The separate but equal annual rituals are well established in the
First the Israelis observe a day of mourning for those who have fallen in their country's defense. For a little country,
The foreign-policy establishment of 1948, backed by dignitaries like
But there is a counter-narrative of those events, a whole counter-myth with a counter-language of its own. What the Israelis celebrate as independence, Arabs mourn as the Nakba, the Catastrophe. Americans should know all about counter-narratives and counter-myths. Our own Civil War, aka The Rock From Which We Were Hewn, was called The War of the Rebellion in the Union's official records, while in Southern latitudes it might be referred to as The War of Northern Aggression.
To this day there are some still refighting The War. Passions fade only slowly over the years, over the centuries. Few things are more persistent than legends of the Lost Cause.
It's taken a century and more for us Americans -- well, most of us Americans -- to be reconciled. Whatever our ethnic, religious or cultural differences, we live under one government, without a geographic line separating us. In the
This year was different. This year the Syrian troops that usually guard the frontier opened the gates and let busloads of protesters cross the border into
The soldiers held their fire -- at first. But then the rioters began tearing down the border fence on their way to the nearest Israeli village. It was like an amateurish historical re-enactment. But all too real. In the volley that followed, many of the demonstrators would be wounded and 15 would die. Hundreds of infiltrators would be rounded up and sent back to
What a waste of young lives. And for what? A headline in the morning papers, a gesture that is already forgotten, more martyrs for the Lost Cause? The incident was one more indictment of the "leadership" the Arabs of Palestine have chosen over the years -- from the Grand Mufti to
And why was the demonstration this year on
It's a familiar historical pattern, whether the dynasty under pressure is Czarist Russia or a defeated
The revolutionary outbursts known as the Arab Spring came as a shock. Revolutions are impossible, Leon Trotsky once said, until they become inevitable. What's easily predictable is that those struggling to hold onto their power should try to blame the revolution on some sinister conspiracy.
Call it the Scapegoat Syndrome. It emerges with some regularity wherever dictatorships are challenged -- or after the dictator has fled and power is up for grabs.
Those seeking to retain power in
A sad-eyed Egyptian gentleman, who was made a refugee long ago, once explained me how these things work. He summed up the order of victimhood in
Nor are Muslim minorities exempt from persecution as one wave of revolution succeeds another.
Things may get worse in
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