Monday, 9 April 2012

Guenter Grass

Once again we find Israel acting like a petulant five year old! This time the focus of the fingers in the ears and shout antics is German writer, Guenter Grass, who has been declared "persona non grata" as part of yet another spisode of petulant foot-stamping! The reason for the action against Grass is that he's written a poem that is critical of Israel as a nuclear power, Germany as provider (or as Grass puts it,'sub-contractor') of weaponry and even has a pop at the leader of Iran as being a 'loudmouth'.

The majority of the world knows, and acknowledges, that Israel takes to criticism as someone with a nut allergy takes to snickers bars and so I guess that this means that the majority of the world
will not be at all surprised by Interior minister, Eli Yishai's banning of Grass entering the country. The sadness is that I still come across people whop will point to the shoah, the 'fact' that all around Israel are nations conspiring to destroy it 'at any minute' and who would consider pre-emptive strikes, missile attacks and many other, what I would call 'excesses' to be legitimate.

I struggle with the middle East conflicts as there is much posturing, many broken promises and too many awful acts carried out by both sides and the position taken by supporters has, apparently, little to do with right or wrong and morality and truth are but shifting attitudes. I struggle with a nation who, despite many resolutions and findings against them, of the international law sort, continues to build, turn off power, blockade and kill innocents (and no, I'm not ignoring the Palestinians and those within their borders who fire rockets and cause death!) and genrally act in a totally ungodly way. If these are the people of God (meaning here He who is depicted by the tetragrammaton) then I would be very afraid if I were them, for I see little or nothing of Him in this secular (and therefore Israel in name only) state.

Have heard bits of the poem read today but not read the whole but surely stir up, challenge and reflect is part of the process of being a poet. It is their job to reflect and challenge (isn't it?).

And for those who will engage in the fine art of the ad hominem, denying any credibility for Grass' words because he was once a member of the SS (a bit of an oversight but one to which he suitably, and adequately, responded in 2006). In fact, the act of forgetting to tell people of his SS connections when he was the focus of germany's conscience was perhaps understandable and might even makes his earlier days of being the 'voice of conscience' all the more powerful.

But when German (or any one else) speaks out against Israel they are not being anti-semitic any more than someone who speaks out against green or animal rights issues or homosexuality are destroying the earth, murderers or homophobes. There are just, all too, convenient ways of denying the right to speak out and belittling those who might have differences of opinion with them.

Just as Israel is doing with Grass today.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If any other Middle East state behaved like Israel did then they'd probably get a visit from the US aircraft carriers...