Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
Remember Wael Ghonim? He’s the Egyptian (ex) Google executive that rose as a leader during the Tahrir Square days. After his release from 12 days in jail, he broke into tears during an interview, and became one of the symbols of the revolution.
A symbol - yes, political force - not so much. Secular liberals such as Ghonim, loved in the West for good reasons, can be credited with igniting the revolution, but not for being the triumphant power - The real showdown in Arab Spring countries is between dictators (such as Mubarak) and Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood). This is an epic battle decades in the making: Mubarak and his predecessors had suppressed and crushed the Brotherhood in Egypt (just like Assad the father killed 30,000 when Syrian Islamists rebelled in 1982.)
Being a religious movement of god-fearing devotees It’s not surprising that the Muslim Brotherhood managed to emerge from years of persecution and repression organized, disciplined and numerous. Come election day, the Brotherhood won 37.5% of the vote and the Salafists another 27.8%, while 3 liberal parties won 20.3% combined. Elections being a numbers game, the liberals did not stand a chance, there’s simply too little of them.
There’s nothing springy about former dictatorships turning into Islamist countries. One of the most important distinctions of Islam is its political aspect: Muslims, as early as the days of Mohammed himself, formed not only a religious community, but a political entity as well - the Caliphate - an inspiration and destiny for today’s Islamists, Muslim Brotherhood included. The Caliphate, among other strictly non-progressive characteristics, will be ruled by the unchangeable divine law, the Sharia - a clearly un-democratic idea.
This is not the first time an un-democratic ideology rises to power democratically. One doesn’t need to go all the way to Hitler - though one definitely may. Being a numbers game, Democracy has no solution to this problem. And indeed, since assuming office on June 30th 2012, Morsi had pulled a few aggressive move asserting himself, and pushed an Islamic-dominated constitution down seculars’ throats.
That’s why it’s so exciting to witness the liberals take the streets this past week. “Back to the squares without the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists” read Al-Ahram’s front page Friday. The Arab Spring is finally here. Two years into the revolution and coinciding with enormous anger in Port Said over last year’s soccer disaster verdicts, they got scared. The list of demands presented by the united opposition clearly reflects their fear of becoming citizens of an Islamist state. Google executives don’t live under Sharia.
It’s unclear what their chances are at resisting the Islamists. Regardless, this is where the battle against radical Islam and political Islam will be won: by Muslims rejecting Islamist ideologies and choosing progressive lives instead. Islamists thrive on grievances and the idea of “Resistance”, it’ll be interesting to see how the Brotherhood handles the crisis from a position of power. It’s not over in Egypt.
Follow me on Twitter @lostroadtopeace
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January 17, 2013 | 4:03 pm
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
On April 11th, 1945 the US army liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald. After forcing the German residents of nearby Weimer to witness the fresh Nazi atrocities in person, General Eisenhower withdrew his forces from the camp: In accordance with the Yalta agreement, the area was designated part of the Soviet occupation. Stalin immediately put the camp back to work, this time as Special Camp No. 2 of the NKVD. Death continued to reign there: over 7,000 prisoners perished in the Soviet Special Camp between 1945-1950.
There’s a clear thread between the militaristic insanity of WWI, the Fascism and Nazism of WWII, Stalin’s murderous Bolshevism, and the likes of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, yet another Islamist fanatic, popping up this time at a gas field in Eastern Algiers.
Is there any hope for human kind? The 20th century was dominated by hallucinatory ideologies that in the eyes of their believers were above the law, above moralities, and even above basic civilized human behavior. There were enough followers every time; Enough weapons every time, and tens of millions of dead - every single time. All in vain. A human defect.
History aside - what have we got today? Sharia-crazed Islamists who show no respect and would grant no rights to anything and anyone but Allah; A Chinese empire that shows no regret or mercy as it systematically annihilates the Tibetan culture for the sake of territory, and subdues over a billion people to tyranical rule; A degenerate, corrupt Russian leadership with clear preference of narrow interests over basic moralities (see: Syria); And of course Syria itself, where sectarian Shia-Sunni violence goes medieval right in front of the digital media readers’ eyes. And I can go on and on.
