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The Palestinian is not a Cyclops

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 By Ezzat el-Kamhawy 
 Translation by Somaya Ramadan

Read article in Arabic   


As if the world is a vast desert where photos and information are pouring onto arid soil. As if the photos and facts only add to the ignorance, sucked up in heedless porous sand. The sight of the bodies of Palestinians in the streets does not move except a few who have managed to see through the American-Israeli propaganda filter on the real situation in Palestine. We have witnessed great writers visiting Palestine and meeting with Arafat before he was completely shut off from the world, that is true, but unfortunately, the case continues to become more complicated at the time when an exhausted humanity seeks a small respite. That respite is readily presented by the American summary of the situation. What is happening in Palestine, the Americans say. Is at best violence and counter violence to such a degree of barbarism or that; in other words all are condemned. Then, when despite the rhetoric which reduces the situation to action and reaction, the world began to comprehend and absorb what is going on, both Bush and Blair hastened to open the Iraqi file; once more sending forth a blinding fog, chaos�s minion, to screen the atrocities committed in Palestine by the occupying Israeli forces and divert attention to the monster America itself has created: Saddam Hussein. We must recall that when it suited American purposes, the scepter of Saddam was hidden away in the closet. The fact that America should leave to the Iraqis themselves the task of ensuring a better future for their children does not seem to have crossed Bush�s mind. What he wants is to blindfold the world with the issue of Iraq until the time the Israelis finish with their genocide mission. Nothing can come out of such an ill-conceived plan except more and more anxiety in the world. 
America and Israel are trying to crush the Arabs, to achieve an absolute victory for themselves, at a time when the Arab people are already suffering a curtailing of democracy and live under the yoke of weak and corrupt regimes. That situation alone would make millions of Arabs look towards Europe for salvage, and dream of better lives away from their homelands. Europe would find itself in the throws of a losing battle unless it takes serious steps to effect a just peace in the Middle East. Europe has the means to apply the necessary pressures, pressures that it has not yet put to the test. By that I mean the institutions that carry the weight of decision making, not the intellectuals or public opinion for that matter, who have both already begun to sympathize with the Palestinian�s tragedy and sense the justice of their cause.
Self interest dictates that Europe interfere and quickly. The logistics of the situation dictate to European conscience, that same conscience which has sought to absolve itself from previous injustice towards the Jews to remember at this moment specifically who was made to bear the brunt of that debt and who is now paying in terms of their own existence for the mistakes of the past. Two wrongs do not make a right, to heal injustice in one area by committing injustice in another, has never been the way to righteousness and never redresses an injustice. A whole people were made to suffer over more than half a century, atrocities that no other people were subject to on the face of the earth, in recent history. 
This truth may still be apparent to many. Despite the tight circle of lies which have traditionally been woven around that struggle. A struggle during which the Jews have attempted to be cleverer than those who depicted the red Indians as a race of Cyclopes with a single eye in the middle of the forehead, The settler Zionist gangs in Palestine were more radical when they claimed that the Palestinian does not exist at all. The saying �a people without a land, for a land without a people� became so widely spread that it went without examination for a long time. If people have waited centuries to discover that the red Indian had two eyes, they soon also discovered the existence of a people called the Palestinians that count in numbers today, nine million and half who live either under the siege of Israeli weapons in their own home or else a life barbed with suspicion and distrust which is the fate of the refugee. Instead of recognizing the right of that people to existence they are accused callously of bloodletting in a scandalous return to the myth of the devilish nature of a certain race of humans. How long do we have to wait to realize that the Palestinian too has two eyes in his head, a heart that beats in his chest, and blood that runs in his veins. That like all people the Palestinian too needs to live a normal life, to fall in love, to marry and to beget children, under normal and nurturing circumstances. 
Nothing will come out of ignoring these questions any longer except remorse when it is too late: why does the Palestinian give up precious life so easily, what should make a Palestinian blow up his or life so recklessly. Why does a young girl cover herself in dynamite instead of adorning her head with a wedding garland?
Those who go out to die are portrayed as the incarnation of evil. Bush has not once allowed himself the feelings of a father in front of a small Palestinian child who is almost torn asunder at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Bush regards that child as a potential suicide bomber, and Bush is right to think that, for he has failed in his moral duty to give that child the hope of a dignified life.
