Well, this week was generally terrible. Hopefully the lighter articles will alleviate some of the more somber stories.
STORY OF THE WEEK
What: War. What Is It Good For?
Why: Because with the escalation of the situation in Israel/Palestine, I’d like to share some of my own thoughts with you all.
*Begin Depressing Rant – feel free to skip*
I spent about two weeks in Israel during the late winter of 2012, and although this does not give me any sort of authority with which to speak on the matter, it did give me a relatively more personal reason to begin re-thinking about the issues in the Middle East other than my undergraduate focus on Political Science with an emphasis on Middle Eastern studies, and an intrinsic tie to Israel through the random happenstance that I was adopted by a Jewish American family.
War is generally a awful endeavor that countries, states, and other entities often feel they must wage in order to get what they want when talking and diplomacy fail. In the Palestine-Israel relationship, diplomacy once again took a back seat to good old fashioned biblical eye-for-an-eye bloodletting. To recap the most recent development: members of Hamas, Palestine’s elected political body, kidnapped and killed three Jewish teenagers. In retaliation, a number of Jewish youth kidnaped, tortured, and killed a Palestinian teenager. Hamas, in retaliation, started shooting rockets at Israel. Israel, in retaliation, started bombarding Hamas rocket sites, which were inconveniently close to locations where non-combatants live, work, and play. Hamas, in retaliation to collateral damage (the polite way of noting the deaths of numerous children by the bombardment), broke several short term humanitarian-based ceasefires, and started sending scouts through tunnels into Israel. Israel, in retaliation, instituted ground war, with troop incursions into Gaza.
You may have noticed I used the term “in retaliation” more than was probably necessary. However, this is the sole logic that I can deduce for either side acting in the manner it does. Politically, Israel has a very large right-wing voting block that continuously drives the government to act in a “strong” manner, meaning that the military is deployed in many situations where it might not be internationally prudent to do so. Hamas, in a similar light, has a stated belief that Israel as a country should and does not exist as a legitimate entity, and therefore must be obliterated. To make matters more complicated, organizations such as Hamas do provide very real and tangible benefits to the local population, even while they continue to commit terrorist acts, for lack of a better descriptor, against Israeli citizens. This leaves the Palestinians as a group stuck in a terrible situation – be on the receiving end of militarily unmatchable force, while being unrecognized as a people by international bodies, and further serving as a proxy force by its political representatives and neighboring countries (who do not have any love of Israel either, but would rather not get involved in a direct conflict).
This cyclical perpetuation of violence has existed almost since Israel’s formation as a state. Violence occurs, families get torn apart, friends and relatives and country men swear vengeance in the name of protection, the governing bodies drive the point home, and the violence continues. Every time this happens, it merely begets a new generation of individuals on both sides who re-entrench themselves in the idea that peace is impossible. Whether someone’s friend was killed by Israeli shelling, Another lived through incessant bombardment by Hamas rockets that are less deadly only because Israel has spent an unbelievable amount of money on a rocket defense system, there is the universal belief that someone on the opposing side would rather that they and everyone they know were dead, merely because they live on an opposite side of a wall. Yes, this is a little hyperbolic and simplified, but as far as a general break down of a deeply complex issue pertaining to history, religion, thousand year manifest destinies, and modern international politics, I have not been able to think of this truly senseless cycle of violence in any other way. I don’t personally think that either side is correct in their actions, but, at the same time, I completely understand why both sides chose those choices. Until something drastically changes, I do not see this cycle stopping any time soon. If any of you have any other thoughts or comments, feel free to reply.
*Well that was depressing, but cathartic. Thanks for listening. Moving on.*
ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Car Free In Helsinki
Why: Because this might actually be the way forward for transportation in our growing metropolitan areas.
STATE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Rich Person Wants To Split California Into Six States
Why: Because sometimes venture capitalists really don’t understand how the world works, but because they have money, we have to listen to their terrible ideas that could potentially happen.
LAW THING OF THE WEEK (20 min. read)
What: Prison. Is. Broken.
Why: Because a system that is heavy on the punishment side and light on the rehabilitation side is making the United States safer.
SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: One Small Step For (A) Man
Why: Because 45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the Moon.
SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
Why: Because bad basketball, and high baseball, and moving sportscasters get to be stories this week.
MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Growing Up
Why: Because there is no reason why this should have worked as a film.
MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: CDs Never Die, They Just Scratch Away
Why: Because there is no way that Offspring’s Smash or Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise can ever exist in any other format.
FOOD THING OF THE WEEK (20 min. watch)
What: This Or This Is How You Make The Best Fucking Burger
Why: Because you can also make the best fucking french fries with beef tallow, apparently.
COMEDY THING OF THE WEEK (7 min read)
What: The Ever Developing Mind Of Maria Bamford
Why: Because her Baby Jesus impression might be one of my favorite comedy bits ever.
VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (30-60 min. watch)
What: DOTA 2 On ESPN
Why: Because it’s big news when a video game tournament with a $10 mil. prize makes it on the leading sports network.
INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK
What: Just Don’t Ask Google Any More Stupid Questions, OK?; Viking Facebook; The Second Person Is The Worst Person; Can’t Stop Won’t Stop The Cheese Sticks (Because You Already Paid For All Of Them)
Why: Because Internet.
THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Tesla Tres
Why: Because Brian deserves it.
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™