Gav is in New York for a few days (he’s gone all Sex and the City, want some new malonos? Email him.) and I’m snowed under with work, so I suspect it will be quiet around these parts until Sunday. In the mean-time, you should read this brilliant piece of commentary by Hugh Green. I could quote the whole thing but…
Now, consider the Irish Times editorial from the other day. Its title is ‘Self-inflicted wounds’. But the wounds referred to in the title are not those inflicted on the bodies of the flotilla passengers by Israeli guns.
Rather, the editorial is speaking about the State of Israel as though it had the properties of a human body, and as though its murderous actions were primarily harmful, not on account of the lives wiped out by its elite commandos (to say nothing of what the Israeli state is inflicting on the Palestinians in Gaza), but on account of the damage done to the State itself.
This is just one example among countless of how, within the discourse of the nation-state, priority is given to the protection of the state over the protection of human beings. If the destruction of the human beings is wrong in this case, it is implied, it is because it runs counter to the interests of the state.
Perhaps the best case that can be made by this line of reasoning, is that since the state is supposed to represent the interests of its citizens, any action that presents difficulties for the state runs counter to the best interests of its citizens.
But there is no reason why the interests of a state should automatically coincide with the interests of its citizens. Furthermore, the interests of the citizens so defined are incommensurable with the interests of the human beings who fall under the category of citizen; and no account is given of what happens to those human beings who are not its citizens.
I really can’t do it justice with a quote. Go read it all. It’s the type of thing blogs were made to hold.