It seems almost blasphemous now to suggest that there was a solution to the Gaza conflict and that these 1900 deaths were somehow preventable, and worse, in vain. Despite the egregious faults and crimes committed by both sides, responsibility ultimately lies with Israel for the sustenance of such violence. I’m not going to argue that it is Palestine’s land or that Israel has been any more heinous in their disregard for life than their counterparts. I’m not going to stretch back to the Balfour Declaration to trace the dialogue in ink and blood. These facts are moot now.
Inarguably, the nation of Israel has long been the more prosperous, with a GDP per capita 17 times that of Palestine, and a military budget of $18 billion to their Arab neighbors paltry $4 billion, much of which is dedicated to stabilizing internal conflict. And all this is not to mention the liberal aid given to Israel from the Western world. With such a stark disparity across a 26 foot-tall concrete wall, it no surprise that violence emerges, let alone the cultural differences whose basis in political action has long since lost relevance.
But with such power, Israel has been incredibly irresponsible and blind. The nation has done little to mitigate these differences and create even a facade of peace, having been in a constant state of emergency since 1965. This is not to discount the numerous peace talks over the years or point fingers for their failures at one party or another, but undeniably a tact of humanitarianism has not been seriously undertaken to assuage the hostility of inequality.
Had Israel established a long history of providing more than the bare minimum of essential services to across the border, the tensing of relations between the nations may have never escalated beyond opinion pieces in the back pages of their newspapers. Had Israel created a veil of complacency over the Palestinians providing subsidized food, satellite TV, a decent education system, a stronger infrastructure, and high speed internet, the current state of disparity could be looked past. In fact, in the past few years Israel has taken such measures, but in a fashion altogether too thin and insincere. The divergence between the two states has grown too large for such a bridge to be built now. Undoubtedly, there would a constant grumble amongst the Palestinians for living under a de facto Israeli regime, but such protest would never be able to erupt in large demonstrations, let alone armed militancy.
Any government’s motive, above all else and at its core, is to stay in power. The United States has even written in its constitution that such revolution upon which it was founded is an act punishable by death. To sustain this power in the face of a constantly evolving human social dynamic, this force has slowly given more rights to their people and then strictly controlled these rights under its expanding jurisdiction and silenced the people with a seeming freedom while holding an invisible stick over them. When in the 1960’s black citizens across the country stood up and demanded their right to vote as equals and be given the same rights as their lighter skinned counterparts, they were appeased; appeased to the point that even today in the face of severe institutionalized racism there is no movement to restructure the establishment further and demand equality. There is a complacency implicit in the lives of these, and all, citizens of not fighting against the hand that feeds them, despite how little it gives them.
It is under this same complacence that the American public now lives. At the risk of sounding like a victimized conservative under the iron first of the Obama regime, I make the stand that it is true that slowly our rights are being stripped away from us. But they are not replaced with a sense of restriction and imprisonment, but rather an illusion of freedom and security.
And it is in this vein that I contend drugs should stay in the recesses of the dark market and away from the corporate dominion. The previously touted murderous capacities of marijuana have given way to a renaissance in perception to its pain and stress relief capabilities in an effort to sell the concept of legalized drugs to the public, when underlying this facade of increasing personal liberties is a motive of further control. If these drugs are legalized, then the last frontier of individual expression and lifestyle choice will be under the control of a corporate and political hegemony that controls all the other ‘choices’ we have in life.
We have been given freedom of speech to quench our freedom of thought. We have been given the ostensible freedom to choose everything from what radio stations we listen to what meals we eat, but upon closer inspection, this illusion of choice is concentrated in the hands of a few media and food production conglomerates. We are fully placated by these options and supposed freedoms, when in reality, we have very little choice in our lives, as it is all controlled by the forces above that decide what trickles down to our store aisles and TV Guides.
A house divided can never become strong, and in that sense, America has become a nation of strong homogeneity that has risen above the rest with both brute force and calculated cultural structuring. Despite what the books of Ellis Island filled with the names of immigrants and the photos of the Civil Rights era peopled with the most poignant members of modern history say about America’s diversity and individual liberties, what has overcome our nation is an overwhelming complacency. A complacency induced by a slow drip of social welfare, not in the form of food stamps and pensions, but subsidized corn and thousands of TV channels to keep us planted in our seats and off our feet.