G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How six-day war “victory” metamorphosed into forty-year (and counting) war…. India are you listening?

This month six-day war is seeing its 40th anniversary. It was a huge event in 1967. I was only seven years old but I still remember some of its coverage in Marathi newspapers. Israel’s victory looked comprehensive. Don’t forget, in Indian Hindu middle-class homes there has been a tendency to celebrate Israel’s victories over Muslims.

But looking at the Middle East today, should we call it a victory at all let alone celebrate it?

The Economist leader dated May 26, 2007 says: “………the six-day war has come to look like one of history's pyrrhic victories…..in the long run, the war turned into a calamity for the Jewish state no less than for its neighbours…..Part of the trouble was the completeness of the triumph. Its speed and scope led many Israelis to see a divine hand in their victory. This changed Israel itself, giving birth to an irredentist religious-nationalist movement intent on permanent colonisation of the occupied lands…..Is there a way out? Yes: but making peace will take courage, and too much of the energy that should have gone into peacemaking has been squandered on the blame game….What self-defeating madness. For peace to come, Israel must give up the West Bank and share Jerusalem; the Palestinians must give up the dream of return and make Israel feel secure as a Jewish state. All the rest is detail.”

TOM SEGEV, a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, is more scathing in his analysis : “What if Israel Had Turned Back?” (NYT June5, 2007):
“…..But peace with the Palestinians has not come one inch closer. As a result more and more Israelis realize today that Israel gained absolutely nothing from the conquest of the Palestinian territories. Speculating again in hindsight — Israel may have been better off giving up the West Bank and East Jerusalem without peace than signing the 1994 peace agreement with Jordan while keeping these territories. Forty years of oppression and Palestinian terrorism, both extremely cruel, have undermined Israel’s Jewish and democratic foundations. With about 400,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and with extreme Islamism as a driving force among the Palestinians, the conflict has become infinitely more difficult to solve.

Hence young Israelis have good reason to look at my generation and say, “You blew it.” I suppose we did. In contrast to my generation, these young people no longer presume to know what should be done to solve the conflict; indeed they often no longer believe in peace. Many resort to cynical skepticism and fatalistic pessimism. …”

We in India need to learn a lesson or two from this because many in India describe its victory in 1971 war as “comprehensive”. Recently, in an election rally speech, Rahul Gandhi, a lawmaker, was boasting about his grandmother’s “dismemberment” of Pakistan. Kashmir may not be as big a problem as Palestine but it sure is a bad problem. That is the reason; 36 years after our “comprehensive” victory, we still don’t have peace.

Let us have leaders- young or old, military or political- who talk and mean peace.


Artist: Whitney Darrow,Jr. The New Yorker 14 Oct 1967