Friday, March 26, 2004
Now, here's the thing. If this were an after-school special in which grown-ups pressured a 16-year-old kid to do drugs or have "unprotected" sex, a lot of people in America - and certainly in Europe - would be livid. Certainly, if a bunch of men pressured some girl out of having an abortion the clever cheese-and-cracker set would be speechless with moral outrage.
Well, this is the new peer pressure in the Middle East. And, it seems to me, bullying a kid into self-vaporization and murder is worse than teasing a girl into an eating disorder. Call me crazy.
But because of the romanticization of terrorism - at least terrorism aimed at Israel - there's a widespread reluctance to see this stuff for what it is. Indeed, young Hussam is far from the first or the youngest of the kids to be "recruited" - i.e. brainwashed - into vaporizing themselves. And yet, the outrage has always been tempered by declarations about how this is what happens when Israel does X, Y or Z.
But even if you go by the weak-tea morality of modern culture - even if you firmly believe that Israel is the most fraudulent nation in the universe - there's no way you can make this kid into a "freedom fighter," and there's no way you can make into noble warriors the sick bastards who told him his highest use as a human was to be a grenade.
So why doesn't the Western intelligentsia condemn these attacks? Because it doesn't want to be seen as indirectly "supporting" Israel by dint of condemning its enemies? Or because the Western left holds Palestinian Arabs in such contempt that it simply does not require of them the same standard of morality that it would expect from any Christian or Jew? It is hard to imagine what the third explanation might be.
If you doubt me, do a thought experiment: what would be the reaction in the American and European elite media -- or on any university campus in the West -- if Israel recruited children who were barely teenagers, or not teenagers at all, to slip by unsuspecting Palestinian security and sacrifice themselves assassinating terrorists. Suppose that the Mossad had sent a 7th grader, in lieu of a Hellfire missle, to kill Yassin. Imagine the outrage that we would all not only feel, but express.