THE CITIZEN for Social Responsibility 

    a non-profit corporation

    Founded   April  2000



SPRING 2011 issue
SPRING 2009 Issue
SPRING 2008 Issue
WINTER 2007 Issue
SUMMER 2007 Issue
SPRING 2007  · DECEMBER 2006 · JULY-AUG 2006 · APRIL--MAY 2006 · FEBRUARY 2006
In the Shadows · The Brute · The War on Terror · Black Beaches · War · Images from Lebanon · The Neocons · Iran and Lebanon · Regime of Injustice · Where's Osama? · GATS · Lamont v Lieberman · Words of Hope · Open Letter to Bush

Click above, for articles in this issue.            


The Resurgence of the Brute


We live in desperate times.  Sometimes I wish I could just jump on an HG Wells time machine and go to a different time, but then I would have to decide: go back or forward?  I would hate to revisit the stupidity of past ages, and frankly I would fear to go forward to the unknown.  Maybe fear isn’t quite the right word.  What would mankind be like ages from now; barbarous as ever, or finally a noble being?  My current feelings of desperation emanate from my reaction to the savagery of what is happening in my country, as well as what is occurring in the Middle East.  In America we are being led by men of unbounded avarice and selfishness, unleashing a semi-organized mass crime wave; robbing from the poor only to deliver onto the silver trays of the rich and powerful their ill begotten spoils of the 'Ownership Society.'


My desperation manifests itself as well at seeing the value of a population being denuded of the tools necessary for self-actualization.  Schools are closing, or falling apart at the seams. Health care costs are already beyond the reach of the majority of the population. Personal debt is becoming a common thread across entire generations struggling to keep pace with a prior standard of living no longer affordable to the vast numbers of the populace.  Meanwhile taxes continue to increase and the political class does virtually nothing to seek to correct the imbalance, in fact the tax encumbrance is being shifted to those who can least carry the weight of paying to finance the costs of government and society.


Then there is the situation in the Middle East; we are unfortunately seeing the mindless destruction of very old cultures.  The Phoenicians were great merchants of the Middle East who brought their wares and knowledge to a near primeval Europe.  They maneuvered ships across the Mediterranean to find many other more primitive cultures.  The Phoenicians were the progenitors of the people that today inhabit the country of Lebanon. 


Similarly the people of Iraq form the continuation of some of the oldest human civilizations; the Sumerians, and the Babylonians.  The cities of Ur, Lagash, Kish; were part of Mesopotamia. It was these people, part of what we refer to as the Sumerian civilization that developed the first symbols of writing, and a decimal system of measurement.  It was they who invented the wheel, the chariot, they were the first to build canals for irrigation, and it was they who developed agriculture. Sumeria was the cradle of civilization. Medicine, and Law were developed in this part of the world as well.  In fact the first codified system of justice was developed by King Hammurabi, nearly 2000 years before Christ.  We all descended in some form from these ancient peoples, if not biologically, then at least intellectually; and today we rain down death and destruction on them.


Such facts are pondered little by the architects of war based in Washington and Tel Aviv.  It is somewhat ridiculous to hear Israelis call Palestinians and other Arabs terrorists, because they easily forget that the Jewish State was born in 1948, as a result of terrorist tactics, waged by a small group of Jews who fought the British, and were responsible for property damage, and the deaths of British citizens.  Likewise the Palestinians are fighting for a similar cause; their own homeland under their own rule. I seek neither to support nor decry their methods, but let us not minimize the brutality of the Israeli State, nor justify its methods either.


I am an anti-Semite you say? No, not by a long shot! The best man at my wedding was Jewish, as well as a very close friend.  During my formative years, I read the diary of Anne Frank, and would still identify that book as one of the most important I have ever read.  I despise what was done to the Jewish people during the Holocaust, and I support the concept of an Israeli State. If I had lived under the Nazi regime I have no doubts that I would have aided the Jewish resistance somehow, but I cannot support what Israel today is doing.  Children are shot and killed for throwing stones, or for entering ‘buffer zones’. Pregnant women are not allowed to go to Hospital, because their passage through Israeli military checkpoints is denied.  Agricultural land is taken from rightful owners who are Palestinian and handed to Jewish settlers, fruit trees belonging to Palestinians are randomly destroyed, taxes are levied at exorbitant levels from Palestinians yet no city services are provided to them.  International observers are brutalized and at times murdered as in the case of Rachel Corrie, simply because she was trying to prevent the destruction of a home belonging to a Palestinian pharmacist.  Where is the justice? Palestinians, Lebanese, Iraqis are human beings first and foremost, let us not forget that.