The suicide bombers are the fighters worthiest of sympathy. They pay their dues in advance, they girdle themselves with explosives in the uncertain hope that they will cause casualties among the enemy. The only fact they are sure of is that they are going to die. For that young man or woman there is no choice, because there are those who have made their lives worse than death itself.
What the suicide bombers do, bears absolutely no relation to the image of the criminal that Bush and his administration would like to smear them with. Theirs is the penultimate act of heroism. It is a total identification of an individual with his or her fate. Israelis kill the Palestinians as an act of daily routine. If the Palestinians resist within the only means open to them they are not committing an act of the devil, on the contrary, it is the only way under the circumstances to attain the honor of being human, to leave the sheep�s pen which has been designed for them to live out their otherwise meaningless lives.. 
There are realities and facts that are simpler than those in the conflict we are discussing. The Western decision for one, to create a homeland for the Jews on the land of Palestine has not come as the result of Arab persecution of Jews either in Palestine or anywhere else in the Arab world. It has come about as a result of the suffering that the Jews were subjected to in the West and the desire to be rid of them at one and the same time. The irony is that the Palestinian was supposed to pay the astronomical debt that Europe owed the Jews.
It may not be wise to remind a world already exhausted by the painful and monstrous atrocities that are committed in wars all over the globe, but it is only just to remind the world that when Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo agreement in 1993 give the Palestinian twenty two percent(!) of the poorest land of historical Palestine he had no other choice but to agree. This was a no choice in fact, since the rest of the Arab countries have removed themselves from the confrontation, and so it was natural that the agreement should meet with unanimous Palestinian approval. Some quarters viewed the situation through the eyes of fifty years of appeals to the international community, where nothing was gained and all efforts were lost. As if Oslo was not enough, the Israelis continued to chip away at the small plot that was finally allotted the Palestinians in their own homeland by creating more and more heavily armed settlements. 
Instead of consolidating Arafat�s authority, the Israelis did all they could to humiliate him and further weaken his position with his own people with a short sighted aim in mind: to create faction amongst the Palestinians. When this did not happen they proclaimed war against all, and considered Arafat who is today besieged, and whose security forces has been obliterated, inefficient, and uncooperative, because he cannot stop the suicide bombings from the room in which he is defenselessly besieged. 
Today, Bush, who obtains his knowledge of the area from Areil Sharon, is fashioning by his very words that skew and sway the facts, a potential suicide bomber of every Arab. How could that not be the case when he claims that Yasser Arafat did not honor his word to stop the American president termed �terrorsim� in an all encompassing fluid phrase that plays on the ready ears of the American tax-payer still under the shock of September 11. Bush conveniently forgets that it was the Israelis who broke their word, because they simply want to negotiate forever the points that were left hanging in the Oslo agreement. Not just is the right of return to the refugees an issue of special concern in that case, but also the division of Jerusalem, and last but certainly not least they wish to evade as long as possible the demand to define their national borders. The Israelis have not to this day done so, and thus deserve to be called �the settlements entity� which is a true description of their position from the point of view of international law that stipulates that no entity can call itself a state, except with the existence of a people and a government living on a specifically defined area of land. To this day Israel refuses to specify or define its borders! All �citizens� of Israel to this day are on call to serve the army up to the age of fifty-five, which makes all talk about Israeli civilians rather unimpressive. We may also doubt the status of a Russian immigrant who takes over by force, the place of a Palestinian, on the premise that the Russian is Jewish, but the Palestinian is either Moslem or Christian. Is that Russian a civilian?
What strange secularism is that which backs and supports a military, religious, racist political entity in the third mellenium? Just at the time when humanity is reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, and beginning to hope to revive its dreams of equality and shed the prejudices that discriminated between people in accordance to race, color, or religion within the law and with the indefatigable efforts of activists everywhere.
This is the time to think of how to put a stop to the atrocities committed by the machinery of a strong army, against a defenseless people. To begin to seriously consider the means to give back the right to live to a people who is now begetting children doomed a-priori to death.
We must all attempt to deter Sharon and Bush from the foolishness they are pursuing in search of an absolute and gloriously untainted personal victory, because an absolute victory for those two can only mean absolute defeat for humanity.

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