Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph


I know it’s supposed to be the festive season, but Christmas in Belfast can often be quite depressing. Usually the weather is foul, although it’s been quite nice this year. The throng of bargain-hunters means you can barely move in the town. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Prods continue their barbaric practice of buying their children the Broons annual…

Och, we do like it really. But by God, this is a shocking end to the year. Harold Pinter is dead, and I still find it hard to put into words what that means to me. Not only the loss to our literary world – much parodied he may be, but still essential – but, just as importantly, the loss of a voice of conscience and integrity, a determined foe of the Empire in an age when renegades are desperately trying to ditch anti-imperialism, someone who may have been wrong-headed on this or that issue but was always coming from the right place. Yes, Harold was one of us. Very sound on cricket, too – it’s probably that I’ll remember him best for, along with his agreeably dark sense of humour.

Then there’s the continuing assault on Gaza, which makes you wish Harold was still around. Really, the whole thing is disgusting. The inhabitants of Gaza, most of them refugees from what is now Israel, have had a pretty awful time of it for the past sixty years. Neglectful rule by the Nasserite Egyptians, an increasingly oppressive Israeli occupation, corruption and more oppression by Fatah… accompanied by living conditions steadily deteriorating into one of the worst slums in the world. And then, for the crime of making a democratic choice the great powers disapproved of, Gazans find themselves placed under siege and their territory turned into what’s little more than a giant concentration camp.

What now? Well, there is an election coming up in Israel in February, which probably means the IDF will continue to pound the shit out of Gaza until polling day, so as to prevent Bibi Netanyahu upbraiding the current “centre-left” government for softness on security. We also have talk of an IDF ground incursion, which will mean nothing more than an exponentially greater bloodbath. And in the meantime the butchers Olmert, Barak and Livni can rest easy in the knowledge that Uncle Sam will see them right. Nor need they be afraid of the incoming administration which, if anything, is even more rigidly Zionist than its predecessor.

It’s bad, very bad. And I can’t honestly see it getting better any time soon.

Rud eile: Please do whatever you can to support Hicham Yezza, the Nottingham student currently facing deportation under “War on Terror” legislation. This is a real scandal, and one where the British government may respond to some pressure.


  1. james said,

    December 30, 2008 at 3:10 am

    “Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph”? As far as I am aware both sides partake in that foul primeval butchery, a rare instance of unity I find rather less pleasing than their shared culinary splendour.

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    December 30, 2008 at 10:14 am

    That’s true, although presumably it wasn’t at the time the Book of Samuel was written… which is obviously the first place you go for quotes about the Gaza Strip… er…

  3. skidmarx said,

    December 30, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Harry Harrison wrote a short story called “The Streets Of Ashkelon”, though as it is an attack on all religious prosyletising it may not be that apposite.
    “The Streets of Ashkelon” details the horrific results attendant upon the introduction of religion to a race of Edenic aliens.

  4. johng said,

    December 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Here is Lavellete in Preston on the attack on Gaza:…h? v=hUZ1EAo2Q_A

  5. johng said,

    January 1, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Just posted this on the tomb. Happy if any bloggers take me up on it:

    And if you want a symbol of the roots of the present conflict you could do no better then recall this interview with Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s foreign policy adviser at the time of the disengagement from Gaza:

    “When you freeze that process [i.e. the political process with the Palestinians], you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem…Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state . . . has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.”

    I think its an important quote to remember today. It would be great actually to get the whole interview up on-line (hint, hint). The original appeared in Ha’aretz but the link doesn’t seem to work. I reckon it could be published almost without comment.

  6. NollaigO said,

    January 1, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Is Tony Blair not getting Millions to sort out the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?!
    Why have we heard nothing?!!

  7. dos tres muchas Vietnam said,

    January 2, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    What is happening now may have been the final solution Blair offered. On the pattern “Kill them all – God will recognise his own” (copyright medieval Crusaders besieging heretical southern French city of Beziers – some of the inhabitants were good Catholics. Virtually everyone in Beziers was slaughtered.)

  8. Liam said,

    January 3, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Probably because he supports the Israelis and shares their desire to see Hamas slaughtered. It’s just a bit awkward for him to say it out loud because he’s a hateful, money grubbing fucker – to borrow a phrase from Engels.

  9. organic cheeseboard said,

    January 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Blair’s job is totally pointless and i think i’m right in saying we are paying him 400k a year to ‘do’ it – essentially he has endorse a few nice-looking initiatives and give some platitude-heavy interviews – but he’s got absolutely zero power and in any case has to endorse all israeli foreign policy. but he would have done anyway – remember lebanon…

  10. David Ellis said,

    January 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Doubtless Blair will get the Nobel Peace Prize when the gazans have been starved to death or into Egypt and likewise the West Bank Palestinians vis Jordan. These will then be designated states that `harbour terrorists’ and be legitimate targets of Israeli pre-emptive strikes and US imperialism.

  11. sonofstan said,

    January 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Blair has been ‘on holidays’ according to Gordon, casually dropping his old mucker in it.

  12. davidbroder said,

    January 8, 2009 at 2:03 am

    This evening Zionists counter-demonstrated against the picket of the Israeli embassy by anti-war demonstrators. There were hundreds on each side

    Although there was minimal direct conflict between Zionist and anti-war protestors, after a couple of hours police forcibly broke up the anti-war protest, arresting at least 10 activists.

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