Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Notes On The Current Discourse

This is not a commentary on the things that have happened, but something that’s important to note when perusing the discourse around the things that have happened.

For a few decades now, some of the absolute worst people in the world have been demonizing Hamas. They weren’t doing this in a good-faith attempt to warn us about how bad Hamas was and is. They were spelling it Hamas, but they were pronouncing it, to varying degrees, “Palestinians”, “Arabs”, Muslims”, and “brown people”. They were running a playbook built on disingenuousness to enhance their own power, influence, and geopolitical agendas.

The fact that they were technically correct doesn’t change this.

One of the things these people do is they take a thing that should be fine for everyone, and they poison it so that you have to qualify it. For example, you can’t just make an “OK” symbol anymore, you have to say “And I mean this in the traditional sense, not the white power sense that also now exists because white nationalists have co-opted the hand gesture.”

Similarly, the very simple, true statement “Hamas are monsters who need to be stopped” now carries with it a metric ton of extra baggage, because even now, people are using “Hamas” to mean the terrorist organization, people who voted for them 17 years ago, people who live next door to people who voted for them 17 years ago, and the children of people who lived next door to people who voted for them 17 years ago. 

There’s been a lot of clumsy navigating of these waters. And a certain amount of wildly inappropriate tribalist “Bad people hate them so they must be good” splashing around in those waters too. None of that negates the fact that the waters started choppy as fuck to begin with, and how and why they got choppy in the first place.

The most common, most terrifying viewpoint I’ve been seeing on the socials in the past few days is “well, they were attacked, and now they’re at war, and when you’re at war, you have no choice but to do war crimes. That’s what war is all about.” I suppose 9/11 is 22 years old and was long overdue for a reboot. But I don’t have to like it  

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