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We Are Fine in Gaza. How Are You?

[Image by INSURGENCIA GRAFICA via Flickr] [Image by INSURGENCIA GRAFICA via Flickr]

In celebrating the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Communist Party in Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian singer and writer—Khaled El-Hibr sang these words:

We are fine in Gaza

How about you?

We are fine under attack

How about you?

Our martyrs are under the rubbles

Our children now living in the tents

And they ask about you

We are fine in Gaza

How about you?

….

The sea is behind us

But we fight back

The enemy is in front of us

But we still fight back

We have all what we need:

Food and arms

Promises of peace,

We thank you for your support!

We are fine in Gaza

How about you?

……

Our souls

Our wounds

Our homes

Our skies

Our faces

Our blood

Our eyes

Our coffins

Protect us from your weapons,

Your promises,

Your words,

Your swords

….

We are fine in Gaza

How about you?

In what seems a constant repetition of the past, words are hard to find to describe the Israeli (with Western support) sadistic policy of hunting Palestinians, of aiming to constantly unsettle the natives, at using them as a lab for weaponry, as lab for Israeli electoral games––the more you kill Palestinians, the more you get Israeli votes in the next elections.

Following a large scale uprising in Jordan that took place hours before the current Israeli invasion, where for the first time Jordanians called for the regime change, not just cosmetic reforms in governments, one wonders why would Israel not worry about its loyal neighbor—the king of Jordan. Or is it also part of the Israeli calculation in this invasion is to bring public attention to Palestine, and allow the brutal regime in Jordan to suppress the uprising?

This violent nature of the Israeli settler colonial state informed by the racist Zionist ideology was analyzed by the late Fayez Sayegh in his 1965 book—Zionist Colonization of Palestine in which he analyzed as a project of elimination of natives if possible, of displacement and segregation, of constant war against the natives and those around them. By conquest it originated, and by force and war it must continue; herein lies the danger of this militarized state to the native Palestinians, and to those Arabs who live around them.

Sayegh further continues: It is a state perceived as the West’s front against the East, and thus the support it gets then and now. Both the European Union and the United States declared their support for the current Israeli invasion claiming that the state has the right to protect itself. From what? From people who are a lab for Israeli racist politics, and a lab for Israeli weapons funded by the United States and the European Union, from a people who all what they seek is to live in dignity, to be able to move freely, and to go about their lives as usual; working, creating and recreating, and dreaming.

In Sayegh’s analysis, Israel is not only the West’s front against the East, but also a dagger in the unifying body-land of Africa and Asia, and it saw itself, and continues to do so to this day, as a hegemonic power in both continents. Its hands reach Sudan, Ethiopia, and elsewhere in Africa selling arms and supporting any regime that can help Israeli hegemony, and it does so in Asia. Arms and weapons are the main Israeli product of trade, a natural product of a militarized state, and arms and weapons lead to only one thing––wars and violence––and hence the export of wars and violence and effects beyond Palestine.

Asians and Africans were never consulted in the past about European invasions and colonization, nor are they consulted now in the United Nations on issues related to their regions and relevant to their future. The decision was, and remains for the most part, especially on making war and violence, a privilege of the West. For to speak differently, to plan autonomously, to decide for oneself, and state one’s opinion, especially when it comes to core issues to the Washington/Western consensus is to fall out of favor, is to become persona non grata  a terrorist. One’s dignity is never respected, but his/her complacency is what is sought.

In his movie—Goya’s Ghosts—released in 2006, the Czech director, Milos Forman, reminds us of the endless regime of inquisition that we live under, affecting us all, but especially brutalizing the weak. In a scene that almost describes many Western adventures in the Third World, the King—Carlos IV—gathers his armed men and locates an area for hunting. He and his close patronage surround the chosen area and start shooting at the birds. Afterward their soldiers/servants collect the hunted birds, and go back to the city to display these birds to the crowds, who seemed to admire the toughness of the king and what he managed to hunt. Once the king arrives home, the painter Francisco Goya was about to finish the portrait of the king’s wife—Queen Maria Luisa. Looking at the portrait after it was done, the queen ran away in anger, and king took Goya to the side to tell him that what he painted was an ugly portrait. For that, the king punished Goya by making him listen to the king playing the violin producing very painful melodies out of a Beethoven masterpiece. What the king wanted to teach him is that the ugly portrait was not a true reflection of the queen, but rather the lack of skill on the part of the painter.

Both examples are illustrative of many Western policies and practices against people in the Third World––that is, a site of hunting and hunting ground to display their masculinity, which is admired by many in the public––and of many of the sadistic wars, last of which is the Israeli war in Gaza/Palestine. The refusal to accept the product of the work of the painter as a skillful one and reflective of the reality he sees is a rejection to look close into the mirror for the horror of seeing one’s reality. It is also a rejection to entertain how others see reality, for that reality is the negation of the nature and working of the war machine and the dynamics of domination that structures the mind-set of those in power in the West when dealing with their own public first and everyone else in the Third World. This sadistic domination and practice is hard to give up on by those who hold power. At least, it is hard to give up on through reasoning, and through reminding them that what goes around comes around, and that everything that rises must fall down in the end.

On the other hand, we must not underestimate the power of the people. The song that that started this essay is illustrative of the power of people to continue to sustain their lives and to fight back: 

We are fine in Gaza,

We are fine in Palestine,

What about you?

Video of above-referenced song and performance: 

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