Archive for the ‘Evil’ Category

My two cents on the Tel-Aviv shooting

August 2, 2009

Last night, two young people were killed and several were wounded in by a veiled gunman at a  Tel-Aviv youth center for the local GLBT community.  The police is pursuing investigations (and since there’s public interest in this incident, and as a result, money in it, too, they might actually pull some efforts to apprehend the culprit).

I’m not just stating the obvious. It’s very tempting to rant about homophobia and religious bigotry, especially in light of how theistic the Israeli population is. There is a history of hate crime in Israel, mostly orchestrated by hate-mongers from the ultra-orthodox brand of Jewish fuckwittery – but there is no way at this time that anyone can pin down the underlying agenda behind this incident. This, for all intents and purposes, could be the violent outcome of a personal feud. It’s unlikely, but it’s possible, and I don’t find it appropriate that everybody is just assuming that this is a hate crime. Not that I don’t think it is, but some fact-based assertions would be most welcome before or at least while we’re declaring a national day of mourning.

Throughout today,  there has been an ambience somewhat resemblant to that of Yom Kippur, Memorial Day, Holocaust Day and other “Jewish Sadness Holidays”, as I will gladly call them. I’m juxtaposing these to illustrate the fact that Yom Kippur, Holocaust Day and Memorial Day are all days to which I and my surrounding peers have gradually become somewhat apathetic as years go by. It’s not that we don’t care much for our fallen, the memory of holocaust victims or for one another (though Yom Kippur is meaningless to me for entirely different reasons)

It’s just that the concepts themselves get old after a while. You can only convince yourself to feel sad and remorseful on a designated schedule so much. You get used to it.

Last night was different. Whether or not this crime is a hate crime (and I’ll be unsurprised in the least if it is) – a few young people were shot in Tel-Aviv. The sheer violence of the crime is what’s so shocking about it. It’s not just a declaration of violent intent, it’s not just ordinary physical abuse – it’s murder.

So the feeling I had today was quite reminiscent of the original feeling I got during my first Sadness Holidays. A feeling of disgust, remorse and contemplation. A reluctance to tell jokes and radiate joy and pleasure, and a slight throe of guilt whenever I smile or laugh.

I hope they get the asshole who did this.

The Jack-of-All-Trades Is a Master of None

January 14, 2009

Some voices (of the batshit insane variety) in Israel cry out for armageddon. All you foreigners reading here are probably not unfamiliar with such messianic tantrums, and this is also probably not an exclusively Israeli/Jewish/whatnot phenomenon.

One Shmuel Shmueli, some sort of ultra-orthodox wingnut fundamentalist, has published an ad in the Israeli daily newspaper, “Ye’diot A’haronot”, calling for a preemptive strike against Iran.

I’m going to leave aside the paranoid rantings of this poor, neglected soul, (oh, if only malign idiots such as Shmueli were neglected and ignored rather than just sad and insane) and focus on an idea I had after reading his ad.

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A Bereaved Mother I Don’t Get – אם שכולה שאיני מבין

January 8, 2009
Shimon Peres at a visit to the bereaved Stern family

Shimon Peres at a visit to the bereaved Stern family

(Bilingual post, for English, scroll down to the end of the Hebrew text)

The war in Gaza has taken most of its toll on the Palestinian side of the field, but Israeli soldiers and civilians are also numbered among the dead (although in preposterously smaller numbers). A young man called Nitai Stern died today in the course of his military service. I say “in the course of his military service” because he wasn’t, in fact, killed by enemy fire. Nitai was shot down by “friendly fire” (I’ll never get that, really.)

המלחמה בעזה גובה הרוגים בעיקר בצד הפלסטיני, אך גם אזרחים וחיילים ישראלים נמנים בין ההרוגים במערכה הנוכחית בעזה. בחור צעיר בשם ניתאי שטרן נהרג היום במהלך שירותו הצבאי. יש לציין ש”במהלך שירותו הצבאי” אינו שווה ערך ל”במהלך תפקידו” מבחינתי, שכן ניתאי לא נהרג מפגיעת אש האויב. ניתאי נהרג ע”י “אש ידידותית” (ביטוי שלעולם לא אצליח להבין).

