Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Affiches géantes, pour rappeler au peuple qui commande.

Ruth Riegler a interrogé un activiste syrien afin de mieux comprendre sa vie dans la Syrie révolutionnaire. Il apparaît sous un pseudonyme. Traduit par Eric Lamy.

R. R. : Comment décririez-vous la vie en Syrie avant la révolution, et comment définiriez-vous les causes premières de celle-ci ?

S. L. : Mon nom est Syrien Libre. Je veux que le monde sache pourquoi nous faisons la révolution contre Bashar Al Assad et son régime. Chacun sait aujourd’hui que c’est une révolution majeure, mais personne ne sait, en fait, quelles en sont les raisons profondes. Je vais vous le dire. Je veux que le monde sache comment nous vivions avant la révolution, qu’il en sache les vraies raisons. Nous vivions dans un monde où nous n’avions qu’à obéir comme des esclaves, quelque soit l’ordre du maître. Nous n’avions qu’à obéir et nous exécuter. En cas de désobéissance, nous étions punis ou exécutés.

Nous vivions dans un état de haute sécurité, ce qui signifie que nous étions gouvernés par un président unique avec ses militaires, ses services secrets, ses officiers, sa police militaire, sa police, ses indicateurs et ses shabihas [gangs armés]. Pour faire quoique ce soit, il vous fallait d’abord obtenir une autorisation et vérifier que la loi vous permettait d’agir ou non ; ce qui signifie que vous n’aviez aucun droit d’agir de vous-même et que vous auriez à affronter des obstacles si vous persistiez. Seuls les tenants du pouvoir pouvaient vivre librement et en dehors des lois. Ils pouvaient agir en toute liberté sans rien demander à personne, tout en contrôlant chaque quartier, y compris le système politique, le secteur industriel du pétrole et du gaz, l’économie du pays, les banques, le commerce, l’armée, l’agriculture et l ‘éducation. Dans les faits, ils se considéraient comme des dieux.

C’est Hafez (et ensuite Bashar) qui ont permis à Israël d’occuper militairement les Hauteurs du Golan.

Nous avons vécu sous ce régime qui prétend être anti-sioniste, mais c’est, en fait, un autre mensonge : il n’a jamais tiré un coup de feu contre Israël et il a maintenu la paix dans les Hauteurs du Golan, interdisant à tout syrien d’attaquer l’État Juif ou de réclamer ce territoire annexé. Tout homme qui l’aurait osé eût été jeté en prison, puni et probablement exécuté. Nous vivions comme des esclaves, sans aucun droit. Nous n’avions pas celui de choisir un candidat au poste de président ou d’organiser des élections libres, de créer des partis politiques ou de choisir des députés, d’élire un parlement. Seuls Assad et ses services secrets pouvaient choisir des députés, et leurs choix allaient invariablement vers les plus corrompus, les plus dénués de moralité ou de conscience. Si vous vous opposiez à la moindre de leurs actions, vous étiez jetés en prison. Ils faisaient de vous ce qu’ils voulaient parce que vous n’étiez rien. Les gens avaient peur de s’opposer, d’être en désaccord avec le régime ou avec quelqu’un qui fût proche des services secrets : les Syriens ont appris à courber l’échine et à se taire. Si vous osiez maudire Bashar, les hommes du régime venaient vous saisir où que vous soyiez pour vous embarquer à l’antenne locale des services secrets. Personne ne savait où vous étiez passé, personne n’osait s’en informer ou même prononcer votre nom. Si jamais vous vouliez créer un mouvement politique, ils agissaient de même : en Syrie, il n’y avait qu’un seul parti, et tous les syriens étaient obligés d’y adhérer. Au cas où vous aviez l’intention d’échapper au service militaire obligatoire, vous étiez jeté en prison pour au moins trois mois, puis forcé de servir quand même.. S’il vous arrivait de mourir pendant votre incarcération dans les geôles des services secrets, personne n’aurait cherché à savoir comment et pourquoi. Personne, évidemment, n’aurait pu être tenu responsable de votre mort car la constitution syrienne garantit au président, à ses services secrets, ses militaires et ses collaborateurs une immunité totale. Les syriens étaient traités comme des insectes qu’on écrase sous une botte. Leur vie importait peu.

On ne peut représenter l’oppression, mais on peut la ressentir.

Le système permettait au président, son armée et ses services secrets d’arrêter, de torturer et de tuer n’importe qui, de disposer de nous et personne, en dehors du pays, ne savait ce qui s’y passait. La corruption, le népotisme et les faveurs étaient la règle à tous les niveaux de l’état, et les gens ont appris à survivre et à ne s’occuper que de soi, sans poser de question, sans s’occuper des autres. Seuls Assad et les proches du régime pouvaient agir à leur guise. La Syrie était une grande ferme et les syriens en étaient le bétail.

Il faut que je vous parle de l’économie du pays. En dépit de la découverte de réserves de pétrole et de gaz dans le Nord-Est de la Syrie ainsi que d’énormes gisements en Mer Méditerranée, nous nous sommes toujours étonnés de ce que ces matières premières étaient si chères pour nous, et pourquoi devions-nous les importer d’Iran, d’Iraq et d’Égypte. Nous avons découvert que c’est parce que Bashar et sa famille volaient le gaz et le pétrole syriens pour le vendre au rabais à la Russie et à l’Europe. Ils se mettaient l’argent dans la poche, pendant que les Syriens n’ont d’autre choix que d’acheter leur carburant et leur gaz à un prix élevé dans les centres de distribution de l’état, quand on avait la chance d’en trouver un. Le gouvernement a constamment gonflé le prix du pétrole et du gaz. Conséquemment, les prix des autres denrées, pain, riz, sucre, habillement, appareils électroniques, maisons, tout, enfin, à augmenté et continué d’augmenter sans jamais diminuer. Quand on pense aux réserves de notre pays en énergies fossiles, cette situation est tout à fait grotesque.

L’économie syrienne toute entière est une farce : lorsque le gouvernement recevait une aide d’autres pays, toute question de notre part relative à la destination de ces fonds restait sans réponse. Quand nous voulûmes nous pencher sur le développement du système éducatif de notre pays, de la santé, de l’agriculture, du secteur industriel ou du réseau électrique national, le gouvernement nous répondit que cette idée entraînerait une hausse des impôts ainsi qu’un surcroît de l’aide internationale parce que la Syrie n’avait pas les moyens de telles réformes.

Les agences de services secrets et les espions : le contrôle de la vie du peuple est total. Telle est l’existence sous le règne d’Assad.

Si un Syrien, désireux de vivre dignement voulait créer une entreprise, manufacture ou import de produits finis telles des voitures, de l’habillement ou de l’équipement électrique, le régime ne l’autorisait qu’à la condition qu’il obtienne une part des bénéfices, un pot-de-vin régulier, en plus des taxes habituelles. Si vous acceptiez cela, on vous accordait votre licence. Si vous refusiez, votre demande était rejetée, et les obstacles à votre projet commençaient à se dresser devant lui. Toute personne désirant ouvrir un commerce de quelque nature que ce soit (échoppe de rue vendant de l’épicerie, stand de bouquiniste, supérette ou cybercafé) devait en premier lieu obtenir l’aval des services secrets avant de faire sa demande auprès des services d’état concernés, à qui il devait verser un pot-de-vin. Si, par exemple, vous vouliez ouvrir un cybercafé, il vous fallait obtenir l’aval des services secrets. Ensuite, après vous être rendu au siège du ministère de la communication (et acquitté un backchich pour les fonctionnaires afin que votre demande soit prise en compte) il vous fallait vous rendre au bureau du gouvernement local puis à l’organisme financier d’état et naviguer au sein de cet écheveau bureaucratique pendant des mois avant d’arriver à un résultat. Même si vous vouliez vous marier et organiser la fête de la noce, vous deviez d’abord en obtenir la permission de l’état. Pardonnez-moi d’être un peu cru, mais c’est une boutade syrienne que de dire que “si tu veux coucher avec ta femme, il te faut l’autorisation écrite du gouvernement”.

En Syrie, tout homme d’un âge donné doit se soumettre à la conscription obligatoire. Beaucoup de mes compatriotes, dès qu’ils ont 18 ans, s’envolent pour l’étranger afin d’y travailler ou faire des études. Grâce au pot-de-vin, on peut échapper à la conscription. Mais si vous n’aviez pas les moyens de prendre l’avion, de travailler ou de suivre des études à l’étranger (et pas de moyen d’échapper à la conscription), il vous restait la possibilité d’être le domestique d’un officier, ou bien chauffeur, ou garde. Si vous pouviez verser un tant par semaine à un gradé, vous pouviez être dispensé de servir et être autorisé à trouver un travail au lieu de rester au chômage. Si vous aviez les moyens d’un gros backchich (un poste TV à un gradé, le paiement de ses factures de téléphone, l’entretien de sa voiture ou tout autre service) vous pouviez éviter le service militaire pendant deux ans. Après ce délai, il vous fallait recommencer votre vie à zéro.

Les syriens veulent la liberté !

Voilà le genre de choses qui nous ont conduit à nous dresser contre le régime d’Assad. Nous voulons la liberté. Nous voulons décider de nos vies. Nous voulons organiser et affermir notre pays de nos mains. Nous voulons construire, produire nos biens de consommation nous-mêmes. Nous voulons produire de nos propres mains. Nous voulons améliorer le système éducatif, le système de santé, l’agriculture et tous les autres secteurs d’activités qu’Assad à laissé en friche. Nous voulons innover. Nous voulons être les premiers Arabes à produire des voitures, des trains. Oui, comme tous les autres peuples du monde, nous réclamons la dignité. Pour toutes ces raisons, nous continuerons de nous battre et nous ne reculerons pas. Nous vivrons dans la dignité, ou bien nous mourrons en martyr. Nous réclamons la liberté.

R. R. : Pour donner au lecteur une idée de ce que vous et vos compatriotes vivez
aujourd’hui, pouvez-vous décrire une journée habituelle en Syrie ?

S. L. : Imaginez-vous un beau matin ensoleillé… Vous vous levez, faites votre toilette, prenez votre café, en souriant à l’idée de tout ce que vous allez faire aujourd’hui, en dépit des obstacles que le gouvernement met en travers de votre chemin. Ça, c’était avant la révolution. À présent, dormir la nuit, se lever tôt le matin, c’est terminé. Tout à changé depuis le début de notre chère révolution, le 15 mai 2011 à Deraa. Bien… Voilà ce qui a changé dans mon programme et dans ma vie en général. D’abord, je ne dors plus que très tard ou très peu, sans cesse réveillé par les bombardements, les obus, les coups de feu et les manifestations, matin ou soir. Mes habitudes ont changé également.

J’avais l’habitude de fréquenter une école de langues près de chez moi pour étudier l’anglais afin d’être traducteur. Cela me permettait, en outre, de rencontrer un ami et de dénicher une meilleure place pour obtenir une maîtrise de traducteur. J’avais trouvé une place à Preston (GB), mais je n’ai pu malheureusement répondre à cette offre d’emploi car je n’ai pas de passeport, et les cours au centre linguistique américain (cycle TOEFL) ont été suspendus. Bien que j’aie contacté le Conseil Britannique pour tenter de les persuader de dispenser un cours  (cycles TOEFL ou ILTES) au Royaume-Uni, je ne pense pas pouvoir commencer ma maîtrise cette année. Je pense que l’occasion en est perdue. Mais ce n’est pas le seul problème que j’ai rencontré : après avoir cherché du travail quelques temps, j’en avais trouvé, l’an dernier, dans une société privée de communications. C’est tombé à l’eau, également, depuis que la situation, ici, n’a cessé d’empirer.

En plus, le fait de ne pas avoir fait mon service militaire signifie que je ne peux ni travailler, ni voyager pour passer ma maîtrise. Cela m’a vraiment déprimé : pas de travail, plus d’espoir de maîtrise, je perdais l’envie de vivre. Puis le régime s’est mis à tuer notre peuple. D’abord à Deraa, où les troupes d’Assad utilisèrent des balles réelles contre des manifestants désarmés, puis vinrent les chars à l’intérieur des villes. Nous autres, jeunes de Syrie, nous n’avons pas du tout aimé cela et nous avons commencé à manifester. Alors le régime à commencé à utiliser des nervis en civil et des casseurs, des brutes comme les shabihas pour nous terroriser.

Depuis lors, le régime d’Assad n’a rien épargné contre nous. Avant la révolution, je faisais trois repas par jour. Aujourd’hui, un seul. Avant la révolution, je dormais huit heures par nuit. Aujourd’hui, je me contente de cinq heures de sommeil, mais je veille bien souvent jusqu’à l’aube. Je me suis débrouillé pour aider au mieux les compatriotes qui en avaient le plus besoin, en les cachant ou en aidant quiconque avait besoin de traduire des infos ou des vidéos envoyées par d’autres activistes. Je reçois des tas d’infos : je les traduis, je les partage au mieux, je discute avec mes amis et nous échangeons nos points de vue sur ce qu’il convient de faire. Notre principal sujet de conversation tourne autour de l’idée que chaque nation au sein de la Communauté Internationale soutient le régime de Bashar parce qu’elle ne veut pas perdre le toutou docile qui protège Israël et maintient la sécurité dans la région.

À présent, le régime à dressé des checkpoints dans toutes les villes et villages, sur tous les axes principaux, et il a fermé toutes les rues qui conduisent au palais présidentiel, à Damas. Il a placé également des snipers un peu partout, surtout dans les zones contrôlées par les rebelles. Si vous voulez faire des courses ou bien vous rendre à la salle de gym, voir des amis ou aller n’importe où, les troupes du régime vous arrêteront aux checkpoints et vérifieront votre identité sur une longue liste de noms : si vous êtes recherché, convaincu d’être un activiste ou que vous n’ayez pas fait votre service militaire, ils vous arrêtent ou bien vous tuent sur place. Il nous faut passer ces checkpoints tous les jours. Récemment, je me rendais chez des amis pour travailler à notre cause. J’ai été arrêté pendant une demi-heure. Je commençais à me faire du soucis. Un soldat m’a appelé. Je me suis approché pour demander ce qui n’allait pas. Il m’a regardé puis a dit : “Voilà  tes papiers. Tu nous fais perdre notre temps avec des recherches inutiles. File.” Après cette aventure, j’ai décidé qu’à chaque fois que je sortirais, j’emprunterais des chemins de traverse pour éviter les checkpoints. Une autre fois, récemment, je me suis rendu à Barzeh pour voir les parents de Salim, un ami abattu par un sniper. Je voulais leur présenter mes condoléances. Au même moment, de violents affrontements avaient lieu dans le secteur, entre des troupes loyalistes et l’Armée Syrienne de Libération. Comme je me rendais à l’appartement des parents de Salim, un sniper à tiré et m’a manqué de peu. J’ai seulement réalisé ce qui arrivait quand un inconnu m’a tiré dans l’entrée de l’immeuble en disant : “Tu es cinglé ? Tu as donc envié de mourir ?”

Ce porc de Bashar à donné ordre aux snipers de se positionner un peu partout et de descendre qui ils veulent. J’ai beaucoup d’amis qui ont été tués par des snipers. D’autres ont survécu à leurs tirs. Anwar, un ami qui n’avait peur de rien et qui était de toutes les manifs, à pris une balle dans la tête. Après un séjour de six mois en soins intensifs et une balle qui lui a traversé le crâne, Allah n’a pas voulu qu’il meure. Certes, il a survécu, mais il est a demi-paralysé et il peut à peine se servir de sa jambe et son bras droits. J’ai d’autres amis qui ont purement et simplement disparu depuis leur arrestation par les forces du régime. Personne ne sait où ils sont et s’ils sont en vie. L’un d’entre eux, Bilal, un ami proche, avait l’habitude de ne pas manquer une seule manif pour encourager la chute du régime… Tous les jours, j’entends parler d’amis kidnappés contre rançon, d’autres sont enlevés dans la rue ou à un checkpoint. Certains d’entre eux peuvent appeler leurs parents pour demander de l’argent. Tant que la rançon n’est pas versée, les ravisseurs ne donnent aucune nouvelle aux parents.

Il est impossible de décrire notre enfer. Plus d’ordre, plus aucune stabilité, et la Communauté Internationale qui regarde faire et se tait. Des tas de jeunes gens s’envolent à l’étranger pour survivre. Les autres rejoignent les rangs de l’ASL dans laquelle on retrouve de nombreux éléments qui ont déserté l’armée régulière où ils étaient obligés de servir. Voila ma vie en Syrie aujourd’hui. J’ai décidé de rallier l’ASL. Honnêtement, j’ai souvent envié de fuir le plus vite possible. J’ai songé à m’enfuir à l’étranger mais, comme je vous l’ai dit, je n’ai pas de passeport. Bien que j’aie demandé de l’aide à des tas d’amis et de connaissances, il est quasi impossible de sortir de Syrie sans passeport.

Conséquences du passage des tanks qui ont pénétré dans le camp palestinien de Yarmouk, près de Damas.

R. R. : Que répondez-vous à ceux qui continuent à prétendre qu’Assad est une figure emblématique de l’anti-sionisme ?

S. L. : Tout le monde sait que Hafez Al Assad (que Dieu le maudisse, lui et son fils !) a vendu les Hauteurs du Golan à Israël et qu’il est responsable de la mort de nombreux Palestiniens au Liban et en Syrie, et ce pour garantir la sécurité d’Israël au Liban. À présent, son fils Bashar fait la même chose mais d’une manière différente. Il a attaqué de nombreuses zones où vivent les Palestiniens établis en Syrie, surtout au camp de Yarmouk, près de Damas, et je l’ai vu de mes propres yeux. De même, il est tout à fait faux de croire que Bashar soutient le Hezbollah libanais dans sa lutte contre Israël. C’est pur mensonge. Chacun sait qu’Assad à donné le feu vert au Hezbollah pour assassiner le leader sunnite Rafiq Al Hariri au Liban. De même, le soutien syrien pour redorer le blason de Nasrallah [chef du Hezbollah libanais] afin qu’il puisse se poser en héros de guerre ; la guerre de 2007 contre Israël était pourtant un autre mensonge, un stratagème pour permettre l’expansion du Hezbollah au Liban, et donner aux chiites l’occasion d’accroître leur mainmise sur ce pays, en permettant à l’Iran de renforcer son contrôle sur la région. C’est le projet de Téhéran au Moyen-Orient : constituer un croissant chiite qui s’étendrait de l’Iran à l’Iraq en réunissant la Syrie, le Liban, l’Égypte, l’Arabie Saoudite et le Yémen. Bashar Al Assad souligne sans cesse qu’il lutte contre Israël, qu’il mène la résistance contre l’État Hébreu. Je répondrai ceci : en ce cas, pourquoi emprisonnez-vous, pourquoi torturez-vous, pourquoi tuez-vous tous mes amis ainsi que des dizaines de milliers de Syriens ? Pourquoi tuez-vous mes frères Palestiniens et Iraquiens ? Pourquoi n’avez-vous rien fait quand les avions israéliens ont violé l’espace aérien de notre pays ? N’essayez pas de mentir au peuple syrien : nous vous connaissons mieux que personne. Nous savons tous que votre boulot, c’est de nous liquider et de protéger Israël. Que Dieu vous maudisse, fils de l’adultère !

Homs, au pire de la violence.

R. R. : Comment ça se passe pour vous qui devez vivre dans une vraie zone de guerre ?

S. L. :  Il nous est très difficile de subvenir à nos besoins dans les circonstances actuelles ; on vit avec prudence, on n’achète et on ne consomme que l’essentiel. En ce qui me concerne, c’est plus dur parce que je suis sans emploi. C’est mon père qui m’aide financièrement. Je vis chez mes parents et je les aide. Aujourd’hui, en Syrie, les branches d’une même famille sont regroupées sous un même toit, ce qui fait qu’on trouve parfois de trois à dix familles vivant dans la même maison. La situation est dramatique : entre 65 et 75% de la Syrie est détruite. On se débrouille pour acheter, pour stocker la nourriture qu’on peut trouver, mais il y a des secteurs où il n’y à plus rien. À Homs, il n’y a plus ni nourriture, ni quoique ce soit pour se protéger du froid. Dans deux mois, l’hiver sera là, et nous voudrions que cela finisse le plus tôt possible. La plupart des villes syriennes n’ont plus rien : Assad à brûlé les récoltes et détruit les habitations. J’ai de quoi manger la plupart du temps mais d’autres non, et ça, ça m’inquiète. On leur envoie de l’aide mais le régime encercle ces zones, bien que l’ASL fasse de son mieux pour distribuer aide et médicaments.

Personne n’a idée de la tragédie que nous vivons, mais nous avons bon moral car nous savons tous qu’Allah est à nos côtés. Nous tuerons Bashar, inch’Allah. Nous allons continuer à nous soutenir mutuellement avec nourriture, soins médicaux et tout ce qui sera nécessaire pour remporter la
victoire. J’insiste sur le fait que que l’armée de notre pays, c’est l’Armée Libre de Syrie, l’ALS, et nous en sommes très fiers. Nous sommes tous syriens et nous resterons unis : c’est ce que nous chantions pendant les manifestations “uni, uni, uni, le Peuple Syrien est uni!”

Même après de nombreux mois, le monde se contente toujours de regarder le génocide.

R. R. : Que ressentez-vous devant l’apathie de presque toute la Communauté Internationale à l’égard de la révolution syrienne, et est-ce que votre opinion à son égard a-t-elle évolué ? Si oui, dans quelle mesure ?

S. L. : Pour quelles raisons le monde entier a-t-il béni les révolutions en Tunisie, en Égypte, en Lybie et au Yémen, pourquoi les a-t-il soutenus alors que personne ne nous a aidé, personne pour soutenir notre révolution, personne pour dire le bien-fondé de notre cause ? Pourquoi la Russie, l’Iran, la Chine et l’Iraq ont-ils été autorisés à aider Bashar et son régime en fournissant armes, argent, carburant, gaz et démarches politiques ? Pourquoi les gouvernements occidentaux n’ont-ils pas essayé de nous aider en créant une zone d’exclusion aérienne, en nous fournissant les armes nécessaires et en établissant des zones protégées pour les civils ?Peut-être que ces mêmes gouvernements sont incapables de répondre à toutes ces questions.

Nous, les syriens, nous savons pourquoi : ils veulent nous imposer une solution unilatérale, et cela, nous ne l’accepterons jamais. Je vais vous dire ce que l’on nous propose comme solution. Ils veulent que nous acceptions leurs conditions en permettant à Bashar de rester au pouvoir, nous octroyer une liberté cosmétique et procéder à des changements superficiels en réunissant un gouvernement d’unité nationale. Les gouvernements occidentaux ne veulent pas entendre parler de gens droits et nobles, d’honorables patriotes, ils ne veulent pas entendre parler de l’ALS, non. Ils veulent tuer tous ces gens-là pour mieux nous imposer leurs vues. Il y a aussi cette clause très importante : ils veulent qu’Israël soit assuré d’une paix sans nuage et que nul ne s’en approche. Pour toutes ces raisons – et l’Histoire le prouve à l’envi – Bashar est le mieux placé pour réussir. C’est pourquoi les gouvernements occidentaux laissent l’Iran, la Russie et lal’Iraq le soutenir en lui envoyant davantage d’armes et de troupes, puisqu’il n’y a plus de syriens (qui ne veulent plus de lui) à cause des défections  en masse qui dépeuplent l’armée régulière. L’Occident laisse ces pays envoyer des fonds et des soldats du Hezbollah, de l’Armée du Mahdi [milice chiite irakienne] et de la Force Al Qds [pasdarans iraniens, opérations extérieures]. L’excuse de l’Occident est que l’issue du conflit est complexe. Elle est très simple, au contraire : nous voulons la liberté. Donnez-nous des armes lourdes pour détruire les avions de chasse, des tanks, des lance-rocket et nous gagnerons. L’Occident sait que Bashar est affaibli, c’est pourquoi il prétend que s’il nous donnait des armes, l’ASL serait incapable d’en contrôler la distribution et donc Al-Qaeda en profiterait.

