We are walking around dumbfounded. The world was far from perfect, but there was some semblance of sensibility. Despite its many human frailties and faults, we could understand it – even its petty misdemeanours, or its ominous battle cries, and often the deadly jousting for power and territory. Yes, there were and are wars and killings – indeed, far too many for our purportedly ‘enlightened’ era.
But barbarism of this animalistic kind?? Decapitating dozens of babies’ heads?? Knifing pregnant mothers’ wombs?? Mutilating murdered women’s breasts?? Killing indiscriminately in any and every direction?? This was unlike the Nazi German precision, group-size gassings, estimation of body-burning ovens’ capacities, and unbelievably precise record-keeping of each of the six million murders of Jews (and many more millions of other unfavored Nazi racial groupings). The holocaust was a psychotic calculated ice-cold machine-like killing machine. This past week’s savagery has been quite different – a raw frenzied bloodlust that openly displayed the dregs that humans can descend to.
The lens of real-time media bears witness to the capacity of the ‘noble’ human, the king of all species, to sink to depths of beastliness that even animals don’t. Animals protect their turf, kill to eat and survive, and fight chivalrously for the fair maiden of their kind. But animals don’t murder for pleasure, enact revenge maliciously, or emote a hate that leads to blood-lust. Humans can – and do, as we are seeing with our own eyes.
Hamas’s acts of inhumanity will go down in the annals of history, besmirching by association many Middle Eastern peoples. Even hardened soldiers, experienced reporters, long-standing medics, couldn’t face the headless bodies, knives jammed in the womb of pregnant mothers and in babies’ tiny torsos.
Punishment? Imprisonment? Punitive damages? That’s not the way one deals with cancer.
Perhaps this is the price we been asked to pay for the betrayal of Gush Katif – Jewish communities who made Gaza flourish, but were driven off their own lands by our own people, only to be occupied by a murderous enemy? But who am I to play judge and jury? So I won’t. But may my words play witness to the brutality and barbarism of a sample of humanity who revels in murder, torture, and decapitation.
Will the world learn its lesson? And more introspectively, will we?