tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Canadian media use human shields as shields against humanity

Thumbing the pages of Canada's major national dailies, it's not hard to discern that the editors prefer Israel's acknowledged defence to Hamas' accused offence on the topic of the current bloody brouhaha going on in Gaza.
Canada's largest-circulation daily, the Toronto Star, said on December 30 that "Israel is justified, but at what cost?" Expounding, the editorial sought a nuanced perspective:
"First let it be said that it is understandable why Israeli forces are attacking Gaza... It can be argued, of course, that the Israeli counterattack is disproportionate. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in the past few days, while only two Israelis have died in the latest rocket attacks."
Nuanced is the article, though not the difference between "Let it be said..." and "It can be argued..." And then...
"But that just points to the difficulty of mounting an attack against a covert force using civilians as shields."
A sweeping grab of all Gazan civilians as human shields? So much for nuance.

A few days later, on January 3, the Star sobered up:
"[M]oderate Palestinians are becoming radicalized by the lopsided war. This past week 430 Gazans, including women and children, were reported killed and 2,200 hurt; four Israelis have died."
The Star then argued that Canada should offer to send monitors to Gaza as part of a UN initiative. But the Star knows what happened to the last Canadian soldier stationed between Israel and its adversary.

The Globe and Mail's January 6 editorial was less than "measured"...
"The ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel, is consistent with the Israeli government's prudent, limited war aims... If the Israel Defence Forces have to return again and again, to suppress new supplies of such rockets, so be it."
... and practically offered tactical advice to the IDF...
"The seizure of a few apartment buildings on [Gaza] city's outskirts, however, makes sense to provide the IDF with good vantage points... The priority is to root out as many rocket-launching positions and mobile militia squads as possible."
... and compared - very oddly - Israel's siege of Gaza with that of Stalingrad:
"...avoiding the horrific precedents of Stalingrad in 1942 and Manila in 1945."
Um, who besieged Stalingrad again?

A rather feeble January 3 editorial in the Globe mentioned that,
"... the broad Israeli public is sick to death of eight years of rocket attacks from Gaza."
... which is certainly true, but they neglected to mention anything about the broad Gaza Strip public and its metaphorical health vis-a-vis 42 years of Israeli oppression. The editorial concluded with the meek line,
"International pressure is needed to persuade both sides to accept an exit plan before an already deadly conflict takes a turn for the worse."
It's worse.

The National Post, which has opined on the recent conflict with the help of notorious Israel apologist Daniel Pipes, went to press on January 6 with an editorial that unambiguously called Israel "the victim" and further summed up Gaza's entire civilian population as human shields...
"Never mind that Israel's campaign in Gaza has been humane by military standards -- surgically killing hundreds of Hamas gunmen yet only a few dozen of their human shields."
"Humane" is a matter of opinion, but civilian deaths are a matter of fact lost so often by the press during the past week. At the time of this editorial, more than one hundred Palestinian civilians were confirmed killed.

Now it's up well over 200.

[Editor's note: Don't think for a sec that we condone or defend the deliberate use of human shields by combatants, nor willy-nilly apologize for the belligerence of Hamas. But the fact of the matter is that the Gaza Strip is not exactly the Ardennes Forest. Humans live everywhere in the Gaza Strip, densely. And while we would prefer to see neither side engage in armed conflict, and further deplore the deliberate use of human shields (such as Israel did during the siege of Jenin Refugee Camp in 2002), it is undeniable that residency in the Gaza Strip does not ipso facto make one a "human shield." There are 1.7 million residents in the Gaza Strip. We acknowledge that, just as we acknowledge that war ain't pretty and all people under oppression have a right to defend themselves, be they residents of a town under rocket fire or residents of a Strip under bombardment. We humbly argue that the mainstream media should acknowledge likewise.]


alison said...

I thought the word was spelt "touque"

Albertan in the UAE

The Tuque Souq said...

From what I've researched, "Toque" is the older and more common English spelling, and is also the French spelling. "Tuque" is the accepted and more recent alternate spelling. "Toque" originated in France 16th century, referring to brimless knit hats worn by women, whereas the spelling "Tuque" first appeared in Canada in the 19th century, referring to stocking caps worn by trappers and loggers. So I decided to choose "Tuque." Hmmm, this probably deserves its own post!