Mais les syriens savent bien qu’Al-Qaeda n’est pas en Syrie, ni dans aucun pays arabe. Les gouvernements occidentaux ont brandi cette nouvelle excuse : l’opposition syrienne n’est pas unie. Celle qui a défait les régimes en place dans les autres pays n’était pas plus unie. Les gouvernements occidentaux n’ont rien fait non plus pour les réfugiés syriens en Turquie, en Jordanie, au Liban et en Iraq ; ils n’ont envoyé qu’une aide insuffisante, sans leur permettre de pouvoir travailler. Ils ne les ont même pas enregistrés comme réfugiés aux Nations Unies, les laissant dans des zones désolées d’Iraq et de Jordanie, parce que l’Occident veut que les syriens, même réfugiés, obéissent à leurs directives en se soumettant à Bashar Al Assad, en retournant vivre sous sa férule. Si nous refusons cela, notre punition sera la privation de nourriture, d’eau et de denrées de première nécessité. Il ne faudra, bien sûr, pas compter sur son aide pour se débarrasser de Bashar. Personne ne nous aidera. Nous n’avons que nous pour nous aider, et Dieu, et c’est précisément ce à quoi nous sommes réduits aujourd’hui.

Combattants de l’ASL tombés au champ d’honneur.

R. R. : Comment voyez-vous la situation évoluer à court et moyen terme, et êtes-vous confiant dans le retour de la paix après la chute d’Assad ?

S. L. : La situation sera sanglante et bloquée si nous ne nous efforçons pas ardemment de résoudre le problème. Si l’on peut agir vite pour nous libérer, cela nous permettra d’épargner le plus de vies possibles et de sauver ce qui peut l’être de notre peuple, des propriétés, de l’infrastructure du pays, de son économie… Si on leslaisse faire ce qu’ils veulent (Bashar et les puissances occidentales) nous perdrons davantage de nos compatriotes et le carnage va empirer. Si cela devait arriver, le bain de sang se poursuivrait (ce serait un génocide) avec des milliers de morts supplémentaires, le pays pillé et mis à sac par son armée, les bâtiments et son infrastructure détruits, l’économie dévastée, des milliers de gens choisissant l’exil, les meilleurs cerveaux de Syrie, ceux qui sont essentiels pour reconstruire le pays, fuiraient une nation tout simplement abandonnée au chaos. Nous autres syriens nous ne le voulons pas. Nous ne pouvons accepter ça. C’est pourquoi nous travaillons très dur à organiser et harmoniser notre agenda pour tuer Bashar et mettre rapidement un terme à cette épouvantable situation. Nous autres syriens sommes optimistes parce qu’Allah nous accompagne et que nous sommes unis. C’est pourquoi nous pensons que la paix reviendra bientôt. Si Bashar reste au pouvoir, il n’y aura nulle paix. Juste plus de discours et de sang versé, et nous vivrons à jamais dans les ténèbres comme des esclaves. Nous ne pouvons l’accepter. C’est pourquoi nous  préférons  vivre dignement ou mourir en martyr. C’est l’option que nous avons retenue : la mort plutôt que d’être encore humiliés.

R. R. : Que pensez-vous de certaines allégations relevées dans de nombreux médias qui parlent de “guerre civile confessionnelle” ?

S. L. : Il n’y a pas de “guerre civile confessionnelle”. C’est de la propagande, distillée par le
régime et d’autres pays. Ils prétendent que si le régime tombe, une guerre civile va éclater et le massacre sera général et qu’au contraire, si Bashar reste, la société syrienne demeurera unie. C’est un mensonge éhonté ! Ce que l’Occident et Bashar projettent de faire, c’est de redessiner la carte de la Syrie en régions autonomes comme en Iraq, avec les Kurdes qui y auraient un état indépendant dans le Nord-Est, les Druzes dans le Sud et les Alaouites le long de la côte syrienne, tandis que les Sunnites obtiendraient le reste. Voilà leur projet, et Bashar se démène tant et plus pour réaliser son rêve d’un état Alaouite-Chiite. Ils oublient seulement que depuis le début de notre révolution, notre mot d’ordre a été “Uni, uni, uni : le Peuple Syrien est Uni !”

Le régime essaie d’attiser le sectarisme prétendu de la révolution ; le peuple pense différemment [la Syrie pour tous !].

Ce pays est à tous. Quelle que soit votre religion, secte ou groupe particulier, vous êtes syrien et vous appartenez à la Syrie. Les syriens de toute obédience refusent le projet de diviser notre nation et tous en appellent à l’unité. J’ai rencontré des Alaouites, des Chiites, des Chrétiens, des Druzes et des Sunnites au cours de notre révolution et tous ont rejeté ce plan pour nous diviser. Nous en appelons à l’unité : un peuple, un pays. En dépit des tentatives du pouvoir pour armer différentes sectes et les retourner les unes contre les autres. Pour nous diviser. Même si Bashar fait de son mieux pour semer la division parmi nous, nous ne permettrons pas d’être manipulés, de nous entretuer : nous sommes frères et sœurs.

Pour finir, je voudrais ajouter ceci : avant notre révolution, on vivait ensemble en parfaite harmonie. J’ai vécu, moi, dans un immeuble où mes voisins étaient chiites, juifs et chrétiens. Mes amis sont de religions différentes : on s’apprécie et on cohabite sans problème.

R. R. : Pensez-vous que cette expérience vous a changé ? Si oui, dans quelle mesure ?

S. L. :  Oui, j’ai changé. J’ai une plus grande conscience de la conspiration générale pour faire échouer notre révolution. J’ai également découvert que le monde ne se préoccupe que de ses intérêts et il se moque bien de tout le reste, sauf de lui-même. J’ai également fini de croire à la rhétorique des représentants de l’ONU ou des organisations non-gouvernementales, que ce soit les Droits de l’Homme, l’UNICEF, l’UNICO [universités & collèges en GB], la CPI [cour pénale internationale], l’IJP [institut de justice pénale] ou autre. Le monde n’a pas été capable de mettre au point le moindre programme pour aider les syriens en Syrie ou les réfugiés dans les pays voisins, ni même d’organiser une rencontre de donateurs. Même les conférences des “Amis de la
Syrie” n’a débouché sur rien. Tout ce que savent faire ces gens-là, c’est de nous regarder et laisser Bashar nous tuer avec le soutien russe et iranien.

Pour autant, la révolution m’a donné une forme d’espoir. Voulez-vous savoir ? Elle m’a appris que lorsque vous affrontez des difficultés et des obstacles dans votre vie, personne (excepté sans doute une poignée d’amis véritables ainsi que votre famille) ne se soucie de vous pour vous apporter de l’aide. Il faut tout faire soi-même et s’entraider de toutes les manières. La révolution m’a rendu très conscient de cela. Elle m’a rendu fier de mon peuple et de mon pays. Elle m’a appris ce dont nous avons besoin pour en finir avec cette situation. Nous sommes des gens pacifiques et nous ne manquons pas de ressources. On peut se reconstruire, nous et notre pays, développer nos talents et en acquérir d’autres. Je me sens plus responsable qu’avant : je veux me développer, parfaire mes capacités, acquérir de nouvelles connaissances et les partager avec mon peuple. Je veux enseigner aux générations futures que nous avons combattu et sacrifié nos vies pour gagner notre liberté, et que nous ne devons jamais plus accepter quiconque qui se prendrait pour un dieu avec un droit divin sur son peuple. Non, il nous faut désormais élire des chefs désintéressés, seulement préoccupés de la nation et du peuple syriens, et non de leur enrichissement personnel.

Je veux souligner le fait que la révolution est dans nos mains. Je pense que le monde à besoin de changement. Il doit comprendre que les peuples qui vivent sur cette terre sont égaux et qu’ils ont droit à la liberté. J’ai aussi découvert que ceux qui se posent en tant que “Leaders Arabes” ne sont que des traîtres à la solde des puissances étrangères. Au mieux, ils se moquent totalement des arabes.

R. R. : Combien de temps pensez-vous que la révolution puisse continuer, et que prévoyez-vous qu’il advienne quand elle sera achevée ?

S. L. : Lorsque nous avons commencé la révolution, nous savions qu’il n’y aurait pas de retour en arrière et nous n’avons pas changé d’avis ; après tout ce que nous avons enduré, consenti tous ces sacrifices, nous serions perdus de seulement imaginer revenir au statu quo ante. C’est notre mot de la fin : tout ce que Bashar nous a fait (et continue de nous faire, sans répit), il l’a fait avec de plus en plus d’aide d’Israël, de la Russie, de l’Iran et de la Chine. Nous avons prouvé au monde entier (qui s’obstine dans ses dénégations) que des troupes iraniennes, des hommes du Hezbollah et des soldats russes ont été capturés dans chaque ville de Syrie. Chacun de ces hommes était porteur de documents qui attestent cette évidence. Nous avons également obtenu des documents officiels en provenance du pouvoir qui prouvent que Bashar a fait venir de plus en plus d’hommes en provenance d’Iran (gardiens de la révolution), du Liban, d’Iraq, de Russie et d’autres pays qui fournissent aussi bien des armes que des troupes. Malgré cela, le régime d’Assad est en train de perdre la bataille. Ses alliés et les puissances occidentales veulent qu’il demeure, et ils le couvrent de toutes les manières possibles. Malheureusement pour lui, nous le battrons lui et ses alliés, et nous le tuerons, inch’Allah !

Vous me demandez combien de temps la révolution va-t-elle encore durer : jusqu’à ce que nous tuions Bachar et que nous chassions les russes, les iraniens et le Hezbollah hors de Syrie. Personne, dans notre pays, n’accepterait de s’arrêter aujourd’hui car dans chaque maison de chaque village, ville ou grande cité de Syrie on compte au moins un martyr, un prisonnier, une victime d’enlèvement par les forces du régime, à moins que ce soit un membre de la famille qui ait été contraint à l’exil. Savez-vous qu’Assad a anéanti de nombreuses familles ?

Savez-vous qu’il a détruit la plupart des villes du pays et qu’il a emprisonné plus de 250 000 personnes ? Savez-vous qu’il punit collectivement chaque syrien dans chaque secteur qui s’oppose à lui (c’est à dire presque toute la Syrie) ? Savez-vous que ses forces détiennent et retiennent des stocks de produits pharmaceutiques, qu’elles empoisonnent les réserves d’eau et de nourriture, bombardant les boulangeries pour affamer la population ? Assad fait aussi bombarder les hôpitaux, vise le personnel médical dans l’espoir que le peuple syrien sera obligé de lui obéir. Voici la réponse que nous lui adressons : “vas en enfer !”

Le monde voit tout cela et ne fait rien. Il s’excuse en disant : “c’est bien difficile. C’est compiqué”. C’est très simple, au contraire. Les syriens veulent être libérés de la dictature et la Communauté Internationale pourrait nous aider si elle le voulait. Les syriens savent tout cela. Nous allons continuer à nous soutenir les uns les autres, soutenir et combattre pour l’ALS. Quoique fasse Assad, nous ne calerons pas. Chaque homme, chaque femme, chaque enfant va combattre jusqu’à son dernier souffle. Pas question d’accepter ce que l’ Occident à décidé pour nous. Nous ne céderons pas. Nous n’accepterons pas ce que l’on veut nous imposer. Nous l’avons commencée et nous allons la finir, cette révolution. Par-dessus tout, et nous l’avons déclaré à nos débuts, Allah est avec nous, Allah et personne d’autre que Lui. Nous n’avons que Lui.

Vous voulez savoir “ce que nous ferons” après la révolution. Pour l’instant, on travaille dans la clandestinité afin que tout soit prêt, et il y a une parfaite collaboration entre nous. Nos plans sont arrêtés, mais nous ne pouvons nous dévoiler de peur que l’ennemi ne découvre ce que nous préparons. Tout ce que je peux dire, c’est que nous assurons la coordination entre l’Armée de Libération, les conseils militaires, l’opposition et les différents partis pour nous assurer que la normalité et la loi seront restaurées à la chute d’Assad, afin que le peuple syrien puisse retourner à une vie normale. Nous créerons un jour la transition qui restera en place jusqu’à ce qu’une nouvelle constitution soit adoptée et qu’un nouveau président avec un gouvernement et un parlement soient établis.

R. R. : Quels sont vos projets pour la période post-révolutionnaire, et est-ce que ce que vous avez vécu pendant la révolution les a-t-ils modifiés, et en quoi ?

S. L. : Aujourd’hui, je voudrais acquérir d’avantage d’expérience et m’impliquer activement en politique. Je veux jouer un rôle actif dans la reconstruction et le développement de mon pays et aussi participer à l’aide médicale de mes compatriotes. J’aimerais m’impliquer dans l’aide humanitaire et l’aide sociale car, comme vous le savez, un grand nombre d’adultes et d’enfants ont dû subir des amputations suite aux bombardements du régime. Ces personnes ont besoin de prothèses, tandis que d’autres ont besoin d’être opérés sans tarder. Tout cela va coûter des sommes considérables, aussi avons-nous besoin d’argent et de l’aide d’hôpitaux étrangers.

Je voudrais aussi m’investir dans l’éducation. Comme vous le savez, je suis traducteur et j’aimerais aider à enseigner aux enfants et aux jeunes gens dans les écoles, les collèges et autres établissements scolaires. Le régime a tué un grand nombre de professeurs dans toutes les disciplines, c’est pourquoi nous souffrons d’une grande pénurie dans ce domaine, et il va falloir vraiment mettre les bouchées doubles pour pallier toutes ces vacances. Il nous faudra aussi surveiller les fondations d’un projet éducatif afin de mettre en place un programme d’études accéléré. De cette façon, nous éviterons les difficultés pour des enfants qui ont manqué deux années d’études à cause des bombardements du régime et le chaos qui s’en suivit.

Nous voulons procéder à l’arrestation de tous ceux qui auront été impliqués dans des meurtres, dans la pratique de la torture, des viols et des pillages. Ces personnes seront em prisonnées et jugées. Ceux qui auront commis le pire seront exécutés. Nous ne permettrons à personne d’échapper au châtiment, quelle que soit sa religion. Nous avons tous été confrontés à la persécution, à la terreur et à l’intimidation, et beaucoup trop d’entre nous ont été torturés et/ou assassinés. C’est pourquoi nous voulons justice et dignité pour tous. De manière égale.

Pour conclure, je vous dirai que je veux participer activement au processus politique afin d’aider et représenter mon pays et mon peuple. J’ai toujours l’ambition d’obtenir ma maîtrise de traducteur et d’interprète, même si le régime m’a privé de cette chance en gâchant deux années de ma vie à cause d’une guerre brutale déchaînée contre les syriens eux-mêmes. C’est ce que ce pouvoir nous a imposé, mais nous rejetons ce régime.

https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2012/09/22/interview-with-a-free-syrian/ (original)

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Le facce in gigantografia che vedano tutto, anche dopo la morte

Ruth Riegler ha intervistato un attivista in Siria per comprendere la vita che si conduce nella Siria rivoluzionaria. Egli usa uno pseudonomo. Traduzione a cura di Shadi Inomad

RR: Come descriveresti la vita prima della rivoluzione? E quali credi siano state le origini della rivoluzione?

FS: Il mio nome è Libero Siriano (Free Syrian). Voglio dire al mondo perché abbiamo fatto la rivoluzione contro Bashar Al Assad e il suo regime. Tutti nel mondo sanno che si tratta di una grandiosa rivoluzione, ma in realtà nessuno sa quale sia la vera ragione dietro di essa. Te lo dirò io. Voglio che il mondo intero sappia come si viveva prima della rivoluzione e quali sono le ragioni di questa. Vivevamo in un mondo in cui abbiamo dovuto dar retta e obbedire come schiavi – qualunque cosa dicesse il padrone, dovevi obbedire e farlo, e se gli disubbidivi ti puniva o ti uccideva.

Abbiamo vissuto in uno stato di sicurezza, il che significa che siamo stati governati da un presidente e dai suoi militari, dall’intelligence, dagli ufficiali dell’esercito, dalla polizia regolare e quella militare, dagli informatori e dagli shabbiha (bande armate, sono delle milizie paramilitari a base settaria, ossia composta da alawiti, che vengono pagate profumatamente e agiscono a sostegno di Assad, ndr). Quando volevi far qualcosa, dovevi prima ottenere il loro permesso e vedere se le loro regole ti permettevano di farlo o no, il che significava che non avevi il diritto di fare nessuna cosa in modo indipendente e avresti dovuto affrontare degli ostacoli se avessi tentato. Solo il personale del regime poteva vivere liberamente e senza essere governati da delle leggi; potevano fare ciò che volevano senza chiedere, comandando ogni settore, tra cui il sistema politico, il petrolio e il gas, l’economia, le banche, il commercio, i militari, l’agricoltura e l’istruzione. In effetti, si consideravano degli dei.

I siriani erano proibiti dal toccare la loro terra: l’esercito israeliano, addirittura faceva esercitazioni.

Abbiamo vissuto sotto questo regime, che rivendica di essere anti-sionista, ma in realtà questa è solo un’altra menzogna perché per 47 anni non ha mai sparato un solo proiettile contro Israele e ha mantenuto la calma nelle alture occupate del Golan, vietando a qualsiasi siriano di sparare anche un solo colpo contro Israele o di rivendicare questa terra rubata. Chiunque lo avesse fatto sarebbe stato gettato in prigione, punito ed eventualmente ucciso.

Abbiamo vissuto come schiavi, senza alcun diritto. Ci sono stati vietati la scelta di un candidato alla presidenza, lo svolgimento di elezioni libere, la costituzione di partiti politici o la selezione di nostri rappresentanti per il parlamento. Solo ad Assad e alla sua rete di intelligence era concesso scegliere i parlamentari e scelsero le persone più corrotte, senza morale o coscienza, permettendo loro di fare i propri interessi. Se ti fossi opposto a qualunque cosa facessero, saresti stati messo in prigione e ti avrebbero fatto ogni cosa avessero voluto, perché tu non sei nulla per loro.

La gente aveva paura di opporsi o dissentire con il regime o chiunque fosse vicino ai servizi segreti: i siriani impararono a tenere la testa bassa e non dire nulla. Anche se solo avessi maledetto Bashar, sarebbero venuti a prenderti ovunque tu fossi e ti avrebbero portato alla sezione locale dei servizi segreti, senza che nessuno sapesse dove tu fossi o osasse chiedere di te o anche solo nominare il tuo nome. Se volevi dare vita a un movimento politico sarebbe successo lo stesso, perché in Siria abbiamo avuto un solo partito e tutti i siriani erano costretti a farne parte. Se tu avessi evitato il servizio militare obbligatorio e non volessi servire, ti avrebbero imprigionato per tre o più mesi per poi in ogni caso costringerti a fare il servizio militare. Se si fosse morti in custodia dei servizi segreti, nessuno avrebbe chiesto come e perché eri morto e nessuno sarebbe stato ritenuto responsabile per la tua morte, perché la Costituzione conferisce l’immunità completa al presidente, ai suoi servizi di intelligence e i suoi alleati militari. Il popolo siriano è trattato come gli insetti che sono schiacciati sotto i piedi, senza attenzione per i nostri morti.

L’oppressione non si può fotografare, ma la si può sentire ovunque.

Il sistema permetteva al presidente, alle sue forze armate e ai servizi segreti, di arrestare, torturare o uccidere chiunque, di fare quello che volevano di noi, senza che nessuno nel mondo esterno sapesse cosa stava succedendo. La corruzione, il nepotismo e il favoritismo sono la norma in tutte le istituzioni statali e la gente ha imparato a esistere solo e a badare solo ai propri interessi, non chiedendo o aiutando nessuno se non sè stessi, dove solo Assad ei suoi fedelissimi del regime avevano il permesso di fare ciò che volevano; la Siria è la sua fattoria e i siriani sono gli animali.

Vorrei anche fare un accenno sull’economia siriana. Nonostante la scoperta di riserve di petrolio e di gas nel nord-est del paese e di enormi riserve di petrolio e di gas offshore, ci chiedevamo perché questi prodotti fossero così costosi per noi e perché invece compravamo gas e petrolio dall’Iran, Iraq ed Egitto. Abbiamo scoperto che questo accadeva perché Bashar e la sua famiglia rubavano il gas e il petrolio della Siria per venderlo sottocosto alla Russia e ai paesi europei, mantenendo i profitti per sè stessi, mentre noi siriani non avevamo altra scelta che comprare gas e petrolio dalle aziende statali a prezzi elevati – sempre che riuscissimo a trovarne per tutti. Il governo aumentò artificiosamente in modo costante il prezzo del petrolio e del gas e di conseguenza i prezzi di ogni altro bene – pane, riso, zucchero, vestiti, prodotti elettronici, case, tutto – aumentò e continuò a crescere senza mai diminuire. Data la grande ricchezza di petrolio e gas del nostro Paese, questa è la situazione più assurda.

La nostra economia è una farsa. Anche se il governo ha ottenuto aiuti provenienti da altri paesi, qualunque nostra domanda riguardo dove sarebbero finiti tali fondi è rimasta senza risposta. Quando volevamo sviluppare la didattica del paese, la sanità, l’agricoltura, alcuni settori industriali o la sua rete elettrica, il governo disse che avrebbe avuto bisogno di imporre più tasse per farlo, che avrebbe avuto bisogno dell’aiuto di altre nazioni, perché la Siria non aveva le risorse.

Ogni aspetto della vita dei siriani era controllato, l’intelligenza spiava sempre. Ecco la vita sotto degli Assad.

Se un siriano, cercando di vivere una vita dignitosa, avesse voluto avviare una attività produttiva per vendere i nostri propri prodotti, o di importare merci da rivendere, come automobili, vestiti o apparecchiature elettriche, il regime non ce lo avrebbe permesso, a meno che ne avesse una percentuale degli utili e fossero pagate tangenti regolari [oltre le consuete tasse]. Se eri d’accordo, ti avrebbero concesso una licenza di esercizio, ma se ti fossi rifiutato, ti avrebbero respinto la richiesta e creato ostacoli.

Chiunque avesse voluto aprire qualsiasi tipo di negozio, sia un piccolo negozio che venda generi alimentari, o una libreria, un supermercato, un internet café o qualsiasi altra cosa, avrebbe dovuto anzitutto ottenere il permesso da parte dei servizi segreti, prima di richiedere una licenza agli organi statali competenti, e pagare tangenti ai funzionari. Per esempio, se avessi voluto aprire un internet café, avrei dovuto in primis ottnere il permesso dei servizi segreti, quindi andare al ministero della comunicazione e pagare una tangente ai funzionari perché alla domanda fosse dato il suo corso, prima di andare all’ufficio locale del governatorato, poi all’ente dell’istituzione finanziaria, e proseguire con questo groviglio burocratico per mesi prima di non arrivare comunque a ottenere niente. Anche se volevi sposarti e organizzare una festa di nozze, per farlo dovevi prima ottenere il permesso ufficiale dello stato; mi dispiace usare un linguaggio grezzo, ma è una storiella ricorrente tra siriani che anche se tu volessi fare l’amore con tua moglie era prima necessario ottenere il permesso scritto del governo.

Abbiamo anche avuto il servizio militare obbligatorio per ogni uomo di una certa età. Molti fuggono all’estero per lavorare o studiare quando raggiungono i 18 anni, o pagano tangenti per evitare il servizio militare (dai 1000 dollari americani in su, cioè lo stipendio medio annuale di un siriano, ndr). Se non potevi permetterti di viaggiare e lavorare o studiare all’estero e non avessi altro modo per sfuggire alla coscrizione, avresti potuto lavorare per loro come un servo, un autista o una guardia. Se eri in grado di pagare una tangente settimanale agli ufficiali superiori, avresti potuto esser esentato dal servizio e avresti potuto ottenere il permesso di andare a cercare un posto di lavoro o piuttosto rimanere disoccupato. Se avessi potuto permetterti di pagare una tangente maggiore come l’acquisto di un televisore per un alto ufficiale, o di pagare le loro bollette telefoniche, o riparare la sua macchina o facendo un qualsiasi altro servizio utile, avresti potuto essere in grado di evitare il servizio militare per i prossimi due anni, ma dopo ciò avresti dovuti iniziare la tua vita ancora una volta da zero.

I siriani vogliano la libertà

Queste sono alcune delle cose che ci hanno spinto a insorgere contro il regime di Assad. Vogliamo la libertà. Vogliamo scegliere noi stessi la nostra vita. Vogliamo organizzare e rafforzare il nostro paese con le nostre mani. Vogliamo costruire e produrre le nostre merci nei nostri stabilimenti. Vogliamo migliorare l’istruzione della Siria, la salute, l’agricoltura e tutti gli altri settori, che Assad ha ignorato, vogliamo essere innovatori, per costruire le prime automobili e primi treni arabi. Sì, siamo persone come chiunque altro al mondo che vuole dignità. Per tutte queste ragioni noi continueremo a combattere e non torneremo indietro; vivremo la nostra vita con dignità o moriremo come martiri. Vogliamo la libertà.

