I am against my country's fighters hurting a single ear of corn I am against a child- any child having to carry a gun I am against my sister learning weapons drill I am against what you will ... but What would even the saints have done had their eyes been filled with killing? I am against children becoming heroes at ten Against the tree bearing shells for fruit Against branches in my garden becoming gallows I am against the sanctuary of my land being made into a scaffold Against the rose-beds turning to trenches And yet After the burning of my land and my friends and my youth How can my poems not become guns?” — “Opposition” by Rashid Hussein from 'The World of Rashid Hussein'
Israelis have missiles that will kill a Palestinian travelling in a moving car in Gaza which is an open air prison and one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Of course shrapnel from that explosion may kill or maim passers-by. Death of the targeted Palestinian is assured, or so we are told by the Israelis. [Australia’s mainstream media calls Israeli assassination by rocket ‘clinical’.]
Presumably, knowledge of this form of assassination is known to all Palestinians.
In 2008-9 Israel launched a hail of missiles into Gaza that killed over 1600 people, over half of whom where children.
The Israeli election
The Prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, was fighting an election campaign then and now (Nov 2012). He achieved his objective then and tightened Israel’s grip on Gaza. Palestinians who live in Gaza are not permitted to visit their friends and families in other parts of Palestine — it has long been thus. Most of the population in gaza do not come from where they are now. They are refugees from villages taken by the Israelis in the many wars waged against them since 1948, when the genocide began.
Now Prime Minister Netanyahu is fighting another election — Israel’s weaponry has been supplied by the US since a slong as I can remember. In 1973 when Israel wished to make a pre-emptive strike against Egypt and Syria, US secretary of State Kissinger said no to Prime Minister Galda Meir. American politics would not permit it, Egypt and Syria were trying to regain land in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan heights they had lost to Israel in the six day war (June 5-10, 1967). However the US provided all the back-up munitions to Israel. The Israeli army got within 40 kilometres (25 miles) of Damascus and within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of Cairo in 1973 Yom Kippur war before a ceasefire was called. Now that Obama has won the US election with the help of hurricane Sandy, the man they call ‘No Drama Obama’ has signalled his go ahead for Israel to attack Gaza.
Murky & Strange
But this is where it gets murky and strange.
When Obama supported the Benghazi rebels in Libya and bombed al Qaddafi’s troops and airforce a stalemate was reached. The Benghazi rebels still could not make headway against the Libyan army. So one of the US backed Gulf States Qarar sent its army into Libya to fight the Libyan army. Qaddafi was duly overthrown and executed. However now that Obama’s presidency has been saved by hurricane Sandy he has given the greenlight to Netanyahu. But Qatar supports Hamas. Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood attempts to overthrow the regime of al Assad in Syria. So does Qatar. Confused? Strange?. The same US backed Qatar regime has supported the neighbouring Bahraini regime. Qatar owns the media conglomerate Al Jazeera and house the US forward command. Bahrain houses the American fifth fleet and has mercilessly put down its own population by sending in troops alongside Saudi Arabia. The US forward command was in Qatar when the 5th fleet launched its deadly cruise missiles on Baghdad in 2003. The onslaught that brought so much grief and hardship to the Iraqi people and continues to do so nearly 10 years later.
So what do we take away from all this?
‘The Arab Spring became a con, a lie to many…’
There is a willingness by both Israel and certain Arab states to punish people who resist imperialism in the same way they resisted colonialism in the past century — the colonialism of Britain and France and the imperialism of the United States. I interviewed [on radio 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Paradigm Shift fridays at noon] a teacher from Bahrain yesterday whose pupils were abducted from her chemistry classroom by security forces because they went to the Lulu roundabout with their families to protest the US backed al Kalifa regime. This is what she said:
“I witnessed first hand my students and colleagues being abducted, tortured and raped inside our school during the government terror campaign when we started to protest for democracy”.
“Hundreds of teachers were brutalized, especially after we launched two strikes to demand an end to the crackdown. Many teachers were imprisoned including Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman, the president and vice president of the Bahrain Teacher’s Association who are still in jail facing long sentences for exercising their rights to protest”.
What of the resistance? — the Palestinians like the Bahrainis have mapped out a non-violent response (in the form of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions against Israel – BDS), so did the Syrian resistance, at least in the early days. But the US kept prodding and poking until the rebels were armed. The Libyan resistance was armed by the French the British and the CIA, early on. So it is hard to call it a resistance at all.
The Arab Spring became a con, a lie to many… it became a way of reaching long term strategic objectives, by Israel, by the US and by any regime that would go along with them. Sometimes ambivalent like the regime in Qatar but willing nonetheless.
The people of Palestine, of Bahrain, of Syria, of Egypt all suffer.
So how do we resist?
Firstly we can’t get suckered in by the lies coming out of Israel and the Pentagon.
Secondly we need be realistic.
If I were to make a home made rocket to fire off against Dr Flegg in Moggill (about the same distance the Qassam rockets travel, 25 kilometres) because Dr Flegg wants to sell off the Monte Carlo Caravan Park that provides affordable housing in Cannon Hill thus kicking my friends out of their homes. Well I need to think again about that. Most likely the rocket will fall in a paddock; it may hit a poor old cow, it is unlikely ever to harm the ex-minister Flegg.
Thirdly, be wary of idealists, of opportunists and politicians like Wayne Swann and Julia Gillard.
These last two (the Prime Minister and her deputy ) will always back Israel and the US.
We must continue to support our Palestinian brothers and sisters in any way we can.
[An earlier version of this article was given as a speech in Brisbane Square on 17 Nov 2012 at a rally and march in support of the people of Gaza currently under attack by Israel.]