Saturday, 19 July 2008

When far left and far right meet

A propos of this post about the Israel-Lebanon prisoner exchange: today's Guardian carries an interview with released child-killer Samir Kuntar, and Linda Grant comments here. It seems I was wrong to identify Kuntar with the quasi-fascist Hezbollah. Although they were happy to co-opt his cause for their own purposes, it appears Kuntar is actually a Druze and former member of Marxist-Leninist organisations. Far from being a homeless Palestinian whose crime could be 'explained' as a response to oppression, he's from a wealthy background and was educated at private schools. As Grant writes:

Kuntar fits no model of the impoverished refugee driven to despair by occupation. Nor can he be seen within the context of Iranian-backed Islamism. When he emerged from prison last week it was as a relic of a bygone age: of that era of self-appointed middle-class revolutionaries, like the Weather Underground and Baader-Meinhof Gang.

She continues:

Individuals like him - affectless, without empathy - have always played leading roles in revolutionary movements. Drawn to political organizations of the far left and far right, they are people who have the passion and the excitement for violence, the glamour of violence. Those who are motivated by a desire for the alleviation of poverty or the redressing of injustice, lack the thirst for blood.

In his alliance of convenience with Hezbollah, Kuntar provides a further example of the far left and far right finding common ground in antisemitism, and (as I suggested before) a perverse and monstrous choice as a Lebanese national hero.

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