Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sticks and Stones

Once again a powerful institution can't take criticism. Instead of refuting the criticism it is closed, insular and undemocratic, the Hamas-lead government in Gaza has banned a political cartoon characterising it as closed, insular and undemocratic.

"Deeds, not words" and even the the child's chant "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" seems unfathomable through-out much of the middle-east. Symbolism, not substance, seems to control political discourse there. Unfortunately, the current western obsession of "feeling good about ourselves" whether we deserve to or not(Should George W. Bush feel good about his terms in office?) seems to have skewed political discourse into a game of raw power and cheap glamour. Games that generate symbolic victories for the governing and practical defeats for the governed.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster