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.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

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