How the Holy Cow milks terror; Moral Equivalence down on Melanie Phillips's Dairy
A few cross words yesterday on Melanie Phillips's Diary. But first, here's a riddle:
Q: What do you call a few cross-words from Melanie Phillips?
A: A cattle grid.
phew! I bet she would have stumbled on that one. I set her a challenge last month: recogise the good deed done by the grieving Palestinian mother, thus proving that she wasn't a cultural supremacist or a racist and was indeed capable of seeing the Palestinians as more than one blood-drinking mass of terrorists bent on genocide. If she could do this before her next racist outburst I would give her a prize, say a medal or some book tokens.
She blew it. A few times actually. But yesterday was a weird one. The Telegraph, the sort of xenophobic rowing club member's read that would float her boat, lost its "moral compass" because it showed a photo of a grieving Palestinian mother. Her son had decided to detonate his suicide bomb outside an Israeli shopping centre, murdering five, a total he would surely have liked to have been higher. Now, unlike Iraq and the London 7/7 bombers, many Palestinian suicide bombers make their intentions to murder Israelis quite plain to their families. Some families encourage it, seeing it as a great honour. Some are compensated for their loss by the terrorist groups, but can live with the proud knowledge that they had contributed to the resistance. It looks doubtful that this was one such case. The anguish on the mother's face does not look like that of a woman who has been preparing for this. She may want to know why her son did it. We don't find out because the article doesn't elaborate. In fact, the photo is a relative non sequitur, since no metion is made of her at all, the focus being entirely on the Israeli casualties. Quite right too? Possibly. But that is never enough for the vengeful Holy Cow, who believes that even running this photo (one of three; there are also images of the blast and of the bomber making an address) "drew a moral equivalence between the grief of the bomber's mother and the grief of the victims he murdered."
Perhaps she would like to demonstrate why she too isn't entitled to feel grief? It's an unexplored question in the article but why does it offend her so much? And unfortunately, since she refuses to recognise the suffering of the Palestinians when they are killed in droves, it is rather poisonous of her in particular to raise such an issue. She continues: "Would the Telegraph have published pictures of the 'grieving mothers' of the 7/7 bombers, I wonder?" I fact she doesn't "wonder". Wondering is what people with open minds do when they want to learn. Mrs Shut-mind here is very abrasive when it comes to new ideas, as seen with global warming, where the fact penetrate her skull with all the ease of a sumo wrestler crawling through a mangle. This is a woman that judges an article, not on how it fits with the real world, but on how well it appeals to her existing prejudices. So, Jason Burke's article here is "mad" and "a smear" because it doesn't sit well with her idea of French muslims as facists. But this shit is worth looking into because it makes her feel a bit less lonely in her beliefs (if you tell yourself enough you start to believe it, that's what they say about fanatics) that Saddam and Al Qaeda were connected in a strong working relationship. What she should be wondering is why there was a serious and vocal debate about whether or nor the families of the London bombers should have been allowed to attend the commemoration in St Paul's Cathedral. Mayor Ken Livingstone and former hostage Terry Waite certainly thought that they should have been permitted to share their grief, the latter's request being covered in The Telegraph that she once revered. How did she miss that one? Perhaps she was too distracted by Rowan Williams' Anti-semitism (see last month's outpourings) to pick up on this.
And on to Moral equivalence. Well, its frequently invoked in the Middle East. To claim that suicide attacks against Israeli civilians is resistance is termed "moral equivalence" on a regular basis by those who like the term. What they are saying is that to carry out these attacks is no worse than the Israeli "retaliation" to them. A question: how do you retaliate against a suicide bomber? Well, putting aside the irritating fact that he is already dead, in Israel you plough down the houses in their neighbourhood and bomb the leaders of terror groups, knowing full well that Palestinian civilians will get caught up in the blasts. You build a "defensive" wall around the country that actually cuts into the state where the civilians live (and which the Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, will become permanent). You impose curfews on ordinary people who are blameless for such outrages. Since attacking people who committed no crime is by definition not retaliation, the question needs to be asked to Mrs Phillips: is terming an assault against innocent Palestinian bystanders as "retaliation" a morally equivalent response to the crimes of suicide bombers and terrorist groups? Is it moral equivalence to say that a soldier, whose crime is shooting Palestinian civilians dead or flattening their houses, is just as bad as those same Palestinians, whose crime is to be in the same neighbourhood as a terrorist? The best thing to do is to bin moral equivalence and condemn each crime as it happens. Sice she is incapable of doing this, I'd politely ask her to sever her typing hand and shut her fat hole.
"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." - George W. Bush (March 24, 2004)