"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, May 31, 2010

"Why on earth did you do that?" "Because this is the Middle East."

"I'm not worried about the bullet with my name on it... just the thousands out there marked 'Occupant.'" - Unknown


In the day, I saw that some people were up in arms over something called a "#freedomflotilla", which was an attempt by some activists to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza by sailing in a ship with aid.

What they missed (but which most media happily picked up) were reports of the activists' violence (extensively covered here).

Let's just say that these are Israelis. If they'd wanted to kill people, everyone on that ship would've been dead by now.

Now, I'm very amused, as it seems that both sides know how to play the publicity game:

"Israeli Navy Addresses a Ship in the Flotilla and Offers it to Dock in the Ashdod Port"

Even better:

"Demonstrators Use Violence Against Israeli Navy Soldiers Attempting to Board Ship"

Specified incidents:

"The first soldier is injured and is thrown to the lower deck"
"Attack using metal pole"
"Attack using a large metal object"
"Tens of rioters hit an IDF soldier and try to kidnap him"
"Stun grenade thrown at soldiers"
"Firebomb thrown at soldiers"


"Close-Up Footage of Mavi Marmara Passengers Attacking IDF Soldiers"

Also, the first soldiers used paintball guns - it's hard to get more peaceful than that.

Large amount of weapons prepared to attack soldiers with

North Korea kills 46 South Korean sailors in cold blood - silence.
Saddam Hussein kills 100,000 Kurds in one operation alone - silence.
10 activists who attack IDF soldiers with knives are shot dead in self-defence - an uproar.]

While Israel shares responsibility for the mess it's currently in, in this situation, at least, they seem to have reacted very appropriately.

The only thing that can make this better is a helmet-cam, like this Dutch video showing a raid against Somali pirates:

Well, actually something like that exists (unfortunately in Hebrew [?], but it shows people brandishing objects and attacking the soldiers):

(this is from Turkish TV)

"I don't know about you but if I genuinely feared for my life I would hide with the other protesters below decks rather than waiting topside for the soliders to touch down so that I could beat them with metal bars."

Unfortunately, despite all this, people will go on claiming things like "Israel has just announced the world's most dangerous weapons: Wheelchairs and elderly people", just as earlier this year (or was it last year) people were mocking the authorities at some event for overreacting with heavy security (including riot police) against what was alleged to be flower-bearing hippies, complete with this iconic picture of a girl dancer placing a flower in front of some police, even though there were in fact some violent anarchists who caused trouble.
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