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Beware the Beast Man

Death and Retribution in Israel and Gaza

By Tom BakerPublished 6 months ago Updated 6 months ago 9 min read
Body of Palestinian woman killed by Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younis.

I should preface this by stating that it is IN NO WAY meant to disparage or cast aspersions on Israelis or Palestinians, both of which are locked in a cycle of violence from which they can never, seemingly, extricate themselves. As Stirner observed: "No one else's struggle can be my struggle. Only my struggle can be my struggle."

Having said that:

Today a massive campaign of airstrikes rains down on Gaza from the Israeli Air Force in retaliation for terrorist strikes within Israel by Hamas militants, including the unprecedented massacre of 260 people at a music festival in Re'im, near the Gaza-Israel border. The massacre was the worst reported terrorist attack in modern Israeli history. Just so we get some perspective, Israel is a country of around six million, about the size of New Jersey. The massive body counts from our American gun massacres still do not approach 260 people in one fell swoop. Losing 260 people to a terror attack for such a small country is a huge, and bloody wound. I trust, though, it will not be a mortal one.

But, at this juncture, who knows? Reports are coming in of Hamas atrocities, including beheadings and other forms of sickening killing. This could be partly war propaganda, but most likely you can rely on the fact that some of it, at least, is true. These two people live, side by side, in an unending symbiosis of mutual animosity and destruction, Israel holding the balance of power due to their destructive military capability and material and financial support from the United States, a declining global super behemoth, but one whose incalculable capacity to rain destructive firepower and KILL EVERYTHING on planet Earth is still unquestioned.

Gaza itself has been described by activists as a vast, "open-air concentration camp," due to the Israeli blockade that prevents much aid, in the form of food, medicine, etc., from coming into the vicinity. Understand that when given free elections to vote for themselves a government, the people, or at least some of them, voted for Hamas, which is recognized internationally by both the U.S. and the E.U. as a terrorist organization. They are, in point of fact, not a huge fan of the neighboring State of Israel, which they have determined must be "wiped off the map." They are committed, fanatically so, to making that very proposition a reality someday.

I am not Israeli. I am not Palestinian. I have, in a manner of speaking, "no dog in the fight." As Max Stirner would have said: "No one else's struggle can be my struggle. Only my struggle is my struggle." Not an exact quote, but you get the idea.

As for the innocent people living below the airstrikes, in Gaza itself, they have nowhere to flee. Nowhere to run to; no escape (although, somewhat comically, they are being urged to flee by Israel). Entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble; women and children perish through no fault, sin, or crime they have committed. The surviving children, I can assure you, will grow up to be the NEXT generation of militants.

Fighting continues between Israel and Hamas militants | Special Report

The killing of these civilians, the unavoidable "collateral damage," is vaguely reminiscent of the bombing of Dresden by British aerial forces in February of 1945. Dresden was a city teeming with refugees fleeing the Soviet onslaught (which was a murderous rampage of rape, torture, and devastation sweeping in from the East at the end of the war). The resultant bombing, which had NO MILITARY NECESSITY killed a staggering hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Author Kurt Vonnegut, the brilliant science fiction writer and satirist behind the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, was actually IN Dresden during the bombing and survived by hiding in a meat locker. The event, as can be expected, altered him irrevocably for the rest of his life. And so it goes.

There will be very little sympathy for the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. The hospitals are running on electric generators, filled to capacity with the injured and dying; and once the electrical power from these generators goes, it will be impossible for the hospitals to function. A human rights disaster is in the offing there, and there will be very little regard for the Palestinian question on the world stage, or in the tightly-controlled mainstream, "legacy" media. Those who speak out on behalf, not of Hamas, but of the women and children of Gaza are met with blank stares if not opprobrium, such as Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters, who has been a supporter of the BDS Movement (which stands for "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions") and is now rather "persona non grata" in many places.

As for me, it is my avocation to only observe. Killing is killing, and that is what mankind does. Arguably, that is what he does best. Perhaps that is why we have enough "weapons of mass destruction" stockpiled to kill everything many hundreds of times over. Comically, in the face of this reality, some suggest AI Chatbots are the REAL threat to the future. (Sure. And the fact that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has declared that we are NINETY SECONDS away from a thermonuclear apocalypse is, well, just a walk in the park comparatively, right?)

