Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Missile Season

Eldar Fischer reports from Haifa.

Truth be told, the beginning of the missile season was a surprise for us all. It is true that enough people can claim to have seen it coming, but there was nothing special or expected in the date it started. One day it was business as usual at the Technion and the next day it wasn't.

Haifa has it better than most of northern Israel. We need to stay indoors at all times, and go to the reinforced rooms when we hear the alarm several times a day (our faculty building has a couple of such rooms in every floor, as any post-1992 building is required to have in Israel). Haifa gets hit with actual missiles several times a week—my father told me that it is not unlike the air-raids on Tel-Aviv that he remembers from the 1948 independence war. There are cities to the north that have it much worse, in which life over ground has practically ceased.

All academic interaction with undergraduate students has stopped, as having a concentration of so many people under one roof is deemed to be an uncalculated risk. There will be much work to do when the aborted semester-end tests are resumed and shoe-horned into what is left of the schedule. For graduate student the decision is more personal. Some of them have joined the masses of Haifa residents that have left town (parking space in Haifa has never been so abundant), and others have stayed. A good many of the undergraduate and graduate students (including one of mine) have been called to active reserve military duty, and we all hope they will come back safely.

Faculty members have faced a decision similar to that of the graduate students. Some have taken their work elsewhere (August is considered a good month for academic visits and traveling also in peaceful years), and others like me have stayed. Research at the Technion has not stopped. Thinking is turning out to be possible also in varied settings, and where needed email is taking the place of personal communication. It is not the same as when the hallways were lively with people, but research is done and you can expect good things from the Technion in the upcoming conferences.

27 comments:

  1. Nice post, Eldar.

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  2. Nice job Lance for bringing the zionist propaganda to your 'supposibly' complexity blog :)

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  3. "zionist propaganda"...

    This reminds me of how at the depth of the cold war, whenever during an argument someone uttered the phrases "red menace" or "decadent burgeoise" one knew it was time to move on, as slogans were now being used as proxies for rational thought.

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  4. There is zero propaganda in this post. Can you derive from it what Eldar actually thinks about the war, about what Israel/Lebanon/the US/the UN should be doing? NO! This is not a political post. This is a factual post describing what it is like in Haifa right now, and what our colleagues at the Technion are experiencing. Anyone who calls this "propaganda" is obviously unfamiliar with the concept.

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  5. Thanks for the report, Eldar -- please try and stay safe. I know many people around the world are thinking of you all there at the same time we think of the people in Lebanon.

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  6. Hey Anon, I think you're taking that post way too seriously.

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  7. To the above Anon:

    But killing more than 900 people in Lebanon is also a serious issue.

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  8. "But killing more than 900 people in Lebanon is also a serious issue."

    You are absolutely right, if this was indeed the truth. The point is that this is not the case here:

    1. Most of those killed in Lebanon are Hezbollah militants; As the Hezbollah is not recognized as a regular army they are still being counted as "civilians".

    2. On the other hand, Hizbollah targets deliberately Israeli civilians; And many of the 150 Israeli killed By Hezbollah during the last month were indeed civilians.

    3. The US has killed much (much!)more people in Iraq, including civilians (and this is not a complaint, just stating facts); So according to your logic, Lance's posts are a manifestation of American Propaganda, as his posts describe in part daily experiences of someone living in the US.
    If this is indeed the case, why are you reading this blog for start?!

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  9. Most of those killed in Lebanon are Hezbollah militants

    Really? A third of those killed are under the age of 12.

    This debate doesn't really belong here but you're such an idiot something had to be said.

    Max

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  10. Most of those killed in Lebanon are Hezbollah militants

    Really? A third of those killed are under the age of 12.


    So? The remaining 2/3 may be militants, and 2/3 > 1/3.

    Sheesh, at least on this blog you'd expect people to get these things right.

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  11. according to most sources, most Lebanese casualties are civilians and most Israeli casualties are soldiers.

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  12. "according to most sources..."

    Which ones? Hezbollah TV?

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  13. "according to most sources, most Lebanese casualties are civilians"

    Indeed. Hezbollah militants are civilians. They do not belong to any army.

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  14. According to
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5257128.stm

    and assuming that the dead Lebanese after Israel started the war are around 1000, even the Israeli Army admit that most are civilians (== not Hezbollah fighters).

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  15. Please note that under international law, it is perferctly legal to target (during a war) militants who hide behind civilians.

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  16. both sides are commiting war crimes by attacking civilians. Of course the israeli army crime is much more significant.
    http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/

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  17. Scott Aaronson's great-hearted and thought-provoking essay Merneptah and Spinoza is also on this topic.

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  18. So? The remaining 2/3 may be militants, and 2/3 > 1/3.
    wise ass! the same line of logic was used by the nazi to wipe out jews of europe.

    Sheesh, at least on this blog you'd expect people to get these things right.
    people who accept your stupid logic are definitely idiots.

    "according to most sources..."
    Which ones? Hezbollah TV?

    all sources but the american and israeli ones ... as usual, you may say that anyone who's not israeli or american is an antisemitic Hezbollah lover!

    BTW, I am a jew anti-zionist.

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  19. Regarding the media's (possible) distortion of the truth in this regard, see this interesting blog

    It certainly appears (from the above as well as other sources) that Hezbollah is successfully using the world media for its own propaganda. So the media claims that many casualties are civilians needs to be questioned: are they counting militants as civilians? Are they getting these number from Hezbollah or from independent sources?

    Since I can't resist, I will also just point out that one of the reasons for the high number of civilian casualties is that Hezbollah is actively choosing to base military operations in civilian centers -- in effect using civilians as "human shields".

    PS: I am a Jewish Zionist who eats pickles and sometimes wears orange.

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  20. One time Scott Aaronson touched me on the shoulder, and I haven't showered since.

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  21. Had you ever showered before?

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  22. The showering habits of complexity theorists are a refreshing change of subject. Seriously.

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  23. I prove theorems in the shower, and coffee helps me prove theorems, so it is only natural that I drink coffee in the shower.

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  24. Following up on an earlier post, see here for more on media fraud.

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  25. "Really? A third of those killed are under the age of 12."

    Isn't is supposed to be part of pre-emptive war on terror.

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  26. One time Scott Aaronson touched me on the shoulder, and I haven't showered since.

    Is Scott Aaronson that great. I agree he has had some beautiful results but I can see at least 10 young complexity theorists who are at least as good as him; both result and talent-wise. In no way does he deserve this Godlike status.

    Grow up kid!

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  27. Jew Anti-Zionist8:54 AM, August 11, 2006

    Isn't is supposed to be part of pre-emptive war on terror.
    likewise, slitting your mother's throat would be the ultimate act of preemtive war on nazi pests like you :)

    I seriously wish you're not a jew: it would be simply sad to see the same victims of the nazi becoming nazi themselves!

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