As a person who honestly believes in the tenets of “progressiveness” expressed by those who consider themselves forward thinking in their political beliefs, while holding an abiding affection for our country, nothing gets more in our way of trying to promote our ideas than some individual pointing to our history and proclaiming that out thought process is “impure”. In effect they are saying to us, before we can improve our status as a nation or as individuals, we have to first recognize, then correct the errors made by these past generations.
Marxists refer to the papering over of our past excesses as “revisionism”; the “average” individual, however, annoyed at seeing statues of Sir John A. being torn down or feeling “guilty” for harbouring anti-sentiments towards readily identified boundaries that prevent social interaction – whether based upon religion, race or sexual identification – and not really wanting to rationalize their own feelings on such matters, call it something else – wokeism.
The idea of being “woke” is that someone has obtained both new and useful information respecting the viewing of the human condition; in other words, they are “wiser” for having gained such knowledge. The problem is, most people want to believe that they have “moved on”, and now have a better “understanding” of such issues, often by concluding that things really are “getting better”, even though they really aren’t.
A classic example of overestimating the progress of societal evolution in general, many Americans were convinced that given the election of a black man to the presidency in Barack Obama, they had forever vanquished the stigma of racism that had overwhelmed their nation since its inception in 1776. In Canada, our national “guilts” do not carry with them the same tone of bitterness, but racism in its purest form is indeed a disease carried by many, whether it’s expressed by the feelings of north-end Haligonians towards their black neighbours in Preston, the disgust felt by Indigenous peoples towards their not being accepted as the founding peoples of this nation, or the confirmed “citizen” having attained the privilege of being called a “Canadian” now seeing an immigrant population forced from their own worlds by conflict now seeking the privileges of citizenry without having to go through the conflicts of survival as did those who emigrated from Europe during the Bolshevik Revolution or Hitler’s genocidal tactics used against minorities.
In a recent Washington Post article, Yuval Noah Harari, a Jewish historian, attempted to redefine the excesses of wokeism in other terms, by it merely being a derivation of an “unconditional adherence to heavenly standards of purity and justice.” Taken to its extreme, for instance, during the American Civil War, as “peace always involves compromises on what people consider justice, peace must be rejected, and absolute justice must be pursued at any cost” would simply mean that until everyone got it through their thick skulls that racism as personified in slavery and physical or mental debasement was no longer to be tolerated, the war should not have ended as it did.
The Israeli-Hamas “conflict” that is once again exposing the world to “the next phase” of a Middle East struggle for survival is just another skirmish that temporarily sidetracks our attention from the low levels of attack against progressive thought that our right-wing “originalists” seem to believe should dominate our every thought. In their expression of Christian extremism, they demand that all (i.e: the United Nations General Assembly) must “stand beside Israel” against the brutality of a Hamas invasion that slaughtered over 1,400 Israelis. In effect, it is their expression in supporting the concepts of “absolute” justice, a “winner take all” resolution to the conflicts that have torn apart that segment of the world for almost 2,000 years.
Pragmatists, however, find such support increasingly hypocritical. In describing the need for the American people to support both Israel and Ukraine, President Biden has taken to describe both as being “democratic states” seeking to be overrun by dictatorial fiat. An increasing number of U.S External Affairs experts, however, see this as a fatuous premise and resigning in frustration. They openly question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to democracy, as he is still seeking to elevate the role of government to subvert the role of the courts, due to his own possibility of being jailed for corruption at some future date.
What is equally provoking this minor mutiny in External Affairs is that despite President Biden having already met with Premier Netanyahu, he does not appear to have placed any “restraint” upon Israel in how to fight Hamas forces now impregnated in the Gaza Strip by its limiting of arms sales to the regime, even as it continues to prepare for a land invasion. More to the point, it has advised the non-combatants of Gaza to evacuate the region, while providing no direct pathway to allow such a retreat to take place or aid to enter the region, in effect pretty much guaranteeing that thousands of Palestinians in no way, shape or form supporting Hamas or the now emboldened terrorist groups digging in with Hamas will be slaughtered, many in the way that over 500 mostly women and children met their deaths by the bombing of a hospital in which they took refuge, and where both Israeli and its combatants refuse to acknowledge their turpitude or involvement in this sickening affair.
No one is denying Israel the “right” to defend itself, least of all the Palestinian innocents who are effectively saying, “Have at it; just let us get the Hell out of the way first.” As for the rest of the “players” wanting to play a part in this hellacious affair, Iran’s threat to “allow” its other funded minions to enter the fray have other analysts worrying that were that to happen, Israel may resort to utilization of its nuclear weaponry in retaliation.
Professor Harari has other concerns, not the least of which is whether the Israeli government has even thought about what to do next once their Gaza “invasion” has succeeded in its purpose and despite the potential for mass slaughter. For the past decade he has watched as Netanyahu has “abandoned all serious attempts to make peace with more moderate Palestinian forces, adopted an increasingly hawkish policy regarding the occupation of disputed territory and even embraced the right-wing messianic ideas of Jewish supremacy.”
There is no question that the original intend of Hamas to attack in such ferocious fashion was “to sow seeds of hatred” in both Israel and the Muslim world. A possible peace accord ultimately leading to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, however, is the only solution that would finally rid the world of the issues of hate continuing to bury the Middle East in conflict.
Former general and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, commenting upon the turmoil that resulted from the United Nations creating a Jewish state in the middle of once was Palestine, suggested that Israelis “not be afraid to see the hatred that consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood.”
His solution was to seek peace with those whom Israelis currently see as their enemy. That sentiment, it seems, still hasn’t appeared to have sunk into the thoughts of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and as long as the United States government continue to fail at the showing of leadership in this battle, we can only hope saner heads will prevail upon the temporary resolution of this conflict. That’s not “wokeness”; it’s an expression of realism and hope.