25 December 2010

Militaristic Discourse like a Raging Fire

photo taken from israblog nana.

The Carmel Mountain burned for five days, and the all too known militaristic discourse which controls the consciousness of Israeli society, and constitutes the artificial glue holding everything together, reached new heights.

I didn’t follow the discourse closely, but there was no need to. There’s no need to search between the lines for this hard-core militaristic discourse. It stood out – there was no need to make extra efforts to notice it. I got updated on the news like any other citizen – about twice a day through online media, I read the Friday print-edition headlines and that’s pretty much about it.

So what did we have? Yes, I am well aware that when it comes to fire, there’s no way of avoiding the use of some language of fighting, like “fight the fire.” I’ve followed wild, raging fires around the world, but everywhere it was just a fire – nothing more. No government or media have ever made the fire serve a different cause. But of course in Israel, everything is looked at from a different perspective. Those in power (government and media) look for the hidden potential in everything; a potential to serve their own agenda. And the main agenda in Israel is to keep feeding the fear of society.

So what language did we have during and following the fire? Here’s some of the language. I didn’t write the expressions down, this is what I remember right off the top of my head, but there must be more. It would be interesting to take a sample of media items published during this time and make a research of the militaristic discourse used and the context in which it appears.

 “The Five Day War” – which immediately calls into mind the Six Day War of 1967.
 “An Environmental Holocaust” – no need for comments.
 “We don’t have another country, and it’s a very small country” – Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister said this when asked how come they were able to put the fire out in such short period of time.
 The word “battle” instead of “fight.” In Hebrew – at least this is my own feeling – the word “battle” (krav) is a very strong word, reminding war.

Other than this, there were radio stations which broadcast 24/7 news of the fire. Updates, correspondence from the site, all kinds of interviews with fire experts, trauma experts, representatives from local municipalities, government officials, men from the military, police officers, people who had to evacuate, people whose houses were burned, you name it. And when they exhausted everything, it started all over again. This is the culture of war. This is what we have when there’s war, and the media reproduced it.

I don’t own a television, but when I was at my parents’ house, I saw the same thing on TV. At least a couple of channels were broadcasting issues related to the fire constantly.

These are my reflections on the discourse during and following the fire. They are not some subtle issues under the surface – this reproduction of the militaristic discourse was too strong to be ignored.

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