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    The Checkpoint - Life imitates Herbert

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    The Checkpoint - Life imitates Herbert

    Postby Naïve mind » 31 Aug 2012 12:08

    Apologies for breaking into the politics forum so early in my posting career; while I do enjoy a good political discussion, it is principally not why I joined this board. However, two days ago, I stumbled upon a newspaper article that so vividly reminded me of the philosophy of Frank Herbert, that this forum seems to me the only proper place to discuss the issue.

    The article in question, found here, is a discussion of the ethics of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, written by a former IDF soldier. Mr. Na'aman's writing style is dense, imaginative, and somehow, vaguely Herbertarian, as evidenced by paragraphs like this one:

    The idea is to demonstrate presence (le’hafgin nohehut), commanders tell their soldiers. We make them feel like we’re watching their every move and anticipating their every action. This is the occupier’s solution to the problem of preventing everything everywhere: the army has to make Palestinians believe that nothing escapes Israel’s fist. The soldiers demonstrate presence in order to make Palestinians fear that they are present even when they are not. Thus, the Israeli army’s unofficial yet unavoidable tactic is to instill constant fear through arbitrary acts of force.


    If we can disregard the morality of the occupation (hopefully, as such discussion tends to finds people sitting on both sides of the fence), could it be that the Israeli Defence Force--despite not being endowed with God-like prescience--has adopted the cruelty of the husbandman. That the infliction of cruelty and arbitrary power serves a purpose that spans many generations.

    Add to that Israel's policy of expelling Arab radicals and their families from the West Bank and resettling them in the Gaza strip, and you might even suspect a hint of eugenics there; a breeding programme to create a docile Palestian who respects Israel's rule.

    More than God-Emperor, of course, the situation is reminiscent of The Dosadi Experiment. In that novel, two races (Human and Gowachin) are forced to live together on a small area of poisonous land, unable to expand their territory or adjust the shortcomings of the political system that put them there. Within the boundaries of those constraints, individuals from both sides evolve a superior awareness of politics and power.

    Would this happen in Gaza? Would the extreme and intentionally infuriating limitations on travel imposed on the Palestinians provoke a mass exodus if the restraints were suddenly lifted? I don't know, but on some level, I find it strangely reassuring that there are forces in this world giving consideration to such thoughts.
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