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More War and a Change of Mind

December 29, 2008

Two days ago, I wrote a post about the ensuing war in Gaza and our response to the rockets being launched at our southern cities. As some of my friends have noted (and some people who aren’t exactly my friends noted as well) – my stance was a touch on the dove-ish side.

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No More War! No More War?

December 27, 2008

In an awesome feat of disproportionate response, the IDF responded to Hamas’ breaking the several-months’ long cease fire with Israel by bombing the fucking shit out of Gaza. We had one civilian dead and 6 wounded in a southern city called “Netivot” (I only learnt how to sign that in ISL last week) and a few hours later, the IAF took care of annihilating 60 different security targets in Gaza, killing more than 200 Palestinians and wounding about 700. The bodycount is kind of hard with most of the bodies not in one piece, but I’m sure they’ll manage.

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Who’s The Culprit?

December 3, 2008

It is often said (mainly by apologetics, and in a way, that’s how they’re defined) that religion is not to blame for religious bigotry or for religiously-motivated violence. The garden variety argument is that even though evil people can be religious, it is not religion itself that is responsible for their crimes and evil deeds.

An interesting discussion has sprouted at Sisyphus Fragment, and most interestingly so, the line of defense was held not by religious apologetics, but simply by everyday rational, coherent, intelligent people. The crux of their argument is that religious people would be ignorant to simply use religion (or brainwashed, and the difference is tricky) as a means to do evil, and that religion is not the only thing that’s being used to promote evil causes. This is very much true, and since no one said that religion is the only cause for evil, quite irrelevant in the defense of religion as a culprit.

An interesting argument defending religion arose when someone said that religion itself is not evil, but can be manipulated by evil men, and those attacking religion is not only pointless, but can be counter-productive. I’m not going to say anything about it being counter-productive not because I can’t imagine it being productive, but because I much rather base such a claim on credible sources and not just scatter historical examples and thought experiments.

What I will say, however, is that it is an interesting reduction of human evil to say that no doctrine of its own is culprable, including religious doctrine, but that only human beings are. In that respect, Nazis aren’t culprable by their adherence to the party, but only by the fact that they gassed prisoners to death (well, it’s more complicated than that, but the example is clear enough).

Anyway, I can’t completely disagree with that, and in many respects, I sometimes get the feeling that religious people get too much heat merely by entitling themselves religious. Religious people, like everyone else, pick and choose what they think is right or wrong (and many of them will agree, even elusively, that their morals are not dictated by the bible. No surprise there). So, this definitely flies in the face of every graffitti that goes “Christians are shit”, and even though a lot of well-intending atheists might sympathize (especially former Christians) with that sentence, I don’t.

But is Christianity, itself, a culprit? Obviously, Judaism will share the same cell should Christianity gets thrown to the tanty, but is it guilty of the crimes people commit in its name?

My answer to that is “not exactly”. Evil people will find some other way of grinding their axes at other people’s expense even if the Abarahamic religions never existed. The flip-side of that is that good men or women, or good-intending ones, might wrong their fellow mortals simply because the bible tells them so. They might even feel a horrible pain while doing so, and will even hate themselves for not being committed enough. They will feel a two-layered guilt: sympathy to the oppressed and servile guilt to their Master, the one who decreed that they should do things they really don’t want to, and really think they shouldn’t.

So addressing religion as “guilty” is meaningful only in the respect of specific laws and decrees that plainly, in a non-open-to-interpretation-way (see Deuteronomy), state that evil should be done. This is not an indictment of all religious people and not even of all religious laws or canonized books. This is an indictment of very specific laws that were barbaric when they were written (by whoever) and they’re still barbaric today, and religious people and athiests who aren’t, well, insane, will agree on that.

