Uri Avnery: One of My Few Heroes in the Middle East by Robert Fisk


Counterpunch has the article Uri Avnery: One of My Few Heroes in the Middle East by Robert Fisk.

The article has this quote from Uri Avnery:

“I will tell you something about the Holocaust. It would be nice to believe that people who have undergone suffering have been purified by suffering. But it’s the opposite, it makes them worse. It corrupts. There is something in suffering that creates a kind of egoism. Herzog [the Israeli president at the time] was speaking at the site of the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen but he spoke only about the Jews. How could he not mention that others – many others – had suffered there? Sick people, when they are in pain, cannot speak about anyone but themselves. And when such monstrous things have happened to your people, you feel nothing can be compared to it. You get a moral ‘power of attorney’, a permit to do anything you want – because nothing can compare to what has happened to us. This is a moral immunity which is very clearly felt in Israel. Everyone is convinced that the IDF is more humane than any other army. ‘Purity of arms’ was the slogan of the Haganah army in ’48. But it never was true at all.”

This fits very nicely with my observations of life about two kinds of people who experience something bad. One type of person learns from their bad experience that they want to make sure that nobody else has to suffer from what they suffered. The other kind decides that if the powers that be were able to inflict this bad experience on powerless people like himself (or herself) that when he or she gets some power, he will pay the bad experience forward by inflicting it on the next poor sucker. I try to be the person with the first kind of reaction. When I see bad behavior, I try to take that as a lesson in what not to do, not as a lesson on what to do.

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