THE NEW BATTLE FLAG now being waved high over the armies of Allah mustering across the world is not the banner of Muhammad, but a flag almost as ancient as the prophet, the Bloody Shirt. Among the weak in arms and courage and righteousness, the Bloody Shirt is their weapon of mass distraction; their attempt to storm the moral high ground and hold it as they wait for their reinforcements of love, peace, compassion and truce to flow in from the far corners of the world screaming "Stop this barbaric war that slaughters, for God's sake, innocent women and children!"
The cynical create and present the daily dead baby exhibit. And the fools of the world oblige them with their compassionate echoes sent out with the numbing predictability and regularity of a New York Times editorial or, worse still, a mushy screed from our high-priest of compassion, Jimmy Carter.
After all, who among us is not moved by endless images of dead babies sheathed in blood, body parts hanging by a shred of gristle, with the blank stare of eternity glazing their eyes? What "civilized" person secure in their happy world of languid summer days, mall festivals brimming with second-rate food and third rate crafts, concerts on the lawn with wine and traveling minstrels, could not want this distant tribal slaughter to stop, stop, stop this very instant?
To see the Bloody Shirt, as the Hezbollah in Lebanon drag their children from the rubble and parade them before the world, is to want all replaced with the Rainbow Flag immediately -- no matter who must suffer, no matter how many Jews must die in that distant country where, "After all the Israelis aren't so much Jewish as they are Zionist oppressors who, if they just gave up a little more, would be left in peace. I mean, look at that. Children are dying every minute there. Have you no compassion, sir? Have you, at long last, no compassion?"
Have I no compassion?
That was a fair question the first time it was posed to me, oh, several decades back. I think I had a lot of compassion back then. I must have had oodles. I must have been soaking in it. At least that's what I conclude when I read the things I wrote and remember the things I did. For awhile, every cause on Earth, every injustice from Cape Horn to Belfast called upon my bottomless well of compassion. The church burnings and bombings in the South during the Civil Rights struggle. The napalmed girl on the road in Vietnam. The carnage of apartheid. And, of course, the 50 years of ceaseless exposure of their dead by the Palestinians.
The Palestinians, and by extension their rollicking sidekicks around the Muslim world, are the masters of dead-child porn. Looking at the recent releases from this sick culture is like watching a very unfunny Monty Python clip from the Holy Grail movie where the cart is pulled through the city with the chant, "Bring out your dead!"
And the dead are brought out -- once they are determined to be photo-op worthy. The Killed-Kids of the Palestinians film series, like all standard porn films or magazines, almost never varies in its presentation. What you see is almost always dead children presented to the world on a platter like some grim roasted entree to be grabbed up and consumed by the ever-voracious cameras of the media and played in an endless looping celebration of carnage to a world hungry to note the offering and think, deep down, "Well, it is all happening far away and should stop, but at least, thank God, it's not my kid."
Of course, it is "not my kid." But only because the "brave warriors" of Islam couldn't get their hands on him or her. They would actually have much prefered it if it was your kid, but absent that they are more than happy to use some of their own. It's allowed, you see, because it is in the service of the Palestinian "cause," or of global jihad, or because Allah, the compassionate and merciful, says it is okay. Its right there in the book. You could look it up.
So, have I no compassion for this ceaseless cascade, this barrage of dead babies hurled into our mind by the masters of terror? More to the point, must I have compassion? Am I marooned forever on John Donne's continent where "any man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in all mankind?" I suppose that, since I am yet of the world, this remains true in some sense. But at the same time I am convinced that while compassion remains within me, the expression of it is currently overwhelmed and what I feel, much more than compassion, is a grinding sense of "compassion fatigue."
I feel this not so much because of the platters of dead babies being served up in Gaza and Lebanon, but rather because I know it for what it is -- the cynical attempt by a weak and cowardly cadre of killers to manipulate my compassion gland that is just as base and unrelenting as the attempts of pornographers across the internet to manipulate my lust. The main difference being that the Terrorists are getting better at their game and you don't have to swear you're 18 to see their creations. Most major media outlets around the world are only to happy to beam them into your brain 24/7.