Anti-American Americans, this is for you: Look around us and tell me what had fundamentally changed with this sad species? Who’s a better alternative to American dominance? Even Bush+Cheney were better than what this humanity produces on a regular basis, if not for anything else, for the fact that the system they operated within is built to allow for any leader's eventual replacement. Don’t let the 5 minutes of relative peace and human dignity we’ve been experiencing since the 90’s to mislead you: On an historical scale, this is nothing but an abnormality.
Cultural relativism, ladies and gentlemen, will not bring us to a better world. Between the massacres in Syria, the Islamist coockoos lining up for paradise, the occasional Shia-Sunni / Muslim-Hindu out of control violence, and the outrageous hypocrisy or outright insanity of people with too much power and/or weapon in North Korea, Iran, Western Africa, Russia, China etc - this is, unfortunately, pretty clear. It should have been clear on September 1st, 1939, when Hitler’s Blitz Krieg made a fool of Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister and representative of the Democratic world. And Hitler is clearly not the last bully.
Western-style Democracy is where civilization began learning that war is a ridiculous prospect, Where human dignity, freedom and justice had finally stemmed after centuries of abuse. Where Germany and Japan, two nations that brought endless destruction, bloodshed and misery upon human kind; The poster-boys of human idiocy, wondrously became two leading, productive members of the international community, (while the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe ammounted to nothing but a great big Gulag.) Yes, it’s the ideology, stupid. There’s nothing better than Western Democracy at the moment, and if you find something that is - please call me right away, day or night.
There should be a clear, uneroded distinction between good and bad, one that keeps a proportional, contextual look at current reality as well as at history, all the more so within the civilization that had managed to reach moral peaks. This pioneering civilization ending up hating itself and losing, as a result, all of its achievements to cultures that are not there yet, would be so ironic, that there should be a new word invented just for that.
The answer, therfore, to the delusional brutes the likes of Belmokhtar, should be as clear and decisive as the one handed out to Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito post the Chamberlain farce: No made-up grievances will be accommodated, there’s nothing to talk about. Grow up and learn what civilized humanity should be. Until than - you’re OUT.
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December 3, 2012 | 4:51 pm
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
Perhaps it’ll turn out to be a positive step on the way to peace. Who knows? There was something relatively pleasing in seeing Mahmoud Abbas - a man who can’t be accused of religious zeal and insanity - on the UN podium.
But the Palestinian celebration at the UN was not a historical victory for the spirit of freedom and peace, neither was it a poetic moment of justice.
“There was no need for another devastating war” Abbas told the General Assembly, relating to the last violence around Gaza. Indeed, there was no need for any of the wars in the past 65 years: In 1947 the UN accepted resolution 181, which divided the British Mandate over what’s now Israel, the West-Bank and Gaza into the 2-states everybody’s talking about. It could’ve ended there: The Zionists agreed and established Israel, but the Arabs refused to compromise; Jordan annexed the West Bank; Egypt took over Gaza, and that’s where the roots of the “State that is lacking”, as Abbas put it, are laid.
Anticipating the UN vote in 1947, Palestinian leader of the time, Haj-Amin Al-Husseini, said that “Blood will spill like water in the Middle East” if the partition is accepted, and the Lebanese PM clarified that “No Arab government would accept the proposition”. Lobbying trends at the UN were clearly recognizeable: the Zionist diplomats were aggressively promoting the acceptance of the compromise, while an inter-Arab campaign lobbied for its dismissal. Meanwhile, on the ground, Arab political and military leaders were “...Each trying to demonstrate a more radical stance than their peers”, as reported by Dr. Paul Mohn, a member in UNSCOP, the UN committee that led to the partition resolution. (Quote from "1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War" by Benny Morris).
Sorry to bring such a decisive conclusion after 1:17 minutes of reading, but trust me - this goes back 65 years and change back: The refusal of the Palestinians and Arabs in general to see a Jewish state in the Middle East - even at the corner of their eyes - is at the root of this conflict.
The UN itself woke up the next morning with a horrible feeling of having had a drunk moment, and is since, it seems, trying to undo it. As Abbas noted, the day of the partition vote itself (29-November), was later designated by the UN (the body which carried out the vote) as “A day of international solidarity with the Palestinian people” (The people who rejected to compromise even after the vote). Sym....bolic...?
