Omelas and the political theology of Israel
Of 'them' and 'us.' Ultimately, there is only 'us.'
This is pure gold Rhyd. 🙏
I think there's another layer to the conflict that is considered too gauche to mention in public.
The oil and gas reserves controlled by Gaza, and a wormhole straight back to the Bush years when anyone who was not a strategic ally and who could dispose of their own mineral wealth needed a big ol' dose of freedum.
"You cannot have a life without naked violence if you also intend to have a state, no matter how much we might dream of things being otherwise."
What is the relationship between the fundamental conditions of being truly human and the existence of states?
It seems to me that the very notion of statehood is anti-human. States can only exist by denying humanity to themselves and others.
An amazing and balanced discussion.
One thing that was particularly interesting to me was the statement on Zionism: growing up in NY in frequent contact with the Jewish community I heard about Zionism very often, but I NEVER heard it framed even remotely as a secular ideology. It was always articulated to me quite straightforwardly as a completely theologically-rooted reconquista.
Amazing work, Rhyd. An additional point. The Middle East was once lush and fertile, before civilization turned it into a desert. The idea of making the desert bloom, that the Israelis "improve" the land is ironic given that the land's desert condition is in part due to the civilizing project of Judaism. Before they created the desert God, they created the desert. I sometime think the entire religious trajectory is a reaction to that original act, destroying their own land base.
Rhyd, what are the bibliographical citations for the quotes in your text? I want to read more from them. I agree with Caitlín Matthews sense of "ultimately, only us," and yet the embedded, unrealized hope within the statement nonetheless creates an ache, a sorrow without pity for what-is-not-yet that induces many into leaving (as walking away from Omelas, and you leaving the United States?), searching for wherever that geography is that has concordance with our hope, a place that is inhabited by not having to prove there is "only us," because that's how we are already living. And some of us must again move on. And again. We are running out of wilderness. Once again, your words host a wealth of search.
Excellent and provocative. I will need to see the hyperlinks, but this is exactly why I subscribe. Thank you.
So spot on! Thank you!
Thank you Rhyd, as always, for your insight and clarity.
Thank you Rhyd for your informative historical background to the Middle East crisis. I always learn so much from what you offer us. Your post also got me thinking too about how climate change is making humans reconsider their African, nomadic roots. Academics are now writing about how more and more groups from South Asia, Africa, and the deserts of Arabia among others are being forced to migrate (again) to survive. Predicted destinations are to the higher, cooler climes, Russia, Scandinavia, Canada, etc. although floods and brush fires are causing havoc there too. As concerns a famous nomad, there is no accurate biography of the Biblical Abraham. Genesis suggests he drove his tribal caravan out of the Sumerian city of Ur, a city with its primary temple dedicated to the male moon god Nanna. Abraham and his tribe wandered for years, so it seems, as was the custom for tribals of his day, as well as native Bedouins to this day. Abraham’s exodus from what is now Southern Iraq has been guessed to be around 2000BC and interestingly cuneiform tablets dug up in the early 20th century mention the clan of Terah departing around the same time. But what I’m really getting at is that the deeper we look into our human history the more we find all of us are nomads at heart be it due to war, climate change or other crisis. It is so easy to forget we are just lent the land we live on. This gift when taken back will make us pack up our camels or dog sleds and journey on
"When all the justifications for the “necessary suffering” of the child locked in a basement — in this case, millions of children in an open-air prison — finally fall away, only then might Omelas/Israel transform itself into something else. But this is also the same for every person in every modern state: accept the myths, or walk away."
I would walk away, if there was any place but Hades to walk to.