My new accommodation is an island in a sea of static. The internet is yet to be connected, and the television only just returned from the repair shop yesterday. I have had the 80% data warning from O2, which means refreshing my email or looking up guides on how to remove red wine stains from cream carpets is a great deal more nerve-wracking than it ought to be.
As a side effect of this isolation, this blog had to be written up in rapid-style having been first drafted on the back of a few dozen scraps of receipt paper. It was that or type the entire thing on my phone, which would of course have been purest unendurable agony.
I have remained largely ignorant of a great deal of things which have happened, outside of that which has been reported by the print media. It has been, in a way, an enlightening experience. Had I only the print media by which to learn, then I am quite sure I’d be a different person. Maybe I wouldn’t have this beard. Maybe I’d get better exercise, or eat better or something. I certainly wouldn’t give two shits about most of the content of this blog.
Anyway, this week has been a big one, geopolitically speaking. And by that I mean it’s been a big week in the world of killing. It’s been a big, fat, depressing week of death. And I don’t have any answers. All I got’s a lot of shoulder-shrugging, hand-wringing bullshit. Fair warning, dammit.
A plane got shot down. You probably heard about that one. You might not have heard the guy from RT on 5 Live this morning asserting that the Russians didn’t give anyone any sort of shooty-rocket-launching-thing, and that it’s actually quite easy to shoot down a passenger plane without outside help. You or I could do it in an afternoon, in fact; we just need to track down some old bottles of Fairy liquid and some sticky-back plastic.
Then they had a phone in, in which another man put forward the conspiracy theory which holds that the Ukrainian government set the whole thing up, in order to put pressure on Russia to back down. Their plan was one so fiendish that only a group as fiendishly clever as the Ukranian government could possibly have dreamt it up: Stealthily drive an enormous rocket launcher behind enemy lines and then shoot down a passing plane.
I’m not sure what to think.
The Israelis have also killed a load of Palestinians, and the Palestinians killed a few Israelis, though who first did the killing is a cloudier matter, as it always is. I think the daily death toll reported in yesterday’s Guardian was something like eighty-four, but I can’t quite recall exactly.
I do recall a colleague of mine remarking ‘that doesn’t seem like very many’. Which I thought was rather a peculiar thing to say, as my first impression was that it was quite a lot. How can any number of people blown to bits be ‘not very many’? It’s subjective, of course. I suppose it mostly depends on the number of people blown to bits in the preceding day.
Of course, the fact that this is Gaza rather than say, Iraq or Nigeria or Syria or any other goddam hellhole* where human beings routinely brutalise one another for no sensible reason means that it’s a great deal more newsworthy. A least, it is in the Channel 4 newsroom. Not so much elsewhere. It’s quite a polarising locale, and the extent to which events there are reported depends on how the news organisation doing the reporting feels about Israel and Israel’s allies.
It’s either Israel’s fault for blowing people up, or it’s Hamas’ fault for using ‘human shields’, so to speak. Which raises the question: Is it okay to shoot at people when they use human shields? I suppose if you didn’t it would only encourage the further use of human shields. But then if you did, the human shields would quite likely be blown to bits, which is precisely the outcome everyone is claiming they’d prefer to avoid. Of course, if Hamas were to come out and face the Israeli military in a ‘fair fight’, they would be instantly atomised by Israeli laser-cannons. So you can’t really begrudge them their reprehensible cowardice. Or rather, you can, but you can understand the logic behind it, even if you find it atrocious.
I had promised myself I’d write about something lovely and pleasant today, but there is rather a lot of death in the world, isn’t there? How jolly frightful we humans can be. Anyhow, splendid weather we’re having, isn’t it?
Until next week!
*Christian blogger Cramner has written about this today, go check it out.