Jeff, a charming soul who also happens to be a Christian, would probably never even dream of committing any crimes in the name of Christianity or Jesus Christ, and he would agree that killing homosexuals is an evil decree (he won’t agree that that’s what the bible says, but if he did, he would agree it’s an evil religious decree).

So the real culprit is between the lines, not on the cover of the bible. Religion does not go to prison, only the written text in its holy books that sends good men to do the work for evil ones.

Another Reason to Hate Judaism

November 24, 2008

I just remembered that last night, a woman from the Deaf club near campus (I had a small typing gig there after class) intervened during a legal lecture and said that the local Rabbinate refused to acknowledge her as witness for the writing of a will by one of her own family members.

The reason for said refusal: “You’re deaf, you cannot be a witness”.

Disgusting.

Freedom of Speech

October 22, 2008

Another pharyngulated blog, 2000 years of deception (hark at that), has brought to my attention a particularly obnoxious type of homeschooling, bigoted, hate-mongering, ignorant and odious individual. The bottom line is that miss God Hates Fags here says that homosexuality should be punishable by death and that with any luck some radical will blow up a “gay-friendly high-school”. She also said she doesn’t actually endorse this. Oh yeah, no sir!

Anyhow, since this is just another run-of-the-mill idiot with nothing to do but to spread tinfoil hat mouth-foaming belliigerence (and, tragically, inculcating it in her homeschooled children) – on itself it’s not big news and not particularly interesting. The only sympathizers clods like that have are other twerps with the same single-digit IQ.

However, being the comments prowler that I am, I sniffed the comments in 2000YOD (well, I’d obviously not look into the godbot’s blog for a balanced view, that despicable hag quickly deleted every comment from non-sycophants) and I ran into this jewel:

Anonymous said…
Flaging her blog is juvenile and close minded.

Hate Speech is still free speech. No matter how vulgar the message.

I’m sorry, all ye unfaithful – this anonymous chap is right. Freedom of speech logically entails freedom of dumb, hateful, poisonous speech. Freedom of speech enables Hitlers and Mussolinis, not just FDR’s and Churchills. If one accepts the right to free speech, one must also allow it for anyone with a dissenting and even disgusting view, and I fully endorse this woman’s right to display her revolting worldview to the world. At least that way more people can be made aware of this vile, sickening individual.

I’m using more expletives than usual precisely because I wish to make an example of my own free speech. See, I don’t think suppressing people’s view is a good long-term strategy for any purpose. It doesn’t even stand to reason even when we ignore the warm, fuzzy feelings liberal concepts like FOS give to us ( I’m not kidding, it’s given me warm fuzzy feelings ever since I heard of it in junior high. )

The thing is – if people have dissenting views, hushing them up won’t make them go away, and in any case, if there’s a personality or an upbringing that makes people susceptible to certain viewpoints, then shutting them up won’t make them change their minds, or change the fact that such viewpoints will survive. People always find a way, and writing about crap like said hag is just one of many methods of propagating disgusting ideas.

So my take on this is that freedom of speech does in fact and should cut both ways: it’s the right of useful, intelligent, modern human beings to express their views and to spread useful and egalitarian ideas and it’s also the right for bible-thumping yokels to dribble about how wonderful a world without people who are different than they are is going to be.

I also think that it’s solely the responsibility of sensible liberals to use that same right to vocalize their contempt, scorn, disdain, disapproval, disavowal and absolute flaming dejection at such putrid ideas.

In the end, it’s the winning ideas that win, not the most vocal ideas, though being overly vocal helps to propogate bullshit. But the end result is that people want power, and the way to power is in reason and in reason alone. If you convince enough people to use their heads and not the opinions of authoritative bigots, they will, in turn, use their heads to produce results better than they could before.

Then the tide will turn.

