Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Life Imitates Art (ironically)

Of the many amusements I encountered while reading Gabriel García Márquez’ The Autumn of the Patriarch, the funniest was the bit about how the protagonist (who is a rotting corpse for the duration of the novel) had opened a retirement community for deposed dictators.  I was reminded of this particular comic twist while reading Al Jazeera English this morning.  They ran a story, apparently taken from their wire services, which featured a statement by Israeli Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, delivered to a parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense:

On the day the Assad regime falls, it is expected to harm the Alawite clan. We are preparing to receive Alawite refugees on the Golan Heights.

Bashar al-Assad and his family are, as may be guessed, members of this clan.

Al Jazeera’s efforts to get any comments on this statement had come to nought when this report was filed.  Thus, for now at least, we have no way of knowing whether Gantz was making a policy statement on behalf of the Israeli Defense Forces or whether he was speaking as an individual with the authority to follow through on his proposal.  (Gantz is currently Chief of Staff for the Army.)  This is not quite a “retirement community” scenario.  More likely it reflects a better-the-devil-you-know approach to foreign policy.  Nevertheless, the “family resemblance” to Márquez vision is striking, not to mention ironic!

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