Pawprint in the margins of history

So I asked the question this morning of Lebanon – same as I did as we watched the submerging of New Orleans.  ‘What do you think is happening to all the pet cats?’  For pets are part of what makes people feel at home.  And to be evacuated without ….   Robert Fisk in this morning’s Independent crisply calls the evacuation of British and other nationals ‘Munich not Dunkirk’.

All my life, I have listened to people saying that they must ‘root out the terrorists from our midst’.  It is always nonsense at best and political laziness at worst.  In one sense, terrorists should be ignored – for they have chosen to step outside the norms of political dialogue and humane behaviour.  The fact that they choose to use violence should not give them any more weight than anybody else.  But their existence should also be taken seriously because they do not come from Mars.  They arise because there is an unresolved cause which they are able to exploit and there is a civilian population which may not agree with their methods but sympathises with their aims.  The civilian population, of course, needs to be protected and the processes of civilised society need to be safeguarded.  But this surrogate punishment of the civilian population of Lebanon, the destruction of its fragile democracy is appalling.  And the apparent lack of political leadership in bringing the suffering to an end is dreadful.  Munich not Dunkirk.  I agree.

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