So when Abbas calls voting in favor of his bid “A most valuable voice for courage”, he forgets that the delegates - who must have had a subtle sense of déja-vu -had already cast their courageous votes 65 years ago.
When he calls for “A birth certificate for the state of Palestine”, he omits that the certificate had been given 65 years ago by the very body he addresses, but refused delivery.
And when he calls the General Assembly’s attention to a “Moral duty which it must not hesitate to undertake”, he should at least feel a tad uncomfortable, since it was him - symbolically of course - who refused his moral duty to compromise, back when this conflict was still just a little ugly.
Indeed, Abbas shows a total lack of understanding of symbolism. What was resolution 181, the resolution he’s making a symbolic statement about by showing up 65 years later, on the day? Did 181 grant sovereignty and statehood to the Jews only, and ripped off the Arabs? If it had - Abbas would have been right to proudly appear at the UN and demand to correct history. But 181 didn't do that, it granted sovereignty and statehood to both, it was a peaceful compromise, but that was too much: As put by Azzam Pasha, head of the Arab League in 1947, “The Arabs will never accept a Jewish state”.
The cause-and-effect aspect of the real history has always been omitted from the Palestinian narrative, and is now banned internationally. A truth-lover prohibition. At this point I should totally save this blog entry from appearing to be nothing but a whining session, and clarify that this is not just an issue of patty accusations (or historical injustice - depending who you ask). No, the issue at hand is whether the rejection at the root of the death, destruction, suffering, violence and war of the past 65 years is changed, or does it persist.
It could have been different last week at the UN, with just a bit of humility. Recognize your historic refusal as a means to correct it, and finally accept the partition - for real. If Abbas had done that, the Israeli Prime Minister Office would have taken no longer than 1 day to get over the shock (I hope) and issue a statement showing compassion for the Palestinian suffering, or even apology for the suffering Israel caused throughout the conflict.
But the Palestinians always restart from the same drive - maybe it’s a Windows thing. Abbas did check all the required expressions: “2-states”, “Peace”, “Justice” - so how come his speech still had that UN-inspired air of Israel delegitimization (aka: undoing that drunk moment):
“Racism” - 3 times.
“Apartheid” - check.
“Colonialism” - a staple in delegitimizing - multiple checks.
“War Crimes” - totally.
“Ethnic cleansing” - you betcha.
A smart song once suggested that “You can't jump head-on to the pool if it’s empty, and you can’t cook your spaghetti if the stove is off.” You also can’t achieve peace through the language of hate and delegitimization; Ask the Irish, ask Aung San Suu Kyi, ask the Dalai-Lama. These are, in fact, the very elements of conflict, not of resolution - as seen 65 years ago.
Will the UN resolution lead to positive results? In the long run - maybe yes, I hope so. I want to believe that today’s Palestinian leader has more to show for in the way of peaceful attitudes than his predecessors 65 years ago. Whatever ends up happening, the selective, unfounded history the world has so easily accepted last week, the one that disregards intent, cause-and-effect, proportion and context, is no step forward to any decent person.
And than there’s the International Court issue. And Hamas. But that’s next time.
Follow me on Twitter: @LostRoadToPeace
November 17, 2012 | 3:26 pm
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
Hold your fire!! fb has some great suggestions and insights about Gaza, such as:
"...1 thing I have learnt in life is that fighting and war solves nothing. Dialogue, peace and respect have to prevail. SO GET ON WITH IT. Both of you."
"...Peace through people, one by one. All the wars, missiles, targeted executions etc have got us where exactly? Mere pyrrhic victories that sustain the cycle of cycle of hatred, division and violence. It's time we all opened our eyes to a different solution and way forward."
I found myself exaplaining quite a few times in the past 48 why such well-intended posts give me the blues, so eventually I posted this:
"Hi fb! Meet Hamas. Can you please just tell them that war is not the answer and to give peace a chance? Thanks. There's cookies and coffee on the table, I'll wait outside. And in case they're not convinced, please advise how to proceed."
I don’t mean to mock my friends, I really don’t. I love my friends. I’m blessed to be surrounded by creative, smart, worldly people, immersed in the most pluralistic, diverse community on the globe: Los Angeles.