RR: Puoi brevemente descrivere una giornata tipo in modo da dare ai lettori un’idea di ciò che tu e altri siriani dovete avere a che fare?

FS: Immaginati di svegliarti in una bella mattina di sole, di lavarti il viso e poi bere il tuo caffè, sorridendo al pensiero di quel che otterrai oggi, anche se devi superare degli ostacoli introdotti da parte del governo sul tuo percorso. Quella era la vita prima della rivoluzione.

Ora riusciamo a dormire in orari normali e ci svegliamo presto, sempre che riusciamo a dormire. Tutto ciò che riguarda le nostre vite è cambiato da quando è iniziata la nostra benedetta rivoluzione, il 15 Marzo 2011 a Daraa. Ad ogni modo, lascia che ti dica cosa è cambiato nel mio programma quotidiano e nella vita in generale. Anzitutto, ho comiciato a dormire tardi oppure a mala pena non dormire affatto, svegliandomi sempre per udire esplosioni di bombe, colpi di cannone, spari oppure manifestazioni, giorno e notte. Pure le mie abitudini sono cambiate. Frequentavo un istituto locale di lingua inglese per esercitarmi nella capacità di traduzione e per sviluppare le mie competenze dopo la laurea, così come mi incontravo con un amico per lavorare in modo da trovare il miglior posto per ottenere un master in traduzione. Trovai un posto in un corso a Preston, nel Regno Unito, ma sfortunatamente non sono stato in grado di accettare l’offerta poiché non in possesso di un passaporto e poiché erano stati sospeti i corsi TOEFL al Centro Linguistico Americo nella mia città. Nonostante io abbia anche contattato il British Council per cercare di convincerli ad offrire un corso TOEFL o ILTES nel Regno Unito, non penso che quest’anno riuscirò a iniziare il mio Master e comunque ho perso la mia occasione. Questo non è stato l’unico problema che ho dovuto affrontare da quando, dopo aver cercato per un certo tempo un lavoro, me ne era stato promesso uno l’anno scorso in una società privata di comunicazioni. Tuttavia anche questo è saltato dato che la situazione qui era diventata sempre peggiore. Il fatto che non avessi svolto il servizio militare significava che non potevo lavorare o viaggiare, perché non fare il servizio militare ti preclude la possibilità di fare entrambe le cose, un altro ostacolo per lasciare il paese per fare il mio Master. Questo mi ha fatto sentire senza speranza, senza lavoro e senza la speranza di un Master stavo perdendo il desiderio per la vita e tutto il resto. In seguito il regime cominciò ad uccidere la nostra gente, in un primo momento a Daraa, dove le truppe di Assad usavano proiettili veri contro manifestanti disarmati, e in seguito con carri armati dentro le città. A noi giovani siriani ciò non piacque e cominciammo a manifestare contro questo atteggiamento. Successivamente il regime cominciò ad utilizzare delinquenti e picchiatori in borghese, noti come “shabbiha”, per terrorizzarci, e da allora ha usato di tutto contro di noi.

Prima della rivoluzione ero solito avere tre pasti al giorno, ora ne ho uno solo. Prima dormivo otto ore, ora avrei potuto al massimo dormirne cinque e spesso restavo sveglio fino al mattino. Ho lavorato per far quel che potevo per aiutare i siriani che avevano bisogno di assistenza, nascondendoli e aiutando chiunque avesse bisogno di tradurre notizie o video inviati da altri attivisti. Ricevo un sacco di notizie, le traduco e le condivido ovunque posso, parlando con amici e scambiando opinioni su cosa dovremmo fare. Gran parte delle nostre conversazioni ruotano attorno a come ogni altra nazione del mondo stia sostenendo Bashar affinché rimanga al potere perché non vogliono perdere il loro maialino domestico che protegge Israele e ne preserva la sicurezza nella regione.

Il regime ora ha collocato posti di blocco sulle strade principali in ogni paesino ed in ogni città, e ha chiuso tutte le strade che portano al suo palazzo a Damasco, così come ha posizionato cecchini ovunque, specialmente nelle zone dei ribelli. Se vuoi andare a fare shopping o in palestra, vedere gli amici o andare da qualsiasi parte, le truppe del regime ti feramo ai checkpoints e verificano che il tuo nome non sia inserito nella lunga lista dei soggetti ricercati, di quelli che identificati come attivisti o di quelli che hanno evitato il servizio militare. Se il tuo nome è nella lista, ti arrestano o semplicemente ti sparano sul posto. Ogni giorno dobbiamo passare attraverso questi posti di blocco. Un giorno, di recente, sono andato a trovare degli amici per aiutarli nel lavoro connesso alla rivoluzione. Fui fermato per una mezz’ora ad un checkpoint e cominciai a preoccuparmi. Quando un soldato del regime chiamò il mio nome, andai da lui e gli chiesi quale fosse il problema: mi guardò e mi disse “Prendi la tua carta d’identità e vattene, stai sprecando il nostro tempo alla ricerca del nulla”. Dopo questo avvenimento, decisi che ovunque sarei andato, avrei utilizzato una scorciatoria per evitare i posti di blocco. Recentemente, in un’altra occasione, andai a Barzeh a visitare i genitori di un amico di nome Salim che era stato colpito a morte da un cecchino, per portar loro le mie condoglianze. In quel momento in quella zona vi erano degli scontri feroci tra le truppe del regime e l’ESL. Mentre ero in direzione dell’isolato dove si trovava l’appartamento della famiglia di Salim, un cecchino mi sparò ma mi manco per poco. Realizzai tutto ciò solo quando uno sconosciuto mi tirò verso l’entrata e mi disse “Sei matto? Vuoi morire così in malo modo?”.

La vita sotto i cecchini

Bashar il maiale ha ordinato di piazzare cecchini ovunque e ha dato loro istruzioni di sparare a chiunque essi vogliano. Molti dei miei amici sono stati uccisi dai cecchini, mentre altri sono stati nel mirino ma sono sopravvissuti. Un mio amico di nome Anwar ch era senza paura e partecipava ad ogni manifestazione anti-regime, fu colpito alla testa. Nonostante sia rimasto nel reparti di terapia intensiva per sei mesi, Allah ha evidentemente voluto che continuasse a vivere, con il proiettile che era passato attraverso il cranio. Nonostante sia sopravvissuto, tuttavia ora è parzialmente paralizzato e ha una mobilità molto limitata del suo braccio e della gamba destre. Altri amici sono tra coloro che sono scomparsi dopo esser stati arrestati dalle forze del regime; nessuno sa dove siano o se siano ancora ancora in vita. Uno di loro, un mio caro amico che si chiama Bilal, era sempre solito venire ad ogni manifestazione per sostenere la caduta del regime. Quotidianamente sento di amici che vengono rapiti per ottenere un riscatto, mentre alcuni amici vengono rapiti per strada oppure ai posti di blocco. Alcuni chiamano i loro genitori per chiedere soldi da versare ai rapitori; a meno che il riscatto non sia pagato non gli viene detto dove si trovi il loro bambino.

E’ impossibile descrivere l’interno che stiamo vivendo, senza alcun ordine o stabilità, mentre il mondo sta a guardare e non fa nulla. Molti giovani per sopravvivere fuggono all’estero: altri si uniscono all’ESL, molti dei quali dopo aver defezionato dalle forze del regime che sono sono costretti a servire. Al momento questa è la mia vita in Siria. Ho pensato di entrare nell’ESL. A dire il vero, spesso vorrei fuggire il più velocemente possibile. Già avevo pensato di fuggire e di andare all’estero, ma come ho detto non ho un passaporto e, nonostante abbia chiesto a molti amici e conoscenti di aiutarmi ad uscire, è molto difficile farlo senza passaporto.

Alla fine voglio dire che odio Bashar Al Assad e suo padre da quando sono venuti a governare la Siria. Conosciamo tutta la storia della sua famiglia e quel che hanno fatto. Sappiamo della loro distruzione assassina e sappiamo che Hafez Al Assad ebbe supporto e copertura dei suoi crimi a Hama, Aleppo e Deir El Zour (all’inizio degli anni ’80, ndr) da parte di USA, Russia, Iran e Israele e che questi stessi paesi stanno facendo lo stesso per suo figlio Bashar.

Dopo l’ennesima invasione del campo rifugiati vicino Damasco. Carri armati che hanno devastato anche le macchine.

RR: Come rispondi a quelli che continuano ad insistere sul fatto che Assad è un’icona anti-sionista?

FS: Tutti sappiamo che Hafez Al Assad (che Allah possa maledire lui e suo figlio) ha venduto le alture del Golan ad Israele e che fu responsabile dell’uccisione di molti palestinesi in Libano e Siria per preservare la sicurezza di Israele in Libano. Ora suo figlio Bashar sta facendo la stessa cosa in maniera differente. Ha attaccato molte aree palestinesi presenti in Siria, in particolare a Damasco il campo profughi di Yarmouk, che ho visto con i miei occhi. Se credi che egli sostenga Hezbollah per combattere e sconfiggere Israele, questa è una menzogna. Tutti sappiamo che (Bashar, ndr) ha dato a Hezbollah il via libera di uccidere il leader sunnita Rafiq Al Hariri in Libano, oltre ad esser d’accordo con Nasrallah per migliorare l’immagine di Nasrallah stesso e farlo sembrare un eroe di guerra, ma la guerra del 2007 contro Israele fu un’altra menzogna, semplicemente uno stratagemma per consentire l’espansione di Hezbollah in Libano e far sì che gli sciiti avessero un maggior potere nel paese per permettere all’Iran di avere lì il controllo e realizzare il piano di Teheran per un Medio Oriente sciita, dall’Iran all’Iraq, Siria, Libano, Egitto, Arabia Saudita e Yemen. Bashar Al Assad insiste sempre sul fatto che si oppone a Israele, che egli conduce la resistenza contro Israele stesso. Al che io rispondo: allora perché improgioni, torturi e uccidi i miei amici e decine di migliaia di altre persone in Siria? Perché ammazzi i miei fratelli palestinesi e iracheni? Perché non hai fatto nulla quando gli aerei militari israeliani violarono lo spazio aereo siriano? Non cercare di mentire al popolo siriano, noi ti conosciamo meglio di chiunque altro, lo sappiamo che il tuo lavoro è quello di uccidere noi e proteggere Israele; che Dio ti maledica, figlio di un adulterio.

Homs, molte famiglie cercano il reparo durante un bombardamento

RR: Come fai fronte allo stress per vivere in quella che è a tutti gli effetti una zona di guerra?

FS: E’ molto difficile per noi garantire i nostri bisogni in queste circostanze; viviamo con prudenza e mangiamo e compriamo solo lo stretto necessario. Per me, diventa più difficile sapendo che sono senza lavoro e che mio padre mi sta tuttora aiutando finanziariamente. Vivo con i miei genitori e li aiuto; nella situazione attuale, in Siria la maggior parte delle famiglie allargate è ammassata in una sola casa, con qualcosa come dalle tre alle dieci famiglie separate in ogni casa. La situazione è molto brutta, la maggior parte della Siria, tra il 65 e il 75%, è distrutta. Cerchiamo di acquistare e immagazzinare tutto il cibo che si può, ma alcune zone sono senza niente. In aree come quella di Homs non riescono a trovare alcun cibo e niente con cui proteggersi e mantenersi al caldo. L’inverno presto arriverà, fra due mesi, e vogliamo porre fine a ciò il più presto possibile. La maggior parte delle città siriana non hanno più nulla, Assad ha bruciato la maggior parte delle colture e ha distrutto le case. Io posso mangiare quasi tutti i giorni, ma altri non possono e sono preoccupato per loro. Gli inviamo aiuti ma il regime sta assediando quelle aree, nonostante l’ESL faccia del suo meglio e lavora duramente per fornire aiuti e medicine.

Nessuno ha una minima idea della tragedia che stiamo vivendo, ma i nostri spiriti rimangono forti e tutti noi sappiamo che vinceremo perché Allah è con noi e uccideremo Bashar, inshallah. Continueremo a sostenerci l’un l’altro con cibo, medicine o qualsiasi cosa necessaria per vincere. Voglio sottolineare che il vero esercito del nostro paese è l’Esercito Siriano Libero, l’ESL, e siamo molto orgogliosi di loro. Siamo tutti parte del popolo siriano e saremo tutti uniti: come gridiamo alle nostre manifestazioni, “Uno, uno, uno – il popolo siriano è uno”.

Dov’è il mondo?

RR: Come ti senti circa l’apatia di gran parte del mondo nei confronti della rivoluzione siriana e hai cambiato opinione riguardo la “comunità internazionale”? Se sì, come?

FS: Perché il mondo intero ha benedetto le rivoluzioni in Tunisia, Egitto, Libia e Yemen e le ha sostenute, mentre nessuno ha aiutato o supportato la nostra rivoluzione inSiria o ha cercato di raccontare la verità sulla giustezza della nostra causa? Perché è stato permesso a Russia, Iran, Cina e Iraq di continuare ad aiutare Bashar e il suo regime con armi, denaro, petrolio, benzina e iniziative politiche? Perché le potenze occidentali non hanno cercato di aiutarci creando una no-fly zone, fornendoci le armi necessarie o garantire zone al sicuro per i civili?

Tutte queste domande possono sembrare senza risposta, ma noi siriani sappiamo perché: le potenze occidentali vogliono imporci la loro soluzione con le loro maniere, e questo è ciò che non accetteremo mai. Ma ti dirò quali sono le opzioni o le soluzioni che ci offrono. Vogliono farci accettare le loro condizioni, consentendo a Bashar di rimanere al potere, accordandoci una libertà apparente e dei cambiamenti di facciata creando un governo di unità nazionale. Non vogliono gente nobile o veri ed autentici patrioti così come non vogliono l’ESL; vogliono ucciderli tutti e imporci a loro volontà. Quel che più conta è che vogliono che Israele sia lasciata in pace senza che nessuno possa persino portare qualsiasi pericolo, e come la storia dimostra, Bashar è il miglior candidato per questo. Per questo motivo (le potenze occidentali, ndr) lasciano che Iran, Russia e Iraq lo sostengano inviandogli più armi e truppe per aiutarlo dopo che non avrà più siriani che compiono defezioni di massa in quanto i siriani non lo vogliono. Esse permettono a questi paesi di inviargli soldi e truppe da parte di Hezbollah, dell’Esercito del Mahdy (formazione paramilitare irachena creata nel giugno 2003 dal leader sciita iracheno Moqtada Al-Sadr, ndr) e della Quds Force (letteralmente “Brigata Gerusalemme”, l’unità delle Guardie Rivoluzionarie responsabile dell’esportazione dell’ideologia khomeinista fuori dall’Iran, è guidata dal generale Qasem Suleimani, ndr). Il loro pretesto per consentire ciò è che la questione è difficile e complessa, ma in realtà è molto semplice: vogliamo la libertà. Dateci le armi pesanti necessarie a distruggere i suoi aerei da guerra, carri armati e lanciarazzi e possiamo vincere. Essi sanno che Bashar è estremamente povero così usano anche la scusa che se ci dessero le armi, l’ESL non sarebbe in grado di controllarne l’accesso e Al Qaeda acquisirebbe potere. Ma i siriani sono tutti ben consapevoli che non esiste Al Qaeda nè in Siria nè in nessun paese arabo, e così le potenze occidentali tirarono fuori un’altra scusa: che la nostra opposizione non è unita. Ma in realtà neanchè le opposizioni che rovesciarono regimi in altre nazioni erano unite.

Le potenze occidentali non hanno fatto nulla neanche per i rifugiati siriani in Turchia, Giordania, Libano e Iraq; non hanno inviato loro alcun aiuto reale e non hanno permesso loro di fare nessun lavoro. Non li hanno nemmeno registrati presso le Nazioni Unite (come rifugiati, ndr), li hanno semplicemente lassciati nei campi situati in zone morte in Iraq e Giordania, perché vogliono che i siriani obbediscano ai loro ordini, accettando Bashar Al Asssad e ritornando a vivere sotto il suo regime e se rifiuteranno, verranno puniti lasciandoli senza cibo, acqua o i servizi essenziali. Non ci aiuteranno a ucciderlo, nessuno ci aiuterà. Abbiamo solo noi stessi e facciamo affidanmento solo a Dio, e questo è quel già stiamo facendo ora.

Momento durante un funerale per gli FSA

RR: Come vedi svilupparsi la situazione in Siria nel breve e nel lungo termine, e ti senti ottimista che si possa avere la pace dopo la caduta di Assad?

FS: La situazione si svilupperà in maniera lenta e sanguinosa se non lavoreremo sodo per risolverla. Se siamo in grado di muoverci velocemente per liberar noi stessi sarà il miligior modo per non perdere altri siriani e per salvare ciò che ancora possiamo del nostro popolo, delle nostre proprietà, infrastrutture, economia e tutto il resto. Se lo lasciamo fare ciò che lui, i suoi alleati e le potenze occidentali vogliono, perderemo altre persone e ci sarà un ulteriore spargimento di sangue. Se ciò accade, il bagno di sangue continuerà, sarà un genocidio, con altre migliaia di morti, il paese sarà saccheggiato e depredato dalle sue forze, gli edifici e le infrastrutture saranno distrutti, l’economia devastata, altre migliaia di persone che vivranno in esilio e una fuga di cervelli delle persone migliori che sono essenziali per ricostruire il paese, che sarà lasciato nel caos. Noi siriani non vogliamo nè accettiamo questo, e così lavoriamo sodo tra di noi per unire le nostre forze per ucciderlo e porre al più presto fine a questa terribile situazione. Noi popolo siriano siamo ottimisti perché Allah è con noi e siamo tutti uniti, e crediamo che prestò ci sarà la pace. Se restasse non ci sarebbe nessuna pace, solo più caos e spargimenti di sangue e vivremo nelle tenebre per sempre come schiavi. Ci rifiutiamo di accetare questo per cui preferiamo vivere con dignità oppure morire come martiri. Questa è la nostre opzione preferite, la morte piuttosto che l’umiliazione.

RR: Come vedi la pretesa ripetuta da molti mezzi di informazione che si tratti di una “guerra civile settaria”?

FS: Non vi è una guerra civile settaria: questa è soltanto propaganda usata e promossa dal regime e in altri paesi. Essi sostengono che se il regime crolla ci sarà la guerra civile e la gente che si ammazza a vicenda, ma se rimane manterrà integra la società siriana. Questa è una menzogna sfacciata; quello a cui il regime e loro (le potenze straniere, ndr) stanno lavorando è dividere la Siria in regioni autonome come in Iraq, ai Curdi uno stato nel nord-est, ai drusi uno nel sud e agli alawiti uno sulla costa siriana, mentre ai sunniti rimarrebbe il resto. Questo è il loro piano e Bashar sta lavorando duramente per realizzare la sua ambizione di uno stato alawita-sciita. Si dimenticano però che fin dall’inizio della rivoluzione il nostro moto è stato “Uno, uno, uno – il popolo siriano è uno”.

Il regime spinge sul settarismo mentre il popolo siriano la pensa diversamente

Questa nazione è per tutti: qualunque sia la tua religione, setta o gruppo tu sei siriano e appartieni alla Siria. Tutte le sette del popolo siriano rifiutano questo piano di dividere la nazione e si sono appellate all’unità. Durante la rivoluzione ho incontrato e parlato con siriani alawiti, sciiti, cristiani, drusi e sunniti e tutti hanno respinto questi piani per dividerci. Tutti invochiamo l’unità – un popolo una nazione, anche se il regime ha tentato più volte di armare sette diverse e dirigerle l’una contro l’altra, per creare divisioni tra di noi. Per quanto (il regime, ndr) si sforzi, non permetteremo di essere manovrati in questo modo, e di combattere e uccidere l’un l’altro – siamo tutti fratelli e sorelle.

Infine, voglio dire una cosa in più: prima che la nostra rivoluzione cominciasse, abbiamo tutti vissuto in pace e armonia. Io vivevo personalmente in un condominio con vicini sciiti, ebrei e cristiani. I miei amici appartengono a tutte le sette, ci amiamo vicendevolmente e viviamo assieme.

RR: Pensi che questa esperienza ti ha cambiato come persona? Se sì, in che modo?

FS: Sì, mi ha cambiato e ha accresciuto la mia consapevolezza riguardo il complotto globale volto a garantire il fallimento della nostra rivoluzione. Ho anche scoperto che l’intero mondo guarda solo ai propri interessi e non si preoccupa nient’altro che di sè stesso. Non credo più nella retorica delle Nazioni Unite e delle organizzazioni non governative, che si tratti di Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, UNICO, della Corte penale internazionale, del CJI o di qualsiasi altra cosa. Il mondo intero non è riuscito ad ideare un programma per aiutare i siriani in Siria o i rifiugiati nei paesi limitrofi o addirittura tenere una riunione di donatori. Anche la conferenza “Amici della Siria” non ha ottenuto nulla; stanno solo a guardarci e a lasciarci uccidere con il sostegno russo e iraniano.

La rivoluzione mi ha comunque dato una speranza in un modo: vuoi sapere come? Mi ha insegnato che quando si incontrano problemi o ostacoli nella vita, nessun altro se non solo una manciata di veri amici si preoccuperanno o aiuteranno te e le tua famiglia, devi fare da solo e aiutare gli altri nella stessa situazione in qualunque maniera. Mi ha reso più consapevole e orgoglioso del mio popolo e del mio paese e di cosa dobbiamo fare per porre fine a ciò. Siamo gente pacifica e abbiamo delle risorse. Possiamo ricostruire noi stessi e il nostro paese, sviluppare le nostre competenze già esistenti e imparare nuove abilità. Ora sono più responsabile di quello che ero: voglio costruire me stesso, sviluppare le mie competenze, acquisire maggiori conoscenze e condividerle con la mia gente. Voglio tramandare alle generazioni future che abbiamo combattuto e sacrificato le nostre vite per ottenere la libertà e che non dovremo mai più accettare chiunque si credi un dio e ritenga di avere il diritto divino di governarci per sempre, ma dovremo eleggere solo leader altruisti che hanno a cuore il popolo siriano e la nazione piuttosto che l’auto-arricchimento.

Voglio sottolineare che la rivoluzione è nelle nostre mani. Credo che il mondo abbia bisogno di cambiare e realizzare che tutte le persone del pianeta sono uguali e gli deve essere concesso di ottenere la libertà. Ho anche scoperto che quelli che si definiscono “leader arabi” e governano paesi arabi sono in realtà infidi mandatari di poteri esterni o sempcliemente non si preoccupano affatto degli arabi.

RR: In cuor tuo, per quanto tempo ancora pensi che la rivoluzione possa continuare e cosa pensi che sia probabile che accada nel periodo successivo alla rivoluzione?

FS: Quando iniziammo questa rivoluzione, sapevamo che non saremmo mai tornati indietro e siamo ancora consci di questo: dopo tutto quello che abbiamo passato e sacrificato, saremmo condannati se soltanto considerassimo di ritornare a come stavano le cose; questa è la nostra risposta definitiva. Tutto ciò che Bashar ha commesso contro di noi e continua a farlo senza pause, lo ha fatto con il crescente supporto di Israele, Russia, Iran e China; abbiamo dimostrato al mondo che continua a negare il loro coinvolgimento, che truppe iraniane, russe e di Hezbollah sono state catturate in ogni città siriana, con ognuno di essi in possesso di documenti comprovanti ciò. Inoltre, abbiamo ottenuto dei documenti ufficiali del regime che dimostrano che Bashar ha importato sempre più soldati sciiti da Iran, Libano e Iraq, compresi dei membrei della Guardia Rivoluzionaria iraniana, con la Russia e altre nazioni che gli inviano armi così come delle truppe. Nonostante tutto questo, tuttavia, il suo regime sta perdendo la battaglia, ma i suoi alleati e le potenze occidentali vogliono che rimanga e continuare a coprirlo in qualsiasi modo possibile. Sfortunatamente per loro, noi sconfiggeremo lui e loro e lo uccideremo presto, inshallah.

Soldati del Esercito Libero Siriano entrano in una zona di Aleppo quasi raso al suolo dall’esercito del regime.