Killing is the legacy of mankind (non-generative). Mankind tortures his brother. He enslaves the weak, and, when he is strong, struts arrogantly across the World Stage, and beats his chest, "going to and from in the Earth, and walking up and down on it."

When he is weak, he will beg for mercy. When the "shoe is on the OTHER foot," he will see things in a whole new light. I am not aiming this at either side in the present Middle Eastern conflict; just making an observation. The cycle of killing will continue. The cycle of murder-retaliation-and counterstrike will continue. This is what Stephen Spielberg's 2005 film Munich, which was about the Mossad operation to avenge the murder of Israeli athletes by the Black September terrorist organization, was trying to address.

The cycle of violence will never end. One side will remain victorious. At least, for the foreseeable future.

Beware the Beast Man

Life is as random, brutal, and divested of logic or cosmic justice as a bomb falling on a residential neighborhood at midday or the middle of the night. You can be an exemplary Square John Good Citizen and still be struck down by the vicissitudes of cruel, merciless FATE. There are no guarantees in this life. None whatsoever (and most are deluded to believe otherwise).

Having said that, we must observe that MAN (again, non-generative) is the most vicious, upright, hirsute killer of his "fellow man"; i.e. of Himself, his kind, and all other species, many of which he has shuffled into the pages of history, rendering them "extinct" through his rapacious avarice and bloodthirsty, wanton zeal for destruction. In past ages he has tortured, burned, pillaged, looted, conquered, and killed his brother in untold numbers, graduating from Bronze Age warfare to, mustard gas, machine guns, missiles, and nuclear armaments. He has tortured and burned heretics, committed vile atrocities, poisoned the water, polluted the air, and justifying all and sundry patted himself on the back and still slept soundly at night.

His legacy is the Spanish Inquisition, the International Slave Trade, World Wars; Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, and on, and on, and on, ad infinitum. We could give an exhausting list, but is it necessary?

A film I loved as a child, the original film Planet of the Apes (1968), with Kim Hunter, Charlton Heston, and Roddy McDowell, featured McDowell's character Cornelius, the "Chimpanzee", (although in that film, none of the ape characters looked as if they were anything less than mutated humans), reading a brief, chilling document while standing on a beach. It read thusly:

"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death…

This particular speech has always stuck with me as particularly prescient. Man, on the cusp of creating, from his image, sentient artificial computer intelligence, a vast, hive-like thinking "Ubermind," is still no better than killing himself, his "brother," over which particular version of the mythological "religious truth" he believes. There can be no "final truth" outside of our consciousness; the only truth is an eternity in the ground. After which, all is, in reality, unknowable.

What is admirable about this self-destructive, most highly evolved of all the evolved beasts? After the wheel, which he quite quickly adapted to the purpose of tying his fellow man to so he could break his arms and legs with greater expediency and convenience, the single greatest milestone on his technological ascent upward was undoubtedly gunpowder. He adapted that so he could begin the Long March toward his Final War, his self-authored total and complete destruction.

This is what mankind is. Look long into the mirror. Is that Beast staring back at you?


The hoofbeats of Lord Kalki are the drumbeat of Shiva, who dances the Tandava Dance [1] at the end of one cycle, and the beginning of the next. Do we hear them now? Are you listening?

The howling of wolves speaks the hunger of the New Born King.


[1] From Wikipedia: "Shiva Tandava is described as a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution. While the Rudra Tandava depicts his violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself..."

[2] Before I wrote this article, I was going to write a review of the 1994 film Natural Born Killers, starring Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, as, respectively, Mickie and Mallory, two sadistic spree killers who are popularized by the tabloid media. It is a relentlessly grim and ugly film, a blackly humorous satire of the commodification of violence by a sick society, and is replete with visual excess. It is as if the director, Oliver Stone, like J.G. Ballard, wanted to, "rub the world's nose in all of its vomit." At any rate, I rewatched it recently based on a dream. The film opens and closes famously with the smoky intonations of the late singer Leonard Cohen, whose music was as deeply melancholic and pessimistic as the film itself. I want to close this essay with a song from Cohen that seems most appropriate here. This was also a song loved by a childhood friend who is now deceased.

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock6 months ago

    For all the good that happens among us on a daily basis, it still feels like nothing when our cruelty is so devastating. Great song. Great movie. So much suffering.

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