He held up his palms to the crowd.
October 13, 2000 3:31 AM   Subscribe

He held up his palms to the crowd. They were red with blood. As the mob bayed, a body clad only in grey underpants shot through the corner window of the Ramallah police station. It left a smear of blood on its descent. In the tense moments before Israel exacted its retribution, witnesses described the scenes of horror in which at least two Israeli soldiers died at the hands of a Palestinian lynch mob.
posted by murray_kester (10 comments total)
For God's sake. Stop the killings in Israel.
posted by murray_kester at 3:33 AM on October 13, 2000

It's sick, and it's escalating, and the legacy of sorrow is indelible.
posted by highindustrial at 5:37 AM on October 13, 2000

Why? I can't even imagine seeing this happen. What will it take to stop? How many die today? How many tomorrow? I'd like to say stop with the Mid East news for a time, but it only seems to get more and more attention.

posted by brent at 6:36 AM on October 13, 2000

utterly disturbing.
posted by Hankins at 9:30 AM on October 13, 2000

In one way this reassures me - thank goodness we can still be disgusted by murder. Being revolted by a crazed, killing mob is useful: it stops us all from killing each other. But our emotions seem to be trapped in the stone age (no doubt this is quite reasonable to evolutionary psychologists...) - as shown by our guilty lack of a reaction when soldiers shoot people.

As has been pointed out many times on this group, the deaths in this madness have been mainly Arabs killed by Israelis. Is death so much more acceptable when it comes with an Israeli bullet?

[Todays Economist news email: "[...] has killed some 100 people, all but a handful of them Palestinians"]

Sorry that I seem to banging on about this, but until people realise that this isn't even handed, nothing is going to change. It's not anti-semitism and I'm not saying that any death is good, but it is deeply frustrating to see people referring to this as an evenly balanced and therefore difficult to stop affair. The deaths are driven by Israeli killings. Israel is supported by the USA. Many US citizens read this site. You can do something...
posted by andrew cooke at 10:13 AM on October 13, 2000

Is death so much more acceptable when it comes with an Israeli bullet?

Compare the actions of Dr Jack Kevorkian to those of, for instance, the State of Texas.
posted by holgate at 10:33 AM on October 13, 2000

though i wouldn't usually link to msnbc over here, they have a slide show with images from the past week
posted by pnevares at 10:39 AM on October 13, 2000

>Is death so much more acceptable when it comes with an Israeli bullet?<

I see a few factors here.

1) guns provide distance in killing. you pull a trigger, that's it. very different from killing a man with your own two hands, or even a knife or sword. less visceral.

2) guns in the hands of police or soldiers implies a sanctioned use of force, and also lack of personal responsibility: these people are acting according to orders or in accord with a charge from the state.

3) perhaps we're more conditioned to death by guns than death by hands: when guns first arrived on the scene, maybe death by gun caused the same "ish" feeling that these mob killings are creating in us now.

now, whether or not soldiers/police *are* acting on order, I think that we tend to carry that idea with us subconsciously in regard to their actions. they are empowered by some authority to use their weapons at their discretion in order to carry out a higher charge. and it's easy to see how a scared soldier might shoot in the heat of the moment, even into a mob that is using rocks as weapons. (one of the the points of a gun, after all, is that one gun can hold off many people--one man cannot).

so when we look at a mob storming a building and ruthlessly killing people with their hands, it really connects. we're not used to it, it's not supposed to happen, it doesn't happen very often, and it's easy to see how appalling it is.

I know that I also see a bit of myself in that scene: could *I* become such a killer in a mob? could the people around me do such a thing?

the deaths on both sides are horrifying to me, but I think the image of the mob murder carries with it implications that we are unaccustomed to, and uncomfortable with.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:52 PM on October 13, 2000

Yes, very good point.

Weoponry creates distance and somehow legitimacy, especially when sanctioned by a state.

It makes me think of the unassailable legitimacy conveyed by high tech weopons, like with the so called "surgical strikes" aerial bombing of civilians.

Recent campaigns in Serbia and Iraq come to mind.

posted by lagado at 5:37 AM on October 14, 2000

When people are shot on TV, they often don't bleed.

When shot people bleed, they're most likely on CounterStrike.

That's why Reservoir Dogs had such an impact.
posted by holgate at 10:21 AM on October 15, 2000

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