Saturday, August 05, 2006

Reversing the truth

I don't normally waste much time on John Pilger, but since Norman Geras brings it up...
The resistance to rapacious power, to epic crimes of invasion (which the Nuremberg judges called the "paramount" crime) is humanity at its noblest; yet the paradox warns us that no resistance is pretty; that each adds its own form of violence in order to expel an invader (such as the civilians killed by Hizbollah rockets); and this has applied to heroic partisans in Europe and heroic Kurds and those faceless, despised Iraqis who have succeeded in pinning down the American homicidal machine in their country.
It is difficult to make sense of this passage, unless you know beforehand the twisted position Pilger is likely to take. The "invader" is, of course, Israel, in spite of the fact that Hezbollah initiated the hostilities by firing rockets into Israel and killing eight and capturing two soldiers (in Israel). Just as 70 years ago in Spain, those who stayed loyal to the legitimate government were shot on the grounds of "rebellion", so today another reversal of definitions takes place: the invader or aggressor becomes the heroic resistance to invasion.

But we are not yet quite at the point where, as Orwell put it, 'the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world'. Jeff Weintraub drew my attention to a post by David Adler, concerning a report in MERIP by Lara Deeb: 'Deeb goes on to rewrite the history of how the current conflict started: The Hizballah rocket attacks of July 2006, which commenced after Israeli bombardment of Lebanon had begun, have thus far killed 19 civilians and damaged numerous buildings -- nothing like the devastation and death wrought by Israeli aircraft in Lebanon.'

By the time I read the report, on Friday morning, the passage had been rewritten and the following correction appeared at the end of the report. Jeff updated his post accordingly (and was kind enough to link to me).
CORRECTION: Due to an editor's error, the initial version of this article misleadingly implied that Hizballah did not fire any rockets at Israel in July 2006 prior to the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon. In fact, there was a rocket attack in the Galilee on the morning of July 12, prior to Hizballah's raid on the army convoy and the current Israeli military campaign. We regret the error.
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