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“Reverse Slaughter Victim Confusion Syndrome”

June 6, 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only real news trickles forth from the general vicinity of a stand-up comedian.

Okay, I exaggerate slightly a lot in that statement, but there is some value in fishing around for insight in the words of those who are at least as keen on equal-opportunistically exploiting everyone in order to hatch the humour they so desire, as they are on adding their own slant to the picture to distort it in their own special way.

Everyone reporting has an agenda, after all.  All too often one with ‘tell the truth’ faintly pencilled somewhere in the margin next to a grudging ‘check actual statistics’.

And so we turn to comedians.  Writing for The Independent, Mark Steel’s unadulterated disgust deserves a little platform.

It’s time the Israeli government’s PR team made the most of its talents, and became available for hire. Then whenever a nutcase marched into a shopping mall in somewhere like Wisconsin and gunned down a selection of passers-by, they could be on hand to tell the world’s press “The gunman regrets the loss of life but did all he could to avoid violence.” Then various governments would issue statements saying “All we know is a man went berserk with an AK 47, and next to him there’s a pile of corpses, so until we know the facts we can’t pass judgement on what took place.”

It might work.  Having the Israeli PR team helping out could also leave more brainstorming time for those American PR teams still theorising that Barack Obama is in fact a Muslim.  Everyone wins!

To strengthen their case the Israelis have released a photo of the weapons they found on board, (which amount to some knives and tools and wooden sticks) that the naive might think you’d expect to find on any ship, but the more astute will recognise as exactly what you’d carry if you were planning to defeat the Israeli army. It’s an armoury smaller than you’d find in the average toolshed in a garden in Cirencester, which goes to show the Israelis had better destroy Cirencester quickly as an essential act of self-defence.

As well as most kitchens.  I fear the cutlery and domestic utensil industries may have to start watching their steps from now on, if they want to escape accusations of supplying an illegal arms trade.  Bat-based field sports, alas, may likewise need to bow down to the pressure.  As for self-catering… unfortunately, I think you guys may simply be too dangerous to allow to continue working, what with having to bring your own equipment to each job.

It’s a shame they weren’t more imaginative, as they could have said “We also discovered a deadly barometer, a ship’s compass, which could not only be frisbeed at someone’s head but even had markings to help the assailant know which direction he was throwing it, and a set of binoculars that could easily be converted into a ray-gun.”

Now now, Mr. Steel.  We must acknowledge achievements with praise where praise is due, and I think the astonishing imagination required to typecast humanitarian aid workers, Parliamentarians and a former Nobel Peace Prize winner into criminals-in-waiting deserves an A+ for bold ingenuity.  Alas, in this case it might then go on to be discredited on grounds of (repeated) self-plagiarism.

Sadly, my imaginative faculties must be vastly inferior by comparison, as I lack the imagination required to come up with a mechanism for how people who were killed due to overhead shots through the top of the head or shots in the back were also facing and engaging their killers in provocative combat, aided by that deadly arsenal we already exposed.

Israel and its supporters claim that Viva Palestina, made up of people who collect the donated food, cement and items for providing basic amenities such as toilets, and transport them to Gaza, wanted the violence all along. Because presumably they must have been thinking “Hezbollah couldn’t beat them, but that’s because unlike us they didn’t have a ballcock and several boxes of plum tomatoes”.

Wheelchairs are formidable weapons and a threat to any nation’s security, surely you know that.  These flotilla peeps, they were really onto something.  Thankfully we’ve all been spared the unprecedented atrocities that could have been instigated by these wheelchair-wielders.  Anyone who brings these weapons-disguised-as-mobility-aids can only have one aim in mind: WAR.  This also explains why these so-called peace activists brought with them bloodthirsty armies of small children.

One article told us the flotilla was full of “Thugs spoiling for a confrontation”, and then accused them of being “Less about aid and more about PR. Indeed, on board was Swedish novelist Henning Mankell.” So were they thugs or about PR? Did they have a thugs’ section and a PR quarter, or did they all muck in, the novelist diverting the soldiers with his characterisation while the thugs attacked them with a lethal spirit level?

Mr. Steel, you’ve sussed them out!  There’s no need for a full investigation now.  Armed with a novelist, these thugs knew that the soldiers would be unable to resist an opportunity to realise long-held ambitions to develop their inner protagonists.  Emboldened by the irresistability of their trap, the thugs duly lay in waiting to spring on their unsuspecting prey – striking just as the poor soldiers rushed towards Mr. Mankell in touching and unbridled excitement, having instantaneously metamorphosed into eager fanboys.

Sadly, they forgot the guns attached to their hands as they waved their arms in child-like glee, and accidental firing of the guns was bound to follow.   For such men, we must empathise that these weapons are really more of an extra phalange than death sticks, and thus they surely cannot be blamed for doing no more than point a finger in the wrong direction.

That would be as logical as the statement from the Israeli PM’s spokesman – “We made every possible effort to avoid this incident.” Because the one tiny thing they forgot to do to avoid this incident was not send in armed militia from helicopters in the middle of the night and shoot people. I must be a natural at this sort of technique because I often go all day without climbing off a helicopter and shooting people, and I’m not even making every possible effort. Politicians and commentators worldwide repeat a version of this line. They’re aware a nation has sent its militia to confront people carrying provisions for the desperate, in the process shooting several of them dead, and yet they angrily blame the dead ones. One typical headline yesterday read “Activists got what they wanted – confrontation.” It’s an attitude so deranged it deserves to be registered as a psychosis, something like “Reverse Slaughter Victim Confusion Syndrome”.

The next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is being drafted as we speak.  Mr. Steel, I think you should do humanity a service and offer this important input.  If there were a pathological label attached to it, we could perhaps finally begin to fathom the derangement.  At least we can excuse and also medicate, preferably with happy pills or heavy sedation or both the clinically insane.

If this incident had been carried about by Iran, or anyone we were trying to portray as an enemy, so much condemnation would have been spewed out it would have created a vast cloud of outrage that airlines would be unable to fly through.

But as it’s Israel, most governments offer a few diplomatic words that blame no one, but accept the deaths are “regrettable”. They might as well have picked any random word from the dictionary, so the news would tell us “William Hague described the deaths as ‘hexagonal'”, and a statement from the US senate said “It’s all very confusing. In future let’s hope they make every effort to avoid a similar incident.”

Politicians are rather square, sadly.  It makes it difficult to see anything round the corner.  They play a verbal ping-pong for a while and seem to think that we don’t recognise that they’re just quietly creeping in circles.  But you know, that’s the nature of history, I suppose.  It all gets a bit spherical.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2010 10:22 am

    I can’t decide if this was better than the original article!


    ‘Armed with a novelist, these thugs knew that the soldiers would be unable to resist an opportunity to realise long-held ambitions to develop their inner protagonists. Emboldened by the irresistability of their trap, the thugs duly lay in waiting to spring on their unsuspecting prey – striking just as the poor soldiers rushed towards Mr. Mankell in touching and unbridled excitement, having instantaneously metamoprhised into eager fanboys.’


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