Great ending paragraph, indeed it's striking to note that the most "anti colonial" countries are often the most miserable places to live.

Almost as if retributive bloodshed isn't so great for the soul after all.

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Oct 10, 2023Liked by Robert Duigan

Sadly as I watch Israelies and Palestinians clutch their dead children my soul is ripped from my body, and I too clutch my infant son and cry as the mothers and fathers I have seen. This loss of life, it is beyond my comprehension. I grieve for anyone who holds their lifeless child in their arms. But even more sadly as I watch Hamas indiscriminately kill, man, woman and child only to defile the bodies and mutilate the remains I cannot help but look with a distant abstraction to a form of violence and depravity that more than broaches the thresholds of insanity. I struggle to find even a vestigial connection to such barbarism. This violence in "vengeance" has no soul, and I struggle to see human beings perpetrating these acts.

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I agree.

I tried my best to strike the right tone to describe the cold fact that certain conflicts are ineluctable, while trying to identify that which creates excess cruelty.

I think people have been carried away by partisan sentiments that are only justified for those with a personal stake in the conflict.

Many people have shown a rather nasty streak lately.

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Oct 11, 2023Liked by Robert Duigan

I absolutely got that impression and point in reading your article. Always well worded Robert, I was just personally agreeing with how you're point touches me as a passive observer of this sad event. You're coverage of South Africa is well needed I honestly feel a great hope for you and your countrymen and have been telling everyone I know how the South African referendum could very well pave the way for other developed nations to move forward and beyond corrupted and ineffectual federal governance. Best of luck to you and thanks!

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As usual, a thought provoking article. I can only pretend to have caught all the references!

You mentioned that "What neither side appears to have managed to internalise is a factual recognition of the nature of this violence." I assume the nature you refer to is that of the blurred territorial and (I suppose) ethnic lines? Respectfully, I don't agree. I think it's precisely that the nature of this violence has been so well internalised that the conflict is so intractable. Keen to hear your thoughts (and yeah, maybe I'm misinterpreting what you wrote).

You also wrote: "it is equally observable that no Knesset coalition could politically survive removing their own people from the occupied territories on the West Bank." Maybe. Big maybe. The West Bank isn't Gaza, and yes even though only a few thousand Israelis were pulled out of Gaza, it was done. So, maybe we can use it as a data point. Another observation: most the settlements in the West Bank are close to the border, the green line. So, one could imagine a scenario where there are limited land swaps for these enclaves. Of course, you'd need political will, yada yada yada.

"Decolonisation involves mass ethnic cleansing, and almost everyone who is acquainted with the literature is well aware of this. " - is the literature you're referring to here Fanon?

Anyway, hope you respond to these - as always, interested in your thoughts.

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"If your fight is just, your society will know it, consciously or unconsciously, and the honourable or dishonourable nature of your means will shape you for generations to come."

Robert, you have promised to use any means necessary in pursuit of Cape Independence in one of your previous posts. Is it possible to maintain the moral high ground after making such a declaration? Will the Cape use any means necessary?

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That was a breath of fresh air.

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Yes, violence, including tribal violence, is a type of human behavior that has never gone away, but what matters is its incidence. There is violent crime in Tokyo and there is violent crime in Caracas, but it would be absurd to consider the two places equal in terms of violence due to this, because obviously the incidence of violent crime in Tokyo is much lower, which makes it a completely different place to live.

We know that humans have become dramatically less violent over time, both in terms of interpersonal violence measured in homicide and group violence measured in deaths due to war. So institutions, economic development, and things like that matter, even if they aren't everything. As you say, people also have a self-interest in not being violent. Attacking the other group is risky if the other group can fight back.

Regarding Israel/Palestine, one can argue about the different waves of Jewish migration, and about the older history of the place, but all of this is of less importance, because the most important fact is that regardless of what you think of how Israel came to be, Israel exists now and will continue to exist. Israel has a powerful military, they have nukes, so barring a nuclear catastrophe that would wipe out much of the Middle East, the Jews are staying. That being the case, and the Palestinians having lost the war, and being the weak party, it was for the Palestinians to have taken the best deal they could get.

The Palestinian leadership made a serious mistake by not accepting the Two-State solution that was offered to them. Yes, the deal had problems, but it should have been obvious that their situation would only get worse. If you are clearly losing a war, the longer you wait to sign an agreement, the worse the agreement will usually end up being. Now the Two-state solution seems almost like a utopia.

Regarding the anti-colonial rhetoric used to justify the massacre of civilians in Israel, the anti-European implications of this are obvious, also obvious are its selective application. The same people will say that ethnic Europeans in Europe are colonialists, and therefore, valid targets of violence. That's an argument used in the racial riots in France. It doesn't matter that Europeans are natives to Europe, and that Muslims there are recent immigrants, for resentful third worlders, Europeans still need to pay for their success.

When I debated someone making this argument, I asked them why the same groups cause crime and riots in Sweden, to which they had no answer. The hypocrisy is obvious because the same people also do not advance the argument that Bulgarians are entitled to kill Turks in their country, despite Turkish colonization of Bulgaria, or that Latvians and Estonians are entitled to kill Russians in their country, despite the fact that Russians were transferred there against the will of the natives by an empire.

Of course, not all ethnic groups are incompatible. Switzerland's multiculturalism works well because it is limited to three European ethnicities. Even in the US, Asian and Hispanic immigrants live with White Americans quite well, with very little violence and ethnic conflict, plus high rates of intermarriage. Blacks and Whites, however, it is still a huge issue in the USA.

South Africa's racial problems have always been predictable. The country's black majority has an average IQ that is about 30 points below the average IQ of the White minority, which has serious implications for income given that the market rewards IQ, which combined with the country's history and cultural differences, would always make coexistence nearly impossible. Now, the Western Cape is also a multicultural place, but you seem to think it can work because there are more similarities and flexible lines between Coloureds and Whites.

Speaking of Russia, Russia has no right to prevent American encroachment, if that means Russia invading and taking independence from its neighbors. This is an absurd idea. All countries can be considered someone's sphere of influence, especially if one can just declare other countries as their sphere of influence, so by that logic, no one has the right to an independent country because someone is entitled to invade them. The idea that the US imposes immigration policies on other Western countries is also pretty silly and nonsensical, and pro-Russian people saying this can never explain why Russia has open borders with Central Asia.

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