Scientists have searched for years and billions of dollars have been expended, but there is still no cure for AIDS. There are drugs that can turn it into a chronic disease rather than a near-term death sentence. However, that is not a cure. As I understand it, it’s a life sentence of a brutal, rigorous drug regimen. But the search continues and hope persists.
On July 17, 2014, a few AIDS researchers, including a leading researcher, and AIDS activists were flying to an AIDS conference in Australia. As they were over south-eastern Ukraine, someone, or maybe a group of people, about 33,000 feet below them made a decision that ended their lives.
At time of writing, the details were not definitively known, but it appears that pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists fired an anti-aircraft missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight 17, killing everyone onboard. There is some speculation that the rebels mistook the plane for a military craft, but even if that’s true they still, with intent, shot down a plane with the known effect that, if they were successful (and they were), they most likely would (and did) kill the people onboard.
The result: Some people who were looking for better ways to treat or, hopefully, a way to cure AIDS are dead at the hands of people whose purpose was to kill people. For all we know, one of the people on board might have been a key member of a team that would have finally found a cure for AIDS, but that path is now at a dead end, literally.
And who knows about the other people on the plane? (There were 298 people on board, all of whom died.) They might have led equally noble lives. One of them might have gone on to discover a cure for one or another form of cancer cancer or some other dread disease. Another might have brought forth a diplomatic resolution of a brutal conflict in the world or figured out how to end hunger in impoverished nations. We’ll never know. If they existed, those opportunities are now lost.
And even no one onboard would have gone on to do anything particularly virtuous, they did not deserve to have their lives taken from them. Period.
To my mind, the moral gulf between the life-savers—or even just life-livers—and the life-takers is incomprehensible.
Moving spatially away from the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 crash site, but coincident in time, the Gaza Strip is about 1,300 miles away in a straight line. Israel is beside Gaza.
Despite being a small country geographically and in population—Israel is a little more than 8,000 square miles (you could easily fit two States of Israel into the state of Maine) and has a population of fewer than 9 million people—Israel is one of the most innovative countries on the planet. Some of their medical innovations have undoubtedly saved lives. Other Israeli inventions have made our lives better in a variety of ways. It has a reputation as a “start-up nation.”
There is no magic to the land that Israel sits on. Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East that doesn’t sit on a large pool of oil. Nevertheless, it’s innovativeness has made it a relatively rich country.
Gaza, on the other hand, is dirt poor. According to the Washington Post, the per capita annual income in Gaza in 2011 was about $1,165. How do Gazans spend the little money they do have? For one thing, according to the same Washington Post article, Hamas spends about $1-million per tunnel for an untold number of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and Gaza and Israel. The tunnels to Egypt are used to smuggle in weapons. The tunnels to Israel are used to attempt to kill or kidnap Israelis.
Those tunnels are not rough-hewn, dirt holes in the ground. They are mostly cement-lined and well equipped. The cement and equipment could have gone to building and equipping the schools and hospitals that Gazans desperately need. Instead, it went to building tunnels designed to spread mayhem and death.
Not satisfied with trying to kill through tunnels, Hamas and its affiliates in Gaza also fire rockets toward civilian populations in Israel—many hundreds of them, more than 1,500 in just one short period—with no attempt to limit their attacks to military targets.
They store those missiles in, among other places, schools, mosques and residences. On a couple of occasions, some of Hamas’ rockets were found hidden in a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school in Gaza. Hamas fires those rockets from residential areas and then screams faux outrage if civilians die when Israel tries to defend its own civilians by destroying the rockets and the structures they are launched from.
What do the Israelis do before their attacks? They drop leaflets and place robocalls to warn civilians in the areas about to be attacked to get out. In contrast, what does Hamas do? It tells its civilian population to ignore the warnings, stay where they are and become martyrs, presumably so Hamas can scream yet more faux outrage to worldwide audiences through the media.
There is absolutely no moral equivalence between Israel’s actions and Hamas’ actions. As with the dichotomy of life-savers and life-takers that was brought together in the downing of Malaysia Airline flight 17, I find the dichotomy of intents between the Israelis and Hamas to be incomprehensible.
Categorised as: stuff and nonsense