Friday, February 13, 2009

A tale of two countries

The bushfires which raged through the hills north of Melbourne this past week have ravaged many thousands of hectares of bushland, destroyed homes and businesses and caused the deaths of several hundred people. Messages of commiseration and offers of support have flooded in from around the world and Australia's politicians have expressed their sympathy and condolences for the survivors of the fires. Our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has been highly visible on television, hugging victims, listening to their stories and promising that their homes will be rebuilt.

Think back to January 6th, when an Israeli tank shell slammed into a United Nations school,*  killing 40 innocent Gazans and adding to the toll of over 1,300  (400 of them children) killed and 5,320 maimed during Israel's campaign of extermination. To this, Rudd's humanitarian response was, "Australia recognizes Israel's right to self-defence".

The victims of disasters, whether man-made or natural, deserve our compassion. When it is withheld or applied selectively we are entitled to know why. Rudd, like Obama, like most of the West's elected leaders, is just another opportunistic, run-of-the-mill politician who sees his or her political survival as dependant on kowtowing to Israel and the Zionist lobby. Shame on them.

* A reader has pointed out that the 40+ civilians were killed by a shell which landed on the periphery of the school, and not within the compound. This is true.  My apologies for consulting an earlier UN report which was challenged by the IDF who, somehow, seized upon this as justification for the slaughter. Middle East Reality Check (Useful Links) puts it very well in "Get UNRWA: the Ins & Outs of a Massacre".


beatrice said...

You might want to change your post a bit, in case the trolls come around. On the 6th the UN said that the shells were on the perimeter of the school (John Ging said this); regardless, they still killed 40+ people who had taken shelter at the school (civilians). On the 7th, another division of the UN wrongly said the school itself was shelled. They corrected this statement, but the media has run with the mistake in certain quarters.

Background can be found here (under the heading on page one, protection of civilians, and here.
I was surprised to learn that Rudd was human, too.

Bob Birch said...

Thanks Beatrice. You are quite right about the shelling of the school but not, I suspect, about Rudd. Maybe "human" but only in the anthropological sense of the term.