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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

June 06, 2003

The Community of the Disobedient

Susan Sontag thinks Rachel Corrie was a hero, says Steven Zak in Frontpage. Sontag's "approval" of Corrie " the martyr" appeared in The Nation. Sontag has of course had a long career of being an amazingly gifted writer and critic, but as usual she identifies with any nation or group or person she assumes to be an "underdog."
Sontag's ultimate metaphor of moral principle, then, is to try to stop the train -- irrespective of whether its purpose is virtuous. "You don't do it just to be in the right," she admits without flinching. "You resist as an act of solidarity. With communities of the principled and disobedient."

Disobedience, then, is itself the principle.

No wonder, then, that Sontag apotheosizes Corrie and exalts the cause of the terrorists she served.
Terrorists like Omar Khan Sharif and Asif Mohammed Hanif who, under the cover of Corrie's ISM, slipped into Israel from Gaza on April 30 and went to a Tel Aviv beachfront pub strapped with bombs that might have come through Corrie's tunnels. There they murdered three people and maimed 55, all innocents who were merely enjoying drinks and human company -- life-affirming acts that required negation.

Days earlier Sharif and Hanif had met with members of ISM for conversation and tea, a shared moment in the community of the disobedient.
I [fred lapides, posting here] find Sontag's generalizations to be fairly typical of ideologues and intellectuals who prefer abstract principles to specifics of a given situation. Here, for example, is Sontag speaking at the Vassar commencement: "Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. ... Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. It's all about taking in as much of what's out there as you can, and not letting the excuses and the dreariness of some of the obligations you'll soon be incurring narrow your lives. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager."

yes: helping killers.