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Dogs of war


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The dogs of war is a way of describing destruction and chaos, such as the deaths and displacement of people caused by war — the idea of evoking chaos as a means to an end.

The line originated in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, (1599), and can be found in Act 3-Scene 1, spoken by Mark Anthony when he was alone with Caesar’s body after the conspirators had murdered Caesar.

The phrase  captures the idea of war as a force that, once unleashed, is very difficult to control from either side. It represents a vivid and powerful image, comparing the unleashed chaos and devastation of actual war to that of a pack of wild, uncontrollable dogs. Imagine  the idea of war being “crazy, uncontrollable chaos” from both sides, as if the people and the weapons they use are indeed a bunch of ferocious animals on the loose.

Today,  the whole world is facing the reality of the atrocities of war between the Hamas-led Palestinian militant groups and Israeli military forces which broke out on Oct. 8. The Hamas attack on southern Israel, to which Israeli military forces retaliated with extensive strikes against Palestine’s Gaza Strip, and a subsequent invasion of Gaza have been relentless to this day.

The territory now known as Palestine formed part of the Ottoman empire until it was occupied, in 1917-19, by British forces under the command of General Allenby. A military administration, under the title of Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, was established with headquarters in Jerusalem at the end of 1917.

On Nov. 2, 1917, Britain’s then Foreign Sec. Arthur Balfour wrote a letter addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It committed the British government to “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” and to facilitate “the achievement of this object”.

In essence, a European power promised the Zionist movement a country where Palestinian Arab natives made up more than 90 percent of the population.

A British Mandate was created in 1923, and lasted until 1948. During that period, the British facilitated mass Jewish immigration – many of the new residents were fleeing Nazism in Europe – and they also faced protests and strikes.

Palestinians were alarmed by their country’s changing demographics, and British confiscation of their lands to be handed over to Jewish settlers.

The United Nations adopted Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, which was not implemented.

At the time, the Palestinians owned 94 percent of historic Palestine, and comprised 67 percent of its population.

Later on, after many conflicts and wars, Israeli settlement construction began in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. A two-tier system was created, with Jewish settlers afforded all the rights and privileges of being Israeli citizens, whereas Palestinians had to live under a military occupation that discriminated against them, and barred any form of political or civic expression.

Recently, Pope Francis declared: “There are no real winners in any war!” — possibly with conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine on his mind.


Author’s email: [email protected]



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