But when it comes to the never ending situation with Israel and its neighbors, ** breaking news! ** The information age did not create a very informed generation - but omg are they new-agey!
Judy (not her real time) asks:
"Would it make any difference if we all (lots of us) took a few days of annual leave and just sat there, like a human shields?"
It’s unclear whether she wants to be a human shield against Hamas’ missiles (that definitely never deterred any Jihadist from launching - quite the oppossite), or perhaps she wants to become a shield in Gaza? Ok. Let’s say Judy mobilizes her friends to do that. And let’s say they force an end to the fighting. Awesome! And than what? SInce Judy and the shields, by this point, would be back home and totally tuned out, I’ll fill her in with what happens next: Hamas proceeds to indiscriminately fire rockets at civilians, unchallenged. That’s it. Where’s the peaceful achievement?
Cause that's how they roll. It’s not like Islamist ideology is only Hamas’ thing. Islamist violence a global hit, marking a path of death in Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Amsterdam, Little-Rock... Place such recklessly violent ideology in a volatile place like Gaza, and what do you get? Precisely what we see now. And it’ll inevitably happen again, as long as Gaza continues to overdose on Hamas’ holy testosterone. Anyone who believes that peace is the only way to justice and prosperity should be concerned with Hamas’ destructive presence, not protect it when it’s challenged.
Saying Give Peace a Chance without digging 2 millimeters deeper to understand how, is condescending, and more importantly - worthless. It can only be said by observers who have no commitment or responsibility towards solving this conflict.
The problem is that for many of the smart people around me the disdain for war - in itself a progressive value I enthusiastically share, had been replaced by a disdain to Israel launching war - an ironic flaw that turns my well intended friends into indirect supporters of anti-peace ideology. So much good intention wasted, It’s tragic.
fb, Israel does not wage war for the love of war. So "Stop loving war" is not a relevant advise - however it is phrased. It's even a tad silly. Rest assured that the “radical” idea of wanting peace has been thought through before you brought it up on fb.
So other than getting some great Instagrams from Gaza, how precisely was Judy productive here? How did she promote peace?
Poor Judy - had she known...
November 15, 2012 | 7:54 pm
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
My brother, a PhD student, lives in Be’er Sheva, Israel. He’s a contributing member of his community, a husband and a father, leading a productive young professional life, just like his peers in Boston or Lisbon.
But when you live in Boston or Lisbon your neighbors don’t fire rockets at you; My brother’s neighbors do, and by that they drag his entire life into a scene from another movie. Imagine sitting at a Starbucks in Colonial Calcutta, something like that.
The men on the firing end are not disenfranchised or occupied, in fact, with so much attention and resources thrown at Gaza they could have been in high-tech. No, these men suffer from an entirely different malaise: Religious insanity.
The shooters could have easily studied or worked with my brother across the border - I can think of 2 dozen organizations that would love to finance such an initiative. But instead, they drag my scientist brother into their own miserable, narrow-minded, 3rd-world life.
Those who just tuned in on Wednesday, when Israel attacked, don’t know about my brother’s situation. The daily attrition is beyond most people’s scope of attention, thus they’re thrown, again, head-on into the boiling Middle-Eastern pool without a basic understanding of why things tend to so often boil over there. It’s clear why many peaceful people fail to see the cause-and-effect element here, why they can’t identify the source, the engine of violence, and seek its removal - for a real change.
Change? The automatic reactions are sobering:
Israel’s action is about the coming elections, suggested Israeli PM Ahmed Tibi, in a typical circumstantial-evidence-gone-wild spin. Egypt condemned “Israeli aggression against innocents”. The fact that Egypt had been on mute while 12,000 rockets rained on the innocents in Israel, and now argues that the slain rocket-rain-maker is the aggressed innocent, says it all about the moral and conscious system of the Islamist culture represented here: selective violence, selective rights, selective justice, selective truth. There’s no hope for this culture.
Moscow condemned Israel’s “excessive use of force”. This is so clearly a half-assed pull from the Kremlin’s “phrases for any occasion” hat:
-“Excessive - isn’t that what we usually tell them?”
-”Well, give it to them again, than.”
That’s the Russian way of handling issues that deal with human lives. They’re perfecting it with Syria.
