There must be some reason why Hamas seems to remain quite unfazed by Israel’s merciless slaughter of its people. Perhaps it is all part of a grand strategy.
The point about Greek democracy is that its purpose was to enable internal disputes to be settled peaceably, by argument and not recourse to arms, and for the most part that is what happened. The Roman republic was a res publica — the people’s property/business — while Senatus Populusque Romanus was displayed on army insignia and inscriptions all over the empire: the Senatus and the Populus were in it together. Even if this was slightly economical with the truth, Roman emperors knew that if the populus was unhappy, there was trouble ahead. The public servant Cornelius Fronto (c. ad 95–166) pointed out that the emperor Trajan was aware that the people were controlled principally by two things: free grain and shows (‘bread and circuses’, as Juvenal put it): general popularity was politically as important as effective policy.
However palsied western ‘democracy’ is compared with its ancient Greek equivalent, or even republican Rome, at least our governments understand that their sole raison d’être is to serve us, the people, and that if we do not like what they are doing, we can say so and peacefully get rid of them. The same is also true of Israel.
Nothing could be further from Hamas’s thoughts. For example, they proclaim the ‘right’ to resist. Since the price is 1,800 dead, mostly civilians, at the hands of a ruthless enemy, it sounds more like a right to be killed. Whose interests does that ‘right’ serve? Last week Israeli newspapers reported — for what it’s worth — that some Gazans protesting against the current war were simply shot in cold blood. No wonder people vote for Hamas. They know what will happen if they do not. Palestinians, in other words, are there to serve Hamas, not Hamas the Palestinians. It is not just Israel that is imprisoning this unhappy people.
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