Quindi, se mi chiedete quanto tempo ancora continuerà la rivoluzione, io dico che la continueremo fino a quando non lo avremo ucciso e cacciato Russia, Iran e Hezbollah dal nostro paese. Nessuno in Siria accetterà di farla finita ora perché ogni famiglia in ogni villaggio, paesino o città siriane ha almeno un martire, un detenuto, una vittima di un rapimento da parte delle forze del regime o un membro della famiglia spinto verso l’esilio.

Lo sai che ha annientato molte famiglie intere? Lo sai che ha distrutto la maggior parte delle città e ha arrestato più di 250 mila persone? Lo sai che ora sta punendo collettivamente ogni persona in qualsiasi area che si è opposta a lui (la maggior parte della Siria) e che le sue forze stanno avvelenando le forniture di acqua e di prodotti alimentari, anche prendendo di mira i forni per fare in modo che la gente muoia di fame? Lo sai che le sue forze stanno negando le medicine e le cure mediche, bombardando ospedali e prendendo di mira il personale medico nella speranza che questo costringerà il popolo siriano ad obbedirgli? Noi gli diciamo, vai all’inferno!

Tutto il mondo lo vede e non fa nulla, scusandosi dicendo “E’ difficile e complicato” ma in realtà è molto semplice – i siriani vogliono liberarsi dalla dittatura – e potrebbero aiutare se solo lo volessero. I siriani sanno tutto questo. Continueremo e ci sosterremo a vicenda nonché sosterremo e combatteremo per l’ESL. Qualunque cosa Bashar faccia, noi non ci fermeremo; ogni uomo, ogni donna e ogni bambino si batterà fino all’ultimo respiro. Non acceteremo quel che il mondo vuole per noi, non indietreggieremo di un passo nè accetteremo quel che ci vogliono imporre. Abbiamo cominciato questo e noi lo porteremo a conclusione. E soprattutto, lo abbiamo detto fin dall’inizio, Allah è con noi e Allah e nessun al di fuori di Allah è co noi. Non abbiamo nessuno se non Allah.

Mi stai chiedendo “cosa farai dopo la rivoluzione?” Stiamo lavorando sotto copertura, per preparare tutto e cooperare tra di noi. Abbiamo progetti in atto ma il problema è che non possiamo rivelarli per timore che le persone sbagliate scoprano ciò che stiamo progettando. Tutto quello che posso dire è che stiamo coordinandoci tra l’ESL, i consigli militari, l’opposizione e i vari partiti per garantire che la normalità e lo stato di diritto siano ripristinati una volta caduto il regime, in modo che il popolo siriano possa ritornare a condurre una vita normale. Creeremo un governo di transizione che rimarrà in vigore fino a quando una nuova costituzione sarà stata creato e saranno decisi un nuovo presidente, un nuovo governo e un nuovo parlamento.

RR: Quali sono i tuoi progetti per il periodo post rivoluzionario? Le tue esperienze di vita attraverso la rivoluzione li hanno cambiati? Se sì, come?

FS: A dire il vero, mi piacerebbe far esperienza ed essere attivamente coinvolto in questioni politiche. Voglio avere un ruolo attivo nella ricostruzione e nello sviluppo del mio paese, e aiutare a fornire ciò che è necessario come il cibo e le medicine. Mi piacerebbe essere coinvolto negli aiuti e nell’assistenza umanitaria perché, come sai, ora abbiamo molti adulti e bambini amputati che hanno perso gli arti in attacchi del regime per cui hanno bisogno di arti artificiali, così come ci sono persone che necessitano di interventi chirurgici urgenti. Tutto ciò verra a costare miliardi per cui abbiamo bisogno di raccogliere fondi o di ricevere aiuto da ospedali all’estero.

Mi piacerebbe essere coinvolto nel sistema educativo. Come sai, sono uno traduttore e mi piacerebbe aiutare a insegnare ai bambini e ai giovani in scuole, università e altre istituzioni educative. Il regime ha ucciso docenti in molti settori per cui abbiamo una carenza enorme a riguardo e dobbiamo lavorare sodo per riempire questi posti vacanti e sovrintendere all’attuazione di un piano di vera educazione per introdurre un programma di apprendimento accelerato al fine di evitare problemi futuri per quei ragazzi che hanno già perso due anni di insegnamento a causa dei bombardamenti del regime e il caos ha significato che non avrebbero potuto continuare la loro educazione.

Noi vogliamo catturare tutti i soggetti coinvolti in uccisioni, torture, stupri e sacchegghi, per giudicarli, imprigionarli e giustiziare i peggiori colpevoli. Non permetteremo a nessuno di sfuggire alla pena a causa della propria setta. Siamo stati tutti esposti senza discriminazione alla persecuzione, terrore e intimidazione, e troppi sono stati torturati e/o uccisi per cui vogliamo giustizia e dignità allo stesso modo per tutti.

Infine, voglio partecipare attivamente al processo politico per aiutare e rappresentare il mio paese a la mia gente. Ho ancora l’ambizione di ottenere un Master in Traduzione e Interpretariato, anche se il regime mi ha privato di questa opportunità fino ad oggi e ha sprecato due anni della mia vita in una guerra brutale contro il popolo siriano. Questo è ciò che ci è stato imposto ma tuttora rifiutiamo il regime.

Originale in inglese https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2012/09/22/interview-with-a-free-syrian/

Welcome Ramadan, Get Lost Bashar

WRITTEN BY ASMAE SIRIA DACHAN, translated by Mary Rizzo

20 July 2012, 1 Ramadan 1433. Today is the beginning, for millions of Muslims the world over, of the month of Ramadan, considered by the faithful as a moment of sincere devotion, of purification and of prayer and it is for this reason welcomed with great celebration. It is one of the acts of faith that creates the greatest amount of gathering together, with families who reunite, sharing their meals at sunset even in the places of worship. Visits to the sick, as well as to friends and relatives increase in this period precisely to reinforce the connections between people and to mend any possible fractures that may have occurred.

Ramadan has a social meaning, as well as the religious one, so much so that it is felt even among persons who are generally less observant, because it expresses that sense of sacrifice, surrender, purification and rebirth that gives one hope. It is a light that shines at the end of the tunnel… even when the tunnel is long and it takes months and months to get to the other side of it. Just like the tunnel from which we see emerging, with great human sacrifices and an unmatchable commitment, the Syrian people, who find themselves welcoming Ramadan, for the second consecutive year, under the bombardment of the regime. The picture above refers to last year: Sawret al karamah, the “Revolt of Dignity”, had been started at that time already for four months by a group of young protesters, who wrote in candles: “Welcome Ramadan, Get out Bashar”. Perhaps no one could have predicted such a lengthy repression, which has already exceeded sixteen months, causing more than 19 thousand victims, among them, at least 1,400 children. The most recent veto of China and Russia has left the Syrian people feeling indifferent, who by now know that the International Community will not give them any real support, the contrary is true: the halting character of the world only reinforces the murderous folly of the regime, which has made its offensive even more brutal, and one once again we are hearing talk of the use of chemical weapons.

I say “once again” because it has already been months that the doctors of Baba Amr, the long-suffering neighbourhood of the old city of Homs, have denounced the use of white phosphorus, documenting irreversible damage provoked by its use.

Even the “Neighbours”, the Arab nations that are considered as “Sisters”, are enacting a policy of indifference regarding the humanitarian tragedy that is striking the civilians, even going so far as rejecting the entrance of refugees, pushing them back and treating them inhumanely, as the humanitarian associations have been stating.

It is such a sad Ramadan, the one that is beginning, which only this Thursday, on the first night of the vigil, has been grieving the deaths of over 280 persons killed, slaughtered in various locations in the suburbs of Damascus and in the Homs Province. Many Syrians who live abroad, even here in Italy, were used to spending Ramadan with their loved ones, returning to Syria or perhaps inviting their parents or grandparents to come here. Today the repression prohibits Syrians from living that very “normality”, forcing them into atrocious suffering, wounded by the loss of relatives, friends and acquaintances, for the destruction of homes, entire neighbourhoods and yes… entire cities… and especially for the wounds caused by the indifference of the world. It might sound like a paradox, but giving strength to those Syrians outside the homeland, telling them to not give up, to smile and to trust God with even greater force, as well as to have more belief in themselves, are actually those Syrians who are living under the repression, who yesterday by means of internet found a way to give the world their greetings for Ramadan, expressing the prayer that the Ramadan of 2013-1434 will be a different Ramadan, in which the Syrians will be rebuilding everything that the regime has destroyed, finally finding the longed-for peace and freedom.

original in Italian on My Free Syria

Homs per gli Alawiti, “Il Sogno di Homs”

The Syrian Sun

SCRITTO DA: Helen Dayem, Tradotto da Mary Rizzo

Homs, o Hims come è anche chiamata, è la terza città della Siria per grandezza ed è posizionata strategicamente nella fertile Vallata del Fiume Orontes  (Naher al-Aassi, – Assi significa Ribelle, siccome il fiume scorre verso il nord) della Siria centrale, tra Damasco (162 km più a sud) ed Aleppo (193 km più al nord). E’ molto vicina alla costa (Tartous, 96 km più al ovest) e geograficamente si trova nel centro della Siria.

E’ il posto ideale per una capitale per la setta Alawita!

Da quasi vent’anni ormai, Homs è diventata il luogo dove gli Alawiti emigrano a migliaia. Provengono dai loro paesini nelle montagne che circondano la città e costruiscono abusivamente aree gigantesche per le loro comunità. Quando dico “abusivamente”, intendo che  gran parte delle case, dei negozi e persino delle scuole nelle loro aree sono stati costruite senza permessi; non erano necessari naturalmente, perché il loro leader Bashar lascia fare loro ciò che vogliono, mentre il resto della comunità di Homs, composta per il 70%  circa da Musulmani sunniti e per il 10% circa da Cristiani, deve fare le domande per ottenere i permessi, persino per potere dipingere e decorare le proprie case all’interno, e ciò converranno tutti che ha dell’ incredibile!

Il problema più grande a Homs nella fattispecie è che la comunità Alawita non ha mai vissuto insieme ai Musulmani e Cristiani, preferendo restare unita nelle proprie zone, che però si spandevano a macchia d’olio lungo la via principale per  Damasco.

L’anno scorso, in occasione della mia ultima visita nella loro area, ero rimasta sbalordita da come si  fosse ingrandita l’area, con belle strade nuove di zecca, nuove strutture sportive, nuove aree commerciali: era cresciuta e si era sviluppata oltre ogni ragionevole aspettativa!

Naturalmente, erano venuti in città per lavorare, la maggior parte di loro ottenendo impieghi statali, spesso ricoprendo mansioni mai realmente svolte, addirittura senza presenziare nei posti di lavoro, ma arrivando prontamente in città ogni fine mese per riscuotere gli stipendi governativi, attendendo in file che potevano contare varie centinaia di persone fuori all’ufficio del governo.  Li vedevo ogni mese e nel mentre mi chiedevo da dove provenisse tutta questa gente.

Sì, i lavori statali erano riservati principalmente agli Alawiti, specialmente impieghi di alto livello, a prescindere dalla meritocrazia e, nei vent’anni in cui ho vissuto a Homs, ho realizzato che tenevano la città in pugno, in un pugno sempre più stretto: mentre le loro tasche si riempivano di tangenti, noi eravamo costretti a pagare per potere accedere ad un qualsiasi servizio e per svolgere qualsiasi attività, persino per fare le cose di tutti i giorni.

Anche la polizia a Homs, composta per lo più di Alawiti, poteva fermare la tua macchina, o il pulmino della scuola, senza motivo, solo per poter intascare dei soldi e noi …. pagavamo! Era più semplice che aspettare in fila per ore interminabili, ed essere trattati come cittadini di serie B per essere poi comunque costretti a pagare qualcosa di non dovuto!

Stavano cominciando a strangolare la popolazione con la loro corruzione, e stava diventando quasi impossibile per i giovani trovare un lavoro che meritavano.  Dopo aver compiuti gli studi universitari, diventava per loro chiaro che i posti migliori erano riservati ad altri.

I Professori universitari accettavano bustarelle dagli studenti affinché potessero superare gli esami. Non paghi? Allora, non superi l’esame! Il meccanismo era facile e trasparente, e so con assoluta certezza che gli studenti Alawiti durante gli esami erano informati preventivamente delle domande a cui sarebbero stati sottoposti negli esami. Era chiaro anche dal modo in cui loro finivano sempre gli esami a tempo di record, senza aver studiato neppure la notte precedente, e spesso erano proprio loro stessi che ridevano di questa situazione.

Homs sarebbe appartenuta a loro! Questo abbiamo capito quando il Sindaco, Eyad Ghazal, ideò un nuovo progetto: “Il Sogno di Homs”. E che sogno! Le proprietà che appartenevano ai Musulmani e ai Cristiani della Città Vecchia, sarebbe stata acquistata – coattamente – dal governo, e ad un prezzo che era sola una frazione del valore reale, e sarebbero state sostituite dei parcheggi. Sì, le vite delle persone sarebbero state sconvolte, e persino la zona agricola tra Homs e il quartiere Waar era compresa nel piano di esproprio, destinata a diventare giardini pubblici, e naturalmente, a meno del 10% del loro valore sul mercato immobiliare. La gente di Homs cominciava a preoccuparsi e a ragione. Il piano era evidente: la città doveva essere svenduta alla setta Alawita, dopodiché loro si sarebbero insediati lì!

Il piano era già in atto da diversi anni precedenti. Come mi era parso di notare con i miei professori nella mia scuola, molti di quali erano Alawiti, sui loro documenti d’identità  era scritto Homs, Khaldiyie o Bayada, mentre in realtà provenivano da Latakia o Tartous! Esiste una regola di ferro nella Siria: i documenti d’identità DEVONO riportare il luogo d’origine della famiglia, e dunque, il loro piano era già in azione, erano già Homsi, anche se né loro né i loro antenati erano nati lì. Il Sindaco era pronto a distruggere il patrimonio storico della Città Vecchia semplicemente per far sì che la sua gente potesse emigrare lì. Ma il popolo di Homs aveva capito questo trucco sporco e nelle prime manifestazioni aveva chiesto la rimozione del Sindaco e del suo terribile “Sogno”.

Vecchio Homs, destrutto per il Sogno Alawiti

La risposta dell’amministrazione locale furono pallottole vere, come io stessa avevo visto, e quella prima manifestazione aveva peggiorato rapidamente la situazione.

Sconvolti ed indignati dagli attacchi diretti e violenti contro di loro da parte delle forze del governo, gli abitanti di Homs cominciavano a chiedere la caduta del regime e non solo dell’amministrazione locale, e venivano strappate dai muri le foto del Presidente dall’ “Officer’s Club” sulla via Hama in Homs.

Homs aveva messo la parola “fine” al sogno del Sindaco, al sogno del Presidente. E Homs continua a lottare oggi, per fermare il progetto del governo di compiere il loro sogno folle: quello della distruzione della Vecchia Homs e la sua trasformazione in Capitale degli Alawiti. Ora, più del 53% della Città di Homs è stato distrutto, il 70% della comunità Musulmana e Cristiana è stata sfollata. Si potrebbe considerare questo come “Pulizia Etnica”? Assolutamente sì. Non posso pensare a nessun altro modo per descriverlo, ed il silenzio del mondo permette a Bashar di proseguire nell’attuazione del suo sogno Homs: Capitale Alawita della Siria!

Helen Dayem è un’attivista siriana da Homs e madre del coraggioso Danny Abdul Dayem. Tutte le opinioni espresse nell’ articolo sono quelle dell’autore.

The Assad System: To Kill More

VERSIONE ITALIANA SEGUE!

by لجان التنسيق المحلية في سوريا on Sunday, 5 February 2012 at 23:30

A Statement of Condemnation from Homs the Coastal Cities (Alawites)

We the citizens, political activists, and intellectuals from the Alawite sect in Homs and the surrounding suburbs of the coastal cities, strongly condemn the massacres committed by Bashar al-Assad. In particular, we condemn the bombardment of our city, the brave city of Homs, where hundreds were martyred and hundreds more wounded, including women and children. These people are oppressed innocent Syrians that have been affected. We condemn the massacres and raids committed by the regime in Damascus, Hama, Idlib, and all the Syrian cities and towns. Out of fear for our beloved Syria, we are committed to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. We call upon all sects and ethnic minority groups to unite as one and to halt all efforts put forth by the Assad regime to drag the country into a never-ending civil war. We, the Syrian Alawites, warn all of our brothers and sisters in Syria that Assad’s Army has been using Alawite dominated neighborhoods in Homs, to launch its assaults on the remaining neighborhoods and surrounding areas. It has been doing so to spark a sectarian revenge among the people of Homs. We hold Assad’s regime and forces along with Ba’ath Party members at home and abroad, completely responsible for the massacres in the country. In particular, we hold them responsible for igniting sectarian strife to divide Syria.

Moreover, we call upon all honorable military soldiers, officers, aides and security members to defect from the regime’s destructive army; a killing machine that is destroying our beloved Syrian nation. We also call upon them, to stand united against this unpatriotic regime that promotes sectarian and regional strife in its attempt to divide Syria.

In addition, we condemn the irresponsible stance of the killer Russian regime and hold them entirely responsible for each child, woman and man murdered by their bullets and weapons.

We announce the following:

– Our public and unconditional support of the Syrian revolutionaries

– Our public and unconditional denouncement of the Syrian thugs ruling the country and everyone supporting it despite of his/her motivations and excuses.

– Our public and unconditional support against those who encourage the killing of the unarmed civilians; for they are the true enemies of the new Syria regardless of their sect.

Long Live Syria: One Independent, Free and Democratic Country

Una Dichiarazione da alcuni membri della comunità Alawita siriana condannando le atrocità del regime

Una Dichiarazione di Condanna da Homs le Città Costiere (Alawite) Tradotto in italiano da Luca Urbinati

Noi i cittadini, attivisti politici ed intellettuali della comunità Alawita ad Homs e dei circostanti sobborghi delle città costiere, condanniamo duramente i massacri commessi da Bashar al-Assad.

In particolare, condanniamo il bombardamento nella nostra città, la coraggiosa città di Homs, dove centinaia sono stati martirizzati ed altri centinaia feriti, compresi donne e bambini. Queste persone sono innocenti Siriani oppressi che sono stati colpiti. Noi condanniamo i massacri ed i raid commessi dal regime a Damasco, Hama, Idlib e tutte le città e cittadine Siriane. Per paura della nostra amata Siria, noi siamo impegnati di alleviare la sofferenza del popolo Siriano. Noi invochiamo tutti i credi religiosi e  gruppi di minoranza etnica ad unirsi come uno a fermare tutti gli sforzi tesi dal regime di Assad per portare il Paese ad un’infinita guerra civile. Noi, i Siriani Alawiti, mettiamo in guardia tutti i nostri fratelli e sorelle in Siria che l’Esercito di Assad ha utilizzato quartieri dominati Alawiti ad Homs, per lanciare i suoi assalti nei rimanenti quartieri ed aree circostanti. E’ stato fatto così, per accendere una settaria vendetta in mezzo al popolo di Homs. Noi riteniamo il regime di Assad e forze, insieme con i membri del Partito di Ba’ath in Patria ed all’estero, completamente responsabili dei massacri nel Paese. In particolare, li riteniamo responsabili di accendere un settario conflitto per dividere la Syria.

Inoltre, invochiamo tutti gli onorevoli militari soldati, ufficiali, aiutanti e membri della sicurezza a disertare dall’esercito distruttivo del regime; una macchina per uccidere che sta distruggendo la nostra amata nazione Siriana.

Invochiamo anche loro, ad unirsi contro l’antipatriottico regime che promuove un conflitto settario e regionale, con il suo intento di dividere la Siria.

In aggiunta, noi condanniamo l’iriresponsabile posizione del killer-regime Russo e lo riteniamo interamente responsabile per ogni bambino, donna e uomo ucciso dalle loro pallottole ed armi.

Annunciamo il seguente:
– il Nostro pubblico ed incondizionato supporto ai Siriani rivoluzionari.
– la Nostra pubblica ed incondizionata denuncia del teppismo sparso nel Paese ed ogniuno che lo supporta nonostante le sue motivazioni e scuse.
– il Nostro pubblico ed incondizionato supporto contro quelli che incoraggiano l’uccisione dei civili disarmati; per loro sono i veri nemici della nuova Syria senza riguardo del loro settore.

Lunga vita alla Siria: Un Indipendente, Libero e Democratico Paese

Dr. Tamador Abdallah

Dr. Taofic Dunia

Dr. Rami Hussein

Rasha Omran

Nizar Hammoud

Kifah Ali Deeb

Obab Riad Kalil, JD

Adel Mahfouth

Artist Louise AbdelKareem

Artist Reem Ali

Yamen Hussein

Fouad Malla

Abdelkareem Ali

Fayek Almeir

Firas Saad

Oula Ramadan

Maher Ibrahim

Marah Wassouf

Ninar Hasan

Sarah Saleh

Ali Badrieh

Ali Aboud

Rami Kousa

Rouba Hasan

Ghayath Aljundi

Raghida Hussein

Rawan Masoud

Milad Amin

Ali Nazir Ali

Suheir Asmar

Khaldoun Ibrahim

Mahmoud Salman

Mahmoud Abdallah

Asma’ Ammar

Susanne Salloum

Tamim Ahmad

Ahmad M. Ahmad

Shaban Wassouf

Suleiman Ali

Hussam Wakkaf

Habib Mohammad

Nidal Sa’id

Maher Ismail

Jamileh Barakat

Nidal S. Salamah

Rouba Haddad

Adel Masoud

Abeer Mohammad

Nahla Abbas

Written by Valentina Baruda, translated by Mary Rizzo

You who talk about Syria without knowing anything about it.

You who talk in defence of the regime, saying that those who are revolting are Islamic Fundamentalists, manoeuvred by who knows which Western puppeteer.

You talk and talk, but never take into consideration – I don’t mean the farmers that have been slaughtered, or even the shepherds or the nomads who live in that land, but you ignore all the illuminated minds, all the revolutionaries, all the university professors (of a certain side), all the cartoonists, all the singers, all the actors and actresses, all the writers that are abducted, plummeted with beatings, tortured, assassinated. You don’t take any of that into consideration: it’s all fictitious.

Even the tortured flesh and blood of those who one recognises is “Zionist fakery”, for those of you who are creating a role for yourselves as experts of the Middle East.

If you are such experts on that country then you certainly know Paolo Dall’Oglio well. You will know his story, his strength, the place that he had renewed, certainly you know him!

You will have milked some goats in the highlands, you would have made incense with your own hands, or listened to your first mass in Arabic inside a tent. Before your eyes would be the brimming youthfulness and rebellion of that priest, like no other in the world.

A priest so unique and rare so well-loved in that land full of different religions, so in love with Islam and with his Christ… who now has become the enemy that the regime so dearly needs to defend itself from!

He will be expelled, after thirty years of building an extraordinary community: Paolo Dall’Oglio is a priest, yet, so very far from any conception of religious division. In that monastery one will be able to witness Mohammed arm in arm with Christ: in that monastery, thanks to this extraordinary man, you could see with your own eyes the TRUE Middle East, what real Islam is, what is the true way to live on a land, to love it to respect it and to rebuild it with other concepts of freedom.

Now dear Father Paolo has been issued a mandate for expulsion and in his defence we see all the revolutionary components who have been moving within the Syrian territory in these months, almost all of them Islamic.

This has to make us understand something, even to those bigots who fill their mouths with utterances only about anti-imperialism that has a sound to it that is sterile and reactionary in the face of reality, that those who are dying in the dusty streets of my Syria do not have to be classified so recklessly as being Salafis or Muslim Fundamentalists, and those who are being banished are certainly not those who want to bring about religious strife and division and a civil war: but those arguments are merely the regime’s instruments to keep mouths flapping…

Everyone with a conscience is writing, shouting and demonstrating in the defence of Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit by pure chance, a revolutionary by birth.

ALL OF MY SOLIDARITY TO THE ONLY PRIEST IN THE WORLD WHO MADE ME LISTEN TO A MASS FROM ITS BEGINNING TO ITS END, WHO HAD OPENED HIS HOME TO ME, WHO HAD TAUGHT ME THINGS THAT SHALL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

A MAN THAT I DID NOT BELIEVE EXISTED, AND WHO NOW NEEDS ALL OF OUR SOLIDARITY!

DAMN TO HELL BASHAR AL-ASSAD, ASSASSIN, BUTCHER

http://baruda.net/2011/12/04/siria-solidarieta-a-paolo-dalloglio/

Protesters for Libyan freedom in London

It seems like years ago, but only a few months have gone by. The anti-imperialist world raised their virtual glasses in a united toast to the people’s revolutions. When I say this phrase, it seems I need to define every term, so bear with me. I will try to not take any concepts for granted.

