Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, June 2010
By Mazin QumsiyehAl-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 5, 2010
Like in Palestine, a traveler discovers in Italy common characteristics found in all ancient civilizations: hospitability, pride of place, joy of life, a strong sense of history without a need to exaggerate, and a general sense of continuity of past present and future. Unlike colonial states, there is also a strong sense of provincialism that transcends state nationalism. The dialect spoken is only a part of this since there is much more to this sense of bonding to place. People are born, raised, and have extended families in one place.
This is not true in the old colonial states like the United States or in the newer colonial entities like Israel. People are connected to the land in ways that are hard to describe to those who are not of the place. In Campania, the district in Italy that includes Napoli, we find villages and towns that are really ancient, built in respect of the local landscape, and not trying to dominate or subdue. Only abandoned castles of invaders are on top of hills and provide only a reminder of the folly of humanity. Similarly, our Palestinian Arab towns blend seamlessly with the landscape: Akka, Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa, Beisan, Beit Sahour, Nahhalin, Nablus, Gaza, or Hebron.
Zionists took over some of these towns but generally their initial activities and later much of their activities have been to build enclaves/colonies in ways that are as predictable as the crusaders. Tops of hills, strategic locations to dominate and control. This is expected from foreign invaders who always worry about the day they will be removed. The land is violated and the countryside dominated. One is only comforted to note that these unnatural phenomena usually do not last long whether they were Spanish colonies in Italy or Crusader cities and castles in Palestine. The local people hold no bitterness about any part of the complex history.
In Positano along the Amalfii coast, the local people had the
legend of Turkish Pirates establishing a colony here but local festival
actually reenacts this episode in fun and many locals joyfully play the
parts of the Turkish invaders. In Palestine, many people joyfully tell
of the fact that there are families who trace their ancestry to reminants of
the crusaders and many even prefer that blondish look of ‘European’
Palestinians. Life moves on and people live and let live.
But the situation in Palestine is only heating up.
Other classes of distortions and genres of mythologies were developed to justify the unjustifiable (see for example http://www.qumsiyeh.org/liesandtruths/). But the bottom line is not so hard to fudge: Palestinians have been dispossessed from most of their lands (7 of 11 million are now refugees or displaced people, the remainder has access to less than 8.3%) and an artificial racist state rules with military might and occasionally lashes out violently at any and all opposition internal or external (e.g. in Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008/9 and against the humanitarian aid ships in International waters).
The Zionist state has agents acting on its behalf in many countries around the world and thus feels it can get away with gross violations of International law including committing crimes against humanity. But the irrational behavior of this rogue state has caused its Western sponsors significant problems. My lectures in the West (including at NATO Defense College) shows that Westerners are increasingly aware of the dangers posed by this rogue state.
After all, if we cannot have International law/humanitarian law
applicable in the case of Israel, then the Arab and Muslim world is right to
ask: why have such law if there is only the rule that ‘might makes right’.
For what we risk by allowing Israeli exceptionalism to basic norms of
decency is not merely sacrificing Palestinians but sacrificing International
order. This conclusion is evident from any rational and even cursory
examination of issues like terrorism, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.
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