More Insights into the “Thriving Civil Society”

Hat tip: DP and JK

Another piece of news from that TCS, Palestine. One of the things that struck me about my last post on the double “execution”/honor-killing was that as the brother emptied his clip into his sister, the rest of the gang fired off their own guns in the air. I thought about that afterwards, like cowboys, celebrating, high-spirited… over the murder of a mother of four children under 12? I guess so.

So I wasn’t surprised when I read this item:

Disappointed investors shoot up Palestinian exchange
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

RAMALLAH — Gunmen hired by leading Palestinian investors have attacked the Palestinian Stock Exchange.
Palestinian sources said the gunmen opened fire on the PA Stock Exchange in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The sources said nobody was injured in the May 28 attack, but the building was damaged.
“Sources from the stock exchange indicated that the attack was motivated by losses incurred by some individuals, due to the decline in stocks of some companies,” the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.
Nablus has been regarded as the economic capital of the PA. The stock exchange had risen sharply in April, followed by an equally steep decline.
The sources said foreign investors have decreased activities in the PA over the last year. They cited attacks on foreigners in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In April, the PA canceled two conferences in the West Bank meant to attract foreign investors. In both cases, organizers said, the investors feared the prospect of abduction by Fatah gunmen.
The stock exchange was also believed to have been affected by the emerging militia war. On May 28, arsonists aligned with Fatah torched the car of the PA Prisoner Affairs Minister Wasfi Qabha in northern Jenin. Nobody was injured.

Reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in A Fish Called Wanda, where Otto and Wanda open the safe after betraying their partner, and there’s nothing there. Otto begins to hyperventilate:

Otto: Ok… Ok… DISAPPOINTED!! Son of a bitch. What do you have to do in this world to make people trust you?
Wanda: Shut up.
Otto: People are always taking advantage of me.
Wanda: Shut up and think.
[Otto pulls out a silenced pistol and fires two shots at the safe]
Wanda: What are you doing?
Otto: I’m thinking.


Palestinians shoot their guns off often. I remember reading about a movie theatre owner in Lebanon who had to stop showing Rambo movies because the local Palestinian clientele would shoot off their guns during the action sequences. They regularly shoot off their guns at weddings and other celebrations. When they had to leave Beirut, they pretended it was a victory and shot their guns off wildly.

Last February, a 10-year old Palestinian girl named Nuran Dib fell down dead while standing on line in school. At first the media ran the Palestinian accusations that Israelis had killed her; the Arab media played every heart string, and Indymedia got predictably indignant. It turned out, she was killed by gunfire coming back down from a gun shot of by a “pilgrim” returning from Mecca.

Apparently there are dozens of deaths yearly in the PA from bullets coming back down from random gunfire. And the Palestinians include them (along with the suicide bombers) among the casualties of their war with Israel.

Civil society demands a great deal of discipline and restraint from its citizens, especially its alpha males. As a result, in an civic sphere where everyone can walk upright, there’s a different atmospheric pressure. The air of freedom is exhilarating. One medieval chronicler spoke of the hilaritas libertatis, the hilarity of freedom.

Prime divider societies in which the alpha males carry guns and shoot them off at will, when they’re angry, frustrated, disappointed, happy, rejoicing… where women and others who do not bear weapons live in a constant state of intimidation… where when they’ve got your sister and they hand you a gun, you “know what you have to do”… these are very different places. They are hierarchical, and the deference, the subjugation of the many give luster to the honor of the few. They have a different atmospheric pressure, much heavier, that bends most people down under its crushing weight.

These kinds of cultures also can’t do well economically. They’re not so much cultures of poverty as impoverishing cultures. The reasons for the decline of the Palestinian stock market are classic signs of the incompatibility of alpha male violence and the emergence of a healthy economy. But lest we think that it’s the crazy militia nuts who endanger the stable civil society who are the violent ones, and those entrepreneurs ready to invest the money, eager to see stability, are our alter-egos, the representatives of a thriving civil society just waiting to happen, let’s not forget… it was the investors who went to shoot off their guns. They’re the Ottos.

No wonder there’s a wall going up. It’s not an aparthied wall. It’s a wall between civil society and prime divider society. Otherwise the pressure from an unbearably oppressive culture would come and crush the remarkable and genuinely thriving civil society that Israel has managed to create in the midst of a desert of human oppression. Too bad their neighbors are too proud to learn anything. Of course, if they did, they’d be accused of betraying the cause, and subject to summary execution accompanied by celebratory gunfire.

Let me be clear here. Not all Palestinians are murderers and maniacs. But the murderers and maniacs rule; and they’ve made anti-Zionist poison their drug of choice. That Palestinians civilians, who live at their mercy, who are force-fed their poisons from an early age, become addicted to it… this I can understand. But we who care, who treasure freedom and human rights, who would never tolerate such brutality in our own lives… how on earth do so many of us, progressives, become so addicted?

9 Responses to More Insights into the “Thriving Civil Society”

  1. Pat says:

    The guns being fired in the air thing happens a lot in the Eva Beach area of Oahu around 4th of July and New Years. Always a good time to stay indoors..

  2. RL says:

    live ammunition? out towards the ocean? or straight up?

    i know it’s a way to show high spirits. yeehah!

    now wonder the europeans think of us as cowboys. :-)

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  4. Robert Schwartz says:

    “Last February, a 10-year old Palestinian girl named Nuran Dib … was killed by gunfire coming back down from a gun shot of by a “pilgrim” returning from Mecca.”

    I am amazed that it does not happen more often.

  5. RL says:

    it does. you only hear about it indirectly in the list of Palestinian casualties caused by the conflict with Israel.

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  8. […] some of them were killed by Palestinians as here, here, here, here, and here (not to mention […]

  9. […] some of them were killed by Palestinians as here, here, here, here, and here (not to mention […]

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