Isaac Asimov wrote the three laws of robotics in I ROBOT.
1.) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2.) A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3.) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
The producers of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL ignored these edicts by granting the robot Gort the ability to destroy humanity for its sins against universal peace.
This week the powers of peace have been overwhelmed by the forces of war in the Middle East.
My friend Jorge wrote on facebook; Just to be clear, I think Israel has as much right to exist as the state of Palestine. I decry their bombing of Gaza, just as I do Palestinian attacks on Israel. I am not looking to ascribe blame in this convoluted scenario; I simply wish for innocent people and children to be spared. Naive as it may sound, I think all violent aggressors that cost innocent lives should be policed and boycotted by the UN and world-at-large over and above any political affiliations. If world-government accord enforced such stipulations, aggressors would have to cease or face sanctions and embargo. Of course that would leave much of the world, including the US, penalized. Enter Gort!
Klaatu barada nikto.
One friend posted; Its all so fucking stupid…after all this time what is the fucking point?
And I entered the fray by writing; The point is that these two sides have grievances. Palestinian land was stolen by the Israelis to make up from their treatment at the hands of the Nazis. Peace cannot exist without truth.”
Jorge argued not without a passion for peace, “The new point is to cease returning to historical causes and justifications and to start unanimously denouncing all violent acts. Otherwise, we are caught in an endless cycle.”
I countered, “The historical causes must be addressed to sate the need for both justice and equality. The truth will out.”
Our mutual friend Merrill enjoined the discussion with the following entry.
“Somebody in a forum I was arguing with about this said the reason Palestine was chosen to repatriate Jews was because they were part of the Ottoman Empire and sided with the Germans during the war. I don’t see why that would not warrant the Jews to be settled in Germany though, but I always wondered why Palestine was chosen…why did they draw the short straw? This seems to be all about real estate, plain and simple. I have the impression that the Palestinians are like the American Indians, handshake deals, not keen on “owning” the land, so not able to negotiate rights later on when Israel wants to paper their way over ownership. In that way it is also a culture clash, a difference of relating to owning things. Very sad. Israel seems greedy.”
I agreed with Merrill by writing, “Someone cited that the Ottoman Empire sided with the Germans. That was in WWI, but the Arabs revolted against the Turks only to be screwed by the Filthy Brits and Frogs. Of course history is written by the victors and revised periodically to suit the purposes of repression. There were no palestinians at Dachau.”
And as Patricia Neal said in THE DAY EARTH STOOD STILL, “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto.”
There is no translation to this phrase, but Gort stopped his destruction of the planet.
If only it were so easy for us, we could clap our hands like when we watched PETER PAN and say, “Klaatu barada nikto.”
It has to meant something