Monday, August 22, 2005

The Bob's

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is almost complete (although it'll still be a month or so before the Palistinians are allowed access to the abandoned settlements). The Israel/Palistine situation is exceedingly complex with deep rooted problem going back many years. In fact, I'm considering trying to write a post on the potted history how we arrived at the point we're at. This is partly because I don't know quite as much about it as I'd like, and partly becasue I know quite a few people who really know almost nothing about the history of these problems. (Suggestions as to whether this might be useful are welcome.) Anyway, these issues are not easily summarized.

Instead, let's take a look at a fictional world in which I know two people called Bob. The Bob's used to live in a rather attractive tower block. It's a nice place, often descibed as prime real estate by those who take in interest in such things. The Bob's were happy there, although they did occassionally have a spot of bother with a group of people living nearby. There were often skirmishes of one sort or another. This trouble escalated dramatically when this other group began to assert that the tower block had been promised to them by God. It escalated futher when armed men, acting on behalf of this group, forced the Bob's to flee from their homes in fear of their lives. This group then occupied the tower block, asserting that it was their birthright.

Now both Bob's were, quite understandably, distraught to have been forcibly evicted from their homes in this way. They were certainly not just going to roll over and accept this state of affairs. They did react quite differently though.

Bob Bomb was so angry that he decided to organise an armed resistance movement to take back the tower block by force. Bob Bomb's group did not have access to same kind of the military capabilities of the occupiers, who were all the while busy fortifying their defences. Bob's bombers adopted increasingly violent and abhorent tactics in a bid to overcome this superiority, but it was futile. No matter how many people they killed, the occupiers of the tower block would always be the stronger force. Bob's group became increasingly frustrated, increasingly desperate, and increasingly indefensible. People started to say it was a terrorist organisation, and they were right.

Bob Law, on the other hand, sought a legal remedy for the injustice he had suffered. He went to court and eventually won an injunction stating that the occupation was illegal and that the occupiers should leave immediately. When he took this injunction to the police though, he met with an unexpected problem.
"I have this injunction. Can you help enforce it please?"
"Sorry sir, no can do, I'm afraid."
"What? Why on earth not"
"Well, if we did that, Bob's terrorists would win. We can't be having that now, can we sir?"
"But I've got no connection to Bob's bombers. I just want my flat back. The courts agree. Here, look at the documents."
"No thank you sir, I'm afraid they are irrelevant. We're fighting dangerous terrorists here sir."
"But, that has nothing to do with me. I just want this illegal occupation to end, the law to be upheld..."
"Sir, you seem to be very interested in promoting the goals of Bob's Bombers. What connection do you have with that group?"
"What? None at all. How dare you."
"None at all sir? According to our records, it seems that you previously lived in the same tower block as Mr Bomb, and you're both called Bob. That's just a coincidence is it, sir?"
"What? Of course I lived in the same block, what's that got to..."
"Sir, I am arresting you on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organisation. You do not have to say anything... Take him away, PC Bob."
"This is an outrage. I demand that my legitimate demands are met in accordance with the law..."
"Heard it all before sunshine. Do you want to shut up? These stairs are notoriously treacherous you know. Wouldn't want you to lose your concentration and have a fall now, would we sir?"

This wasn't what Bob had been expecting at all.

Eventually, the occupiers did leave the tower block voluntarily, making much of their "gesture of peace" in the process. In response to this, Bob Law was pleased, although it did little to ease the sense of injustice he feels over the whole incident. Bob Bomb, now full of hate, simply said "I will not rest until every one of them is dead."

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