The anti-imperialist world as I have come to know it is generally comprised of generally well-to-do intellectual-type folks who engage more time in discourse and social networking than they actually do in developing strategies or training individuals for a radical change in society where local (indigenous) people are their own leaders and determine for their exclusive benefit the policies and economic organisation of their own territory. They however are generally very passionate about the need to seek justice against tyrants and they believe that the people themselves want the same thing, so they do what they can (far from the places themselves) ninety-nine times out of one hundred by raising awareness through their articles, videos, comments, social network activities and fundraisers for more public events to raise awareness (and this cycle continues until it exhausts itself into the next fashionable group of unfortunate others).

With all that awareness-raising, you would be sure that by now, this formidable band of selfless virtual warriors would have convinced all of the world that there is no way on earth that the will of the people should be trampled on and that sooner rather than later, each people will achieve its own autonomy and self-reliance. These people who have concretely moved towards self-liberation might even be so inclined as to bite the hands that looks like it feeds them, if this has to happen for them to truly be free, but an anti-imperialist should never look at his or her own interests as a member of the empire who enjoys the privileges of that status, and should even tolerate great levels of aggression against the empire he calls home.

That said, when first Tunisia, then Egypt, began staging independent demos to demand change in their government systems, inspired by their sheer numbers, they seemed to be fully successful. There was bloodshed among civilians, but it ended, and this was a revolution that was almost like a dream, almost too easy and certainly so full of promise and hope. It even adopted the name that will remain with it for all time, “Arab Spring”, the long-awaited renewal of Arabhood connected to the idea of development of a new society that was going to put people before anything else. That it gained support at a global level probably was intrinsic to its success.

Protesters in Gaza

How did that happen? Well, we all know it was through mass communications, some of it entirely spontaneous between those directly involved, and some of it presented to a wider community to enlist their sympathies and support. It was the fact that the world was watching that perhaps hastened the demise of Ben Ali and Mubarak, and it could also be the fact that a barrier of fear had been broken. Make no mistake, I have been  documenting Egyptian uprisings for at least 3 years, and there are others who like me were not under the impression that Egyptians were passively accepting a lack of political expression and a worsening social crisis. Several of us had commented that it was necessary to break through the impression that Egyptians were incapable of rebellion and to show that there was the emergence of a protest movement that was non-confessional, and was tying together the idea of the rebirth of Arabhood as well as an Egyptian national identity that was as vibrant as the Egyptian people. We could have been some of the few who were not surprised by the revolution, but what did surprise us was the enablement that  this gave to nearby peoples.

Living in the European country closest to Libya and with a colonial past which as recently as 1972 has seen mass expulsions of Libyans of Italian descent, whatever happens in Libya is going to be felt directly. In the past years, hundreds of boats full of refugees have headed toward our shores,  and as has been documented thoroughly, the Libyan regime had utilised the African migrants as a playing card to obtain many things from Italy. The Africans who were brought to Libyan Migrant Detention Centres were actually imprisoned there, and the thought of dying at sea on unsafe and overcrowded ships was a risk almost all of them were desirous to take after months of torment from the military and police branches of the Libyan government. There were truckloads of them driven to the confines of the desert and left there to die, documented by Italian film crews, who were concerned about lives in the face of the “Bilateral Agreements” so that Gaddafi could keep a foothold in Italy’s economy and obtain “aid” worth billions of Euros for infrastructure (some of it I can personally testify was for bunkers), weaponry and telecommunications in exchange for a policy of limiting African immigration from Libyan shores.

Gaddafi’s racism thought it found another foothold in the sensitivities of the Italian government, and his words were carefully used to obtain what he  wanted, a combination of greed and rank racism that I witnessed few anti-imperialists getting upset about.  It deserves being read word by word:

“Europe runs the risk of turning black from illegal immigration, it could turn into Africa. We need support from the European Union to stop this army trying to get across from Libya, which is their entry point. At the moment there is a dangerous level of immigration from Africa into Europe and we don’t know what will happen. What will be the reaction of the white Christian Europeans to this mass of hungry, uneducated Africans? We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and cohesive continent or if it will be destroyed by this barbarian invasion. We have to imagine that this could happen but before it does we need to work together.”

Gaddafi's recent "Rome By Night" outing

Gaddafi would come to Italy, honoured by Silvio Berlusconi and the best that the Italian government had to offer by way of hospitality, in order to seal more deals and to re-establish that these two neighbours had the same interests at heart: especially a thirst for petroleum and a provider who would make sure there would be preferential treatment under certain conditions, including keeping Europe white. Berlusconi was also an honoured guest in Libya, promising billions of Euros for schools, retirement homes, infrastructure and other things. It is curious that those continually claiming Libya was fulfilling all of its people’s needs on its own seem to not question why they would need so very much Italian money to do what they claim has already been done. During these visits, our news shows were almost suffering an embarrassment at how to represent it. The feelings run deep, and we had known of the abuses that were going on in Libya. Many of us know Libyans, some of them in exile, “You mean  you can’t go back? What do you mean you can’t go back?” Others who come on scholarships and seem to never want to talk about politics either. I would joke with two friends (one in each category) and call it the Libyan black hole. However, both would easily admit that Libya could be much more than it is, if only it could have the chance for that.

So, I watched the revolutions with other anti-imperialists, and the Libyan revolution had quite a few of us excited at the first moments because  Libya is not a Middle Eastern country and it also has ambiguous and collaborative relations with the empire, and with my nation in particular. I  was naively convinced that true anti-imperialists would welcome the will of the people as sovereign and that the information constantly withheld from us regarding many human rights violations would cause one of those powerful moments of decision: supporting an action that really was going to mean conflict and risk for my own nation. As February 17th approached, (with its planned march in Benghazi of the family members of the 1,200 political prisoners of Abu Salim who had been executed by Gaddafi ) I noticed that a few would start to say it was not a real revolution because a) it was against a leader who claimed to be anti-imperialist, b) it was a tribal conflict that we should not take part in, as it would lead to division of Libya (as if they actually knew or cared!), c)the protesters had some problems that did not make them revolutionary, with the sub-groups of 1) they are seeking the restoration of the monarchy, 2) they are religious fanatics that will turn back the clock on progressive revolutions and make Libya a theocratic state. I asked them if they had the right to determine when a revolution was valid and when it was not, and I was surprised to hear that they were putting conditions on the support of a people, and didn’t they notice the people were demanding their freedom?

I started to check into all my favourite anti-imperialist sites, most of the relevant articles indicated to me by friends on Facebook, and lo and behold, most of these were articles by Westerners. If I had kept count, and I should have, I would have the evidence in front of me that out of 100 articles perhaps 3 were actually penned by Libyans. I got to wondering what was happening when I had been reading and hearing the reports from Benghazi by Mohamed Nabbous, killed by Gaddafi’s squadrons and in the many comments surrounding these interventions, and noticed the enormous gulf in what the Pundits were saying, and what Libyans were saying. It was as if there were two worlds colliding. All of these people claimed to love freedom and to want to do anything necessary to obtain it, but there was that nasty issue of Gaddafi actually threatening to exterminate those who tried. At this point, one would think that this would be enough for one to firmly side with the Libyan people and wonder what the pundits were going on about.

And, at this time, many things entered the scene, such as NATO, which all of us detest, and transitional governments and Libyan officials abandoning their leader and an upsurge in refugees flooding into Tunisia and war and death in the land that only a few weeks before was the next domino with a tyrant’s face that had to be knocked down.

We read of infiltrations of Al Qaeda, (this was what Gaddafi claimed the Thuwar (“rebels” to those who hate them and “freedom fighters” to those who love them), of deals with Empire, of CIA infiltrates and anything else that you can imagine by way of establishing that those who were commemorating the massacre of their loved ones and who were massacred while doing so were SO BAD and if we supported them, we were dupes. I guess it would take a very self-assured person to still want to see the Thuwar and indeed the people opposing Gaddafi in a decent light.

Already involved in a few discussion groups regarding the events in the region, I was invited by friends to join a few private mostly-Libyan discussion groups. I wanted to observe the discourse, and since my sympathies and antipathies were known to me, but not backed up by enough concrete information, I took it as my “personal fact finding mission” to learn as much as I could about the situation from Libyans. Indeed, the discussions in these groups are lively, and shockingly, almost everyone in the groups (which are by no means small either) has a martyr for the cause and has family living in conditions of siege. It is quite a shocker to log in and see someone receiving condolences for his father, his uncle, her brother, a daily litany of suffering and loss… And even more shocking was the coming into contact with a world I should have been more aware of, that of the acceptance of the will and wisdom of God.

Yes, religion plays a big part in many of these struggles, and while this is not a religious war, (and all Libyans practice the same religion for the most part), the element of faith and perseverance that these people surely learned from over four decades of negation of their political freedom is omnipresent. I would also peek into Pro-Gaddafi boards and oddly, there was a sort of violence and lack of humanity that were not even hidden very well. It became almost apparent to me that there was a lot more to this situation than meets the eye.

I got into discussions with American Communists (self-proclaimed, naturally) and leftists in general and when they started to stress that they didn’t like the religious symbolism that they were seeing (as if their taste was going to matter) I had to ask them why they thought they knew better than the Libyans what was best for Libyans. I was told that the Libyans would put the monarchy in. I stated that the TNC issued a statement and it was supported by those I was discussing things with, that there were to be elections and there was going to be an establishment of democracy. These AC + Leftists told me that the Libyans were dupes for the empire and religious fanatics and that if they were not working for a world revolution but for a repressive and authoritative patriarchal set-up, and thus, as AC + Leftists, the Libyans would not be worthy of obtaining their support. I thought that was some cheek. So what I decided to do was to serve as a filter, I invited Libyans to use my board to engage with these anti-imperialists, and many willingly did so. They presented the Libyan point of view, they were kind, patient and tried to explain what the situation was so that it could be understood.

I admit I was shocked at the violent verbal reactions they got. I admit it was the classic Western Pundit thing of orientalism and ignoring the voice of the common man if that common man was not “politically advanced”. It was the thing I see time and again in Palestine activism: the great Western hero (usually white, male, often Christian or Jewish) determines that he or she knows what is best and becomes the spokesman and mouthpiece for Palestinians. It is denial of Palestinian agency, but it is so common and so normal that we tend to not notice it as the alarming trend it is.

McKinney not looking too objective there.

Working for the Man

So, when Cynthia McKinney stepped onto the scene, it is as if the secret prayers of the Gaddafi supporters who also are against the Libyan people’s revolution (they want to deny it’s what it is, but they are unable to turn off our memory cells that far back) had been answered. Black, female, present in the past in brave gestures for Palestine, outspoken against the robbery of the Democratic vote in the Bush elections, pacifist and they can plug their noses on the fact that she actually might represent empire by being involved in the presidential elections as a candidate and as a Roman Catholic. She does fine to complain against NATO abuses and even their involvement, but to become the mouthpiece of Gaddafi went above and beyond the call of duty, even going so far as to follow the game plan he provided while establishing the proper narrative to put forth. She did this as well on Libyan State TV, yes, the same state TV that has been accused by Libyans as sending out calls for ethnic cleansing of the Amazigh people (a linguistic minority in Libya) and those living in cities where protesting became resistance and then revolution.

And it seems, once again, we have thousands of eyewitnesses who the anti- imperialists, Leftists, American Communists refuse to listen to or when they are given the opportunity censor them or hurl insults their way, but when an American “eyewitness” (who has been shown where the Gaddafi cronies have taken her and nowhere else) speaks, she is the one who must be listened to, because she will not change anything, because she has no loved ones there, so whatever happens is politics, because she will have her hardcore followers and for all the ones she loses, she will pick up more, sensing where the anti-imperialist (banter) winds blow, feeding the fundraising machine for awareness-raising in an endless cycle. Those who actually are Libyans are treated to the usual “shut up” that is reserved for “counter-revolutionaries”. All from the comfort of these Western Anti-Imperialist homes far away from where the blood is being shed.

So what is my final remark to anti-imperialists, that group which I had felt I had proudly belonged to for decades? Quit lecturing with such an attitude of cultural colonialism and start listening to those who are actually the directly interested party. Answer them at least once when they ask  what alternative you would have offered when it was clear that their people were being violently crushed. Realise they are not interested in anything but their own freedom, and that includes freedom from you and your ideology and platitudes that contain nothing concrete for them to use towards obtainment of their freedom. If the anti-imperialists can’t understand that, then Khalas, because shutting up is golden.

image from the video released by the kidnappers

Sheikh Abu Musab: “Killing him was an error”

By Michele Giorgio
in Gaza City for il manifesto 15 June 2011 www.ilmanifesto.it
translated from Italian by Mary Rizzo

The kidnappers of Vittorio Arrigoni declare to be members of al Tawhid wal Jihad, a formation following al Qaeda that less than two years ago made itself known in Gaza, forming its own cells, often in competition if not actually in opposition to Hamas (accused of not applying “true Islam”). They affirm to have carried out the kidnapping of Vittorio in order to obtain the release of the Egyptian Sheikh al-Saidani, known also as Abu Walid al-Maqdisi, arrested a month before. Tawhid wal Jihad denied being involved in the kidnapping of the Italian activist, but in Gaza there is still talk circulating about the connections between this group and the kidnappers. Sheikh Abu Musab, one of the leaders of Tawhid wal Jihad, has accepted to answer the questions from il manifesto regarding the Arrigoni kidnapping. He welcomes us in a small house in the refugee camp of Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, armed with a machine gun and with his face partially covered by a keffiyah.

You deny to have played any role in the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio Arrigoni, yet you are still being accused of that.

Someone wants to involve us at all costs in this affair, but Tawhid wal Jihad did not in any way plan or participate in the kidnapping of the Italian. Our denial was immediate, from the very start we made it clear that the kidnappers were not part of our Jihad project. Those young men used our name because it is known and they wanted to gain some attention.

Yet, the Jordanian, Abdel Rahman Breizat, the mind behind the kidnapping, was close to your organisation.

Yes, but only up to a certain point. Many of our combatants knew him. He was a religious young man who wanted to make Palestine the starting  place of a new rebirth of Islam, for the victory of the Jihad in dar al Islam. But he never was part of the structure of Tawhid wal Jihad, he was external to us and everything he did he organised together with his friends (those of the kidnapping of Vittorio, author’s note) and without our knowledge.

But you personally knew Breizat?

Certainly, because as soon as he arrived in Gaza (at the start of 2010, author’s note) he immediately made contact with the salafiyya (the al Qaeda cell of Gaza that follows Salafist thought, author’s note). I remember that I spoke with him more than once, of the greatness of the prophet (Mohammed, author’s note) and of the duties of Muslims. He dwelled very much on the lack of respect by the Islamic peoples of the precepts of the Qur’an and of the teachings of the prophet. The indifference of many Muslims towards religion irritated him.

But what did Vittorio Arrigoni have to do with any of that? He was not a Muslim…

I think that the kidnapping of the Italian was used by Breizat and his comrades in order to affirm the existence of his cell, of his group. In exchange for his liberation he asked for the release of Sheikh al Saidani, unjustly arrested only for having spoken in the name of Islam. Breizat set up a spectacular operation to get some attention for himself.

You mention the liberation and prisoner exchange, but Vittorio was killed immediately, the killers themselves hadn’t respected their own ultimatum.

Because Breizat and his comrades organised something they were unable to manage. They felt strong pressure straight away, they felt entrapped and they killed the hostage.

But knowledge of the kidnapping that took place on the 13th of April was only made public just before sundown on the 14th and the Hamas police intervened when everything fell into darkness. According to one theory, Vittorio Arrigoni could have been killed in the early afternoon, perhaps in the video that the kidnappers sent out, he was already dead or in coma.

Pressure is not only that of the police and the investigations, but also that of lack of preparation, lack of mental and military organisation. It is complex to manage a kidnapping and only a group that has determination and is well-structured can carry out something of the sort. Breizat and his comrades perhaps were overcome by confusion.

And what do you say of the rumours of a hidden management, seemingly from the Sinai, of the kidnapping of Arrigoni?

I know nothing about that, but I can’t exclude that Breizat had someone behind him, someone who convinced him to act and strike that Italian. Perhaps behind it all is the Mossad (Israeli secret services). With certainly I can only say that Tawhid wal Jihad did not kidnap Vittorio Arrigoni.

You knew Arrigoni, were you aware of his presence and his activities in Gaza?

I once saw him in an ambulance in the north of Gaza during the Zionist aggression (the Israeli offensive “Operation Cast Lead”, December 2008-January 2009). Sometimes people talked about him. For me, he was a friend of the Palestinians and not an enemy of Islam. His assassination was a crime. We do not oppose the presence of Westerners in Gaza, if they come to help the Palestinians and Muslims, they must not be harmed. Our religion protects them.

See also: https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2011/06/15/hamas-the-report-with-the-truth-on-vik%e2%80%99s-homicide-at-the-end-of-june/

for their “museum of tolerance”.

We don’t know for sure as of yet who murdered international Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. However, whoever committed this despicable crime must be a human beast walking on two legs.
 
Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted on Thursday, 14 April, in Central Gaza. Members of a notoriously fanatical group posted a video online saying they would kill him unless the Gaza government released detained Salafists from prison.
 
Within a few hours of the warning, Arrigoni’s body was found in an empty house.
 
Arrigoni’s death has infuriated Palestinians everywhere. Ismael Haniya, the elected Prime Minister of Hamas called Arrigoni’s murder a “nefarious crime that goes against our religion, norms and traditions.” A spokesman for the Gaza government described the perpetrators as “thugs and murderers of the lowest kind.”
 
One Islamist writer, Ibrahim Hamami, called the murderers, “the lowest of the low.”
 
The accused group, the Tawhid and Jihad, has denied posting the video or any involvement in the killing of Arrigoni. They hinted that the Israeli intelligence may have been the real killers of the Italian activist.
 
And while Israel can never be ruled out as an accused party, it is widely believed that the so-called Salafi group (Salafi means a true follower of the Prophet) remains the premier suspect. They are guilty until proven innocent, given the prima facie evidence that would indict them.
 
It is true that the Salafis are not carbon copies of each other. However, the militant Salafis have been accused of abductions, killings, attacking internet cafes, and calling for the expulsion of Christians from the Gaza Strip.
 
A group of Salafis last year carried out an armed rebellion against the Hamas-led government during which several people lost their lives. In one episode, an intermediary who was carrying a message to their leaders was brutally murdered by those who called themselves Muslims. Islam is absolutely against killing messengers even in war time.
 
One would hope to give these stupid fanatics the benefit of the doubt. However, their diabolic crimes in many parts of the Muslim world leave us no doubt as to their true nature.
 
They claim they are out to fight the armies of the disbelievers who have invaded some Muslim countries.  However, the falsehood and mendacity of their claims are made clear by the fact that for every western soldier they killed, they murdered at least a hundred Muslim men, women, and children.
 
And when they are confronted with these crimes, they often seek vague, erroneous, spurious and invalid edicts to justify and rationalize what is obviously evil.
 
Islam is not a vague religion, especially when it comes to human life. However, these ignorant fanatics seem to have been blinded by their misplaced zeal and ignorance.
 
They thrive and prosper and become quite gleeful upon killing innocent people, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. And they think that by so doing they endear themselves to the Almighty when the opposite is true.
 
Have the killers asked themselves what in the world would justify killing Arrigoni, a man who came all the way from Italy to identify with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice? What wrong did he do? What crime did he commit? Didn’t they realize that Arrigoni may have done so much for Gaza which has now been besmirched by their cowardly crime?
 
Arrigoni didn’t come to Gaza as an aggressor or invader. He came to show solidarity with its wronged people and highlight the immense oppression meted out to be people by the Nazis of our time, the Zionist Israelis.
 
Hence, the claim that he came to the Land of Islam to spread corruption and disbelief should be treated with the utter contempt it deserves.
 
Again, there is no doubt that these ignoramuses are victims of their ignorance. They don’t represent the true followers of the Prophet (PBUH) who was quoted as saying according to authentic hadith that “whoever oppresses a Mua’hed (a non-Muslim resident or traveler in the land of Islam), or arrogated his rights, or takes something away from him against his will, or forces him to do that which is beyond his ability, I shall be his opponent on the Day of Judgment.”
 
In another hadith, the Prophet said “whoever killed a non-Muslim living in the land of Islam shall not smell the fragrance of paradise; verily its fragrance is smelled from a distance of a 40-year travel.”

Houria Bouteldja from "Indigenes de la Republique"

 from Kasama Project A Maoist sister in Spain, LG, sent us the following posting. She wrote as an introduction:

This very controversial  essay is by Houria Bouteldja, the spokesperson for the political party organized by people of color in France called Les Indigenes de la Republique. This group is composed by people born and raised in France whose families come from the French ex-colonies. The majority of the members are French from African, Caribbean and Arab origin.

The essay caused a lot of interesting debates because it is a critique to Western Feminism from a Third World Feminist perspective. The essay was also translated to many languages by the Decolonial Translation group.

The term “indigenous” in the French context is used very differently from the Americas. In the Americas, the indigenous are aboriginal or native people. In France, indigenous means “colonial subjects of the French empire.” Indigenous was the term used by the French empire during colonial times to refer to colonial populations everywhere (Viet Nam, Algeria, Tunisia, Martinique, Guadaloupe, Senegal, etc.).

This French party, composed primarily by people of color but open to everybody, appropriated the term “indigenous” from French colonial history to basically say that even though they are French (born and raised in France), due to racism, capitalism and imperialism, they are still treated inside France as “indigenous of the Republic,” that is, as colonial subjects.

It is a way of saying, we are still living in colonial times even though we live in France. Thus, their openly stated goal is to decolonize France. They do a Decolonial march every year in Paris on May 8th. This is the day of the liberation of France in 1944 from the Nazi occupation and the day of the Seti massacre in Algeria. What happened was that while the French went to the streets to celebrate, the Algerians in Seti (a small city of Algeria) also went to the streets to celebrate and to call for Algerian independence. The response of the French colonial army was to kill everybody in the Seti demonstration. So, the indigenous of the Republique do this Decolonial march every year to remind that France is in need of radical decolonization. I was once in one of these marches and it is surreal. You could see thousands of French people-of-color in a demonstration through the streets of Paris with huge Photos of Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Amircal Cabral, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Kwame Nkhruma, Nelson Mandela, Nasrallah, Nasser, etc.

Anyway, here is the essay, which was delivered as a speech to the 4th International Congress of Islamic Feminism that took place in Madrid, in October 2010. It appeared in English on Decolonial Translation:

 

Les Indigenes de la Republique

 

White women and the privilege of solidarity

by Houria Bouteldja

I would, first of all, like to thank the Junta Islamica Catalana for having organized this colloquium, which is a real breath of fresh air in a Europe that is shriveling up in upon itself, wrought up in xenophobic debates and increasingly rejecting difference/alterity.

I hope that such an initiative will be able to take place in France. Before getting into the subject at hand, I would like to introduce myself, as I believe that speech should always be located.

I live in France, I am the daughter of Algerian immigrants. My father was a working class man and my mother was a housewife. I am not speaking as a sociologist, a researcher or a theologian. In other words, I am no expert.

I am an activist and I am speaking as a result of my experience as a political activist and, I might add, my own personal sensibility. I am insisting on these details because I would like to be as honest as possible in my reasoning. Truth be told, until today, I hadn’t really thought about the question of Islamic feminism. So why am I taking part in this colloquium? When I was invited, I made it quite clear that I lacked the authority to speak about Islamic feminism and that I would rather deal with the idea of decolonial feminism and the ways in which, I believe, it should be related to the more general question of Islamic feminism.

That is why I thought I would lay out a few questions that could prove useful for our collective questioning.

  • Is feminism universal?
  • What is the relationship between white/Western feminisms and Third World feminisms among which we find Islamic feminisms?
  • Is feminism compatible with Islam?
  • If it is, then how can it be legitimized and what would its priorities be?

First Question: Is feminism universal?

For me, it is the question of all questions when adopting a decolonial approach and when attempting to decolonize feminism. This question is essential, not because of the answer but rather because it makes us, we who live in the West, take the necessary precautions when we are confronted with ‘Other’ societies.

Let’s take, for example, so-called Western societies that witnessed the emergence of feminist movements and have been influenced by them. The women who fought against patriarchy in favor of an equal dignity between men and women gained rights and improved women’s circumstances, which I, myself, benefit from.

Let’s compare their situation, that is to say our situation, with that of so-called “primitive” societies in Amazonia for instance. There are still societies here and there that have been spared by Western influence. I should add here that I don’t consider any society to be primitive. I think there are differing spaces/times on our planet, different temporalities, that no civilization is in advance or behind on any other, that I don’t locate myself on a scale of progress and that I don’t consider progress an end in itself nor a political goal.

In other words, I don’t necessarily consider progress to be progressive but sometimes, even often, it is regressive. And, I think that the decolonial question can also be applied to our perception of time. Getting back to the subject at hand, if we take as our criteria the simple notion of well-being, who in this room can state that the women from those societies (who know nothing of the concept of feminism as we conceive of it) are less well-off than European women who not only took part in the struggles but also made available, to their societies, these invaluable social gains?

I, myself, find it quite impossible to answer this question and would consider quite fortunate whoever could. But yet again, the answer is of no importance. The question itself is, for it humbles us, and curbs our imperialist tendencies as well as our interfering reflexes. It prevents us from considering our own norms as universal and trying to make other’s realities fit into our own. In short, it makes us locate ourselves with regards to our own particularities.

Between Western & Third World feminisms

Having laid out that question clearly, I now feel more at ease to tackle the second question dealing with the relationship between Western feminisms and Third World feminisms. Obviously it’s very complicated but one of its dimensions is the domination of the global south by the global north. A decolonial approach should question this relationship and attempt to subvert it. An example:

In 2007, women from the Movement of the Indigenous of the Republic took part in the annual 8th of March demonstration in support of women’s struggles. At that time, the American campaign against Iran had begun. We decided to march behind a banner that’s message was “No feminism without anti-imperialism”. We were all wearing Palestinian kaffiyehs and handing out flyers in support of three resistant Iraqi women taken prisoner by the Americans. When we arrived, the organizers of the official procession started chanting slogans in support of Iranian women. We found these slogans extremely shocking given the ideological offensive against Iran at that time. Why the Iranians, the Algerians and not the Palestinians and the Iraqis? Why such selective choices? To thwart these slogans, we decided to express our solidarity not with Third World women but rather with Western women. And so we chanted:

Solidarity with Swedish women!

Solidarity with Italian women!

Solidarity with German women!

Solidarity with English women!

Solidarity with French women!

Solidarity with American women!

Which meant:

Why should you, white women, have the privilege of solidarity? You are also battered, raped, you are also subject to men’s violence, you are also underpaid, despised, your bodies are also instrumentalized…

I can tell you that they looked at us as if we were from outer space. What we were saying seemed surreal, inconceivable. It was like the 4th dimension.  It wasn’t so much the fact that we reminded them of their situation as Western women that shocked them. It was more the fact that African and Arabo-Muslim women had dared symbolically subvert a relationship of domination and had established themselves as patrons. In other words, with this skillful rhetorical turn, we showed them that they de facto had a superior status to our own. We found their looks of disbelief quite entertaining.

Another example: After a solidarity trip to Palestine, a friend was telling me how the French women had asked the Palestinian women if they used birth control. According to my friend, the Palestinian women couldn’t understand such a question given how important the demographic issue is in Palestine. They were coming from a completely different perspective. For many Palestinian women, having children is an act of resistance against the ethnic cleansing policies of the Israeli state.

There you have two examples that illustrate our situation as racialized women, that help understand what is at stake and envisage a way to fight colonialist and Eurocentric feminism.

Following on from that question, is Islam compatible with feminism?

This question is purely provocative on my behalf. I can’t stand it. I am asking this question to imitate some French journalist who believes they are asking a really pertinent question. As for me, I refuse to answer out of principle.

On the one hand, because it comes from a position of arrogance. The representative of civilization X is demanding that the representative of civilization Y prove something. Y is, therefore, put in dock and must provide proof of her/his “modern-ness”, justify her/him-self to please X.

On the other hand, because the answer is not simple when one knows that the Islamic world is not monolithic. The debate could go on forever and that is exactly what happens when you make the mistake of trying to answer.

Myself, I cut to the chase by asking X the following question:Is the French Republic compatible with feminism?

I can guarantee you one thing: ideological victory is in the answer to this question. In France, 1 woman dies every 3 days as a result of domestic violence. The number rapes per year is estimated around 48 000. Women are underpaid. Women’s pensions are considerably less substantial than those of men. Political, economic and symbolic power remains mostly in the hands of men. True, since the 60’s and 70’s, men share more in household duties: statistically, 3 min more than 30 years ago!! So I ask my question again: are the French Republic and feminism compatible? We would be tempted to say no!

Actually, the answer is neither yes nor no. French women liberated French women and it’s thanks to them that the Republic is less macho than it was. The same goes for Arabo-Muslim, African and Asian countries. No more, no less. With, however, one extra challenge: consolidating within women’s struggles the decolonial dimension, that is to say the critique of modernity and eurocentrism.

How to legitimize Islamic feminism?

For me, it legitimizes itself. It doesn’t have to pass a feminist exam. The simple fact that Muslim women have taken it up to demand their rights and their dignity is enough for it to be fully recognized. I know, as result of my intimate knowledge of women from the Maghreb and in the diaspora, that “the-submissive-woman” does not exist. She was invented. I know women that are dominated. Submissive ones are rarer!

I would like to conclude with what, in my opinion, should be priorities for decolonial feminism.

You have all heard about Amina Wadud and her involvement in the development of Islamic feminism. She became well known the day she lead the prayer, a role usually reserved for men. Out of context, I would say that it could be thought of as a revolutionary act. However, in an international context that saw the Iranian Revolution and 9/11 (as well as growing Islamophobia, demands that Islam update and modernize itself), a much more ambiguous message was brought to light. Was it answering strong demands, an urgency, the fundamental expectations of women from the Umma? Or were these expectations of the white world? Allow me to dwell on the latter hypothesis. Not that there aren’t any women who find it an injustice that only men be allowed to lead the prayer but because women’s priorities and urgent needs are elsewhere.

What do Afghan, Iraqi and Palestinian women want? Peace, the end of the war and the occupation, the rebuilding of their national infrastructures, legal frameworks that guarantee their rights and protect them, access to sufficient food and water, the ability to feed and educate their children under good conditions. What do Muslim women in Europe and more generally those who are immigrants and who, for the most part, live in lower income neighborhoods want? A job, housing, rights that protect them not only from state violence but also men’s violence. They demand respect for their religion, their culture. Why are all of these demands silenced and why does the issue of leading the prayer make its way across the globe when Judaism and Christianity have never really made apparent their own intransigent defense of the equality of sexes? To finish up with this example, I believe that Amina Wadud’s act was, in fact, quite the opposite of what it claimed to be. In reality and independently of the theologian’s own wishes, this act, in my opinion, was counter-productive. It will only be able to adopt a feminist dimension once Islam is equally treated with respect and once the demands to lead the prayer come from Muslim women themselves. It is time to see Muslim men and women how they really are and not how we would like them to be.

I conclude here and hope to have shown the ways in which a true decolonial feminism could benefit women, all women when they, themselves, deem it to be their path to emancipation.

Houria Bouteldja, Madrid, 22 October 2010.

Translated by Amy Fechtmann

Who is Tariq al-Bishri?

Posted: 02/15/2011 by editormary in Egypt, Middle East, Middle East Issues, Religion
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from Nisralnasr blog

Tariq al-Bishri and Constitutional Revision

News that the Supreme Comittee of the Armed Forces has appointed the former judge of the State Council, Tariq al-Bishri,  as chair of a committee to re-write or revise the Egyptian constitution is remarkably important.  It may also provide some insight into what the military is thinking and what possibilities they are willing to consider.  For a process that we are only a couple of days into, this announcement itself is laden with historical meaning (and irony) as well as possible ambiguity.

Given that the ongoing labor conflict and the army’s advice that it end quickly is capturing most of the commentary, I want to write about Al-Bishri himself.  Even as I write state television is providing its own account of what his appointment might mean. 

The deepest irony which cannot be lost on anyone who has been following events and most of the Western accounts of them is that the armed forces have turned to an 80-year old public intellectual and judge to guide the task of re-writing the constitution for the 21st century in the wake of a revolution made by three generations removed from him.  What few accounts in English I have seen so far refer to him as a moderate Islamist, an honest figure, and a former secular leftist who is a “bridge” between secular political figures and the Muslim Brothers. 

Bishri himself is a more complex figure whose familial and personal history are revelatory of changes in Egyptian society over the last century.  His grandfather served in the position of Shaykh al-Azhar, the most important religious position in the Egypt, at the beginning of the 20th century.  His father was on the Court of Cassation, the highest state appellate court in the 1930s.  He himself spent his entire working career in the State Council which is the highest administrative court in Egypt and is modeled on the French Conseil d’Etat.  There is, insofar as I know, no equivalent in the American legal system.  The job of the State Council is to ensure that the state follows its own rules.  It is not, at any rate not directly, supposed to rule on the constitutionality of laws in the way the US Supreme Court does.  It is supposed to make sure that the administrative actions of the state conform to the rules it has already set in place.   Although this is a somewhat different way of looking at the rule of law than the Anglo-American one we are used to, it can be a powerful tool for disciplining the executive power but only if there is indeed an independent judiciary.  Egypt, of course, also has a Supreme Constitutional Court and it appears that at least a couple of members of that body also sit on this committee.

Although Al-Bishri entered his career in the 1950s after graduating from law school he is old enough to have memories of what my old professor Afaf Marsot called Egypt’s liberal experiment.  Thus one of the ironies of appointing an 80 year old to chair the reform committee is that no one much younger has any memory or experience with an Egypt that had a functioning parliament or a commitment, however limited, to liberal institutions.  Younger people do, of course, have experiences with such systems but not in Egypt; to the extent that they have experienced liberal democracy it has been outside the country whether in the US or Europe. 

Bishri has been an acerbic critic of Husni Mubarak and his government.  In his presciently titled booklet, Egypt Between Disobedience and Decay, Bishri outlined how the creation of an authoritarian state rooted in Mubarak’s person had worsened the dictatorial tendencies that had been present since 1952 but had added the burden of decreased competence as the regime sought compliance rather than capability from its agents.  He also pointed out the extremely unequal income distribution that became increasingly prevalent in the society during Mubarak’s 30 years in power.

Bishri is widely considered a leading (if not the leading) public intellectual in Egypt today.  This is not to say everyone agrees with him and in recent years he has evoked some significant criticism for his involvement in some very public controversies about the role of Copts and especially the Church in Egyptian society. 

Bishri has served as an adviser to several groups of younger activists (and these days almost all activists are younger than he is) including Kifayah (Enough) which can be considered the point of departure of the groups that initiated and led the recent mass protests.  Although he is personally close to members of the Muslim Brothers (including the noted attorney Salim Al-Awa) and has a high opinion of their importance in Egyptian political history, he has (to my knowledge) never been a member.  He is often bracketed in Western accounts with others who are considered Islamic liberals such as Awa or the constitutional law professor Kamal Abu al-Magd who Mubarak, in the waning hours of his government, appointed to his own committee to oversee constitutional reform.  That committee now appears to be disbanded.

In his younger days, Bishri was closely associated with the left although he was influenced at least as much by the writings of Max Weber and lawyers associated with the British Labor party as by Karl Marx. One of Bishri’s earliest interventions on the organization of the Egyptian state was a short book published by the Communist publisher, New Culture, in the 1970s on democracy and Nasserism.  This may be why he is often viewed as a lapsed leftist, although his analysis of the Nasserist state set out the themes which have dominated much of his political criticism in the intervening years:  the dangers of a state without an independent judiciary and an overly power executive.  One point Bishri made then and has made in different ways since is that to the degree the legislative and executive branches are unified as has occurred in Egypt over the past 60 years the independence of the judiciary is also compromised.  In other words, without a separation of the powers of legislation and execution there can be no real power of adjudication except perhaps at the most elementary level of arbitrating private disputes.

Without knowing exactly what mandate the committee he chairs was given by the military, it is hard to be very specific.  Even television comment here today points out that al-Bishri has long been a champion of judicial independence.  It would be difficult for Bishri to refuse service on such a committee at such a moment but it is also difficult to imagine he would have accepted to serve merely as a figurehead.

One plausible guess therefore is that the committee will at least pose the possibility of a much stronger parliament as a counterweight (rather than an alternative) to a powerful presidency.  Bishri may be one of the few legal scholars who would favor a working separation of powers rather than lodging authority either in the presidency or the parliament.  Such a separation would, at least in what he has written across the years, be the prelude to an equally powerful but independent judiciary whose role would then be, as in the US, to balance these two contenders. 

Although al-Bishri may have ideas about the organization of the institutions of the state that bear similarities to the US he is a strong nationalist and by no means particularly enamored of American policies. He has very strong sentiments about the strategic dangers that he sees Israel posing to Egypt.  That said, Bishri himself is tasked with how the institutions of the state should be constituted not with the day to day policies they should follow.  Along with a profound concern with judicial independence he may also have two other goals.  One, which will command little direct objection in today’s Egypt, is to continue the policies of the provision of social welfare in ways that mirror concerns of a generation of European Social Democrats and Egyptian nationalists when he was a young man.  Bishri will probably push for a strongly independent judiciary in ways that both Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg can agree with.  He is not likely to want the Egyptian state to adopt the vision of the economy that John Roberts, Samuel Alito or  Clarence Thomas would find compelling.  On the question of Islam he is extremely unlikely to push for excluding the revised Article 2 that shariah is the source of Egyptian law.  For better or worse he believes that most Egyptian law is already compliant with shariah and he generally argues that the role of shariah in Egyptian law is similar to that of natural law in European legal systems:  it provides judges (not so much legislators) with cues about what to do when the legislature has been silent or incoherent.  He does not seem inclined to allow the ulama (Islamic legal scholars) to interpret law for the regular judiciary except (and this is an important exception) in cases in which legislation has given them that authority. 

Bishri is profoundly antagonistic to the military tribunals and special courts as well as the state of emergency that the government has employed over the past decade.  Far more important for Egypt’s future, however, is his occasional suggestion (at least when he was much younger) of a very different vision of the Egyptian state:  one in which the high degree of centralization and hierarchy that currently characterizes it was sharply reduced.  What, in other words, if (without dismantling the current state which shares much in common with the various governments that issued from the French revolution) Egyptians were to gain much more authority to make decisions over their own lives?  Bishri will not (and I think very few Egyptians would)  propose transforming Egypt into a federal system whether on the American, German or Brazilian models.  But he might be interested in transferring power away from a hierarchical system centered in Cairo to one in which Egyptians gained more control over the institutions that affect their lives locally.  In some ways the past three weeks have confirmed some of Bishri’s earlier ideas that Egyptians could govern themselves if given the chance.  He now may be in a position to push that idea a little further forward.

The Rotten Orchard


(there are many important hyperlinks, the colour of which is very close to the text colour.) On March 19th, two months after the 22-day devastation of Gaza and the slaughtering of over 1,400 Palestinians, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz published harrowing testimonies by numerous Israeli soldiers who had participated in “Operation Cast Lead.” The soldiers, all recent graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program, were speaking at an open academic forum about their recent military experiences and, as Sarah Anne Minkin of Jewish Peace News reports, “confessed that they’d knowingly shot civilians to death in Gaza, that they’d intentionally vandalized Palestinian homes, and that the rules of engagement in the war – rules handed down from above – were exceptionally permissive.”

In response to these testimonies, the Israeli military denied the claims made by their own personnel, stating that even if some of the allegations and anecdotes were true (since the troops had “no reason to lie”), they were isolated incidents and did not represent the IDF as a whole. Nonetheless, the IDF promised to conduct “intensive and comprehensive inquiries” and an investigation was launched.

Eleven days later, on March 30th – half the time it took the Israeli air force, navy, and army to murder 313 children, 116 women, 497 civilian men, and 255 non-combatant police officers, wound over 6,000 more, and leave tens of thousands homeless – the Israeli military concluded that the soldiers’ stories of gross misconduct and war crimes were baseless, that they were “based in hearsay” and “rumors,” and declared an end to the probe. Even though the pre-military program’s own founder and leader, Danny Zamir, who is himself a deputy battalion commander in the IDF, described the soldiers’ testimonies as “dismaying and depressing” and concluded that the stories reveal the truth about “an army with very low norms of value,” the IDF investigators disagreed. Luckily for the IDF, the “investigation” by the IDF found that the IDF was still, in fact, according to the IDF, “the most moral army in the world.” What a relief that must have been.

Apparently, the claims of intentionally targeting Palestinian civilians, of shooting women and children, of the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure and personal property, even if they are true, are only, we are told, the misguided actions of a few bad apples.

In fact, we are told that, in Israel, any evidence of military or political misconduct, human rights or international law violations, or racism and oppression are mere aberrations from normality, simple – however troubling – deviations from the peace-loving, ethnically tolerant, democratically representative mainstream. We are told not to judge an entire society by the misdeeds of some bad apples. These bad apples don’t represent the whole Israeli orchard, which, we are told, thrives on justice and equality. (The fact that the Israeli orchard was planted atop a bulldozed Palestinian orchard is, we are told, irrelevant. Even broaching such a topic is anti-Semitic…we are told.)

We are told that the Jewish Rabbinate distributed books and pamphlets, indoctrinating Israeli troops headed for Gaza with claims that they are holy warriors fighting to expel the Palestinians (collectively called “murderers”) who are “interfering with our conquest of this holy land.” The rabbis preach that there is a “a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter” of Israel to non-Jews and the literature they hand out states that “when you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral.” We are told that these rabid rabbis are just a handful of overzealous, extremist apples.

Even though in the first nine hours of the recent Gaza assault the Israeli Air Force dropped over 100 tons of bombs on one of the most densely populated areas on Earth – an area blockaded to ensure that no one penned up inside could escape Israeli missiles, shells, and bullets, we are told that the atrocities that occurred in Gaza must have been perpetrated by a few bad apples.

In three weeks of devastating bombings and ground assaults, the Israeli military destroyed over 4,100 homes, 25 schools and hospitals, two bridges, 1500 factories and shops, and numerous government offices and buildings in Gaza. Ten water and sewage arteries, ten electricity-generating stations, and 80% of all agricultural properties, including all farms and crops, were also destroyed. Damages to Palestinian infrastructure exceed $2 billion. Who is being held responsible for this destruction? Is it the Israeli government that authorized the operation, the military brass that planned and ordered the attacks, or the pilots, sailors, and soldiers that carried them out? We are told that the bad apples of Hamas are to blame.

We are told that “for the most part, someone who belongs to Hamas’ civilian welfare organizations is treated the same way as a member of its military wing” and is a legitimate target as dictated by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security force. We are told that many of the Israeli attacks on Gaza were carried out via remote control. An Israeli reservist is quoted as saying, “It feels like hunting season has begun…Sometimes it reminds me of a Play Station game. You hear cheers in the war room after you see on the screens that the missile hit a target, as if it were a soccer game.” Have we lost count of bad apples yet?

We are told that Parash Hill, near Sderot, with views across lush green fields to Gaza City with the Mediterranean Sea beyond, was full of Israeli sightseers during the Gaza assault. They came with their families, binoculars, cameras with zoom lenses, and picnic baskets to watch Israeli F-16s, Apache helicopters, and unmanned drones fire missiles into residential neighborhoods, destroying buildings and slaughtering their terrified inhabitants. They gather on this “Hill of Shame” to view the carnage in the distance, celebrating the death and destruction, justifying the killing of children by saying, “When they grow up they’ll also probably be terrorists.” These Israelis, for whom watching genocidal air raids is a spectator sport, must be bad apples.

The Israeli military used banned and experimental weaponry such as white phosphorous and Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) in heavily-populated civilian neighborhoods of Gaza. These weapons cause severe burns, dismemberment and mutilation to their victims. Numerous other atrocities have been well documented by Israeli and international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild, and B’Tselem. We are told that the perpetrators of such blatant war crimes must surely be bad apples, but for some reason the International Criminal Court has yet to charge anyone for misconduct.

The Israeli army used flechettes, which are “anti-personnel weapons designed to penetrate dense vegetation…4cm long metal darts that are sharply pointed at the front, with four fins at the rear. Between 5,000 and 8,000 are packed into 120mm shells which are generally fired from tanks.” Wafa’ Nabil Abu Jarad, a 21-year-old pregnant mother of two, was killed by flechettes in Gaza. Who would fire such heavy weaponry at a civilian? Probably just another bad apple.


Testimonies from Israeli soldiers reveal that it was common practice to storm an apartment building in Gaza and open fire upon anything that moved. Women and children waving white flags were gunned down. Soldiers “break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool,” take over homes, write “Death to Arabs” on the walls, spit on family pictures, urinate on piles of the residents’ clothing, smear shit on the walls, and receive orders to “clean out the whole house. We threw everything, everything, out of the windows to make room. The entire contents of the house went flying out the windows.” Palestinians who try to run away must be terrorists, just as those who stay where they are must be terrorists. The pilot who makes a minor mistake like bombing a school and killing 40 Palestinian children is forgiven while the Israeli squad commander who says, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her…I simply felt it was murder in cold blood” is yet another bad apple.

The sharpshooter who shot and killed a mother and her two children because they misunderstood orders (to turn right instead of left), given to them by Israeli soldiers who had invaded and occupied their home for days, holding them captive in one room before releasing them, was just a bad apple who made a mistake. According to the sniper’s squad leader:

“I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it…The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”

Maybe he wasn’t such a bad apple, actually. After all, he was just following orders.

The non-commissioned officer who revealed that when the Israeli army “entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey…I call that murder. Each storey, if we identify a person, we shoot them,” must just be talking about orders given by a bad apple or two and carried out by some more bad apples.

We are told that the Israeli soldiers who have custom t-shirts designed and printed for their units at end of training or field duty that bear such images as dead Palestinian babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques are just bad apples.

The snipers who wear shirts depicting a dead Palestinian baby with a teddy bear and his weeping mother beside him, accompanied by the inscription “Better use Durex,” the soldiers wearing shirts with a drawing of a Palestinian boy and the words, “Don’t bother running because you’ll die tired,” those who wear shirts depicting an Israeli soldier raping a Palestinian girl and the inscription “No virgins, no terror attacks,” the sharpshooters from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion who wear T-shirts showing a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, and the slogan, “1 shot, 2 kills,” these, we are told again and again, are just some more bad apples.

We are told that troops in Gaza engaged in a military practice called the “Neighborhood Procedure,” wherein Palestinian civilians are forced, often at gunpoint, to enter homes and ask the inhabitants to come out. This practice has been rejected by Israel’s own Supreme Court due to the ruling that using civilians in military operations violates not only IDF protocol but also international law, such as the Geneva Conventions that guarantee immunity to all civilians. So what is happening to the bad apples in the IDF who are using Palestinian civilians as human shields?

We are told that the IDF commanders who ordered their troops to shoot at Palestinian and Red Cross paramedics, rescuers, and ambulances in Gaza, preventing evacuation and treatment of the wounded, resulting in the deaths of an unknown number of Palestinians, in another unequivocal breach of international law, are most likely just some bad apples.

The rules of engagement in Gaza, as defined by the Israeli military, state that a Palestinian need only be in a “problematic” location for him to be “incriminated” and thereby automatically be “sentenced to death. Often, there is no need for him to be identified as carrying a weapon. Three people in the home of a known Hamas operative, someone out on a roof at 2 A.M. about a kilometer away from an Israeli post, a person walking down the wrong street before dawn – all are legitimate targets for attack.” According to the IDF, the bad apples here are the “suspicious” Palestinians, stupidly living their lives without seeking permission from Israel, and not the soldiers shooting unarmed civilians.


In Gaza, Israeli soldiers entered the home of a woman and her ten children and told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” After ignoring the screams and pleas for mercy and repeating their demands, the soldiers said they would choose for her and murdered five of the children before her eyes. These soldiers are apparently bad apples.

A senior Israeli reserve officer, after hearing about some of the barbarity of the Israeli troops in Gaza, said it was important to “bear in mind what sort of values inductees have when they come to us these days. Every year, the education system produces a significant number of little racists.” That sounds like a significant number of bad little apples.

Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is one such bad apple. Lieberman, leader of the openly fascist Israel Beteynu party, ran for Prime Minister in Israel’s recent elections under the banner of “No loyalty, no citizenship” with the hopes of implementing oaths of allegiance to a Jewish state in order for Arab citizens of Israel and Jewish critics of Israeli policies toward Palestinians to maintain their citizenship. Lieberman even led a call to ban two Arab parties from Knesset elections – a move that was approved by the Central Elections Committee but subsequentally overturned by the Supreme Court. Undeterred, Lieberman said, “We will not give up. In the next Knesset we will pass the Citizenship Law, which will put a border on the disloyalty of some of the Israeli Arabs.” He is also a confessed and convicted child abuser, is under investigation for money-laundering and fraud, was a proud member of Meir Kahane’s Kach political party, which was outlawed due to its overt racism, and lives in an illegal Israeli settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.

As Minister of Transport in 2003, Lieberman, in response to the news that 350 Palestinian prisoners were to be given amnesty by Israel, declared that he would be happy to provide buses to take the prisoners to the Dead Sea and drown them there.

Of the thirty-three parties running for the Knesset in the recent elections, Israel Beteynu came in third. In mock elections held in 10 high schools prior to the official vote, the party came in first, followed by the hard-right Likud. The left-wing Meretz party came in dead last. Lieberman’s rabid teenage supporters wave Israeli flags and shout “Death to the Arabs” outside Israel Beteynu conferences, openly call for a fascist dictatorship in Israel, and explain their support for such beliefs by drawing connections to their mandatory military service this way:

“It gives us motivation against the Arabs. You want to enlist in the army so you can stick it to them. The preparation gives you the motivation to stick it to the Arabs and we want to elect someone who’ll do that. I like Lieberman’s thinking about the Arabs. Bibi doesn’t want to go as far.”

So, how many bad apples does it take for Israel Beteynu to finish third in parliamentary elections?

Lieberman’s predecessor, Tzipi Livni, is seen as being more of a centrist in Israeli politics. As leader of the Kadima party, founded in 2005 by war criminal Ariel Sharon, Livni supports the establishment of a Palestinian state in order to transfer Arab citizens out of Israel. Speaking at a Tel Aviv high school a week before the Gaza attacks, she said, “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic State of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines…And among other things, I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘your national solution lies elsewhere.'” Is someone who limits national identity and the full spectrum of rights to only Jewish citizens of Israel, thereby excluding nearly one fifth of the population, a good apple or a bad apple?

Benyamin Netanyahu is Israel’s new Prime Minister and head of the Likud party. The 1999 party platform, more than a decade newer than the constantly-pointed-to Hamas Charter, confirms Likud’s unabashed support for illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine:

“The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

The document also states that “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem” and wholly rejects any semblance of a sovereign Palestinian state:

“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”

If we are told that Hamas leaders Khalid Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh are bad apples for consistently offering 30-year-long truces and accepting (and recognizing) Israel as a legitimate political entity within its 1967 borders, then what exactly are Bibi and his Likudniks?

We are told that the Israeli government has banned Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem. At one recent event, celebrating the Arab League’s designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture for 2009, Israeli authorities broke up a children’s march at an East Jerusalem Catholic school and when the teenage girls present at the gathering “released a few dozen balloons in the red, white, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag over the walled Old City…Israeli military police and soldiers quickly moved into the schoolyard and popped the remaining balloons.” Obviously, these balloon-poppers and party-poopers are just some local bad apples enforcing the law.

A recent poll by Israel’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies shows that 46% of Israel’s Jewish citizens favor the “transfer” of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, 31% favor the “transfer” of Israeli-Arabs out of the country altogether. Moreover, 55% say that the state should encourage Arab emigration, only 49% support the establishment of a Palestinian state, 61% believe Israeli-Arabs pose a threat to Israel’s security, and around 80% are opposed to Israeli-Arabs being involved in important decisions, such as delineating the country’s borders. Another poll, conducted by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, found that 78% of Jewish Israelis are opposed to Arab parties being part of a coalition government, 56% believe that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development,” 75% agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent (54% of Arab Israelis feel the same way about Jews), and 75% of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

By contrast, the United Nations Development Program reports that nearly 70% of Palestinian young adults over the age of 17 oppose the use of violence to resolve the conflict with Israel and only 8% believe that violence is an important tool. The study also found that 42% were depressed by their current conditions and 39% were “extremely” depressed (55% in Gaza).

We are told that the barbaric destruction of Gaza had the support of 90% (if not 94%) of Israelis. Assuming this percentage excludes all Palestinian citizens of Israel, we’re only talking about 5 million or so bad apples.

When the seeds of a society are cultivated on a steady diet of historical falsehoods, bogus founding mythologies, unabated colonization and rampant militarism, some bad apples, infested with hatred, racism, and convictions of divine right, ethnic supremacy, and perpetual victimization, will surely grow.

But with so many bad apples, it is clear: the entire orchard is rotten.

Nima Shirazi is a writer and a musician. He was born and raised in Manhattan. Now living in Brooklyn, he writes the weblog Wide Asleep In America under the moniker “Lord Baltimore.” He can be reached at wideasleepinamerica (at) gmail (dot) com.

 


صلح با عدالت
Peace with justice

Lord Baltimore
Wide Asleep In America
Brooklyn, NY
http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com

The Beit Ayn settlement outpost near Hebron

WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh in al-Khalil

8 April, 2009

 

Religious Jewish terrorists on Thursday attacked a small Arab village north of al Khalil (Hebron), shooting randomly on civilians and vandalizing homes and businesses.

Eyewitnesses said as many as a hundred settler terrorists descended on the small village of Safa, 10 kilometers north west of al-Khalil, with the purpose of carrying out a pogrom against local inhabitants.

 

The terrorists were escorted by several Israeli army soldiers who reportedly made no effort to stop the terrorists who were shouting “death to the Arabs.”

 

The Palestinians, fearing for their lives, hurled stones at the rampaging  settlers to prevent them from setting fire to Palestinian property, prompting Israeli soldiers to open fire at the Palestinians.

 

At least 28 people were reportedly wounded with live ammunition, including a boy who was shot in the chest.

 

Medical sources said Thaer Nasser Adi, 17, was in serious but stable condition at the Ahli hospital in al–Khalil.

 

The mayor of the nearby town of Beit Ummar, Nasri Sabarna, described the settler rampage as “an unprovoked criminal act against innocent and peaceable people.”

 

Sabarna said the settlers wanted to terrorize the Palestinian villagers in order to take over their land and property.

 

He accused the right-wing Israeli government of giving Jewish terrorists a green light to attack Palestinians and vandalize their property.

 

“The present government is a government of settlers, by the settlers, for the settlers. I believe there is a full coordination between the settlers and the army.”

 

Muhammed, a local villager, called the settlers “savages and Nazis.”

 

“These people go to their religious Talmudic schools in the morning, and in the afternoon they come here to attack us, terrorize our women and children  and sabotage our property. What kind of religion are they following?”

 

Muhammed called on the international community to provide protection against “these barbarians who want to kill us and expel us from our land.”

 

He lashed out at the Israeli army for its “connivance and collusion” with the settlers, saying that the army and the settlers were “two sides of the same coin.”

 

Al-Khalil Governor Hussein al Araj, who arrived at the village soon after the disturbances, accused the Israeli army of failing to protect Palestinians from the settlers.

 

“I believe the settlers wouldn’t dare attack the village without at least a tacit approval from the Israeli army.”

 

Al-Araj held the Israeli army fully responsible for this “pogrom,” saying that Palestinians in the occupied territories needed international protection.

 

He added that settler attacks and terror would continue as long as “these criminal squatters remain here.”

 

The small settlement outpost, known as Beit Ayn, is home to extremist settlers who are indoctrinated in Jewish supremacy.

 

A few years ago, some of the settlers from Beit Ayn were caught implanting a large explosive charge at a Palestinian school near Jerusalem.

 

The explosion would have killed and injured dozens of Palestinian children.

 

Last week, a settler was killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the murder  of Palestinians by settler terrorists.

 

Normally, the Israeli justice system deals extremely lightly with settlers who murder Palestinians.

 

During the al-Qsa intifada,  the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish terrorists killed thousands of Palestinians, the vast majority of whom innocent civilians, to suppress Palestinian aspirations for freedom from decades of the Nazi-like Israeli military occupation.

 

According to an Israeli human rights organization, only a handful of cases of murder were investigated.

To listen to Gilad Atzmon deconstructing antisemitism click here (or link at the podcast at the bottom of this post)

 

To listen to David Aaronovitch reading Gilad Atzmon click here

 

To listen to David Aaronovitch’s tantrum click here

 

To listen to Atzmon confronted with an outraged Jewish member of the audience click here

 

To listen to a disappointed member of the audience click here

 

To listen to Aaronovitch confronted with a Jewish member of the audience click here

 

To listen to Aaronovitch’s closing remarks click here

 

To listen to Atzmon’s closing remarks click here

 

 

Last Wednesday, I participated in a panel that could have been a breakthrough debate on issues having to do with ‘Antisemitism’. The event was part of The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival and it took place at Oxford University. The discussion was moderated by the legendary BBC reporter Martin Bell. On the panel we had Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch.  They were there to elaborate on the case of ‘new antisemitism’. Interestingly enough, Aaronovitch and Cohen were the prominent advocates of the illegal war in Iraq through the British press. They are also notoriously famous for their  Islamophobic ranting, as if this is not enough, they were also caught supporting the latest Israeli deadly campaign in Gaza. I was there to argue that antisemitism is a spin, it is a myth, I was there to deliver a very simple message: there is no such a thing as antisemitism.

 

I was looking forward for the event. I gathered that it might not be easy confronting Britain’s loudest Ziocon lobbyists alone. In fact I was wrong. It was a piece of cake. It was almost an effortless task to expose and demolish the lame Zionist argument, mainly because there is no such argument. Zionism is not a dialogical narrative, it is rather a pragmatic ruthless practice that seeks control of land and discourse.

 

I may as well say it, unlike Aaronovitch and Cohen, I believe in dialogue and I support every form of well-argued debate. In fact, I would debate anyone, whether it is a Nazi or a Zionist, whether it is a white supremacist or a Judeocentric Islamophobe agitator.  In my world, platform is granted to anyone who endorses a well-mannered conversation. However, last Wednesday, both Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t want to debate or to argue. They believed that finishing me off would serve their cause. Funnily enough, not only did they fail, they ended up on the defence, begging for the audience to stop applauding and running out of sympathy.

 

Sadly, the panel was not very effective in elaborating on the given topic (Anti Semitism  – Alive And Well in Europe?). David Aaronovitch, who happened to be the first to talk, insisted that rather than discussing the subject, he would score more points citing the best of my published Jewels. He was determined to convince the audience that I was the lowest of the low and I should have never been invited to such a prestigious platform. This is not a joke. Aaronovitch who is notoriously famous for lobbying for a war that that has left (so far) 1.5 million civilians dead, a person that is engaged in spreading vile anti left and Islamophobic Zionised propaganda, is convinced that he is entitled to preach to the public who should participate in the discourse.  Aaronovitch foolishly anticipated that once he read my words, a gasp of resentment towards me would spread in the marquee. The deluded man must have invested an enormous amount of energy gathering these endless quotes. He must have read each of my papers, picking what he thoughtlessly and Zionistly interpreted as ‘outrageous thoughts’. I, on my side, was rather thrilled and amused. It doesn’t happen that often that people read my materials with such enthusiasm on such a prestigious platform. Neither myself nor my most devoted readers could do a better job presenting my ideas. 

 

Sadly for Aaronovitch, his plan didn’t work out, there was not a single noticeable reaction in the room.  There was not a single gasp of resentment.  And yet, the truth must be said, Aaronovitch is a very talented melodramatic epic performer. He brilliantly over-dramaticised my ideas, he beautifully stressed the various variations of the different ‘J’ words, he would then slow down, stare at me with exaggerated contempt, he would giggle expecting the crowed to join him. But they didn’t.

 

For some reason that is far beyond me, Aaronovitch and Cohen failed to realise that Oxford University was not exactly a Yeshiva. It was not an occupied territory either.  It wasn’t down to them or the Israeli Hasbara Committee to decide who was entitled to engage in a public debate. If anything, the two warmongers should have had the minimum intellectual integrity to ban themselves from the public eye for advocating a war that led to a genocide. The two warmongers should have enough honesty to realise that if there is antisemitism, as they say, they must be the root cause for such a phenomenon.

 

Aaronovitch failed to grasp that people who attend literary events are largely curious and open minded, they are far more interested in listening to some enlightening ideas rather than being indoctrinated or patronised by a rightwing Zionist propagandist agitator. 

 

Seemingly, Aaronovitch failed to realise that people out there do read the news from time to time. They read about Charles Freeman and the Jewish Lobby, they read about swindler Madoff, Lord Cash Machine Levy, Proxy donor David Abrahams, Labour Friends of Israel, Alan Greenspan and the credit crunch. People out there do realise that more than just a single prominent Zionist Jew is caught in the eye of the current storms (Iraq, finance, Gaza). Aaronovitch, who by his own admission, has been monitoring my writing for years, should have known that NO ONE out of the Jewish ghetto is offended by my observations about Jewish excessive lobbying and Zionist power. If anything, my stand against tribal politics makes me more and more popular within far bigger circles. 

 

Needless to say, I myself have never sought this kind of fame. I am a Jazz musician, I run a very rewarding musical career. When it comes to my intervention on Jewish identity, I write what I regard to be the truth, realising that there maybe more than one truth. I publish my thoughts while knowing that my truth today may be shaken tomorrow. My task is very simple. I try to be coherent just to make sure that at least I myself manage to follow my thread of thoughts. I am aware of the fact that my writing may devastate some, more than once I myself happen to be concerned with the ideas I managed to reach.  Unlike Cohen and Aaronovitch, for me it has never been a political battle, it has never been about power or scoring a win.  It was always about ethics and intellectual integrity. Seemingly, ethics and intellectual honesty is exactly what the Ziocons à la Aaronovitch/Cohen lack. Seemingly, it is evidently the shortage of ethical commitment and intellectual integrity that pushes Cohen and Aaronovitch back to where they belong: the insular segregated kosher cyber ghetto.

 

Notably, both Aaronovitch and Cohen are famous for their incredibly deceiving call to “Liberate the Iraqi people”. The two Jewish Chronicle writers claimed to know what the Iraqi people ‘desired’. They were obviously wrong and the total Western defeat in Iraq proves it beyond doubt. It is obviously understandable and expectable that two Zionist Londoners would fail to grasp the true will of the Iraqi people. Yet, one would expect Aaronovitch and Cohen to know ‘something’ about the middle class crowd in Oxford.  At the end of the day, Aaronovitch and Cohen were raised in the UK and educated in British Universities. In spite of them promoting Zionist propaganda in the midst of the British media, they are still British, they should have known better.  I would also expect that after 200 years of ‘Jewish assimilation’, the tribal activists would learn something about their neighbours’ appetite. Apparently Aaronovitch and Cohen didn’t. The enthusiastic reception of my intervention drove Aaronovitch into a vile tantrum. “Shame on you” he shouted at the applauding Oxford crowd. Not before too long, Aaronovitch was caught on tape blaming HIS audience for being antisemitic. Clearly, on the recording, sporadic members of the audience are heard giggling at the embarrassing sight of a neurotic outburst of a decaying Neocon. 

 

I do realise that my performance in Oxford was actually very symbolic in its resemblance to the success of the Iraqi resistance: though my English is rather broken, my grammar is faulty, my resources are limited, in spite of me being sluggish and slightly messy, the truth was on my side, or shall I say: the truth is in our side.  As far as public debate is concerned, Jewish tribalism, Zionism and Neocon precepts are indefensible.   We will win in every intellectual battle against those warmongers just because we are ethical, genuine and coherent. All we have to do is to survive their endless spin and slander.

 

Once Aaronovitch ended citing my ‘pearls’. Nick Cohen took the platform. He spoke about the Elders Of Zion. Like Aaronovitch, he failed to address the subject. It is clear that Zionist lobbyists really believe that focussing on a 19th century text would divert the attention from the current powerful elders who lobby for more and more global conflicts and biblical plunder. Cohen, I guess, must be convinced that as long as the protocols are alive in our thoughts, he may be able to advocate wars without us noticing it. He must be a fool. We do see him, we see it all and we do not like what we see.

 

“I refuse to accept the premise of the debate,” I told the people in Oxford. Antisemitism is a misleading notion. It is there to give the impression that opposition to Jewish politics is racially motivated. However, Jews are not a race nor they are in any proximity of any recognised racial continuum. Since Jews are not a race (though can be very racist) their opposition, at least currently, is not racially orientated or motivated whatsoever! 

 

Antisemitism is nothing but spin, it is there to silence criticism of Israel, Jewish nationalism, Jewish politics and Jewish lobbies around the world. Rather than talking about antisemitism, we better talk about the rise of anti-Jewish feelings.

 

I am more than willing to admit that there is indeed more than one piece of evidence of growing resentment towards Jewishness and I am referring here to Jewish ideology and Jewish politics.  Yet, in a liberal society, political and ideological criticism is supposed to be a fully legitimate endeavour. As it happens, there is a growing rage towards Jewish politics and national politics in particular, but this shouldn’t take us by surprise considering the crimes that are committed locally and globally by Zionists and Neocons, whether it is Olmert’s genocidal practice in Palestine or Aaronovitch/Cohen lobbying for a war against Israel’s enemies and last pockets of resistance.

 

I was also willing to admit that some innocent ethnic Jews are caught in the midst of all this. This is indeed a serious problem and I do not have a simple answer to offer.  Yet, I would mention that my wife, my kids, and a few of my band members who happen to be of Jewish origin have never come across any form of antisemitic abuse. If we have ever noticed any abuse, it was somehow always Jewish violence against us in the form of death threats, smears, slander and spin.

 

In the light of this very simple observation, 2 questions must be asked.

1.    How is it that the campaigners against anti Semitism such as Aaronovitch and Cohen happen to be also muddled up with some ludicrous Islamophobic statements?

 

The answer is very simple. Those who preach to us about antisemitism are neither humanists nor universalists, they are just banal tribal activists that are committed to the interests of their ethnic group and that group alone. The very few sporadic gentiles who advocate this immoral discourse do it for the sake of political reasons. Within the Jewish terminology they are called the ‘Sabbath Goy’(1). They are there to work for the Jews and they are fully rewarded accordingly.

 

2.    We have good reason to believe that Aaronovitch and Cohen know very well that Jews are not descendents of people of the Semitic origin and do not form a racial continuum. Why then do they try to pretend that the negation towards Jews is racially motivated?

 

Again the answer is rather obvious. The Jewish ethnic campaigner will spin and cheat and spread lies because Jewish ideology (right, left and centre) cannot be defended or argued in rational or ethical terms. All Jewish national politic discourses are exclusivist, supremacist and racially orientated (though Jews are far from being a race, every form of Jewish politics is categorically racist to the bone. It is always about different formations of a ‘Jews only’ club).  

 

To a certain extent, I was very lucky to share a platform with Aaronovitch and Cohen for the simple reason that they are the ultimate embodiment of tribal activism and war lobbying in this country. Aaronovitch and Cohen, amongst a few other Ziocon protagonists, are the root cause of resentment towards Jewish political lobbying. It was almost entertaining to hear the Jewish Chronicle writer Aaronovitch denying being a Jew, presenting the lame pathetic argument that he had been in a synagogue just “3 times in his entire life”. Aaronovitch must have thought that he may get away with this new spin. He obviously knows that Jews do not have to believe in God, they do not have to go to synagogues, he must know also that even one visit in a synagogue is probably far more than the vast majority of humanity has ever experienced.  What makes Aaronovitch into a Jewish tribal campaigner is, for instance, the fact that he is listed on the Israel Hasbara (2) Committee as one of their authors. The Israeli propaganda (Hasbara) Committee, which lists Aaronovitch as one of its authors declares that its aim is: 

 

“To promote understanding of Judaism and Israel”

 

Do you know any goy who is affiliated with the ‘promotion’ of Judaism AND Israel? Oh yes, Aaronovitch, has one spinning line he has yet to explore. He may suggest to us that he is actually a ‘Christian Zionist’. 

 

What makes Aaronovitch into a Jew has nothing to do with his religious affiliation or belief.  It has nothing to do with the ethnicity of his parents. It has nothing to do with the shape of his nose or the tip of his knob. What makes Aaronovitch into a Jew and a Zionist one in particular is his affiliation with the most rabid, notorious, nationalist Jewish political school. What made Aaronovitch so spiteful and despised in Oxford had nothing to do with his father’s origin, it was actually his Zionist politics and Zionised tactics, it was his commitment to Israeli Propaganda, it was the fact that he lobbied for a war that made us all into war criminals, a war that led to a genocide of 1.5 million innocent Iraqi civilians. 

 

Aaronovitch and Cohen may have learned a lesson in Oxford. Aaronovitch pledged never to see me again. Listening to the audio recording of the event and especially to his tantrum he has a very good reason not to. The contemptible Ziocon was exposed. However, in the light of Aaronovitch being listed as an Israeli ‘propaganda author’, and bearing in mind his being a lobbyist for an illegal war, Mr Aaronovitch is not exactly a Western liberal humanist. Seemingly, he is more of an Israeli patriot than a British one. This is something that his readers in The Times must keep in mind once Aaronovitch attempts to drag this country into another devastating global conflict.   


[1] Sabbath Goy (urban dictionary)- Originally, a non-Jew who does work on Sabbath that a Jew cannot do. In modern times, it is a non-Jew who toadies to the every wish and whim of the Jews, especially in politics, or a non-Jew who is heavily supportive of Israel.
 
[2] Hasbara –Propaganda (Hebrew)

 

SEE ALSO: Dima Omar, So What Did We Learn About Anti-Semitism?

Well, not much really…. Just that when you invite people who don’t consider each other to be “within the pale”, as British columnist David Aaronovitch said, then the discussion on anti-Semitism turns into character assassination.  

No one expected a calm discussion during the debate entitled “Anti-Semitism – Alive and Well in Europe?”, which was organised by the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. Along with Aaronovitch, the panel included Gilad Atzmon and the Observer columnist Nick Cohen. 

It’s not clear why Cohen was invited to join at the very last minute when his views, to the naked eye at least, are akin to those of Aaronovitch’s. It would be fair to describe both men as supporters of Zionism who believe that anti-Semitism is on the rise and that much of it is “unfairly” blamed on Israel’s actions. 

Atzmon’s views, on the other hand, are well-known to those who follow websites on Palestinian activism. He has very strong views on “Jewishness” and “Jewish identity”, and makes a clear distinction between Jews as a people and those who commit crimes in the name of “Jewish ideology”. 

Both Aaronovitch and Cohen launched an attack on Atzmon. Aaronovich took the podium for 18 minutes (when we were told each speaker would only have 10, and indeed Atzmon had less than 10) during which he gave a  theatrical performance, reading out paragraph after paragraph of Atzmon’s articles to prove the point that the man was “fascist”. I doubt anyone in the audience managed to grasp what he was saying, but when you spit out the word “Jews” then at least it gives the impression what you’re saying about them is bad! 

Cohen, other the hand, kept wondering, over and over again, why “upper-class”, “educated”, “white” people would waste such a beautiful spring day debating anti-Semitism with a “nutter” (well, at least I could say I learned something about racial and class prejudice that day!) 

One can imagine how shocked and angry Atzmon was by the time it was his turn to take the podium. And this is why the event became a missed opportunity. He  tried to steer the debate back to its theme, but at times his emotions failed him. In between having to answer to the attacks levelled against him by Aaronovitch and Cohen, and trying to remind people of what they came to discuss, much of his ideas were lost on those who’ve never followed his writings. 

Once the floor was opened for questions, a member of the audience said the discussion, as a whole, “was a profound disappointment”. 

So why did the Oxford Literary Festival invite Atzmon? After all, he’s the “proud self-hating Jew” who wonders how America has allowed its foreign policies to be shaped by “ruthless Zionists”. He’s the one who insists that the burning of synagogues is illegitimate, yet he believes the motivations behind such actions are political rather than religious or racial.

Cohen certainly conceded that whenever Israel launches a fresh attack on Gaza or Lebanon, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries are attacked in the UK. Yet somehow he refuses to accept the correlation between Zionist policies and anti-Semitism. He wants us to believe that anti-Semitism is fuelled by pure hatred for the Jews. After all, Chinese property wasn’t attacked in the aftermath of the Tibetan clashes last year. Sudanese property wasn’t attacked when Darfur was in the media. 

Well, Mr. Cohen, maybe it’s because China and Sudan are being condemned in the international community, especially in Britain, while Israel to this day is being hailed as the West’s indispensable partner. Maybe it’s because what Israel has committed in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead” earlier this year has created more devastation than what happened in Darfur (and this is according to the head of the International Red Cross). Maybe it’s because it is acceptable for British Jews to join the IDF, and actively take part in Israel’s wars, while British Muslims or Chinese or whatever would never dare join a non-British army. 

The response from some members of the “upper-middle class, educated, white” audience proved that these questions are not an endorsement of conspiracy theories. They are legitimate questions. 

One man raised the question of the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington. It was their pressure that led Obama to back down on his decision to appoint Mr. Freeman as an advisor, a man well-known for his criticism of Israel. “In those circumstances,” the man asked, “is a rise in anti-Semitism surprising when democracy is affected by that type of lobbying activity that prevents Obama from being able to appoint Ambassador Freeman?” 

We know what Atzmon would’ve said, but neither Aaronovitch nor Cohen answered that question. 

None of this justifies attacking synagogues or anti-Jewish graffiti. If anything, Atzmon – whom Aaronovitch and Cohen blasted as a “fascist” and a “nutter – was saying ordinary Jewish people “must be saved of the crimes imposed on them.” The crimes taking place in Palestine aren’t being committed just in the name of Israel, but in the name of the Jewish people. That’s not a conspiracy theory, that’s a fact. If you’re in doubt, go and read the Israeli government’s statements during Operation Cast Lead. 

Is it so outrageous to ask Jews in the UK to disassociate themselves from what is happening in Israel, without being labelled as an “anti-Semite”? Apparently it is. When people applauded Atzmon for making that point in the discussion, they were attacked by Aaronovitch who shouted “Shame on you! How dare you!”, even addressing one member in the audience by saying “You Sir, are an anti-Semite.”

In the aftermath of the July 7th attacks, Muslims were attacked everywhere. It became so dangerous that a fatwa had to be issued allowing women to take off the headscarf if they felt their lives were in danger. Yet at the same time, the Muslim community was under enormous pressure to disassociate itself from the terrorists who blew up those trains and busses. While they were being attacked themselves, they were still expected to make a clear statement that what happened on July 7th does not represent them and is not being committed in their name. 

Try and say that to the Jewish community today without being called an “anti-Semite”. 

Now I don’t want to ponder too much semantics but it is very ironic that anti-Semitism has been coined as a term exclusively for Jews when most of them do not belong to the Semitic race. Arabs, on the other hand, are Semitic. So if for one moment I, as an Arab, could reclaim that definition, I leave you with one point to think about. 

In the beginning of his speech, Aaronovitch wanted to illustrate just how bad Atzmon was. He quoted the Guardian’s Jon Lewis who described Atzmon’s writings as “extremely popular in the Arab world.” Aaronovitch then fixed his audience with a gaze and asked them to keep that sentence at the very front of their minds. 

On second thought, I think I did learn something about “anti-Semitism” that day. 

Dima Omar is a Palestinian journalist and filmmaker. She is based in London. 

To listen to David Aaronovitch reading Gilad Atzmon click here

To listen to David Aaronovitch’s tantrum click here

To Listen to Gilad Atzmon deconstructing antisemitism click here

To listen to Atzmon confronted with a outraged Jewish member of the audience click here
 
To listen to a disappointed member of the audience click here
 
To link to Aaronovitch confronted with a Jewish member of the audience click here
 
To listen to Aaronovitch’s closing remarks click here
 
To listen to Atzmon’s closing remarks  click here

WRITTEN BY Anis Hamadeh

 

With amazement the world public has noticed in recent weeks that war crimes had apparently been committed in Gaza. (1) Even Israeli soldiers and military staff now report about their own cruelties against the Palestinian population, cruelties that we do not even know from movies. (2) The stylish T-shirts, that promote the shooting of pregnant Palestinian women by indicating that in this way you can kill two human beings with one bullet, appeared strange to people abroad, too. (3) Moreover, the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israeli foreign minister horrifies the public. (4) There would be further reasons to be disgusted, like the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the plans for expanding the illegal settlements, some killings, the abduction of Gazan fishermen and so on, but these details do not enter the global discourse, because, well, because they never did. The question is: how genuine is the amazement about what happened in Gaza?

 

Did anything change in Israeli politics? Are those really completely new phenomena, suddenly coming up in the discourse, out of thin air? Or do we only witness the consequences of a continuing strategy that had begun more than sixty years ago? There are good arguments for the latter alternative, especially when you look at the facts. Let us, for example, revisit the year 1948 …


Deir Yassin and the Human Rights

 

1948 was a special year. It was marked by Plan D, the Israeli plan to ethnically cleanse Palestine. (5) Jewish troops expelled about 700,000 people from the indigenous population of the country and killed many of the men in combat age. Even in 1936, after the Palestinian revolt, the Palestinian elite had been persecuted. This was shortly after the first Palestinian party was founded which was to represent the interests of the native population in the two fronts struggle against the British occupation and the Zionist conquerers. “Punishments” like the demolition of residence houses were firstly used by the British and were adopted later by the Zionists. In 1948, several Jewish terror groups were known, like the Haganah, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Lechi and others. They killed, took the land away from the local people and later contributed several prime ministers who were accepted by the world public without any difficulty – very similar to today.

 

Don’t think that the pogroms against the population of Palestine during the execution of Plan D were secret. When the future Prime Minister Menachem Begin had the Arab village of Deir Yassin attacked on April 9 and many of its inhabitants killed (certainly including children and women) in order to terrorize and horrify the people, this was covered in the world press. Begin defended his deed with a typical Israeli bonmot: “The massacre of Deir Yassin not only had its justification – without the ‘victory’ of Deir Yassin there had never been a State of Israel.” (6) Four years later, the same Begin attempted to kill the German chancellor Adenauer (7) and in 1978 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

When Deir Yassin went through the press, the horror about this deed was huge, very similar to today after Gaza. Everybody was surprised and disgusted, even perpetrators like Haganah and the Jewish Agency. A pattern came into being, the pattern of shooting and crying, i.e. killing with subsequent lament. This has worked: there have never been any consequences for Israel. The killings, the expropriations and the humiliation of the local population until today belong to the salient characteristics of Israeli politics. Nothing has changed.

 

At the end of 1948, large portions of Palestine were “Palestinian-free”, much more than the designated part of the land that the international community and the UN had granted to the Jews (with the explicit demand that the local people be treated well). We remember that the international community decided to give some land to the victims of the European genocide against the Jews and everybody was happy with the Palestine decision … except, of course, the people who lived in the region, because it was their land according to all international and logical standards. Weapons and myths (8) silenced them.

 

1948 was also the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December, when Israel was established on the blood of the Palestinians, the world celebrated the Human Rights and did not care about Palestinians. The world wanted human rights with exceptions, but this did not work. Now, sixty years later, we begin to understand that.

 

The Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state …

 

During its history, Israel has continued the Deir Yassin policy, and today there is less than 10 or 5 percent of the land left to the Palestinians. On global refugee days people do not talk about Palestinians, although they are the biggest group of refugees in the world with far over 5 million people. This works because Palestinians (and Arabs and Muslims in general) are needed to fill the role of the anti-Semite which is substantial to the Zionist ideology.

 

It is, as if the world said: the Aryan state did not work, let’s try a Jewish state … Is it really surprising that we witness stunning similarities between the two today? (9) The Israeli population today is exactly confronted with the “final solution” subject now, because Israel cannot make peace on the one hand (this would imply justice for Palestinians, an unthinkable idea in Israel’s decision-making) and needs to end the conflict, on the other. With extremely violent politicians like Netanyahu and Lieberman the “transfer” plan comes closer, an idea to just expel Palestinians en masse like in the old days. Of course, if this happens, it will not mean peace, but more violence and even stronger resistance. So let your imagination fly and think about what a final solution could look like.

 

It is not known how many Palestinians must die before the world recognizes that they are human beings and not anti-Semites. Right now the killing goes on, the Gaza peak did not evoke a real criticism yet. Israel is encouraged to go on to see how far it can go. Do not think that this was it, do not think that Israel will now see that it cannot go on like this. The Zionists have learned that they can do anything with impunity. On March 22, 2009, a total of 14,000 tons of new US weapons arrived in Ashdod on the German cargo ship “MS Wehr Elbe” (owner: Oskar Wehr KG, Hamburg). (10) With these weapons alone, tens of thousands of people can be killed.

 

The Jewish state will collapse, like the Aryan state has collapsed, because both have the seed of self-destruction in them. Both are clearly racist, violent and expansionist in nature. This time it hits Arabs and Muslims instead of Jews. For over sixty years the international community has been blind to this fact, although it is so obvious that ordinary people know it and talk about it – not politicians or journalists or others who need the public.

 

Countries like Germany even have a “reason of state” to secure the persecution of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, calling it a “historical responsibility”. There is no other possible reason to introduce a reason of state if it was not for something highly illegal that needs to be hushed up.

 

We may still save the rest

 

The repressive tolerance of Western countries like Germany and the USA makes it possible to write all this down, because it usually has no “harmful” effects towards change. A lot of people think that – unlike the Nazi state – the Zionist state cannot be overcome by violence and thus will prevail. This is an error. Racist regimes of this ilk end up in self-destruction if they are not overcome from the outside. What is important now: we can still save lives. We cannot save the about 1,500 dead in Gaza anymore. But we may still save the rest.

 

At the end of May, the Free Gaza Movement will organize a flotilla of boats, the Hope Fleet, to break the siege of Gaza. You can support them. (11) The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is present in Palestine to shield Palestinians from the Zionist killers (12). You can support them and save lives. This is a critical phase and every hand is needed, every tongue and every cent. Boycott Zionists now! Take it seriously now! Boycott non-Israeli journalists and politicians who support the killing! Argue with them! Support those Jews who are committed against violence and for peace in Palestine. For the sake of humanity and of yourself: do not take part in this murder.

 


NOTES:
1. E.g. in the German “Spiegel”, “Israelische Armee: Gaza-Veteranen schockieren mit Aussagen über wahllose Morde.” by Ulrike Putz, Beirut,
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,614286,00.html
2.
See e.g. ‘Shooting and crying’, von Amos Harel, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html
3. See e.g. http://news.sky.com 20 March 2009, “Israeli Army T-Shirts Mock Gaza Killings”, by Dominic Waghorn (URL too long)
4. Guardian 25 March 2009, “Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s shame”, by Neve Gordon, http://www.redress.cc/palestine/ngordon20090327
5. Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, 2006
6.
Markus A. Weingardt (2002): Deutsche Israel- und Nahostpolitik. p. 33
7. See e.g. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12 June 2006 “‘Im Auftrag des Gewissens’. Begin war Drahtzieher des Adenauer-Attentats”, www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76479E9E76425072B196C3/Doc~E35BBCD5A37DA47809AD4F6A865C6332B~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
8. Myths like “A land without a people for a people without land”, “Arab aggressions/ David vs. Goliath”, “anti-Semitic Arabs/Muslims”, Palestinian Nazi cooperation (it was far less effective than Zionist Nazi cooperation), Arab military superiority (Jordan was the only country with a decent army then, and the Jordanian king was successfully promised a part of the prey, namely the West Bank); also see John Rose (2004), “Myths of Zionism”
9. This comparison is still forbidden in the mainstream, “for the security of Israel”, but it is as obvious as it is founded and necessary. See my essay “The Second Case”, Feb. 5, 2009, http://www.anis-online.de/1/essays/23.htm
10. Amnesty International, Press Release, April 1, 2009, United States Delivers Massive New Weapons Shipment to Israel, Confirmed by Pentagon, Says Amnesty International, http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20090402002&lang=e (NB: The German government is co-guilty, cf. (in German): http://www.radio-utopie.de/2009/01/23/Bundesregierung-dementiert-Wissen-ueber-Waffentransport-nach-Israel-Chronologie-der-Wehr-Elbe-Affaere)
11. See press release and updates at www.freegaza.org
12. http://palsolidarity.org

 

SOURCE: http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/804-shooting-and-crying-nothing-new-since-1948–or-is-it

 

WRITTEN BY IQBAL TAMIMI Yesterday evening the Centre for Islamic Studies in Oxford hosted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Amina, whom I consider as an icon of a Muslim woman that deserves all the respect and admiration for her continuous support for the Palestinian women and her courage and dedication to human rights. A number of diplomatic personalities and statesmen accompanied the PM to Oxford after the last G20 summit meeting.

Erdogan was welcomed with a very long, warm applause, he spoke to the masses after some delay by the traffic in London which he apologized for, commenting in his usual humorous way that his counterpart Gordon Brown should do something to solve the traffic problem. ‘I used to think that the traffic jams in Turkey were the worst, but I discovered that London’s traffic is even worse,’ he said.  

The Turkish Bristolian group who I have accompanied included Sakir Yildirim who drove an eight thousand mile round trip delivering an ambulance loaded with practical aid to Gaza. Business man Talip Topuz waited a long time until he got Prime Minster Erdogan’s autograph and danced happily with it for quite a while. The Bristol PSC group were lucky to secure a place, while almost a thousand people had to return back home, for the crowds were much more than the expectations of the lecture organizers, but still some preferred to wait outside the hall. 

Most amazing was the relaxed atmosphere and the very friendly local police and security personnel, amongst whom were a British Muslim policewoman wearing a Hijab as part of her uniform.

Erdogan who had just arrived from the last meeting of the G20 summit held in London, during which he proposed solutions for the global economic crisis were discussed as well as another equally important issue of the mutual understanding and respect between people of different faiths and communities. 

“It is important that the Western community understands that Turkey is a country that identifies with the European region and is part of it, but at the same time the majority of our nation are Muslims,” he said.

His call for others to understand the importance of mutual respect of faith choice was clear, ‘I respect Jesus and Moses and the message they came with, and I expect others to have similar understanding and respect for my faith,“ he said.

One of the guests requested a comment from the Prime Minister regarding the incident when he stormed out of a conference held in Davos, which was attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres after Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Erdogan said, “I had to do the same in Georgia as well, because I saw a fierce barbaric attack on women, children, the elderly and the vulnerable who do not have the means to defend themselves, they were killed while no one from the international community intervened to stop this aggression, this I could not tolerate. I saw with my own eyes young Palestinian children being killed in Gaza. The situation is still bad, for Israel is still refusing to open this big prison of Gaza to allow for humanitarian aid and food to reach families in desperate need of help, the people of Gaza are still living in tents and in need of help. I spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair on this subject, and told him there is an urgent need to open the borders to allow the necessary building materials enter Gaza for rebuilding the badly damaged infrastructure.”

In response to a question about the expected timing of Turkey’s joining the European Union, Turkish Prime Minister said, “Until now, there is no set time. The UK had struggled for 11 years before joining the EU, and perhaps we should expect to wait as long. There is a routine procedure of examining two files at a time, and I always asked why only two, why not three.”

Erdogan also talked about Turkey’s organic farming plans: “There is a large extended border area between Turkey and Syria full of land mines; we plan to clean up the minefields and cultivate the area organically,” he commented on a question asked about farming in Turkey.

He also spoke about the upcoming visit of U.S. President Obama, expected to take place in Turkey next week and said, “I spoke with Quartet envoy Tony Blair as well, and discussed this issue with USA President Obama and we will discuss it again when he arrives in Turkey that there is an urgent need to find a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and such discussions should involve all Palestinian parties involved, including the Hamas.” (photo by Iqbal Tamimi)

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Zionist massacres then and now. I have been under fire of late from two diametrically opposite quarters. First, the fanatical, self-worshipping Zionists who think that non-Jewish suffering should never ever be compared with Jewish suffering.

 

Needless to say, this psychotic attitude stems from deep-seated convictions that a Jew is a special creature whose life is worth more than the rest of humanity. Haven’t we noticed, for example, how Israel has made “Gilad Shalit”, the Israeli soldier imprisoned by Hamas, a household name all over the world, while next to nothing is mentioned about the estimated 10,000 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps?

 

And, second, some pro-Palestinian activists who believe that I should avoid invoking the holocaust in my writings lest this help legitimize the Zionist narrative and inadvertently justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

 

To our pro-Palestinian activists, I, with all due respect, would like to say the following. I sincerely believe that we would be walking in the path of immorality if we denied or belittled other people’s suffering.  Indeed, it is imperative that we retain our humanity and moral fabric in the course of this legitimate struggle against the evil state. We must never imitate or emulate their ways and tactics. This would be self-defeating, self-destructive and immensely demoralizing. 

 

Moreover, we must refrain from saying or doing things that would make others portray us as inherent enemies of Jews, because we are not.

 

We also need to be constantly vigilant and cautious about what we say and how we say it, lest we inadvertently besmirch the legitimacy of our just cause.

 

Israel is so manifestly criminal and ugly that we don’t need to deny anyone’s suffering to prove this plain fact.

 

In short, we don’t have to shoot ourselves in the foot. It is wrong and it hurts us a lot.

 

Obviously, the Zionists’ “arguments” are motivated, as always, by ill-will and a malicious desire to silence critics of Israeli criminality whose phantasmagoric expressions we all witnessed recently in the Gaza Strip.

 

The subject of contention this time has been an article I published a few days ago, entitled “Shame on us,” in which I strongly criticized efforts by some dubious “peace activists” to bamboozle some innocent Palestinian children from some impoverished localities into playing music before “holocaust survivors.”

 

This is what happened last week when a dozen young musicians from the Jenin Refugee Camp, in the northern West Bank,  were taken surreptitiously to Tel Aviv where they were made to play a serenade before some elderly Zionists, some of whom veterans from the many criminal wars Israel had waged on our people. And as I said in the article, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was not carried out by UFOs but by the very people our children are now being asked to cheer up.

 

Understandably, the not-so-innocent event left many Palestinians infuriated by the cheap exploitation of these kids for Israeli hasbara purposes. As one who lost three uncles in one day to Zionist murderers in 1954, I felt deeply wounded and humiliated by that event.

 

I am actually not against reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews. I don’t and never will view Jews as our inherent enemies. Some Jews are actually among the most effective supporters of our national cause. Those we salute for their honesty and morality.

 

However, it is obvious that true reconciliation in this part of the world requires that the slate be made thoroughly clean. Usurped rights must be returned to rightful owners, and wrongs must be rectified. This I say to honest and conscientious Jews who are genuinely interested in justice and peace.

 

But to the Zionists I would like to say that the following: the latest point of contention is not about music or even peace. This is first and foremost about human dignity of which the children of the holocaust and their children and grand children and great grandchildren have been trying to rob us.

 

And whether you like it or not, for us, at least, you represent the real Wehrmacht, the real SS and real Gestapo. You are the Nazis of our time. This is what we see from our vantage point. This is what much of the world sees. This is what many honest and conscientious Jews see.

 

You stole our country, you murdered our people, you destroyed our homes, and you expelled and dispersed the bulk of our people to the four corners of the world. And after all of this, you have audacity to dupe our children to sing and play music to you? This is simply beyond, far beyond, Chutzpah.

 

Some of you habitually babble the word “hatred” whenever a Palestinian asserts his people’s humanity and dignity.

 

Well, you are really sick to the bone if you think Palestinians must sacrifice their dignity in order to become a hate-free people according to the Zionist lexicon. We will not pay tribute to the killers of our children, we will not show respect to those who murder us.

 

Besides, who do you think you are anyway to lecture us on hatred? After all, you represent and embody hatred in its ugliest form. The extirpation of a people from its ancestral homeland from time immemorial is a satanic act par excellence. The destruction and obliteration of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages to fulfill Jewish nationalism is diabolical act of the highest order.

 

Your recent blitzkrieg in Gaza during which your Nazi-like army ganged up on a helpless, unprotected civilian population, exterminating them with bombs and missiles and incinerating their children with White Phosphorus proved once again that you are no better than the hateful Nazis you curse day and night for what they did to you sixty years ago.

 

Well, try to get yourselves out of this cocoon of self-denial. The Palestinian people don’t hate music nor do they teach their kids to hate Jews or non-Jews, it is your evil and murderous actions that generate hatred against you not only among Palestinians and Muslims but among many other people around the world.

 

Just look at your ugly faces in the mirror.

There is no doubt that the new Israeli government, led by Benyamin Netanyahu, honestly reflects the collective mindset of the Israeli Jewish Zionist society.  True, there are Israelis who are averse to racism and fascism, but these are unfortunately very few in numbers and their influence is almost negligible.

 

Indeed, a fleeting glance at the composition of the new Israeli cabinet reveals an extremist coalition of war criminals, pathological liars, racist thugs (both of the Hitlerian and Stalinist styles), and hateful religious maniacs who inhale and exhale hatred 24 hours per day.

 

For those who don’t know him, Benyamin Netanyahu is a pathological liar par excellence.  His modus operandi is based on dishonesty, mendacity, prevarication, and deception.

 

Despite his public relations babbling about “peace with our neighbors,” the man is firmly anti-peace, against the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and against equal rights for Jews and non-Jews.

 

He is actually an enthusiastic advocate for Judaizing East Jerusalem by checking Arab demographic growth, demolishing Arab homes and denying Jerusalemites their natural rights to build homes to meet natural growth.

 

This brazenly racist policy is known as “narrowing Arab horizons” and its ultimate goal is to force the Arab inhabitants of Al-Qods, or as many of them as possible, to leave the city and emigrate for good.

 

Netanyahu’s venomous racism is not confined to the Palestinians of the “occupied territories” or the “Shtachem” as the West Bank and Gaza Strip are often referred to in Hebrew.

 

He was quoted on several occasions as demanding that “measures” be taken to prevent Israel’s Palestinian citizens from reaching the 30% threshold.

 

Furthermore, Netanyahu who often invokes the concepts of civility, democracy and western culture, especially when addressing naïve western audiences, actually believes that Israel should embark on a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians if and when the international community, particularly the US, would tolerate such a scenario.

 

In 1989 Netanyahu told students at Bar-Ilan University that “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”

 

Well, for those who take the word “transfer” lightly, they should know that “transfer” is only a euphemism for genocide.

 

If such is the character of the premier, one can have a clear idea about his lieutenants and ministers from Avigdor Lieberman, to the gurus of Gush Emunim (the settler movement), who are shamelessly demanding that non-Jews in Israel-Palestine be either exterminated, deported or enslaved as water carriers and wood hewers in the service of the master race!

 

And then there is the irredeemably opportunistic war criminal Ehud Barak who insists rather arrogantly that the army that exterminated hundreds of Gaza children with White Phosphorus just two months ago is the most moral army in the world.

 

Netanyahu is not stupid. He realizes that his ideological convictions are too ugly and too fascist to be accepted by the international community, including the US, Israel’s guardian-ally.

 

This is why he is going to mislead the world by blurring and hiding, as much as possible, his government’s fascist nature.

 

He will heavily resort to employing “diversionary tactics” such as “terror,” “Iran,” “anti-Semitism,” and “Hamas” to distract attention away from the fascist and criminal platform of his government.

 

He will shout “Auschwitz, Treblinka, Mauthauzen, Bergen Belsen” whenever Israeli crimes are exposed and criticized.

 

He will claim that Israel will not allow itself to be pushed to the brink Auschwitz whenever Israel is demanded to end its Nazi-like occupation of the Palestinian homeland and allow the Palestinian people the right to independence and self determination.

 

In short, we are talking about a man who lies as often as he breathes a dishonest politician who thinks  and smart public relations can be a more effective substitution for an honest peace process based on human rights and international law.

 

This is why, the capitals of the world must not allow themselves to be duped, deceived and cheated by this notorious, cardinal liar.

 

I am, of course, in no way suggesting that the previous Israeli government was less nefarious than the new one.  The previous government of the evil trio Olmert, Livni and Barak had all the hallmarks of a Zionist Third Reich.

 

What else can be said of a government that ordered its army to exterminate and incinerate thousands of civilians with White Phosphorus, and then shamelessly claimed that it didn’t really mean to do it?

 

However, that government was considered by many states around the world, such as the gullible Europeans, a “government of peace,” a “liberal,” even “leftist government,” which really gave a new meaning to the term “verbal fornication.”

 

For us Palestinians, and despite the legitimate and understandable anxiety stemming from the rise of fascism in Israel, it is still better to have in Israel a manifestly fascist government pursuing fascist policies than a deceptively “liberal” or  “leftist” government pursuing the same criminal policies.

 

Let the world see Israel as it really is.  

In the final analysis, an honest criminal is better than a lying saint. At least the former is predictable and consistent.

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