Wednesday, August 18, 2010


FACEBOOK SMILING BESIDE PALESTINIAN PRISONERS - A former Israeli soldier who posted on Facebook controversial photographs of herself posing with blindfolded Palestinian prisoners has said she did nothing wrong. Eden Abergil, from the Israeli port city of Ashdod, has been the target of withering criticism from both at home and abroad after she uploaded the photos to the website under the title, ‘‘The Army … the Most Beautiful Time of My Life’’. The images were taken while she was serving her compulsory two years in the Israel Defence Forces. The IDF immediately condemned the photographs which provoked outrage from Israeli commentators who accused Ms Abergil of damaging Israel’s reputation abroad. Yishai Menuchin, the director of the Israeli advocacy group Public Committee Against Torture, said ‘‘The horrible pictures demonstrate a norm of treating Palestinians like objects instead of human beings - treatment that disregards their feelings as humans and their right to privacy.’’

The former soldier, Ms Abergil said “I received death threats from all over the world on Facebook. I’m sorry if anyone got offended, I actually took care of the detainees.” Abergil felt she was being victimized. “We always treated the Palestinians well, we always provided them with food and drink and would laugh with them. We never cursed, spat on or touched them. The few photos I put on Facebook are part of my military experience. It was innocent. People blew it way out of proportion. I have respect for all human beings … I served the country”, she explained. Abergil admitted that she had made a mistake in putting the photographs on Facebook, but refused to consider the act as immoral. “I don’t know how to deal with the comparison [of photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghreib prison], this is terrible and I do not deserve this. ... Anyone who serves in the territories takes pictures near Palestinian prisoners, so stop taking things out of context,” the former soldier added.

In fact, there are other pictures and videos of almost all armies of the world, showing soldiers who are behaving in an appalling manner. In this world, there are many situations in which we are exposed to receive attitudes of others that dishonor us and violate our privacy. We have to engage ourselves in devotional service in order to tolerate and forget the offenses.

When a living entity stays in this material world embodied by the material body, it is to be understood that he is under the control of one of the three modes of material nature. ... The materially situated person is affected by so-called honor and dishonor offered to the body, but the transcendentally situated person is not affected by such false honor and dishonor. He performs his duty in Krishna consciousness and does not mind whether a man honors or dishonors him. ... He takes everyone as his dear friend who helps him in his execution of Krishna consciousness, and he does not hate his so-called enemy. He is equally disposed and sees everything on an equal level because he knows perfectly well that he has nothing to do with material existence. Social and political issues do not affect him, because he knows the situation of temporary upheavals and disturbances.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Bhagavad-gītā As It Is”
Purport in Chapter 14 - Verses 22-25.

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