I'm currently slogging (and believe me, "slogging" seems negative but it's the right word considering how long it is taking me) through The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk. It is a long book and covers much Mr. Fisk's journeys and research on the Middle East. And while he has a certain leftist bent that does not diminish the work that he has compiled. I have found it to be fascinating reading, though not everyone would necessarily agree. I only wish I had read it when I first purchased the book more than a year ago - then promptly misplaced it until recently. *sigh*
But before my ADD tendencies cause me to diverge too far from my intended subject, I am currently reading through one of his sections on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He brings up the demonization that takes place by the Israelis when they discuss the Palestinians and how they are vermin, cockroaches and insects to be stomped upon in order to teach them lessons. This is, of course, when they're not being referred to as terrorists or homicide bombers. <sarcasm> Really, I suppose the world owes Fox News a debt of gratitude for that. </sarcasm> And one only need go through MEMRI to see how many Arabs and Muslims talk about Jews. And these are things that have been occurring for years, not something that is just recent. If anything, the only thing recent about these characterizations is that they're now much more easily translated into English and therefore available to the English-only crowd who previously may have been unaware of them. And it is this demonization issue that I discussed less than a year ago on this blog and it seems to have come around again.
Indeed, how it easy it is to learn that the best way to make it easy to hurt or kill someone is to strip away their humanity and see them only as a negative caricature or as nothing more than a beast. It is not hard to understand how the situation in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians continues to fester when they see each other as beasts needing to be slaughtered in order to obtain what they want. Someone needs to really bring both sides to the table and enable them to start talking to each other - as people. This doesn't mean that it would be as easy as that but there can be no real beginning to a solution unless and until each side recognizes the other as someone more than just a generic "enemy" - or vermin or terrorist or Zionist or pig.
Would that it were so easy...