Eating leather

Rocky statueLooking at the bigger picturestar-boxer

The five-in-a-star for this post probably needs some explanation. I’ve been looking for some graphic analogy to explain Hamas mentality, when I thought of boxing.

How many of you out there are boxing fans? If you are, you’ve seen this scene so many times. One fighter is bruised and bloodied; losing every round yet he is still on his feet and occasionally even lands a punch. As the bell sounds, each round, he raises his arms in victory. He might influence the judges – he might sway the spectators – who knows he might even convince himself.

Some say that Gaza is taking so much more punishment than is Israel that it isn’t fair – disproportionate, even. Apparently when facing an outclassed fighter who won’t throw in the towel the stronger opponent is obliged to hit less hard.

I thought of one of the better quiet scenes in Rocky (1976). The first movie, before it became a parody of itself, was very honest.

Rocky: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinking’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.

Hamas and Rocky Balboa have redefined victory to mean survival  – and we, or at least some of us, bought the story. They stage victory parades in Gaza, even heartfelt expressions of how good it is to be a martyr. Perhaps not so heartfelt? The Hamas spokesman was safe below Shifa Hospital.

Not all will be happy with the analogy. Rocky was, in the story’s context, a hero in the eyes of a Philadelphia public who loved to see a bum from the neighbourhood go the distance. and the cinema-going public agreed.

Rushing over during the break between the rounds, boxing’s equivalent to a ceasefire, to land a sneak punch is not only illegal but offends Rocky’s sense of fair play. The bum has standards.

The idea of holding Adrian up as a shield before Apollo Creed’s speed, technique and power is literally unthinkable.

Can you think of a better analogy? Five Minutes for Israel would love to hear from you.

Extra credit

Rocky statue by Luigi Novi [CC-BY-3.0 ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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