This is a 'not happy, Phillip' post. That's Phillip, as in Phillip Adams, trenchant critic, from his perch at ABC Radio National's long-running current affairs program Late Night Live (LNL), of the former Howard and Bush regimes, and of this country's servile, mercenary involvement in the war on Iraq. Yet always, for as long as I can remember, strangely muted on the subject of Israel's relentless, decades-long, round-the-clock throttling of the pitiful remnants of the Palestinian people grimly hanging on in their tiny, shrinking enclaves.
For so many of us in Australia, as in the rest of the world, Israel's latest mad-dog rampage in Gaza, hot on the heels of its earlier one in Lebanon in 2006, shook us to the core. Every newscast worse than the one before, horror piled on horror - direct to your living room courtesy of Al-Jazeera. In our anger, we flocked in our thousands to demonstrations around the country -4 in the space of a month in Sydney alone. We were appalled, consumed, able to focus on nothing else. And yet, so far as I am aware, not a peep from Adams on LNL or in his weekly columns for The Australian and the Weekend Australian Magazine. Until now (21-22/2/09) that is, in the latter.
Adams spent his Christmas holidays in, of all places, Egypt, presumably indulging his well-known passion for Egyptian antiquities. That's right, in Egypt, cheek-by-jowl with Gaza, in a veritable ring-side seat. And now, at long last, having chosen to touch (and I use the word deliberately) on the issue which convulsed Egypt as much as anywhere else on the planet, what does he have to say?
Not much. His inside back page piece is divided into 3 columns. The first is about how devout Egypt's Muslims are. As is the second, except that Adams reports, half-way down, asking one of the faithful whether 'angry' words are being uttered in the mosques: "'No', says his interlocutor, 'that cannot happen. The government is listening. There would be arrests'."
Then comes our first mention of the carnage on Egypt's doorstep: "Perhaps that applies in the mosques, but with the Israelis pulverising Gaza there's great anger spilling out into the streets. As the sandstorms clear... there are mass rallies from Cairo to Alexandria." But, I can't help asking, where, Phillip, was your anger? What did you feel when the little guys next door to your (luxury?) hotel were being pulverised? No, the agony in Gaza des not seem to have been front & centre in Adams' mind. He was more interested in another subject, Pharaoh Mubarak: "But the protests are not so much addressed at the Jews as at Mubarak. Egyptians are angry with their President - and throughout the Middle East wild voices are calling for his assassination. Mubarak is deemed a quisling, a puppet of the US and Israel."
Adams went on to recall "earlier visits to Egypt when, every day, the Israelis would send jet fighters screaming down the Nile, flying over Cairo's bridges with just metres to spare, mocking the anti-aircraft gunners crouching under their camouflage nets - reminding Egyptians that a few dam-buster raids on the High Dam at Aswan could send the mightiest of all floods pouring down." Unbelievable! Can you imagine any other country on the planet behaving this way? But where did/does Adams stand? Phillip, how did you really feel back then as the Israeli bully strutted its stuff up and down the Nile?
Not a clue is given, Adams simply opining that it was then president Sadat's fear of war with Israel that led to "a peace deal that provoked his assassination on October 6, 1981." We're well into the last column now, with Adams reflecting that "now Sadat's story is overlapping with Mubarak's and the country is on high alert - with the demonstrations reminding us that Israel feels free to bomb Gaza because the Arab world remains fractured, incapable of forming a united view - let alone a united front. And with the US changing administrations the timing for Israel was perfect. Egyptians are enraged by what many see as their Government's complicity in the war on the Palestinians."
Yes, Phillip, true, but what do you feel about that pulverising "war on the Palestinians"?