Familiarity breeds contempt.
We are cynical about the people that we know and romantic about the people that we don’t know. Benefits of the doubt are granted to obscure and shadowy political groups, and vitriol is ladled out to the governments that we know.
Transparency may be beneficial to the body politic, but it’s a curse to your image.
That’s why Hamas seems toÂ have been able to gain some real ‘brownie points’ when they were able toÂ ‘obtain’ the release of AlanÂ Johnston, the kidnapped BBC reporter.
It’s funny thatÂ Hamas wasÂ ‘only’ able to release Johnston when they were in control ofÂ ALL ofÂ Gaza. I’d be interested to know why it took a total control of Gaza to initiate the bribe that got Johnston free. I don’t evenÂ liveÂ in Gaza, let alone control it, yet IÂ bet you that I could have done the deal myself (assuming that I had the connections that Hamas had).
But, there I go again, cynical of the political group that I know.
Aside from my generally snarky disposition, what brought this on was an interesting article in the online edition ofÂ The Times, called Hamas won the propaganda war this week, by Gerard Baker. He writes a pithy paragraph here:
Funny isnâ€™t it, how, when the US or British governments do anything they claim is good we always assume thereâ€™s some ulterior motive? They foil a terrorist plot and the worldâ€™s media note with heavy irony the coincidence of a presidentâ€™s or prime ministerâ€™s flagging approval ratings. But when Hamas pulls a stunt like the one it managed this week, weâ€™re all transfixed, lost in innocent admiration at the sheer humanity of these people. Our credulity is mocked further because we really ought to know that this latest incident is straight from the Hamas playbook â€“ doing little works of charity and economic efficiency in Gaza and the West Bank, the Palestinian equivalent of making the trains run on time to further their bloodcurdling big objectives.
Hamas has played a deep game with us for decades. TheyÂ built hospitals andÂ fed some of the poor. Then theyÂ pointed to these institutions when they solicited funds – which were channeledÂ to their terrorist groups.
It was great that they obtained the release of Alan Johnston, who is a really good guy (if a bit misguided). When evil people do something good, we shouldn’t hesitate to commend them.
We just don’t believe that they have suddenly joined the side of the angels.