There is an excellent on-the-ground article about the descending situation in Gaza and Palestine in Salon today. My favorite passages illustrate the effect of sanctions and the price of democracy for the average Palestinian leading up to what appears to be an emerging civil war:
“Honesty should count for something, and anyone who doesn’t think all the Fatah guys aren’t also hoping to get the chance to push the Israelis into the sea is dreaming. And this kind of honesty translates into governance. Hamas was elected primarily because they’re semi-competent technocrats who give the impression that they’ll steal a hell of a lot less and do a hell of a lot more for the average Palestinian than Fatah…
“And the Palestinians’ reward for throwing out a bunch of corrupt hoodlums in favor of a more honest bunch? The U.S., Israel and the E.U. cut off aid or block earned tax revenue and now the public sector of Gaza — or about 70 percent of the workforce — hasn’t been paid for months. And this was one of the poorest and most densely populated parts of the world to begin with.
So everyone is cranky. The streets were filled with unpaid, heavily armed volunteers, which left everyone massively on edge all week. And after a day of rest for the funeral for the innocent victims of the Israeli attack, Fatah and Hamas went at it full bore.”
My response on Salon was “I enjoyed this article a lot, and I think this helps realize that blanket sanctions against Palestine are ineffective, and worst, destabilizing. Instead of promoting moderation, Western sanctions have choked away medical supplies, food, and salaries, basically making life unlivable for many in the region. Unfortunately, this has had the opposite effect on the extremism America was hoping to stifle — Fatah and Hamas have both shown a vigilance to militarize in an environment where they are fighting for scraps. It is unfortunate that in the politics of the Middle East, our actions are harming the average Palestinian and reinforcing the extremist beliefs we seek to defeat.”
Ever wondered why the Democratic Party has sucked since LBJ? Well, the answer is not that in the face of aggressive Republican corruption they are spineless cowards (surprise!). It’s those god damn consultants(and they are overpaid to boot).
And for the two ironies of the day: a Saudi textbook (after the intolerance was removed), and a recent scientific study showing no link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer.