I wasn't going to write this post.
I was going to write a nice jolly light-hearted piece on my Top Five Films Of 2011 So Far. Maybe I still will.
But I just checked my Facebook news feed, and I saw that my friend S had linked to an article entitled “Israel killed 1,335 Palestinian kids”. One of S's friends, whom I do not know, commented on her link:
“Adolf Hitler shud hav jus finished em”.
S “liked” this comment.
S, I should point out, is not really a friend. We were at school together about twelve years ago, and it's been a decade since we were last on the same continent, let alone saw each other.
But it's still weird to see a sentiment like this coming from somebody I know.
We all know that the anonymity of the internet fosters the worst in people. We've all seen horrible, awful, hateful words on message boards and comment sections. The anonymity of these words makes it almost as easy to dismiss them as it is to write them.
When it's somebody you know, though; when it's somebody you used to play sports with, somebody with whom you once spent a happy afternoon exploring for secret pathways in the backyard – well, that's an altogether different experience.
Many of Israel's actions have been and are appalling, and the West's willingness to let them slide is even more egregious. Much as I loved the time I spent in Israel, whitewashing Israel's atrocities is mendacious and wicked. But... “Hitler shud hav finished em”?
Really, you're going there?
Maybe it's because I'm one of em who Hitler shud hav finished, but it seems to me you can be sickened at the thought of children being murdered without wishing 13 million people dead. In fact, it seems to me that, if you're sickened at the thought of children being murdered, wishing people dead (children included) is an unsustainable contradiction.
Like I said, I know the same sentiment is expressed daily all across the internet. Whoever you are, you can find a community of people online wishing for your death. I know I should be used to it. It's just that this time, it feels more personal.