Thursday, October 29, 2009

I am a Warehouse

Interesting item in the Guardian about the play, Building Understanding: Epitaph for a Warehouse, performed by Chris Gunness, chief spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency.

The Israelis fired white phosphorus artillery shells (aka WP or willy pete) onto the warehouse, there's really no denying that. Of course, some people consider the mere use of white phosphorus in an anti-personnel role to be a war crime, so it's not surprising that the Israelis deny using it.

While I don't think one can uncategorically declare the use of WP to be a war crime, using WP against civilians is pretty hard to justify regardless of how you feel about using WP against soldiers.

It's definitely nasty stuff. As the article mentions, it burns on contact with air and burns through flesh to the bone. If you jump in the water, it stops burning... until you emerge and then it finishes burning.

The UN recently did put out a report |Reuters|that clearly indicates Israel is guilty of a war crime in its use of WP, which is controversial in the US, of course, given the nature of domestic politics in the US and Israel.

Mr. Gunness' approach to telling the story from the apolitical viewpoint of a warehouse is inspired.

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