Thursday, January 05, 2006

Reactions to Ariel Sharon's Stroke

It is interesting to note the different reactions to Ariel Sharon's terrible stroke across the world.

MereRhetoric, who has been liveblogging for the last day or so about Sharon, notes:
This morning, exhortations to pray are being heard across the entire Israeli political spectrum, from religious leaders to secular politicians. In Israel - where national and religious identities are intertwined - prayer is as much a social phenomenon as a sectarian commitment, is as much a cultural ritual as a religious experience. The call for Israelis to pray has a therapeutic function unique to a modern society with an incomplete separation of church and state - it brings Jews together as Israelis and Israelis together as Jews. In Iran, religion determines the state. In the West, the state circumscribes religion. But in Israel, the two spheres exist in an interdependent tension - the Holocaust proved that Judaism needs a Jewish state to survive while the tumult of the late 90s proved a Jewish State needs Judaism to stay vibrant.
He points to a number of fascinating reactions from major sources:
Today’s entry at the mostly left-wing, largely secular Ha'aretz is therefore as appropriate as it is devestating and heartbreaking:

Say a prayer for the prime minister.
Say a prayer for the man who could not be broken.
Say a prayer for our shattered present. Say a prayer for our shuttered common future.
Pray for the man who could not be stilled. Pray for the man who could not be swayed.
Say a prayer for the future only he knew.
Say a prayer for the people he has left behind. The Jewish People, the people he loved, at times despite himself, despite them. The people who could not bring themselves to love him.
Pray for those of us who once embraced him, and came to curse him.
Pray for those of us who once cursed him, and could not bring ourselves to forgive him.
Pray for those who call themselves religious and see in this, the hand of God.
Pray for those who call themselves non-religious and need now to pray.
Pray for the leaders who, unable to replace him, will now succeed him.
Pray for a miracle. Pray for all of us. Pray that we may know to heal each other.
Pray for this land. That it may know the peace that he never will.
From the Palestinians:
True to form, Palestinians have begun celebrating and shooting into the air in reaction to PM Sharon's illness. You know - we don't mean to be bitter - but it says something that this is how the Palestinian public reacts to the near-death of the single world leader who finally gave them land for a state (as opposed to, say, all those brave Arab leaders who never deigned to create a Palestinian state during the decades that they controlled the West Bank and Gaza Strip). When you consider how deep the pathology of hatred and resentment must run in Palestinian civil society, it's no wonder that the entire committee running their elections just quit.
Labor & Likud:
In a nation often torn by bitter and lifelong personal and political divisions, both Labor's Peretz and the Likud's Netanyahu have ordered their parties to cease political activities until further notice. They have counciled waiting and prayer instead.
Sadly, the Political Teen notes some reactions from crazy Americans:

Read some response, that is if you have the stomach to.

The best thing for Sharon right now would be to kick the bucket and forego further embarrassment.

In this thread, fbahrami says:

May he get what he deserves.

Pathetic. [NOTE: Only a small number of the commenters made comments along these lines. Still troubling, however.]

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