If you aren't sure exactly who has the moral high ground in the current struggle in Lebanon, you might reflect that while it is possible to see a grown man on the Lebanese side of the struggle dangle a shredded child by an ankle for the world's cameras, you don't ever see that sort of thing at an Israeli funeral, do you?
And while you might be feeling very, very bad for the dead and dangled child, you might also ask yourself where the pictures of all the dead Hezbollah and Hamas warriors are? Don't see many of those, do you?
Or perhaps you do, if you ask yourself what sort of man could hold up a dead child by the ankle to be photographed. Or what sort of man could seek out and take the picture and make sure it got out to the ever accommodating Associated Press?
Because you do see the "brave" terrorist warriors in these pictures after all. They're the ones digging up the kids, and holding them up for the feast of the cameras. Indeed, the terrible truth that we in the West cannot confront is that, in some instances, they're the ones that are killing the kids in the first place. As we know if we are honest with ourselves at this stage, there is nothing too base and too vile for the proud "warriors" of Islam to do in the service of their anachronistic god; their banner is the Bloody Shirt, and they will never have enough blood to quench it. And any blood, as long as it is not theirs, will do.
I saw my first "waving of the Bloody Shirt" during the halcyon days of the Free Speech Movement's original college protests in Berkeley in 1964. Or maybe it was with the Vietnam Day Committee's actions a few years later. Or perhaps the People's Park riots of a year or so after that. It is not clear and it really doesn't matter. It was always, in a manner of speaking, the same shirt.
It worked like this. Some activist would get himself arrested, and in some manner get himself a whack from the cops. Then he'd get bailed out and appear before the crowd in the shirt he wore that had a few stains of blood on it. Worked like a charm and upped the donations every time.
For a long time, I thought "waving the bloody shirt" was some sort of American invention from the time of the Civil War. And in a sense it was. In a sense, when it comes to war one side or another always waves the shirt to rally the troops and exaggerate its suffering. It is one of the most effective propaganda tools there is. Works every time. If you want to cover your own barbarity, weakness, and failure as a warrior, the bloody shirt is just the thing.
As a result I was interested to discover that "The Bloody Shirt" does not after all originate with the American Civil War but with a much more ancient and Middle Eastern source, the Muslim religion:
The term 'bloody shirt' can be traced back to the aftermath of the murder of the third Caliph, Uthman in 656 CE, when a bloody shirt and some hair alleged to be from his beard were used in what is widely regarded as a cynical ploy to gain support for revenge against opponents. -- Waving the bloody shirt - Wikipedia,Masters of propaganda, these terrorists. And from a long if not so honorable tradition.
In my work these days I see all the dead-child porn coming out of Lebanon and Gaza. In a way, I have too. I don't link a lot of it along. The Western media is doing that job for me to a fair-thee-well. I don't like to think I'm becoming used to it now, but I am.
One of the downsides of the work I do these days is that you become numb to suffering. One of the downsides for those who are manufacturing dead-child porn in the Middle East is that they know the West becomes numb to your ordinary dead-child porn after a bit. And so they do what pornographers always do when the suckers don't get that rush any longer, they make it more base than ever before. One of the iron laws of porn, be it the porn of sex or the porn of violence, is that there really is no bottom to it.
Most of the world does not, cannot, believe that -- in order to score some propaganda points with Western media and gain a small respite from Israeli arms in which to resupply -- that Hezbollah would herd a group of handicapped children and other civilians into a bombed building and then bring it down on them just for the photo-op. Some of the world is, this morning, not so sure.
At the time of this writing, nobody has taken the body parts of children harvested from some grave-site out along some nameless highway, strewn them across Israeli tank tracks, and then run over them a few times before the appointed photo-op. But it really is only a matter of time, isn't it? After all, in the Terror War children are not only the terrorists' main targets, they are their most effective weapons as well.
In the West and in Israel, which like it or not, is now the front line of the West, we think of children as our most precious commodity. Our enemies think of them as either suicide-bomb fodder or, worse still, "Coming Attractions."
But here it is, just the same, from a world that never changes: "Milking It"Posted by Vanderleun at July 31, 2006 10:09 AM | TrackBack