On the Slaughter by Peter Cole, "an American Jewish poet who lives in Jerusalem and New Haven".
In the article Cole translates a poem On the Slaughter by Hayim Nahman Bialik, considered to be the Israel's national poet. Says Peter Cole:
“On the Slaughter” was the thirty-year-old Odessan Hayim Nahman Bialik’s immediate response to the April 1903 pogroms in the Bessarabian town of Kishinev, where some forty-nine Jews were slashed, hacked, and cudgeled to death, or drowned in outhouse feces, and hundreds were wounded over the course of several days.At this point I am almost finished with quoting. Suffice to add that, after presenting his own narrative (again that word) of the current strife in Gaza, Mr Cole arrives to the following conclusion:
But political poems lead strange lives, and if one didn’t know the circumstances of the composition of “On the Slaughter,” or who its author was ... — one could easily think it had been written by a Palestinian. Yesterday.So the historical parallel is established and descendants of the slaughtered became the butchers, that much is clear.
Who is being slaughtered now? Who cries out for an absent justice? Who for revenge? Where is cruelty? And where iniquity?
But, using the same technique of (seemingly) rhetoric questions:
These people, you know, the ones slaughtered in Kishinev, were they demonstrating on the streets with homemade rocket models? Were they shouting "Itbach Itbach al Goy"? Were they launching rockets (well, translate it to stones for 1903) at their gentile neighbors for nigh 14 years, hiding behind their children? Were they threatening to drown them in... well, Dniester river?
Were they, Peter?
Now I guess you know, Peter, what you could do with your symmetry.
And now, to illustrate further your (and your supporters') deep understanding of Israeli culture, a seemingly insignificant remark you made: to "syrupy pop songs" (the inevitable sound track to war in this country: “I Don’t Have Another Land,”...). I had me a brief discussion on the subject with one such supporter, who called this song "nationalistic"...
Yeah, this is a classic - from a man whose Hebrew is unmatched and whose in-depth knowledge in the subject matter has no rivals. And from his supporter calling it "nationalistic", whatever she means by that.
The song was written as a criticism of incompetence and lack of attention to the unnecessary deaths of many soldiers, in his opinion, during the war. When the song came out it was perceived as a protest against the war in Lebanon that took place at that time and adopted by protesting against it.Yep. And was sung during the biggest anti-war demo ever in history of Israel. And yours truly was singing it too - as a song of protest, syrupy or not...