Hamas positions itself as the symbol of Palestinian “Resistance” and patriotism. It’s working pretty well for them, but in reality they’re the current sorry symbol of Palestinian self-inflicted misery, a misery they’re dragging my brother into right now.
What a tragic twist. The Hamas’ “Resistance” is resistance to peace, and anyone who believes that peace is the only way to justice and prosperity should be able to see the problem here. Being the reckless, quite mad anti-peace player in this high-octane game, the Hamas is as anti-Palestinian as it’s anti-Israeli and is equally destructive to all human beings - that’s if you’re a peace seeker, of course. (If you’re for war-until-triumph, they’re actually pretty cool).
But the common perception remains that of simply “Israelis against Palestinians”, an equation in which things should be balanced, so no one comes out too defeated. Ironically the ideology that believes in defeating as a solution to the conflict is the beneficiary of this misperception. In the grand scheme of things, at the end of the day international dynamics always allow this ideology to persist, which will inevitably bring about the next round of violence.
Follow me on Twitter: @lostroadtopeace
November 5, 2012 | 12:33 am
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
Adel Abu Jabel, Israeli Druze, was working on Saturday in his apple orchard in the Golan Heights, by the Syrian border, as he does every day. On the Syrian side that morning, 3 government tanks entered the Syrian Golan, an area that had been demilitarized since 1973.
Abu Jabel’s home and orchard are located in a disputed area: the Golan Heights were taken from Syria in the 1967 war. Israel had controlled it since, but in the last 2 decades reports had surfaced time and again that Israeli Prime Ministers had offered to return the Golan Heights to Syria in a peace deal. Just last month in fact, it was reported that Netanyahu - Mr. Hawkstein himself - was prepared to do just that as recently as 2010.
The Druze, a minority in Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, are tied to their land, not to nationality. Mr. Abu Jabel has many relatives in Syria; They used to go out to the “Shouting Hill” by the border to conduct basic, loud conversations with family across the border, today they just go online. Syrian Druze are officially enemies of Israel, yet Abu Jabel served in the IDF, just like his sons and most Israeli Druze.
So if the Golan had been returned to Syria, Ahmed would have stayed put by his orchard, and would find himself on the Syrian side right about now. He’d have to deal with the fact that similar tanks to the 3 parking outside his window had shelled civilian homes and that the Shabiha boys that sometimes follow the tanks, torture, rape, massacre and pillage like it’s 1399.
Reality has it, after all, that the Golan is still in Israel. There’s always some minor disagreement between Israel and Bashar Al-Assad or his late dad Hafez - those reports that surface say. Wait --- Bashar Al-Assad on the White House loan shaking hands with the American President and the Israeli prime Minister? Sounds like a dissonance - in lights of recent events? Well, it’s not that a new and surprising nature of the Assad family emerged in the current civil war: In 1982, as we remember, Hafez killed in the neighborhood of 40,000 people in Hama. That’s how it used to be done in the good ol’ days.
But returning the Golan Heights to Syrian hands remains the widely accepted just solution for the Syrian-Israeli dispute. I wonder what Adel Abu Jabel thinks about that idea, or what his relatives across the border, who have to be really-really careful not to upset those 3 tanks, have to say. (Not that they would say anything, remember --- really-really-really careful.)
It makes sense that this territory, that was taken in a war, would be given back if reconciliation is reached. Reconciliation, peace, justice: all virtuous goals anyone in their right mind would like to see pursued. Precisely because of the desire to achieve those goals, one should decide what’s more just: the returning of land or assets, or having the basic rights to life and freedom. (I wanted to add “justice” in between “life” and “freedom”, but that would just give out the answer.)
And what about progress? Isn’t that another form of justice? Mr. Abu Jabel’s brethren on the Syrian side don’t have access to technology that allows growing apples year round. So Abu Jabel’s apples, together with roughly a fourth of the crop grown by Israeli Druze, goes to Syria, in a complex operation conducted by the Israeli secretary of Agriculture, the IDF and the Red Cross. Mr. Abu Jabel, clearly in serious advantage here, is in risk of regressing if moved to the Syrian side. Another example of regression, still in the world of agriculture and much more dramatic, took place in 2005. On August 15th some of the most advanced greenhouses in the world were located in Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. The greenhouses were bought by donations from American Jews so they can be given to Palestinians after the nearing Israeli withdrawal, but on August 16th, once the withdrawal was completed, the greenhouses were gone: looted, destroyed. The area where they once stood is now frequently used to fire rockets at Israel, it just can’t be more symbolic.
