Sunday, January 11, 2009

Apparently There is some Unpleasantless in the Near East

Last night a group of young people passed by under the balcony, shouting slogans in favour of Palestine and abuse against Israel, and carrying painted sheets explicitly calling the Israelis Nazis. There were only about twenty of them, all around 18-20 years old. It was not clear which organization had inspired them to do this, as I could see no distinguishing sign. It is highly unlikely that they would have done it without someone encouraging them, but I cannot say for sure. That sort of this is usually caused by the Communist party or the far left trade unions, but I say this only as background.

They screamed at the local government offices for a while, briefly blocked a zebra crossing, and then wandered off down the road shouting. They did not seem to be looking for trouble, but they could easily have caused it; there attitude was highly offensive and confrontational, although they didn't seem to realize this. They weren't expressing a desire for peace, either, they were demanding 'Freedom for Palestine.'

If anyone had asked them, I am quite sure they would have displayed complete ignorance and blind prejudice in their opinions and attitudes, but they seemed to think they had a perfect right to express that ignorance via abuse and (minor) public disturbance. Long live free speech, but as I say they could easily have caused serious trouble and it is highly unlikely they would have accepted any responsibility.

I realize I have made a couple of assumptions that I can't be certain of, but this is not a rant about the young. I like the young and feeling strongly about something is a good starting point for learning more about it. (We have all been young, and most of us have been stupid.) So no, this is not a rant.

But what I don't understand is who they think is listening to them. The UN and the EU have issued declarations calling for a ceasefire, which have, quite naturally, been ignored by both sides. Not even the declarers would have expected anything different, but in such cases bureaucrats and diplomats call it a success if they have agreed on the wording of the resolution, and got on the television; results don't matter to them. So if the UN was well aware that it was speaking to the deaf, who did a bunch of kids down here think they were likely to influence by parading through the streets calling people names? I doubt they even got on the television.

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