August 1, 2006

The Lebanon-Israel conflict will surely affect Philippines. In this regard, the Social Sciences Department of Ateneo de Naga University had the issue tackled in its Kapihan sa Soksay held on August 1 at the O’ Brien Library room 111. Lecturers were Duke Dolorical, Jess Pasibe, Ramon Beleno.

Dolorical discussed the root of the conflict, its history. He said it started wth the various Zionist movements of Israel. Europe (partcularly the UK, also UN) sponsored their ‘return’ to Palestine. Since then, they were perceived as ‘land grabbers’ by Arab states.

Pasibe focused on the Hezbollah as a ‘freedom fighting’ organization, equipped with a political and an armed wing. He also named some of its supporters such as Iran (Persia) and Syria. And that Israel’s occupation of Shebaa accelerated the conflict.

Beleno focused on the phenomenology of war. He used the Realist perspective, looking at the givens of the problem rather than the solution. He looked into the root causes of war–such as Man, the State and the current World Order. That man may either be inherently good or evil. That irregardless of good intentions, war is inevitable. That man is selfish and predetermined to prioritize his agenda. That it’s all a matter of perception–war starts with misperception. Thus, a supernational state could be the only arbiter for these conflicts.

Dolorical was convinced that the Israelites are land grabbers. Here we see that war is indeed influenced by ideology and perspective. Israel has its oral tradition and the Old testament to prove that they own a part of Palestine. While the various Arab nations see them as land grabbers.

Pasibe mused that Lebanon twisted the idea of democracy, leading to the emergence of various extremist groups in its bureaucracy And the Hezbollah is one of them.

Beleno thinks war is impractical and non-productive. That when you go to war, you can’t work. That we all lose in this game and the lesser loser wins. Methinks it all starts with an ideology and culture shared by a group of people. Mild forms of war are cultural hybridities–something almost inevitable. We cannot live without relating to other states and in the process, conflicts may ensue. The Jews had their Zionist movements much resented by the Arabs. We opined that it is such a lucrative enterprise to side with the Jews–because they will always be at war with their neighbors. It’s easy to supply weapons to these countries. Not to mention Israel’s role as an ideological apparatus as the chosen people of God. You can gain political points by siding with them.

Christianity was the ideological apparatus of the Spaniards plus warfare and colonization. Indeed, war is work, contrary to Beleno’s thoughts.


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