Speak out hard enough, and the truth will win: not because it’s warm and cuddly, but because it’s concordant with humanity’s biological reality: the truth is the best way to get to results, and only those who get to results get a say in anything.

Eventually, if enough people use their heads, the warm and fuzzy feelings (the truly important part of this whole “life” thing) will follow.

Simple Killings

October 12, 2008

This is the third “serious crime” proceeding I had to scribe, and the second “murder case”. In the previous instances, when I encountered serious crimes in my “line of work”, I was left shocked, amazed and pensive. This time, I must say that I am not too impressed or moved at all. Blah, blah, blah, can’t speak of what actually happened, fast forward.

This was a case of murder. The people killed were simple people, the people doing the killing were simple people, and most importantly (hence the perfection of this post’s title): the motive for the killing was simple.

The truth of the matter is that a person was killed, a real young man was killed, because of words he said, expletives he uttered. A simple man produced grade-school level profanity and as a result, was simply killed by a simple person.

Newspapers in Israel enjoy making fabulous headlines at their “pointless murder” column. I’m sure they won’t call it that, but there’s not a day that goes by without some “redundant violence article” published in the paper. I’m pretty sure it’s not a local phenomenon, too.

I find myself not only unimpressed by such stories, but also completely unsurprised. People who have nothing but their pathetic and miserable street credibility wouldn’t think twice before killing a man who destroys it or even merely undermines it. Honor, as “simple killers” refer to it, is probably all they have, and reckless violence the only tool for them to keep it. Without that, they reckon, they’re as good as dead anyway.

People who have been forged in a lawless fire where there’s nothing but the width of your shoulders and the peak decibels of your voice to show your prowess in are going to be violent and probably murderously so. It is only a big astonishment to self-righteous and arrogant bourgeosies who obviously have many other alternatives to violence when confronted who find hopeless ignorants to be murderously violent.

Anyone who thinks this is a patronizing argument has obviously not spent a day in his life with poor ignorant people. When I say “ignorant”, I do not mean morally inferior or even stupid – I simply mean that a lot of people who are of very limited means are also ignorant of the fact that there’s more than one way to screw a light bulb other than shooting the technician in the foot, getting him to screw the bulb, and then shooting him in the head. Um, figuratively speaking, of course.

There’s nothing I can learn here of human evil and very little I can study about human behavior: idiots with guns (yeah, idiots with guns, if anyone’s thought of me as patronizing so far, he can credit to himself the fact that he disagreed with me referring to murderous idiots with guns who kill for the dumbest reasons and chose to disagree with me when I refer to them as ignorant) – those idiots with guns use the only means possible for them to protect their well-being and their future, the same people who might have chosen to do otherwise were they aware of plausible, working alternatives. It’d certainly efface their “idiot” title, to begin with.

The only significant thing to learn from this incident is that it’s important to remember, no matter how fat, hedonistic, in excess of knowledge and means and secured we might get, a lot of people, not too far away, are living lives that are not too different than the lives animals in the wild: meaning that like animals in the wild, they have only two rules: what they can do, and what they can’t do. (Yep, I totally stole that from Pirates of the Caribbean)

A religious pleasent surprise

October 10, 2008

Those riots in Acre are all over the news, and a ynet-bird has told me that Acre-born parliament members, the Jewish one being a member of Shas, an ultra-orthodox Jewish party, and an Israeli Arab PM from the Taal-Raam party have joined forces to pray for…


Co-existence.

This just goes to show that religion has nothing to do with any of this. It’s malign idiots on both sides who happen to rationalize their actions with nationalism and religious bigotry. But the truth is – the streets are on fire because a bunch of self-righteous idiots are masquerading the streets.

This is something that’s rightfully left to the police, and if there’s any justice, the ethnicity of anyone wondering the streets and setting stuff on fire is of no consequence:

Let thugs and enemies of peace meet justice, and let no one, either Jewish or Arab (or atheist, for that matter!) hide behind ideology or religion.