Friday, 9 January 2009

Godwin's Law or God's Law?

Revd John P Richardson on his blog yesterday ( spoke of the increasing use of “Godwin’s Law” in discussions and reporting on the current situation in Israel. This law suggests that "As a Usenet (internet) discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches ." The rule does not say that any reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only that one arising is increasingly probable.
John Richardson then goes on to substantiate his claims by quoting comments made most recently:
“Gaza is a ghetto, in exactly the same way that the Warsaw Ghetto was, and people are trapped in it.” - Ken Livingstone
“[The Israelis] will continue to create a Warsaw Ghetto in the Middle East.” - Brian Eno
“Those murdering [the occupants of Gaza] are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1942.” - George Galloway
Apparently , Cardinal Renato Martino the Pope's justice minister, likened the Gaza Strip to a "big concentration camp".

In his very interesting blog, John questions why people do this. Is it a case of tit- for- tat killings between Israelis and Palestinians or is it in fact a case of hatred, which is being aggravated or even incited by these comparisons ?

Perhaps it is not so much an issue of “hate” that some feel but more that most are so horrified and appalled at the situations that we become lost in our attempts to describe and find it easier to “liken”. Hate is a word that I try not to use (not always successfully, I admit) but try to believe that when hatred shows itself by who and in whatever way, it is hatred of the action itself and not of the person actioning. Idealistic, I suppose, but a philosophy that I would like to think I practice. A philosophy that does not rely on a particular religion or on secularity – but on a faith in humankind.
“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.”
(Proverbs 26:24-26)

Oh, that we could all somehow come to a faith in humankind and human kindness, to lose our hatred of others and our love for power. And for God’s sake let the horror in Gaza (and many other places in the world) end.

(see my blog "Sheffield V Beirut" for similar sentiments)

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