THE CRAZY VIRUS

It would be easy to say that mental illness is not contagious. I am something of a low-level medical professional (I have an EMT-Basic license), and I’ve taken a college-level psychology course, so correct me if my rudimentary medical education has given me the erroneous impression that there’s no common thing known as a crazy virus.

If there were such a thing, it might have as one of its symptoms unconditional support for the state of Israel. The symptoms might present, perhaps, as statements that would be regarded as completely irrational and insane– criminally insane– were they uttered about any other topic.

Alas, this condition affects not only the speech of the afflicted, but also their hearing and their judgment. Because if one reads or hears such speech and does not recoil in disgust and horror, then one must also be suffering from this crazy virus.

Say, why don’t we give ourselves a little test? Read the following segment, taken from freshman Congressman Alan Grayson’s (D-FL) “Statement on Gaza” and measure your reaction:

The humanitarian crisis is of deep concern, and it is important to note that Hamas’s behavior has been especially brutal. By using Palestinians as human shields, the group is needlessly multiplying the casualties in the area. If Hamas had an interest in minimizing the loss of life, its leaders would not be putting civilians in harm’s way or firing rockets at civilian targets. That is just not a way to solve the thorny set of problems confronting all people in the region.
(emphasis mine– ed.)

Say what? Oh, no, he didn’t. No one in their right mind could suggest that Hamas is to blame for the deaths of a thousand Palestinians, most of them civilians and hundreds of them children, when Israel is responsible for imprisoning thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, prohibiting them from leaving, and then targeting their homes, schools, and other civilian buildings for days on end. Right? Really, would you load a pistol and start shooting at your sick child because the flu is using her as a human shield? (Maybe if you have this crazy virus and you suspect your child of being an Arab, you might.) If Hamas is viewed as the problem, why– oh, never mind; what am I doing, trying to reason with a theoretical crazy person?

Anyway, it appears this condition is contagious, because its symptoms are raging all over the U.S., often in very public places (see previous posts for more on this). Like the following, printed with a straight face in a major national news magazine:

In their current asymmetrical war with Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces have used cellphone messages, leaflets, and other measures in the attempt to decouple civilians from military targets placed in their midst by the terrorist organization.

What? Are these authors suggesting that these ‘warnings’ are sufficient? Where do they think these “decoupled” civilians are supposed to go when they leave their homes? How about into the streets, where they’ll surely be safe:

In Naim Street Beit Hanoun, at 9.30pm on Sunday, Samieh Kaferna , 40, was hit by flying shrapnel to his head. Neighbours called him to come to their home. Fearing his home would be struck, he and a group of relatives began to move from one home to another, to be safer.

The second missile struck them down directly. When we arrived one man, eyes gigantic, was being dragged into the pavement, half of his lower body shredded, his intestines slopping out. He was alive, his relatives were screaming, we managed to take four, whilst six others, charred and dismembered, were brought in on the back of an open cattle truck. Beit Hanoun Hospital was chaos, with screaming relatives and burning bodies. Three men died in the attack, 10 were injured, six from the same Abu Harbid family. Three had to have leg amputations, and one a double amputation. […]

A Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees ambulance was fired upon at approximately 8.30am on Sunday morning killing Paramedic and father of five, Arafa El Deyem, 35. He and another rescue worker had been evacuating casualties which had come under fire from an Israeli tank East of Jabaliya in the North of the Gaza Strip. Witnesses report that as the door of the ambulance was being closed a tank shell hit El Deyem. El Deyem died from a massive loss of blood following a major trauma to his chest. Paramedics I ride with cherish his memory, carrying his photo – a kind and strong looking, bearded man – on their mobile phones.

I guess not so safe. The author of the essay in which the above segment is excerpted goes on to describe Gaza– free of Jewish settlers since the 2005 pullout– as a “free-fire zone” for the IDF. No need to restrain your firepower when there’s no Jewish settlers around to accidentally hurt or bother with the noise.

Still, back to our crazy virus sufferers with the national corporate media platform:

For its restraint, Israel gets nothing but a global diplomatic and media chorus of boos from those willfully blind to the ultimate outrage against humanitarian international law occurring today in Gaza.

Yes, we’re booing you like it’s only a football match, because we can’t see that Hamas is to blame for intentionally and savagely placing thousands of families in the path of the IDF’s carefully and delicately plotted surgical strikes. We’re so willfully blind to your “restraint,” which is evident in your refraining from exterminating all the Arabs.

It’s getting to the point where I wonder why I bother. I’m shouting out here, from the semi-anonymous hinterlands of the internet, and I don’t feel like it’s doing any good. Because it seems like all the people who are in a position to make a difference– both houses of Congress, both outgoing and incoming executive branches, and the major news media– are stricken with acute cases of this crazy virus.

I can’t help myself, though. Maybe when I think of all those children killed I think of my own little girl, and maybe I think of my own brothers and colleagues when I think of all those unarmed men– including rescue workers like myself– who were killed. Any one of the women who’ve been killed could just as easily be my wife or my sister. I see them all as human beings. And, yes, for you reactionary Zionists out there, I think the same of the Israelis who have to dodge the occasional home-made rocket from Gaza. But in this case, it is clear that the shooters of the rockets didn’t start this, and that the ‘response’ is designed to do something other than stop the rocket fire. It is a massacre, plain and simple. Why it is being carried out, I can’t say with certainty; I have my fuzzy pet theories, but you’d have to ask the planners of this assault to be sure. And yes, the assault was planned months in advance, and the assault was timed to take advantage of both the U.S. and Israeli election cycles, so the ‘defending ourselves from homemade rockets’ excuse is obvious rubbish.

But I guess I have to keep shouting, because it needs to be done. If I let the people with the crazy virus have their say, and I don’t speak out, then I am as bad or worse than those before me who stood silently by while atrocities were being carried out in their name.

And this time, I will sign my real name. To hell with anonymity.

–Samuel A. Holloway

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