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Balancing acts & mirror images: 1

Friday, August 1st, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- first in a series of (at least) three posts, mostly about Gaza ]
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There are a whole lot of uses of balancing acts & mirror images around these days on Twitter and elsewhere, and without prejudice I’d like to repost some of them. Individual items of this kind may be designed to “take a side” — but with any luck, presenting a slew of them together will encourage a more thoughtful response.

First up, one that compares and contrasts the Gaza situation with that in Syria:

Why the double standard is a great question to ask, but I’m not sure any one answer will be the right one. The juxtaposition of the two death tolls, however, clearly provokes thought. And besides, as the Reverend Dean of St Pauls, John Donne saith:

any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

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Here’s a “mirror image” with built in asymmetry that is clearly used to convey an Israeli point regarding Hamas:

This gains its psychological force as argument precisely from the symmetry between the two sides — and from the way in which that symmetry is broken.

And here’s a variant that I posted earlier, to much the same effect:

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Here’s a “twinning” of tweets that I put together myself, providing what may be a less obvious symmetry, and again one that takes us ourside of Gaza, though not out of the neighboirhood entirely. There’s this:

And then there’s this:

As I say — remembering as I say it, specifically, the injunction to “love thy neighbor” — it’s all in the same neighborhood.

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Really, the number of ironies, paradoxes, mirror-images and so forth cropping up in my Twitter feed these days is overwhelming.

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Tweeting in Lockstep?

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- a quick aside on US tweeting and Israel retweeting ]
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The US National Security Council tweeted this:

closely followed by this:

— and those two tweets were echoed a ew minutes later by PM Netanyahu‘s office:

and:

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There is, of course, the option of saying things in one’s own words — but failing that, wouldn’t a “retweet” (“RT”) have done the trick? This is, after all, happening on Twitter

Hat-tip:

  • Politifact
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    And her maid

    Sunday, July 27th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- the comparative values of single individuals captured by Boko Haram in Cameroon, as illustrated by a report from the BBC ]
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    The point was very nicely observed by Elizabeth Pearson, who tweeted:

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    Paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Beeb’s report mention “the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister” and “A local religious leader and mayor” — but you have to wait for paragraph 6 to read “and her maid”.

    What can I say? I both understand and regret the way this works..

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    Gaza: A Tale in Two Tweets

    Thursday, July 24th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- this is far from the whole story, just a mild irony really, an echo, and IMO more descriptive of our common humanity than anytning else ]
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    Here’s another of those “compare and contrast” things I do. Tweet the first:

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    And tweet the second:

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    I take these two tweets, juxtaposed, as indicative of something in human nature.

    I don’t much like it, that something – but I’ve never been put in a position where I regarded myself as invaded and occupied, nor one in which I was fighting people who use what I only call “humanitarian shields” such as schools and hospitals in which to hide themselves or their arms and munitions. I can’t say how I’d behave in either circumstance, and until I can, I’ll refrain from judgment and simply express my sorrow at the suffering shared by those on both sides in recent days — and tomorrow…

    Your take may be very different, of course. I’ll hear yours if you’ll hear mine, okay?

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    Sibling pea rivalry? So same, so very different

    Thursday, July 24th, 2014

    [ by Charles Cameron -- a battle of the hashtags re the Chibok schoolgirls, with some background first, and an aside re Carl Jung afterwards ]
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    I have talked about what I like to call “sibling pea rivalry” here before:

    we’re up against the phenomenon I call “sibling pea rivalry” — where two things, places, institutions, whatever, that are about as similar as two peas in a pod, have intense antagonism between them, real or playful — Oxford and Cambridge, say, and I’m thinking here of the Boat Race, or West Point and Annapolis in the US, and the Army-Navy game.

    Oxford is far more “like” Cambridge than it is “like” a mechanic’s wrench, more like Cambridge than it is a Volkswagen or even a high school, more like it even than Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford — more like it than any of the so-called “redbrick universities” in the UK — so like it, in fact, that the term “Oxbridge” has been coined to refer to the two of them together, in contrast to any other schools or colleges.

    And yet on the day of the Boat Race, feelings run high — and the two places couldn’t seem more different. Or let me put that another way — an individual might be ill-advised to walk into a pub overflowing with partisans of the “dark blue” of Oxford wearing the “light blue” of Cambridge, or vice versa. Not quite at the level of the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, perhaps, but getting there…

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    Under the header Missing Nigerian girls: whatever happened to #Bringbackourgirls? the Telegraph noted ten days or so ago:

    Meanwhile, with the world’s attention once again turning to fresh crises in Iraq and Israel, #bringbackourgirls is no longer the hashtag it once was. The regular downtown demonstrations in Nigerian capital, Abuja, have dwindled, with the crowds of redteeshirted campaigners accusing the government of trying to undermine them. There have even been fisticuffs with a rival group, which wears white tee-shirts and campaigns under the name of #ReleaseOurGirls.

    “As of about three weeks ago, they began turning up at the same location where we hold a vigil every day, and have been outright aggressive with us,” said Lawan Abana, one of the demonstrators. “Recently they smashed up a whole load of our plastic chairs and fractured one of my colleague’s arms. We think they are being paid by the government, as their message is ‘release our girls’. That puts the responsibility for solving this case on Boko Haram, rather than the government.”

    On the face of it, both hashtags and both groups want the girls returned to their homes — yet the difference between them is enough for one group to smash the chairs and break the arms of the other…

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    As an aside:

    Sibling pea rivalry is an intriguing business, an easily missed part of the human puzzle — and relates interestingly to the idea that we’re closer to our own shadow than we are to the sun –

    As a metaphor for our own psychology, that’s something we may not want to admit, though Jung would argue it’s the first step towards individution, towards nuance, towards multi-dimensionality. As Jung says in Psychology and Religion: West and East, pp. 131 and 140:

    Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.

    and:

    Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.

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    Always working to understand complementaries, oppositions, paradoxes, and how the human mind identifies, or perhaps forms, and reacts to them.

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