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Priti Gulati Cox and Stan Cox, Three Nations Under God(s)

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At some level, it’s not complicated. Making civilians, including children, responsible for the acts of a guerrilla group should obviously be considered a crime. And that crime is functionally being supported by my country. In early November, after denouncing the acts of Hamas on October 7th as the crimes that they were, Volker Türk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, added that “the collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.” Unfortunately, the U.N. remains a remarkably powerless organization.

And no less sadly, despite the recent ceasefire in Gaza, ending (however briefly) the killing of civilians at historic rates in our time, little has changed there. Yes, during those ceasefire days, increased amounts of food, fuel, and water were delivered to Gaza to remedy the Israeli decision to cut off more than two million people (almost half of them children) from such essentials, whether they had anything to do with October 7th or not. Still, it remains a horror that what’s largely been delivered to Gazans, including those hundreds of thousands of children, has been disease, starvation, and water that’s unsafe to drink.

People there are now all too literally starving to death. Pregnant women, in particular, find themselves in a hell on earth without functional hospitals or much else, including housing, significant parts of which have been destroyed by Israeli bombing. Meanwhile, the response of President Biden and crew to all of this has essentially been to ignore it and offer ever more support to Israel.

Today, with Israel having resumed its bombardment of Gaza after a week-long truce ended, TomDispatch regulars Priti Gulati Cox and Stan Cox put this nightmare in a larger international context — of not just the United States but India as well, while reminding us of how key countries have aided and abetted a nightmare of the first order. Tom

The Israel-India-U.S. Triangle

Its Human Toll Will Be Incalculable

In 1981, India’s post office issued a stamp showing the flags of India and occupied Palestine flying side by side above the phrase “Solidarity with the Palestinian people.” That now seems like ancient history. Today, Hindu nationalists are flying the flags of India and Israel side by side as a demonstration of their support for that country's catastrophic war on Gaza.

It’s a match made in heaven (or do we mean hell?), because the two nations have similar “problems” they’re trying to “solve.” Israel has long been engaged in the violent suppression of Palestinians whose lands they occupy (including the current devastation of Gaza, an assault that 34 U.N. experts have labeled a “genocide in the making”). Meanwhile, India’s Hindu nationalist government continues the harsh oppression of its non-Hindu minorities: Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and indigenous people.

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Ariel Dorfman, The Donald (Duck, Not Trump) Chronicle

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I first posted a piece by Ariel Dorfman at TomDispatch in October 2004 and began my introduction this way: “I met him in the spring of 1980 soon after he arrived in the United States. He had already been in exile from Pinochet’s Chile for seven years. I was an editor at Pantheon Books when one day he swept into my office, tall and exuberant, with his youngest son in a stroller. At the time, I knew his name only because it sat next to that of a man named Armand Mattelart on the cover of How to Read Donald Duck, an account — both Marxist and amusing — the two had written for the Allende government on the impact of Disney comics in the Third World. Soon after we began to talk, he launched into a critique of Babar, the French elephant whose adventures were chronicled for children by Jean de Brunhoff. I was particularly interested because de Brunhoff’s books had been icons of my childhood.”

And we’ve never stopped talking. But when he first walked into my office more than 40 years ago, despite his grim experiences in Chile, I doubt either of us could have imagined the world we now find ourselves in. Yes, he already had plenty to say about Donald Duck (and Walt Disney). But honestly, could we have dreamed of an America in which the other Donald — and you know just who I mean! — had already been this country’s president for four years and now stands a reasonable chance of returning to the White House in 2025 and turning the U.S. into a distinctly authoritarian-style state (with all too much help from various right-wing think tanks)? Only the other day, he stated quite clearly that, if president again, he wouldn’t hesitate to target anyone he considered an opponent with the full power of a transformed state. And given his attitude toward climate change and fossil fuels, he would undoubtedly play a grim role in the further transformation of this planet into a living hell.

In the context of Dorfman’s piece today about Donald Duck and our Disneyesque planet, think of that Donald of “ours” as the ultimate American quackpot.

And in the increasingly flaming world of fire and war we now live in, after you’ve read Dorfman’s article (while you’re at it, don’t miss his remarkable new novel The Suicide Museum), my one piece of advice is, as its title suggests: Duck! Tom


Walt Disney and Salvador Allende Are Still Fighting for Our Souls

This year marks the anniversaries of two drastically different events that loomed all too large in my life. The first occurred a century ago in Hollywood: on October 16, 1923, Walt Disney signed into being the corporation that bears his name. The second took place in Santiago, Chile, on September 11, 1973, when socialist President Salvador Allende died in a military coup that overthrew his democratically elected government.

Those two disparate occurrences got me thinking about how the anniversaries of a long-dead American who revolutionized popular culture globally and a slain Chilean leader whose inspiring political revolution failed might illuminate -- and I hope you won't find this too startling -- the dilemma that apocalyptic climate change poses to humanity.

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Rebecca Gordon, The Hamster Wheel of War

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How repetitive history sometimes seems when it comes to slaughter! The response to having 1,200 people in your country, including at least 29 children, brutally killed is to slaughter 5,000 or more children in the land where your enemy is hiding. Does that make any sense at all? And keep in mind that, when it comes to the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, that 5,000 is no more than a holding figure for what could, in the weeks to come, prove to be thousands more kids dead (and who knows how many more wounded ones), some slaughtered by bombs, missiles, and bullets, some undoubtedly succumbing to starvation and disease. We’re already talking about significantly more dead children than the total number of those killed in conflicts globally in 2022. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has all too accurately labeled Gaza “a graveyard for children.” (But given what’s happening, it will undoubtedly be a “graveyard” without tombstones or monuments.)

Tell me if that makes sense. What did any children ever do to deserve such a fate? Could this truly be, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims, evidence of “the battle of civilization against barbarism”? Does such ongoing slaughter — including staggering numbers of air strikes against Gaza, the destruction of much of its housing and its hospitals, the displacement of nearly 1.7 million of its 2.3 million people, and the denial of the most basic human needs (food, fuel, and water) — add up to a reasonable response to the nightmare of Hamas’s October 7th attack? And honestly, has “the essential nation” on this planet, as President Biden likes to call the United States, done faintly what’s necessary to bring things under control (rather than rushing yet more weapons to Israel and two aircraft carrier task forces, troops, and planes to the region, creating the possibility of an even wider war of some sort to come)?

Given such a nightmare, doesn’t it make sense to think about other ways to face the violence that seems such an essential part of the human condition? In that context, let TomDispatch regular Rebecca Gordon explore the idea of a nonviolent response to our violent world. Tom

Is It Time (Once Again) for Nonviolent Rebellion?

On Ending Dreams of Revenge in Israel, Palestine, and Elsewhere

When I was in my early twenties, I seriously considered murdering someone. He had given my best friend genital herpes, which many health practitioners then believed was the agent responsible for causing cervical cancer in women. (It wasn't.)

Back in the 1970s, though, I believed that, by infecting my friend, he might have set in motion a process that would someday kill her. That he was an arrogant jerk made it that much easier for me to contemplate murdering him. But there was a larger context to my private dream of revenge. My anger was also fed by a growing awareness that so many of us were just then acquiring of the history of systematic patriarchal threats to, and constraints on, the lives of women. And in those heady days of second-wave radical feminism, I could imagine killing that man as a legitimate response, however brutal, to the male violence that seemed to surround me, and as part of a larger uprising of women.

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