Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eyeless on Gaza - Israel Mills it Alone. God Help Us.

. . .Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver!
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.
Yet stay; let me not rashly call in doubt
Divine prediction. What if all foretold
Had been fulfilled but through mine own default?
Whom have I to complain of but myself,
Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
In what part lodged, how easily bereft me,
Under the seal of silence could not keep,
But weakly to a woman must reveal it,
O’ercome with importunity and tears?
O impotence of mind in body strong!
Samson Agonistes ll.39-52 John Milton (1608–1674).

All eyes are on Libya - for now. All eyes were on Tunisia, Eygpt and other Iranian backed satrapies in the womb. All eyes are on the gas pumps. All eyes are on Charlie Sheen, Michael Moore and the race to the Final Four. Soon all eyes on Rio.

Israel is being shelled from Gaza - again.

Civilian areas in southern Israel were heavily shelled by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza on Saturday morning, when more than 50 mortars were fired at the regional councils of Sha'ar Hanegev, Eshkol and Sdot Hanegev.

There is a push to force the new government in Eygpt to further lift the blockade of weapons to Gaza. The hand-wringers and do-gooders call that humanitarian aid.

I read. I read the news. I read the New York Times and posts from NPR, as well as foreign press. I also read literature. John Milton is one of those Dead White Men that Noam Chomsky and other fashionable academic nut-bags have managed to purge from textbooks. Milton is tough. He was tough in Cromwell's time and he is tough to read now. Toughness is endurance.

Israel is tough. By south side Chicago standards, toughness is measured by how much one can endure. Like Samson in Milton's epic poem Samson Agonistes ( Agonsistes is Greek for 'struggle,' or even 'athleticism'), Israel is a flawed hero.

Milton, according to the dictates of epic form - begins his poem In Medias Res - in middle of the action.

Samson has been blinded and forced to push a mill stone and grind for his enemies - this hero wonders if his sins have brought him to this low work, when he was to be the source of liberation for his people. Israel is not blinded but it mills for civilization,surrounded by enemies and worse -feckless allies.

Samson fights despair. Samson fulfills the will of God, in a manner unforeseen. That's how God rolls.

Israel fights annihilation, while the world goes dark.

Milton was no Noam Chomsky. Milton understood God's will. Milton endures. Israel endures. Let's see if the rest of us get our sight back.

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