One More Old Man Who Clearly Has To Much Time on His Hands

June 16, 2010

            Fidel Castro is up to his old tricks and has once again made himself the center of attention.  The old patriarch of Cuba has attempted to assert his relevance on the world stage by dressing down the actions of Israel in an address distributed over Cuban state run media in an obvious attempt to influence the U.N. Human Rights Council’s pending inquiry.  Castro has been quoted as saying “The hatred felt by the state of Israel against the Palestinians is such that they would not hesitate to send the 1 ½ million men, women and children of that country to the crematoria where millions of Jews of all ages were exterminated by the Nazis” and even more inflamingly “It would seem that the Fuehrer’s swastika is today Israel’s banner” (See TVNZ World News).

            By what rights does old Fidel have to make such statements?  His own record on humanitarianism is far from clean.  Fidel Castro has systematically persecuted Gays and Lesbians within his own borders for as long as he has been in power.  Moreover he has not hesitated to make politically motivated arrests of dissidents who have been disillusioned by the failure of communist principles in Cuba and abroad.  The best part of it all is his comments make absolutely no sense in terms of logic.

            Israel may be in the process of some illegal actions in collectively punishing the Palestinians with their blockade of Gaza but even if such is the case what other nation in the world would supply aid to their mortal enemies who have sworn to their destruction?  Yes, conditions in Gaza have grown horrendous; with the lack of every day staples that much of the world has come to take for granted.  Yes, Palestinians are suffering.  Unfortunately it is the Palestinians who have brought such suffering on themselves. 

            The Palestinians elected Hamas, a ‘political’ organization recognized as holding terrorist ideals by all of the western world, in what amounts to a legitimating of their ideals and demonstrating a collective agreement with their policies of violence and hate.  By accepting Hamas as a legal authority over themselves the Palestinians have also become complicit in their governments ideology of hate.  Therefore collective punishment may not be at all unjustified in this case, however much a violation of international law it may be.

            Yet Fidel Castro insists that the Israelis would like nothing better than to commit genocide on the Palestinian people.  Could he even have thought this statement through at all?  Israel has a high-tech and high-powered modern army, while Hamas relies upon a relatively poorly equipped security force that could not hope to go toe to toe with Israel if they decided to come to Gaza guns a blazing.  If the Israelis truly wished to enter into a program of genocidal annihilation all it would take would be a barrage of mortars, artillery, and airstrikes and they would be able to wipe much of Gaza from the face of the earth.  If they chose to do such a thing there is nothing the international community could do to stop them.  By the time anyone would be able to interfere with such a horrendous action the genocide would already be complete.  It seems likely that the Calvary would come riding in to save what they could but primarily their role would end up being a punitive one and they would arrive far too late to change the outcome.

            A case in point is the Rwandan genocide.  With UN peacekeepers already on the ground and in place they still could not prevent the horrors that occurred in Rwanda from happening.  Look to the Sudan, there the genocide against the non Muslim population still continues.  If Israel wanted to follow that path there seems no reason why they already have not; there would be nothing we could do until it was too late if they did.

            So Fidel why now? Why release such damming and illogical statements during these contentious times that, as Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor says, would see revolutionary icon Che Guevara “spinning in his grave” (see again TVNZ World News).  The answer seems obvious; Castro wishes to show that he is still relevant as a world figure despite stepping down as Cuba’s president after suffering health problems in 2006-7.  Or another possibility for a man of his advanced age he is that he is merely becoming senile.  Most likely it is a bit of both. 

            Fidel should be ashamed of himself for making such foolish comments.  Unfortunately for a man of such astounding arrogance shame is unlikely to be a part of his experience.  Fidel Castro should apologize for his comments but we all know that no such apology will be coming forthwith.  On the bright side though, as a man in his late 80’s known for his love of cigars who has also already battled one round of cancer it’s unlikely that the international community will have to put up with his ignorance for much longer.  The downside however is that it’s become quite clear that, as the mouthpiece representing the real nature of Cuba’s position towards Israel, he will be leaving behind him a legacy of intolerance and hate no better than the one he accuses Israel of secretly harbouring.

Your fro with the know,

Tim

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