From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Neighborhood Bully. The International Court of Justice, at the behest of a minority of member states in the United Nations, has addressed the following question regarding Israeli measures to protect its citizens from being blown up and otherwise mutilated, maimed, and murdered:

What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

So: In honor of the International Court of Justice’s disgraceful and self-degrading, albeit nonbinding, decision regarding Israel’s anti-terrorism “wall,” I post below the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Neighborhood Bully.” It’s not his best song, to be sure, but it addresses and even predicts (twenty years in advance!) the issue fairly well. The court’s decision, like the Sex Pistols’ flowers in the dustbin, will quite rightly end up in the garbage pile of history, along with all the other execrable “international” condemnations and cluck-cluckings directed at Israel over the years. These pathetic and hypocritical condemnations against Israel through the years have ranged from everything to Israel’s capture and subsequent trial of Nazi genocidist Adolph Eichmann to Israel’s bombing of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor to the non-massacre in Jenin and the infamous “Zionism = Racism” U.N. Resolution. But so it goes, and this latest example will hardly be the last.

For those crowing about the decision, do keep in mind several things. Israel was not a defendant in the proceedings; this was an advisory hearing, nothing more and nothing less. The proceedings did not address the legal status of the West Bank (or of Israeli settlements therein), and the pronouncement carries no binding requirements for Israel or for anyone else. Also, please note that the above question to which the ICF so valiantly addressed itself refers exclusively to “the construction of the wall being built by Israel.” As such, since much—perhaps most—of the structure that Israel has been constructing to protect its citizens from self-detonating Palestinians and other vicious terrorists is not a wall but a fence, the court’s decision neither applies to nor addresses the entirety of Israel’s anti-terror structure.

Remember, also, that while the case was not only rejected by over thirty democratic countries, it also failed to garner the support of even half the countries in the United Nations Generally Assembly. In fact, of the 191 countries that vote in the General Assembly, 101 of them opted not to vote in support of bringing the question before the court. Of course, among those who did (predictably) endorse this polemical political stunt were the world’s mavens of dictatorship and tyranny, from Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to Syria, China, and the Palestinian Authority. Sudan, home of the world’s foremost current genocide, gave its moral imprimatur to the reindeer games. It’s lovely company, to be sure, this minority of countries that voted for the proceedings, but it hardly constitutes any sort of progressive moral mandate.

Neighborhood Bully

Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.

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