In the Kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Those are the words that keep bouncing around my head as I watch the continuing reports of violence pour out of Gaza. The only power plant in the region was blown up by Israeli artillery, making a more emphatic example of the phrase, "bomb you back to the stone age."
The idea that one should pay for an eye with an eye, literally, is found all over the historical and religious teachings of the cultures in the Middle East. I know this because I looked it up on Wikipedia. It doesn't seem to matter whose eyes they are. Men. Women. Children. Military. Civilian. All eyes are equal in the, well, eyes of the Lord. That's why retaliation seems to be a way of life in Gaza. And Syria. And Iraq. And so on and so on. Sooner or later, one hopes, they will find the one man, woman or child with that remaining eye and have them take over because that would mean that the logical extreme had been met.
Did I say logical? I meant "ridiculous." Wikipedia also tells me that "The known history of Gaza spans 4,000 years. Gaza was ruled, destroyed and repopulated by various dynasties, empires, and peoples." This includes the bunch we find currently working on that cycle: Israelis and Palestinians. More than fifty casualties on the Israeli side, more than two thousand on the Palestinian tally. If that score sounds a little uneven, it's not as if there is a "winning side." Unless you're on the side of chaos, in which case you can feel free to cash in your chips anytime.
But that's not how this place runs. There's this absurd notion that runs through this region that sounds something like logic, only it isn't. "They want to kill us. We have no choice," said thirty-nine-year-old Jerusalemite Gil Yair, referring to Hamas. "They are holding a gun to our head and we have to take control of the situation." Taking control seems to have something to do with launching rockets at one another. Apparently they are fans of the old British War chestnut: "Be Calm And Launch More Rockets." Or something like that. Or maybe an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.