“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Flotillas, Iron Bars and Hand Guns.

with 12 comments

Having been away for a few days I have come back to a mountain of e-mails and plenty of posts to ponder.

There’s a lot to read about the flotilla and how nine people were shot, but I thought I would put down my initial impressions, which are not set in stone or fixed.

When we originally heard of the deaths connected to the flotilla the figure was said to be 20, now I believe it is about nine.

When I first heard it I was astonished I couldn’t imagine how peaceful activists would be shot. After all, they’re not violent so why should anyone wish to employ violence against them? That was my thinking.

A bit naïve, in the extreme.

Now as far as I can tell there was some six ships, Israelis wanted to inspect the cargo and informed their Captains accordingly. Five ships complied and one didn’t, the Mavi Marmara.

The Israelis then decided to board that ship, a rather difficult task in the middle of the night when the ship was moving.

So some commandos abseiled down ropes, carrying paintball guns, and sometime after, nine people were dead.

I couldn’t understand what was happening until I saw a YouTube clip.

Apparently, as each soldier reaches the deck he’s set upon by eight to 10 men with lumps of wood, iron bars and possibly baseball bats. One of the soldiers is thrown over the side of the ship.

The would-be peace activists continue attacking the soldiers with pieces of wood, metal bars and other weaponry. One soldier in the video aimed his paintball gun at them, but that didn’t do much (you can tell it’s a painball gun because of the lump above the barrel). More soldiers come down and more are attacked.

I imagine what happened is, that eventually Israeli soldiers realised that paintball guns weren’t much use against iron bars and conceivably fearing for their lives use their pistols to defend themselves.

That is my assessment which could, of course, be wrong and I am open to alternative reasoned explanations of the video clip.

It seems to me that when grown men attack armed soldiers with iron bars and lumps of wood, then you’re going to have casualties.

Likewise, if a 60-80 strong group of British football hooligans decided to attack a few French gendarmes in a similar fashion then it seems probable what the French police would do, shoot at the hooligans.

That’s what people do when they have guns, are attacked and they fear for their lives.

I wonder what Turkish troops would have done in a similar situation and how big the fatalities would have been?

Slightly more than nine, I will wager.

Written by modernityblog

09/06/2010 at 00:13

12 Responses

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  1. there is a moment in the video which threatens to become black farce, when the camera scans across the deck and shows almost a queue of men armed with sticks bars and white plastic garden chairs, I was instantly taken back to the scene in Airplane! when the hysterical woman is slapped to clam her down. and again. and again.

    darren redstar

    09/06/2010 at 13:50

  2. If you assume that Israel had the right to stop the ship, and that it could not have found other methods to do so, you’re still left with nine people being killed with not a single casualty from the (actual) attackers.

    Bill Hicks used to do a routine about the scene in the movie Shane where the bad guy tells a young lad over and over to pick up a gun, before blowing him away when he finally accedes.”You all saw him, he had a gun”. These people didn’t even have that. This could be seen as a metaphor for every act of resistance to Israeli aggression, the aggression always transmuted into self-denfence.


    09/06/2010 at 13:54

  3. [Editor’s note:

    No adverts, please 🙂

    Do yourself a favour and read my latest post.

    It explains my comments policy, which you would do well to study and absorb. ]

    Peter Reynolds

    09/06/2010 at 14:23

  4. skidmarx,

    Er no, I don’t assume anything. Merely that if you and a group attack an armed soldier with metal bars/lumps of wood that you will more than likely get shot.


    09/06/2010 at 14:52

  5. Adverts? Racism?

    Maybe you just don’t like people with their own opinions?

    As you say it’s your blog so continue on in your own sweet way!

    Peter Reynolds

    09/06/2010 at 14:59

  6. To quote someone not a million miles away, this is not an advert it’s something “you would do well to study and absorb”:

    [Editor’s note: NO adverts, please. I have told you already….]

    Peter Reynolds

    09/06/2010 at 15:51

  7. OK then. If you’re so scared of publishing a link to my article (do you know what “advert” means?) let’s see if you’ll publish the whole thing:

    [Editor’s note: Peter, Do you have a problem understanding basic English? if you wish to publish your own work, do it elsewhere.]

    Peter Reynolds

    09/06/2010 at 20:05

  8. Then if you’re not making any assumptions, how about seeing it from the flotillistas point of view, they were attempting to bring aid to a population suffering illegal collective punishment when they were attacked by armed men and defended their ship(in international waters).Does the fact that those attackers were armed mean that might makes right?


    10/06/2010 at 11:23

  9. skidmarx,

    I have made my points, you seemed to assume they were in bad faith and presumably anything that I next write with the taken in a similar vein, thus I can’t see the benefits of trying to discuss this issue with you.


    10/06/2010 at 12:32

  10. Mr Modernity (I assume that’s meant to be ironic beause you’re about as out of date as they come),

    You don’t like criticism or debate do you? Haven’t you noticed how you seem to have the same problem with anyone who tries to debate with you?

    Writing is supposed to be a form of communication but i guess if you want to do it all on your own that’s up to you. You charmer, you.

    Peter Reynolds

    10/06/2010 at 13:16

  11. I have no problem with criticism, and you’ll notice that all your comments are still intact.

    But I’m not going to waste my time arguing with, in your case, cranks, or those that assume I’m arguing in bad faith.

    Been there, done that, waste of time….


    10/06/2010 at 13:29

  12. […] a comment » Does the term, peace activist, aptly describe those on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, when the IDF soldiers tried to […]

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