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 From Sykes-Picot to Mubarak-Suleiman:

The Beginning of the End

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 15, 2011

The people of Egypt are slowly but surely getting their demands. We would have wished for the system to give up quicker but alas, people have to continue struggling to get the rest of their demands including ending Egyptian government subservience to the Israeli/American colonial agenda and returning the estimated $150-250 billion pillaged from the Egyptian economy. Handing power to Suleiman, Israel and the CIA's man in Cairo is not going to save this system (1). 

Here in Bethlehem, we will have an event at 11 AM on Sunday in front of the Church of Nativity to celebrate the Egyptian achievements so far and push for more in terms of democracy and freedom.  Please come if you are near and/or pass it on to others. Our events have been attracting more and more people.  We must remember that one person at a time can make a huge difference. After some Egyptians set themselves on fire, a girl called on fellow Egyptians to come to the Tahrir square on the 25th of January and few joined here and events got spiraling showing the power of popular resistance (see video in ref 2). 

We just had a book launch here with 100 people attending (thank you again for those who took the time to attend).  I only regret and apologize for forgetting to thank other key people that helped me get where I am (including my wife, George Rishmawi, staff at PCR, Al-Rowwad etc) and forgetting to mention upcoming popular resistance activities.  It has been getting busier and interest in hearing what common Palestinians (as opposed to officials) have to say is spreading.  We have been getting calls and meetings from consular officials and parliamentarians from around the world (even traditionally Israel/Apartheid-friendly countries).  A schedule of my public upcoming talks in the next three months is posted and will be constantly updated here  

Other US backed brutal regimes must be challenged (3). But unlike the rest of the Arab world we are not an independent state here though many in both Gaza and the WB seem to think they have authority after falling in the trap of Oslo (4).  So the nature of our struggle is different although people are beginning to find their voice in a similar way to others finding their voice elsewhere.  This will happen globally including in the US, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.  The people around the world must be in charge of deciding the issues that concern them and not via “representatives” who to get elected must get money from other already corrupt people. 

I was surprised to see an excellent article in Newsweek that begins by stating that “What do the mass protests in Egypt and the leaked documents about the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have in common? They show that the Middle East is spinning out of America’s control” (5). So “How About a Clean Break – with Israel?” and not just by the Arab world and by the US (6). I would go further to say that what we are witnessing a break with a tragic past; the beginning of the unraveling of the colonial divisions created by the Sykes-Picot arrangement (1916), the Cambon and Balfour Declarations (1917), and the shameful San Remo conference (1920) that gave us so many wars, suffering, and delay in progress in the Arab world.  A tectonic shift will happen sooner than most of us expect.  It will be all good in the long run for everyone and not just Arabs (yes including Israelis and citizens of western countries). In the meantime, here are examples of three simple actions that we, the common people, can do: 

Action 1: Tell the Israeli Philharmonic that Apartheid doesn't rhyme: Join Adalah-NY and other groups to protest the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday Feb 22 at 6:30 pm.    

Action 2: Join the Global BDS Action Day on Land Day, 30 March 2011!  

Action 3: Go to the streets in every city around the world.  Spread the word and converse with everyone about our individual responsibility not to acquiesce.  Again if you are in this area join our activity Sunday (13 February) at 11 AM in front of the Nativity Square, Bethlehem and other activities planned. 




3) See for example Saudi royal family corruption

4) Some leaders in both Hamas, Fatah, and also leftist parties have fallen into this trap of “positions in authority” whiel we are still a people struggling for self-determination. The trap meant that on occasion they had to chose between survival in their positions or their goals of liberation.  Some chose wrongly, others did not.  I wish those who chose wrongly would admit it, listen to the voices of the people and step from the brink.  Bizarre things happen here like Palestinian imported cement building Israeli apartheid walls, joint Israeli-Palestinian economic ventures (under apartheid), and even this week an investigation into the use of heavy machinery belonging to the Palestinian authority used in construction work in an Israeli settlement/colony and a member of Fatah Revolutionary Council Uri Davis writes on a scandal involving Rawabi city getting donations of trees from the racist Jewish National Fund  See also "Despite PA repression, Palestinians rally for Egypt" (this article fails to discuss adequately and in parallel Hamas’s repression in Gaza)

5) see

6) See Philip Giraldi’s article


Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD 





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