I have been shocked by the events of last week and their aftermath.
I mean, holy shit. You know, holy shit. I mean shit, you know, that has *actually been* fucking *blessed* by someone holy. Whoever — Moses, Buddha, Tom Cruise, I mean whoever you consider holy, I am telling you, they have blessed this shit.
That is how holy this holy shit is.
Yes, I am talking about Israel and the events involving the Freedom Flotilla.
These events have been the cause of much mystification, lies and outright slander from all the usual suspects.
One of the most common allegations directed by bigots the world over is that Israel committed an "act of piracy".
Such hate-filled ignorance. What an outrageous, slanderous analogy. Pirates may be thieves, but they are not cold-blooded mass murderers.
Israel's actions were a crime against humanity and an act of war against Turkey at least. But what has it got to do with pirates?
There is no record of any pirate massacring 1400 people over a few weeks of sustained slaughter in a giant prison and then maintaining a crippling siege that condemns the lives of 1.5 million people to utter misery.
And then, when badly needed humanitarian aid comes in boats, boarding those boats heavily armed, using stun grenades, tear gas rubber and live bullets on the unarmed passengers, killing at least nine people and stealing the humanitarian aid to ensure 1.5 million people stay starving.
I mean, the sadism of Israel's siege takes on surreal proportions. You can view a partial list of banned and allowed items here.
The banned list includes A4-sized writing paper. Nothing is mentioned about A5 paper, so we can only assume Israel is confident A5 is too small to build paper planes big and strong enough to fly over the wall and cause significant destruction inside Israel.
Goats and chickens are banned — and it isn't hard to see why. Israel no doubts fears Hamas would not hesitate to sacrifice them in voodoo rituals to place evil curses on God’s Chosen People.
They have been kind enough to allow in fabric softner, so the ordinary Gazans don’t have to be subjected to the horror of starchy clothes. Also, toothpaste and shampoo are in.
You might think this shows some serious consideration for the importance of clear hair and teeth — until you realise there is a serious fucking water shortage. So the Gazans can stare at the shampoo, then stare at the sky and realise with growing horror they will have to put up with greasy hair until the next time it rains.
Coriander is banned, as is chocolate, ginger and cumin. However, Israel has been kind enough to allow in cinnamon, black pepper and seasame paste.
It is almost as if they chopped up all the words in a cooking book, dropped them in a hat and pulled them out one by one applying an alternating "in-out" ruling.
It may seem utterly irrational, but you can imagine a US spokesperson responding: “We are of course very concerned with the plight of the Gazans and hope the situation can improve in the near future, but we have to understand Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
“There are a small percentage of the world’s population that suffer an unfortunate allergy to coriander that can cause discomfort, including the break out of an itchy rash. If Hamas were to build a coriander-filled homemade rocket and fire it into Israel, there is a small chance an Israeli citizen with just such an allergy may accidently eat the rocket.
“It is a risk too great for Israel to run and we demand Hamas pledge to fully dismantle all coriander rockets before Israel can be expected to lift the siege.”
Israeli government spokespeople could chime in to condemn the anti-semetic plot to fire rockets filled with chocolates into Israel in the hope the unguided missiles land somewhere near a primary school, thus enticing Israeli children to eat so many of the sweets they become too fat and diabetic to defend themselves from the inevitable mass invasion.
That, dear reader, is Israel. On the other hand we have pirates.
Pirates, the old style pirates, the sort that go "Aaaarrrgggh, me hearties" and drink rum, have nothing in common with this sort of cruel, genocidal madness.
These pirates generally stole from the rich and were a thorn in the side of the powerful. They were often escaped slaves or others fleeing tyranny of one sort or another. They would often share their wealth and practice a sort of popular democracy on board.
And they drank lots and lots and lots of rum.
Pirates are cool. Everyone likes pirates. There is even a "Talk like a Pirate" day.
No one has yet proposed a "Talk like the Israeli government" day, where you go around stabbing people in the eye then saying "We condemn the spurting of blood from the eyeball onto our new shoes. We will not stand for such terror, the eyeball was funded by Iran.
“If it doesn't stop spurting there will be serious consequences."
People like to dress up as pirates. They like to go and watch pirate films starring Johnny Depp where he delivers witty one liners in a strange mongrel accent while staggering around wearing lots of eyeliner and swigging rum
And yet, at this moment, when pirates are subjected to an unprecedented torrent of hate and slander, these same people are silent! It is shameful.
Carlo Sands is not afraid to speak up! And I say to all who hear me: leave the fucking pirates alone!
Sources close to Captain Jack Sparrow say the pirate is “deeply disturbed” by the comparisons with Israel, whose crimes he “unconditionally condemns”. A spokesperson said in a statement: “Cpt. Sparrow wishes to emphasise that, in his line of work, you get your fair share of ‘scurvy dogs’, but that pirates have no tolerance for the rabid variety.”
This is not just a historical question.
Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell who took part on the Freedom Flotilla, makes the following outrageous slander in his diary of the trip: “The Israelis have behaved like pirates, no better than those who operate off the coast of Somalia.”
I understand Mankell is furious and possibly traumatised by his experience. But that is no reason for this slander to go unanswered.
Actually, the Somali pirates are true descendants of the dispossessed that, hundreds of years earlier, took to the seas, flew the Jolly Roger and nicked what they could from the ships of the European empires.
They are a product of the disintegration of Somali society and a means of the local community both earning a living and defending their seas from pillaging. Like the pirates of past centuries, they steal from the rich.
Said Green Left Weekly: “Like the piracy of the ‘golden age’, contemporary Somali piracy is a response of the downtrodden to the devastating effects of globalising capitalism.
“Today's Somali pirates have been victims of the destruction of local fisheries by industrial fishing and the dumping of the first world's toxic and nuclear waste in Third World locations ...
“Like 18th century pirates, Somali pirates see themselves as fighting for justice. As Sugale Ali told the October 1 NYT: ‘We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas.’”
You can get your T-shirt here.
The obvious question is: what has any of this got to do with god damn Israel?
To those having trouble discerning the difference between the two, we can go back many centuries for a simple anecdote:
“In the ‘City of God,’ St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, ‘How dare you molest the seas?’ To which the pirate replied, ‘How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.’”
The powerful murder and steal because they think they can. The powerless do so as a last resort. To confuse the two is deeply unfair, so I hereby appeal to the world: stop blackening the noble art of piracy!
"Anarchy, the scourge of every sea! The anti-christ aboard a rig, with us your cuthroat thieves!" Pirates are cool and Israel isn't. End of fucking story.