Political Animal / Blunders and Bruises

Within a short time the blunderer's blunder is forgotten, because new blunders push it aside and demand their time and space.

The salvation of the Blunderer of Blunders (henceforth "the Blunderer") is a fleeting thing. He just needs to hold out for a few days, the Blunderer, and sometimes a few hours, and presto - he is saved. Within a short time his blunder is forgotten, because new blunders push it aside and demand their time and space.

Who still remembers the Blunderer from the electric company who turned the light out on us without prior notice? Quickly he made way for his colleague, the Blunderer from Israel Railways, who also darkened the worlds of a number of families.

And as in Chapter 1 in the Book of Job - as he talks or is silent - another Blunderer whose masses of subordinates at his base, right under his nose, are raping a 14-year-old girl. And to paraphrase the Book of Amos 5:19, as if a man did flee from a train and he is met by a not entirely precise "target strike," and went into the house, and rested his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him - that Cobra helicopter that fires a missile and destroys the entire house, with its inhabitants.

And now like a lighthouse, the duty Blunderer illuminates the scene and though he had received prior warning, he continued to act like a blind man in a tunnel.

This is how we overcome the pain here, recover and renew our strength: The bruise cures the wound and the fresh blow cures the bruise; though the wound remains open and refuses to heal. It will continue to hurt only those who are really close to it.

No wonder, then, that even the media are swept up in the vortex of blunders and are no longer able to distinguish, as they swoon, between blunder and blunder. When they lose their marbles, it is the media who bring the anesthesiologist from the hospital in Ashkelon into the gaggle of blunderers - as though there weren't a scandalous shortage of anesthesiologists in this country, who know not only how to put people to sleep, but also how to wake sleepers up; as though a doctor, who works night and day to the point where he himself falls asleep, doesn't make it to a southern hospital; as though the wounded of Sderot and its environs, second-class citizens, deserve a doctor of that sort, who gets a shameful salary, as is common among doctors in the first years of their careers, which last too many years.

If it were up to me, I would give the good doctor from Ashkelon a raise in addition to all his raises if only he would put us all to sleep and wake us up in time - to see this whole nightmare vanish as though it had never been.

Singer with a say

Roger Waters called upon the 50,000 people who gathered in a field "to topple the wall and make peace." He had no idea to whom he was talking: to the most indifferent audience in the world, which is prepared to put its life on the line in the traffic jams and not much more; to people who wipe up nostalgia as though they were wiping up hummus with a pita. Waters is not the only artist who also has something to say and not only something to sing. In the free world the singers and the groups that have their say in a loud, clear voice are multiplying.

There is, for instance the most popular country group in America - the Dixie Chicks - which appeared in London about three years ago. The lead singer of the group, Natalie Maines, told the masses of fans that it was important to her for them to know that she was "ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," her own home state. And at a concert in New York, Bruce Springsteen called for impeaching the president, as did Neil Young. Eminem devoted a song to President George Bush, "... this monster, this coward / That we have empowered." And we haven't mentioned all the artists who are devoting their reputations to the war on poverty and hunger, contagious diseases and harmful refugee crises on the unlit side of the globe.

Why should I complain about the flabby spirit of the Israeli audience when our leading performers, for the most part, fill their mouths with song, but also with silence - a lot of silence? I can still remember well everyone who refused to appear at the Yitzhak Rabin-pre-assassination-rally and only after the assassination jostled in line to appear and it was hard to rebuff them. Even satire is dead here, because life and death are in the hands of the ratings. Thus we are left with comedians and jokers who are reminiscent of army entertainment groups.

This bit ends well, and is based on the weekly Time magazine: After a period of very low sales and after the wheel of war in Iraq had turned, the artists of protest and of contribution to the world boomed, and they are now selling their albums like crazy. So maybe it is a good idea for the local artists and their agents to go crazy and make an effort; perhaps there is a future for heroes who conquer their flabbiness and wretchedness.

Wounded pride

About a week ago a gay pride parade was held in Moscow. It did not pass peacefully. Gangs of hooligans fell upon the homosexuals and the lesbians from Russia and elsewhere - beating and injuring people. And who indeed were these hooligans? Nationalist bullies, some of whom are missing Stalin and others Hitler, skinheads, irredeemable anti-Semites.

Last week the new education minister of Poland fired a senior official at his ministry who had distributed brochures on behalf of the Council of Europe on the subject of the rights of homosexuals. The minister, whose name is Roman Giertych, is the chairman of the right-wing extreme nationalist party in Poland. Throughout his political career he has been supported by the Radio Maria station, which is the mouthpiece of the Catholic-nationalist-anti-Semitic stream in his country. One of the members of Giertych's party announced on television that "truncheons are waiting for the participants in the gay pride parade." Three weeks ago the chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, was roundly beaten up, and there is no need for a police lineup to confirm that the attackers of a rabbi are the attackers of a homosexual.

In about two months, at the beginning of August, the international gay pride parade will be held in Jerusalem. Bad things have already happened in the holy city: Two years ago an inflamed ultra-Orthodox person stuck a knife in the chest of one of the participants, and it was only a miracle that his life was saved. The parade this year can also expect serious calamity.

After the scary incidents in Moscow and Warsaw, it is worth saying unto the zealots of Zion and the inflamed of Jerusalem yet again: Tell us who your friends are and we will tell you who you are - hooligans, bearded on the outside and skinheads on the inside.

And perhaps Rabbi Yisrael Lau, who would like to be "everyone's president," and who has recently condemned the parade and single-sex families, will now realize in what disgusting company he finds himself. Perhaps at long last he will identify the unholy trinity: homophobia = xenophobia = anti-Semitism - identify this and absorb it and retract his bad position. And if he does not, it will be yet another good or bad reason why he must not be seen as a suitable candidate for president.