Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
The response to the Gaza crisis from western leaders and media outlets and celebrities shows very clearly that we really are led by the least among us. The least wise. The least intelligent. The least compassionate. The least insightful. We are ruled by sociopaths and morons.
You are being offered two narratives to choose from:
- Palestinians in Gaza are evil orc-like savages who just want to murder Jews and must therefore be caged and killed.
- Palestinians in Gaza are thinking human beings who are reacting to intolerable abuses inflicted upon them.
Which is more believable?
We’re being told that Israel needs to wage a relentless bombing campaign which is killing civilians by the thousands in order to eliminate Hamas, because Hamas must be destroyed to achieve a lasting peace. Every part of this is transparently false.
Firstly the premise that Hamas must be eliminated to achieve peace is fallacious; peace can be achieved by eliminating the abuses and righting the wrongs which gave rise to Hamas in the first place. There’s no rational reason to believe Hamas would continue to exist in its current iteration or keep waging violent resistance if the theft and injustice from 1948 onward were rolled back, refugees had the right to return, apartheid abuses were ended, and people were no longer kept in a giant concentration camp where they are deprived of basic human needs.
Secondly the premise that you can bomb people into accepting an abusive status quo is self-evidently absurd. Even if Israel kills every single member of Hamas, there will be hundreds of thousands of survivors of this onslaught who see the depravity of Israel and refuse to accept it. You think all these orphaned boys and all these men who saw their loved ones ripped apart by military explosives are just going to be cool with the status quo from here on out? Of course not.
And Israel knows this, which is why its preferred solution is to kick all survivors of this onslaught out of Gaza and into refugee camps in the Sinai Peninsula. It knows that nothing it’s doing will actually work and it refuses to make the reparations that will work, so its only other option is the elimination of Gazans one way or the other. Ethnic cleansing and mass displacement is not “peace” by any stretch of the imagination, but it might allow Israel to keep its abusive status quo intact.
Those are Israel’s only real options for sustainable stability: either right all the wrongs which led to this, or go the opposite direction and inflict far more wrongs to answer the Palestinian question once and for all. It’s pretty clear watching all this that Israel has opted for the latter.
The narrative managers are still struggling with the problem that when they announced that Palestinians had escaped from their concentration camp and killed a bunch of Israelis, an inconvenient number of people started asking “Wait, what were they doing in a concentration camp?”
I find nothing less morally or philosophically interesting than pontificating on how the traumatized prisoners of a horrible concentration camp should have conducted themselves once they broke free of its confines. As far as I’m concerned everything that happened on October 7 was the result of generations of Israeli abuse, the British decisions which made it all possible, and the American backing which has kept it going.
Israeli policies created Hamas. I don’t mean this in the usual “Netanyahu boosted Hamas to sabotage peace and undermine its more moderate rivals” sense, I mean it in the “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable” sense. If you stomp out every possible peaceful avenue of resistance, naturally you’re going to see the rise of factions which favor violent resistance.
One of my most formative experiences in understanding this conflict happened in 2018 when I watched Israeli soldiers firing on protesters with sniper rifles and live ammo. B’Tselem explicitly denounced this as unlawful. There’s nothing that could possibly make such a thing okay, and it was a very clear illustration of the way Israel has cut Palestinians off from all the normal pathways toward peaceful resolution.
I said when all this started that I believe the Hamas attack will ultimately be a net negative for Palestinians, but that I can’t in good conscience “condemn Hamas” because nobody can articulate a positive direction that Palestinians should be taking. The fact that all peaceful avenues of resistance have been cut off is not the fault of the Palestinians, and it’s not the fault of Hamas. It’s the fault of the Israeli government.
Hamas is just what you get when you create an intolerably abusive apartheid state which keeps millions of people in a concentration camp whose inhabitants are cut off from basic human needs and make peaceful revolution impossible. Hamas isn’t the disease, it’s a symptom of the disease. The disease is an apartheid settler-colonialist project which cannot exist without endless violence, warfare and abuse.
I refuse to be shamed and demonized for supporting peace by people who support the murder of thousands of children.
Caitlin’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece here are some options where you can toss some money into my tip jar if you want to. Go here to buy paperback editions of my writings from month to month. All my work is free to bootleg and use in any way, shape or form; republish it, translate it, use it on merchandise; whatever you want. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.
Bitcoin donations: 1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2
Subscribe to Caitlin’s Newsletter
Articles, poems, stories and thoughts by Caitlin Johnstone and Tim Foley. Everything published here will always remain free to read.
Categories: Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy