Sunday, July 16, 2006

Zionism...enemy but also challenge

Very recently I had quite an intense conversation with a very good friend of mine regarding my views towards the Israeli state. The basic premise of her argument was that most of my reading and studying is done with books that reinforce my views of the Israeli state, and that I should be more proactive by seeking and engaging with people from the other side. Furthermore, I understood from her argument that if only both sides identified with each others pain, or were able to see the others viewpoint, this problem would miraculously go away. "What was the point?" she asked,"with all this tit for tat fighting, you hit them, then they hit back. When will it end?".

The conversation shifted away soon after, but it lingered in my mind, mainly as I digested all that had been said and considered whether I was truly being obstinate and unwilling to reach an objective view. However, the more I considered the basis of my own position, the more convinced I became that Israel, in its current Zionist form and ideology is a danger.

There simply is no "...objective truth" we can reach here. The early Zionists knew full well that Israel as a concept was incompatible with the reality of Palestine, and they could never fully acknowledge the right of Palestine to exist. It is an ideology which has, since its inception, called for and acted upon the destruction of Palestine.

This makes Israel in its current form a threat and danger not only to the Palestinians throughout the world but to the Arab world as a whole. Israel represents the pinnacle of Western colonial adventuring and imperialism. True, it's so called democracy is the only one in the Middle East, but it only applies to Jacob, Aaron and Levi, not to the likes of Hussein, Muhammed, Isa or Feisal. At best, the latter are cheap labour to be herded in like cattle from labour markets each morning and bused back out.

As a Syrian, why am I so inflamed by what is happening? Why should I care, didn't the Palestinians sign away their nation when Arafat stooped down and shook Perez's hand on the White House lawn so long away? The answer is, I should, and so should all Arabs, for a number of reasons.

Whether we like it or not, there are no other Arabs in the world we can turn to. We are the only people who care about what happens to our children. As Nizar Qabbani famously said, "when will they declare the death of the Arabs and if they do, who will weep for us? Who will pray for us?". We must stand our ground and rely on our own initiative, resources and strength.

Secondly, it is the simple matter of today Palestine, tomorrow Lebanon, then Morroco, then Iraq, then Egypt. Israel and the West must be stopped from imposing their hegemony in the Middle East once and for all. Have we forgotten the humiliation and oppression of foreign dominance? Or has Pop Idol and Star Academy so warped our minds that the siren calls of Nancy Ajram or Elissa drowned out any desire to fight for our freedom?

Always the Palestinians have suffered, the Lebanese suffer again, and we all know what is happening to the Iraqis. The Syrians, perhaps next on the list. Today I am a Syrian, a Lebanese, a Palestinian, an Iraqi and many more. There is only one nation under attack and we must act with resolve, unity and purpose, or face oblivion. That is the challenge presented by Zionism to us.

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