Friday, August 04, 2006

Good Guys and Bad Guys

My 5 year old son heard some news about the war in the radio today.

He then asked me: "Are the good guys winning?"

I replied: "My dear son, there are no good guys in this war"

He then said to me, with absolute and total conviction: "But Daddy! In a war there are ALWAYS good guys and bad guys!!!"

For this conflict to end both sides must stop seeing themselves as the good guys.



Lasto-adri *Blue* said...

well, i guess you have - by now- even the slightest belief who is the good side IB.
truth hurts most of the time :)

Mohamed Maher said...

hi IB,
what is the difference between the good guys and the bad ones !
in all the movies , the bad guys are the ones who try to occupy other people's land and tries to kill innocent people and they are always the ones who have stronger army and the good ones are the ones who are trying to defend themselves and they have a very weak army, and they believe that at a certain time they will win the war...
tell the small child about what happens now in this war , but tell him the whole truth , and let him judge, he will say the truth because now he has a clear mind and he knows nothing but the truth...just ask him...

Israeli Blogger said...

@Lasto, @Mohamed:

The good guys are those that believe they are fighting for justice and to defend themselves, their children and their homes.

You are the good guys, because that is what you believe.

Israelies are also the good guys, because that is what they believe.

The bad guys are those who are blind to the sufferring of the other side. Those who attack and ignore the dead children and the destruction.

Israelis are the bad guys, because they are blind to the sufferring of the other side.

Arabs are also the bad guys, because they are also blind to the sufferring of the other side.

EngineeringChange said...

Yes, I agree with your last comment. With the world as polarized as it is though, I think that is very unlikely to ever happen though.

Israeli Blogger said...

@EngineeringChange: I'm a bit more optimistic. A few days ago I was absolutely certain we Israelis are the good guys. But I've been able to realize that there are no good guys - so I'm sure others (on both sides) can eventually realize it as well.

I'm trying to understand the process I went through, so I can help others go through it as well.

I can tell you, though, that it's not simple! It's not a process that can be forced on people. This understanding is something that people can only achieve on their own. But those who have already achieved the understanding can help. This is no different from any other learning process. Teachers can't force children to understand subtraction and addition, but the teachers show the way, and eventually the children learn on their own.

Remmy said...

Despite all the tragic sufferings that brings this war to both sides, I admire your blog a great deal, IB. It's amazing to see how you're working hard to analyse and to understand the arab, muslim point of view, and how you reflect the positions of your own people. A persistent voice of understanding and learning in these chaotic times! You, your family, your country and all the suffering people in Lebanon have my deepest sympathy.
May a lasting peace come to y'all soon!

Zeinobia said...

@I.B I agree that we both see ourselves as the good guys and that is the problem in any conflict no one wants to be the bad guy

EngineeringChange said...

The interesting thing about "good guys" and "bad guys" is that on each side of this conflict there are varying degrees "good" and "bad" guys. We must remember we are all human beings, but people are sometimes driven to do horrible things because of their convictions.

While on both sides I think the majority are good people, there are also bad apples as well. On the Arab side, I believe there genuinely are bad people, who would not think twice over killing a child, as long as this child is an Israeli child. Likewise, on the Israeli side, I believe there are also bad people (I imagine like many of the extreme and rabid settlers, who I regard as the worst) who also would not think twice over killing a child, as long as this child is Arab.

So it is important that when we hear of these people on both sides to not generalize onto the entire population. As an example, sometimes when I read an article on on the Israeli settlers and the things they do to Palestinians like destroying olive trees, and taking more land---well I typically get very angry. And this gets me angry and generalized the entire Israeli population. It is hard to not do this, but it is important to take a deep breath and step back and realize the entire other side is not like this.

I imagine Israelis will need even more fortitude with this issue because there are many more violent and angry Arabs than Jews due to the contrasting conditions Israelis and Arabs live in.

Concerning the targeting of civilians vs targeting Hizballah fighters. I now firmly believe that Israeli military planners target both Hizballah militants AND any so called "civilians" in South Lebanon. I think these planners made the decision to give Lebanese absolute hell, to dissuade Hizballah from ever firing rockets on Israel. The planners plan and do not see these people dying, it almost a game to them.

Supporting my theory is this article in the Guardian: Israeli pilots 'deliberately miss' targets It is a good read and shows us there are good people in the IDF who do not want a dead baby on their conscience.

Israeli Blogger said...

@EngineeringChange: the Guardian article is indeed interesting. It highlights a habit many Israelis are proud of: self criticism.

Many other Israelis, however, take this sort of self criticism as a sign of weakness - especially in light of the ceaseless attacks on our civilians in the past few years. They always claim that the Arabs do not criticize their own.

Are there examples of self criticism on the Arab side that you can point me to?

Have issues like the "doctored images of beirut", or the shameless fake emotions for propaganda, been criticized by the Arab media or Arab bloggers?

EngineeringChange said...

There is some self-critism on the arab side, not as much as I would like. I cannot write much right now, but I will try to find you some good examples.

Why are these photos shameless? These kids ARE dead! They were killed by Israeli and American weapons and the only way your average american or european will care about what happens across the world is through shock value. I found particularily disgusting the play-by-play commentary that this blog did--it is incredibly biased. As one example he says: "He dumps it on a guerney" Dumps??? How bout "he lays the dead child on a guerney?? This commentator is hyping every action to no end--it is bad and propaganda-worthy writing.

In the meantime I have found I really like Gideon Levy's pieces in Haaretz--his latest resonates perfectly with my thinking:
The real estate war

EngineeringChange said...

Ok Palestinian self-critism is sorely lacking. I cannot find any prominent examples self-criticsm off the top of my hand. I know Hanan Ahrawi and Abu-Mazen have voiced their opposition to suicide bombings--criticizing its overall effectiveness. The tendency to blame Israel is very great.

Israeli Blogger said...

@EngineeringChange: Thank you for the Gideon Levy link. He is a unique Israeli. He has a deep understanding for the sorrow of the other side. Not many Israelis can rise above our own pain and see the other side as he does.

Unfortunately, most Israelis are stuck in the "we're the good guys" thinking, and cannot accept what he says.

I am now trying to think of ways to get the Israeli public out of this "we're the good guys" thinking. This is something that cannot happen overnight. This should be a long term effort. An "awakening" process.

However, I have come to the conclusion that such a process cannot survive - unless there is a similar process on the Arab side.

In order to get us Israelis to admit we aren't all that good, I need examples of Arabs also saying "hey - we're not really that good either".

Do you think there is any chance of that happenning?

Egyptian-in-USA said...

Did you just deleted your last post; the one that was after "Good Guys and Bad Guys" ?

Israeli Blogger said...

@Egyptian-in-USA: yes, I returned that last post to "draft" status. Having re-read what I posted, I suspected it might be misunderstood, and I still didn't have time to rewrite it.

Thanks for noticing :-)


Mohamed Maher said...

Waiting for the new posts, to continue the discussion..