EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - I'm writing this post to commemorate two recent events: the heatwave that hit America the past two days, and the sudden increase in violence between Israel and Palestine, with the Israeli government reacting harshly to the capture of an Israeli corporal by members of Hamas.
Monday and Tuesday saw the metropolitan area---heck, most of the country---covered in heat and humidity. I had to go out on Monday---an appointment with my counselor at Rutgers, a trip to Shoprite---and the car I drive hasn't had working air conditioning for months now. But it was either drive that car or risk driving the other car, which has had kind of a stalling problem since, oh, last year. (I couldn't drive the other car anyway, since my mother had driven it to work.) It wasn't pleasant, and I was sweating quite a bit, but I survived it. Yesterday, I didn't go out---didn't have to, because Megamovies didn't need me to come in on my optional "rain" shift---so I kept cool inside my thankfully air-conditioned house.
The only thing I missed in staying home all day? Well, forgive me for being crass and perhaps coming off as sexist, but I missed the opportunity to gawk at the exposed female flesh that is inevitably displayed on such a hot day. In other words, I missed those tight-fitting tank tops. (Sorry; I'm perverted and horny like that.)
But the heat that hit this area on Monday and Tuesday apparently have nothing on the heat that's currently overtaking Lebanon as Israel pretty much air-struck the shit out of the country in what has, according to TIME magazine's article about the fighting in the most recent issue, been "the worst Arab-Israeli cross-border conflict since Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982." After some years of an uneasay peace, it looks as if all that has been burned down to the ground. Maybe this should have been expected, with the militarist Palestinian group Hamas being voted into office.
I was watching CNN yesterday, and a reporter was following a Palestinian living in a village in Beirut as he was showing him around the messed-up area. One of the things he said struck me: something to the effect of "my people will not lose their dignity in this; if they continue to do this to us, we'll keep fighting back." I hope I didn't misrepresent the man's opinion---he sounded like he knew what he was talking about. The only thing I could do when I heard that was wince: sir, it seems to me that there is no dignity at all in war in general. With everyone reverting to their animal instincts and maiming and killing like that, allowing civilians to be killed, I don't see much dignity in it, at least on a personal level. Do you? Of course, if you're thinking solely about some larger cause and not about your own skin, maybe that reasoning would sound appealing. It sounds to me like the kind of attitude---eye for an eye---that keeps this endless Israeli-Palestinian conflict going. Even with moments of peace, one can't help but think, when's the next burst of violence going to happen?
Where is the United States in all of this, some have asked? Apparently, the U.S. is biding its time, according to a New York Times front page article today which suggests that the U.S. is allowing Israel to bomb Lebanon some more---"to degrade the capabilities of the Hezbollah militia, officials of the two countries [Israel and the U.S., I assume]---before sending Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to try to create some kind of buffer zone to curb Hezbollah's ability to obtain more rockets with which to bomb Israel. Sounds like a risky move, allowing the bombing to go on for another week before making its move. How many people in the international community will allow the U.S. to just sit on the situation like that, as more innocent Lebanese civilians die?
But then, the U.S. hasn't really done much intervening in this Israeli-Palestinian mess; it's been too busy with dealing with the Iraq situation and the Iran and North Korea threats. Certainly the latter two may be legitimate threats that must be dealt with, but the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been just as prominent in the world. President Bush's approach to the situation has basically been the same as his approach to other foreign situations: we don't negotiate with terrorists. Has that approach really worked, though, so far? It looks as if all sanctioning and isolation has done is to cause more violence against innocents.
When I hear news like this, I fight the urge to be cynical---cynicism comes too easily for me, and seems too easy a reaction. Sometimes I can't help it, though. All I can say is, hopefully something will be done to curb the violence soon.