Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Laughing Matter

The Nazis were humourless bastards:

"For, as [Reich commissioner for the Ukraine Erich] Koch knew, the food situation inside Germany was much on [Reichsmarschall] Goring's mind. In early 1941, planners were predicting problems as a result of the poor harvest and threatening cuts in rations. The German population was complaining about shortages and high prices, and this increased the determination of the Reich authorities to make the invasion of the USSR pay off fast. Herbert Backe, the state secretary in the Ministry for Food & Agriculture, actually told Hitler that 'the occupation of the Ukraine would liberate us from every economic worry'. He did also remind him that, apart from the Ukraine, the rest of European Russia was not a food surplus area. But the regime was perfectly ready to see famine spread among the civilian population in the occupied territories so long as Germans were nourished. On 2 May, it was agreed that the successful continuation of the war would require the Wehrmacht to 'be fed at the expense of Russia', even if the consequence was that 'thereby tens of millions of men will undoubtedly starve to death'. 'Support of the war economy' was 'the highest law', while the newly occupied territories were to be regarded 'from a colonial viewpoint and exploited economically with colonial methods'. Goring predicted 'the biggest mass death in Europe since the Thirty Years' War'. Backe even drafted a set of 'Twelve Commandments' for future administrators in the East. 'We wish not to convert the Russians to National Socialism but to make them our tools', he wrote. 'The Russian has stood poverty, hunger and austerity for centuries. His stomach is flexible; hence no false pity!' " (Hitler's Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe, Mark Mazower, 2008, p 147)

Not so, the Zionists:

"The Hamas team had not laughed so much in a long time. The team, headed by the prime minister [Ariel Sharon]'s advisor Dov Weisglass and including the Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff, the director of the Shin Bet and senior generals and officials, convened for a discussion with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on ways to respond to the [1/06 Hamas] election victory. Everyone agreed on the need to impose an economic siege on the Palestinian Authority, and Weisglass, as usual, provided the punch line: 'It's like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die', the advocate joked, and the participants reportedly rolled with laughter." (As the Hamas Team laughs, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 22/2/06)

Meanwhile, three years later, for dieting Palestinians in the Gaza Ghetto, it's a laugh a minute...

"Donkeys loaded with dry branches are becoming a common sight as bakeries in Gaza City... turn to firewood, having run out of bottled propane gas... But millers say they have run out of regular grain, and some bakeries have started using cereals usually fed to livestock. 'What is left for us is to grow our nails and eat rats', said one man bitterly, as he queued for bread... Fuel shortages have almost paralysed the work of 3,000 Gaza fishermen, whose boats now mostly lie idle. 'Even when we catch some fish, people do not buy because they do not have gas to cook it with', said Zuhair Abu Reyala, a fisherman who supports a family of 17." (Life runs backwards in Gaza as blockade bites, Nidal al-Mughrabi,, 25/11/08)

"As a convoy of blue-&-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on. 'We had one meal today - khobbeizah', said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. 'Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass'. Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have 7 daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat. 'I can't remember seeing a fruit', said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare." (Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border, Marie Colvin, The Sunday Times, 14/12/08)

"Growing numbers of Gazans have begun using the drug [tramadol, a painkiller] over the past year and a half to take the edge off life in the impoverished seaside strip, pharmacists and residents say." (Gazans increasingly rely on painkiller,, 14/12/08)

"A Palestinian poll released on Thursday showed that 40% of the residents of the Hamas-ruled gaza Strip wish to emigrate..." (Palestinian poll: 40% 0f Gaza residents wish to emigrate, Haaretz, 14/12/08)

"Gaza is people's constant attempt to cling to a normal life, although Israel foists on them abnormal terms of imprisonment, isolation from the rest of the world and deterioration to a state of humiliating dependence on international charity programs." (This is Gaza, Amira Hass, Haaretz, 27/11/08)

No comments: