UN Observers
Anthony McIntyre

Managing Debate
Mick Hall

4 Horsemen
John Kennedy

The Evil That Men Do
Anthony McIntyre

Chris Petit's Secret History: The Psalm Killer
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Soldier of the Legion of the Rearguard
Liam O Ruairc

Football and the Fifth Commandment
Eamon Sweeney

Don't Let Us Down
Dr John Coulter

Human Rights Forum
Meeting Announcement

Billy Mitchell
Anthony McIntyre

25 July 2006

Religious Rednecks of Doom
Dr John Coulter

Cut-Throat Politics
John Kennedy

A Poem About Our Children
Mary La Rosa

Israeli Blitzkrieg
Anthony McIntyre

When Leaders Serve Foreign Interests, Everyone Loses
Mazin Qumsiyeh

By Their Friends You Shall Know Them
Mick Hall

Mission Impossible
Anthony McIntyre

Lit Crit Well Writ
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Revisiting A Literary Genius
David Adams

'The Film That Shakes A Lot More Than the Barley'
Eamon Sweeney

The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Conclusion
Marcella Sands

The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Additional Information
Marcella Sands

The Framing of Michael McKevitt: Letter of Thanks
Michael McKevitt

Pull the Other One
John Kennedy

Ex-Noraid Boss Still Gloomy on Peace Process
Jim Dee

An Honour to Have Been Part of the Blanket Protest
Anthony McIntyre

The Letters page has been updated.



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