Today in Lebanon, we see the wanton destruction of a country.  It is indeed horrible, unimaginable and unfathomable how man is such a brutal beast.  Zola, Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky all encapsulated the myriad facets of inhumanity; but its more than clear that man continues to fail to change for the better.


It is strange, how so many Jews in Israel and in America, have so quickly forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust.  Recently I heard a similar portrayal of the prevalence of such stupidity and ignorance as characterized by one IDF officer who resigned his commission in protest to the continual violence waged by the State of Israel on the Palestinians.  He is a young man in his late twenties or early thirties, very quiet in demeanor who is touring the U.S. trying to influence American public opinion in favor of withdrawing our military support to Israel.  His logic is founded on the concept that with a loss of close to 40% of its military budget, armament replenishment, and loss of the superpower shadow beside Israel, the Israeli State would have to become more dove-like in order to salvage its security status.  Violence begets violence, no wonder the Middle East continues to be a powder keg, on the verge of Armageddon.


Where is mankind headed?  Have we learned nothing from the past, from history?  Bombs and bullets supplant books and the dreams of citizens of entire nations are interred amidst rubble.  Damn the merchants of death and their lackeys!

My heart goes out to all the people caught up in the midst of the insanity; American, Palestinian, Israeli, Lebanese, Iraqi and Afghani.  It seems that Bush/Cheney are at heart hardcore Malthusians when one considers the effect of their policies in the Middle East as well as their impact on the people of America.  It is obvious that the Bush administration is inciting the Israelis to commit the carnage in Lebanon.  To what purpose you ask?  Perhaps to elicit a response from Syria or Iran, perhaps to incite a united Arab offensive, thereby handing the Bush administration a reason for its continued presence in the region and for the continuation of its 'war on terror.'  Who sells the bombs and bullets? Who makes money as lives are ruined? Who gets more contracts for military bases, and for rebuilding infrastructure?  Why does America and Israel bomb without discrimination, I guess for no other reason than the fact that ‘we do it because we can.’ We do so because money is being made by the merchants of death; those who build the planes, build the bombs and make the bullets.


As Beirut continues to get pummeled with a rain of death, and destruction--suffering is lavished with scant a thought of humanity. I think of the children, the ordinary families, and of those who had little to begin with—theirs is the grossest injustice.  Among the people in Beirut, at this writing, is the family of one of the architects of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsDr. Charles Malik.  His son Dr. Habib Malik, who is a human rights activist and academic, recently wrote to a mutual friend declaring the injustice of it all, but he refuses to abandon his country and home.


It is an ironic twist of fate, not that I am a believer in fate, but ironic nonetheless that Malik’s family is experiencing such calamity given that his father did so much to prevent such eventualities from manifesting themselves on humanity ever again.  ‘Never Again’, ‘Never Again’, said the Jews, and now they are the harbingers of the sword upon the ‘sheep’, upon the innocent of a neighboring people. How ironic.  Thinking of Dr. Charles Malik; it is evident to me that we are in dire need of a resurgence of the peacemakers; the likes of Malik, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi, and King.


The Robespierres of the world need to be vanquished—damn them all, whatever their ideology or ‘pedigree’.  If only swords could really become plowshares; if only men found the courage to embrace those deemed different, alien, or even foe—what a brave new world we would find.


Why do we so easily forget the lessons of the past? Because we can?


This new century, is it to become emblematic of the resurgence of the brute?


by Victor Saraiva



Victor Saraiva is senior editor, he can be reached by email


Posted  August 05, 2006

URL:                     SM 2000-2011 


You are here: HOME page-NEWSLETTER-JULY-AUG 2006-The Brute

Previous : In the Shadows Next : The War on Terror