It makes sense that this territory, that was taken in a war, would be given back if reconciliation is reached. But a solution that comes bundled with so much injustice and regression is a problematic proposition. Very likely the Syrian civil war will end with Al Assad gone, but since it’s hard to expect that what replaces him is a Middle-Eastern edition of Norway, the injustices and regression I mentioned above are still relevant.
Come to think of it: does it really make sense that this territory, that was taken in a war, would be given back? Three times Syria aggressed Israel in wars the Arab world waged. Mission: remove from map. In one of them it lost territoey inhabited by Druze. For 64 years Syria has periodically launched limited attacks on Israel, using the Mujahideen, later on artillery, then Palestinian organizations and Hizbullah. Mission: Harass and kill. International law does not intend to incentivize and encourage this kind of aggression, violence and bad intentions, and I doubt it if any of my readers can come up with an example when it did.
The scale of justice, therefore, heavily tilts towards the Golan Heights remaining Israeli.
Yes. I think verdict is served.
Follow me on Twitter: @lostroadtopeace
September 13, 2012 | 8:13 pm
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
It’s not about the video.
Rest assured, actress who spoke this morning on the air in tears, shocked that she was part of a project that “brought the death of 4 people.” You didn’t do it.
If an idiotic video on YouTube is reason enough to kill 4 people and burn down the US Embassy, what kind of violence would the wealth of fresh hate, venom and incitement against Israel on the web amount to?
This is not about the video. By the time I’m writing these lines it’s clear that the attack in Benghazi was a premeditated operation by an Islamist militia. Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 operative living in Beirut said yesterday: “This was not at all surprising. The most extreme end of the Islamist spectrum is serving notice it is a force to be reckoned with.”
Last month a summer festival in Israel was targeted by Muslims because it took place in a lot adjacent to the yard of a museum that used to be a Mosque. We’ve seen a Mozart opera cancelled in Berlin, episodic television revised, cartoons, books, YouTube videos - all deemed offensive enough for mortal riots. Pre school with AK-47’s.
It’s becoming evident that more and more Muslims from Benghazi to Northeastern University are in the business of seeking grievances. The free world should now decide whether it is going to play along with it.
By including the disclaimer “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others” in his reaction to the attack, President Obama on Tuesday dragged us an inch deeper into the swampy discourse of getting-offended. No need to make the link from the highest podium in the land - It’s not about the video.
Kudos, on the other hand, to Google, owner of YouTube, who removed access to the video in religiously-testosteroned places like Egypt and Libya, but left it up for the general audience in observance of a thing called free speech. It’s now reported though, that Google’s non-hysterical attitude is challenged by a hysterical White House: The administration has officially asked Google to remove the video.
The protection of free speech covers most kinds of expressions - tasteless, pathetic and amateur included; The White House should now decide whether talking about Islam remains protected, or whether we are going to be bullied into submitting to blasphemy laws, which create injustice and misery in many Muslim countries (And are now being pushed at the UN as a universal ban.)
Secretary Clinton included a different disclaimer in her statement: “This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya.” This is an odd choice: As it is, America’s allies in the Muslim world are not always able or quick to act against the Islamists in their midst; Under these circumstances, wouldn’t it be smarter not to grant the Libyan government such a broad exemption from responsibility?
It’s not Clinton’s role to minimize the severity of the attack. Why did she find it necessary to provide this clarification in the first place? Did she fear a terrible Islamophobic wave hitting the US? Was she trying to avert an angry American mob from storming the Libyan Embassy?
Don’t worry, they won’t do that. For some reason only in the Muslim world do young and able men go on violent rampages because of a YouTube video - What an excuse! I hope my son’s teacher would know better if he ever shows this kind of audacity summoning excuses for doing stuff.
“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate?” Clinton asked, “In a city we helped save from destruction?”
I guess it’s an Arab Spring thing.
