On the race-and-religion front, you’d be hard put to say things are improving. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is as unapologetic about pushing the whites off their farms as the Israeli government is about pushing their squatter settlements on Arab turf, which has been so conducive to amity, tranquillity and intergroup cooperation. In Namibia, President Sam Nujoma is less than bashful about letting it be known that he is willing to dispense with the presence of persons of European ancestry. South Africa still stands a multiracial, multicultural society, but it remains to be seen if the winds of intolerance will begin to whip through the great cape republic. In Sudan, the never-ending war of Muslims against Christians and animists never ends. In India, the throat-slitting, by all accounts, is picking up rather nicely, thank you. In what is now sometimes termed the “democratic dictatorship” of Pakistan, Christians are the clay pigeons of choice. In the United States, it can be difficult to decide if a defensive war against terrorism is being waged or, under the guise of doing so, an offensive crusade against Islam is getting under way. This list may exhaust your patience, but it does not exhaust the places around the globe where racial, cultural and religious strife sends weeping people to their burial grounds.
With these combatants, one doesn’t know whether the extirpation of their opponents is what they’re after, or if ethnic cleansing will be satisfactory. Technically, ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity, but so is smoking cigarettes. Occasionally you get caught doing it and get punished, but mostly you don’t. In the serious-offense department, ethnic cleansing is right up there with jaywalking. In so many places, racial and religious homogeneity (kicking out a despised group) is easier than teaching the kids to live together. The most publicized out-kickage of recent years was in the Balkans, where NATO went in to stop the Serbs from ethnically cleansing Kosova or Kosovo (depending on which side you’re on) of the Albanian majority and finished by out-cleansing the Serbian minority.
If the Serbs had taken their time and gone about Operation Tide with more finesse, they might have gotten away with it. It also helps to have a pisspotful of political contributors in the U.S., which has been part of the Israeli formula for kicking out their Palestinian peace partners without a lot of people being exactly aware of it. Of late, however, there has been a degree of grumbling about the Israeli treatment of their Palestinian brethren. This questioning has been fomented by organizations such as National Public Radio. They do these unsettling broadcasts.
I heard one the other day describing how the Palestinians, deprived of water by their Israeli benefactors, look across the walls, fences and machine-gun emplacements of their Israeli protectors and see rich green lawns and swimming pools. Other broadcasts have described Palestinians locked up in their hovels with no way to dispose of their shit, forbidden to earn a living and deprived of medical attention. Stories of the sick and/or wounded in the ambulance which is stopped for hours at an Israeli army checkpoint have become something of a staple. Other staples are of the old man being shot while picking olives in his ancestral grove; the very young person snuffed by accident in a miscarried Israeli assassination; the 6-year-old child on the way to school being dismembered by Israeli antipersonnel ordnance; Omar, locked up in his apartment, going bankrupt because he isn’t allowed to go to his tourist trinket factory, where he used to manufacture little Jesuses for the tourists who don’t come any more.
NPR should stop broadcasting stories of this sort, because they lead listeners to believe that the Israelis are intending to drive the Palestinians elsewhere or make them just disappear. It would seem that one of the consequences of the NPR stories-and similar, doubtless biased, inaccurate and prejudicial accounts appearing in other media-has been to give rise to the aforementioned grumbling. Nothing much comes of the grumbling, however, since the grumblers are unorganized, clueless as to how American politics work and without significant amounts of money. Yet the opinion is growing that the Israelis are doing a lot of cigarette-smoking, if you catch the code phrase here.
So what is to be done? Obviously the Israelis will never change, and the Palestinians aren’t leaving or dying at anything remotely like satisfactory rates. Quite the contrary, even in their disgusting filth they are multiplying. No political force of sufficient size and wealth to make a difference is about take up the cudgels on their behalf. So, again, what is to be done? We could ignore them, but NPR must cooperate.
Or, if NPR refuses to ratchet up the standards of its wretched journalism, there is another possibility. The Palestinians could have their official status changed from human to animal. Why not? They live like animals already, and once they attain animal status, the whole political situation shifts. As animals, they’re no longer under the protection of the United Nations, which would mean they’d have a fighting chance of survival. As animals, they would be relieved of their futile and-let’s face it-irksome caterwauling about being deprived of their human rights, for which they would no longer have a valid claim. They would come under the jurisdiction of groups and organizations that know how to protect their constituencies. Who is more effective, the U.N. or the save-the-whales crowd? In the last 10 years, would you rather have been a porpoise or a Tutsi? There are dozens of groups like the much-feared People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ready to leap forward to defend the Palestinians once they are officially dehumanized and certified as animals. When the Israelis realize they’re no longer playing against the U.N. but are up against PETA, they’ll understand that the days of pushover opponents are past. PETA makes Al Qaeda look like Britney Spears.
You can’t just be an animal, though; you have to belong to a species and a genus. The wisest thing would be for the Palestinians to be designated as hogs. Animal-rights groups have already addressed the way hogs are treated on those huge industrial farms, which are not so different from a Palestinian refugee camp. Like the hogs on the industrial farms, the Palestinians have to stay in their cubicles-no free ranging-but, of course, the industrial-farm hogs are fed a nutritious diet, treated with antibiotics, automatically showered every few hours, and have their toilets flushed and their fannies wiped. In short, the lifestyle of a hog on a North Carolina industrial farm must be the envy of any Palestinian.
The Palestinians could be designated as snail darters or blue-faced finches or California condors, but they’re rare in the Middle East under the best of circumstances. No, the hog designation is the way to go. Once they’re hogs, the Israelis won’t touch ‘em. Remember, the Jewish religion forbids eating pigs. Muslims aren’t allowed to eat of the pig, either, but where does it say in the Koran that you’re forbidden to become one?