Follow me on twitter: @lostroadtopeace
September 10, 2012 | 11:41 am
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
Damchoek, a TIbetan in his 20s, set himself on fire last week in Lhasa, he killed himself as the only means to protest Chinese occupation under total lockdown. Imagine the despair. His sister, Tenzin Choezin did the same in February.
Please leave a comment if you heard about either deaths; Imagine the tragedy in burning yourself because that’s the only way you can tell the world about your suffering, and have it gone utterly unnoticed.
In Tibet, precisely that happened over 50 times in recent years.
I hear about these deaths from UK based Free Tibet campaign. This is the most prominent Tibetan solidarity organization in the world, and it feels like a girl scout drive during particularly aggressive times, most other days it’s a gift shop. Where are the activists? Seekers of justice and freedom? Where are the artists? The writers? Where is the UN? Its Human Rights Commission?
-- Silence. --
It’s hard to believe the motivations of so called pro Palestinian activists in light of the quiet suffering in Tibet. They invent a narrative of Palestinian victimhood where the reality is that of a national (and sometimes religious) conflict, in which the so called “victim” has consistently been the rejectionist. The Tibetans, meanwhile, are being shredded to pieces under total occupation that is random in its inception and devastating in its nature.
The Palestinian narrative is highly suspicious, densely stained with bad faith, bad intentions and indiscriminate violence, and nurtured by loath, hatred and total disregard to the rights and lives of Israelis and Jews. This whole package is drenched in a history of relentless refusal to any peaceful proposal, and constant promotion of hate, and of a solution that is antithetical to peace: a total Palestinian victory.
The Tibetan narrative in contrast, is brought to you by the the Dalai Lama.
This is the reward our sad world gives non-violence. I wonder whether Ghandi himself could have outdone the constant Palestinian chatter. At the pinnacle of this sorry phenomenon are those “human rights”, “justice” and “peace” activists, for whom human rights, justice, peace and self-determination are selective rights rewarded to the Palestinians only. The Tibetans don’t deserve them, no one hears about them anyway. (The Israelis, incidentally, can forget about them too.)
When I visited Tibet in 1998, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa had already been 97%(!!) Chinese. That’s one hell of a settlement. Han Chinese immigrating population easily overwhelm the roughly 5.4 million Tibetans who survived Mao’s atrocities and constructed famine.
But the 1.7% of the West Bank that is settled by Israelis drive activists nuts: Unparalleled injustice!
Government jobs in Tibet are only given to people who speak Chinese. Since Tibetans are not taught Chinese in school, there are no government jobs for Tibetans. In a Communist country that’s A LOT of jobs unavailable, so when I visited Lhasa 14 years ago young Tibetans mostly sat around drinking.
Today - they burn themselves. But the Israeli “Apartheid wall” brings “human rights activists” to the brink of insanity. The many lives it saved are inconsequential - It’s a crime against humanity!
The nature of the activists is the nature of those they think they’re helping: Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, said more than once that the Palestinians are “The last people in the world that live under occupation”, And just like that he erased the Tibetans (among others) who according to his own narrative, are his brethren to oppression and humiliation.
This is the leader of the people that the one thing they’re hooked on more than international generosity and the solidarity of the uniformed lot, is their own violent contempt. And he can’t offer a shred of compassion or even recognition towards the suffering of others. (The suffering of the Jews, incidentally, is just as insignificant.)
Clearly, this is a bad comparison for a pro-Israeli blogger to make: Israel is China? Palestinians are Tibetans? In the single dimensional world many loud people live in, this set of equivalencies is possible.
I decided to write about it anyway, as I’m sure my readers are able to see that the fact that Israel is not China and the Palestinians are not Tibetans is precisely what’s so angering about Palestinian victimhood. It erodes and distorts the highly cherished ideas of justice, human rights and peace.
When human rights are selective and peace activists speak the language of hate, we have a moral inversion that we simply cannot allow. As I wrote before, it’s time to remove “human rights”, “peace” and “justice” from before “activists”, and describe anti Israeli campaigns as what they are: anti-Israeli, with destructive motivations I can go on about for many posts. (As you know I will...)
It’s time to claim the language of peace and human rights back: Justice to Tibet! Freedom to Tibetans!
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