By Raffique Shah
January 04, 2009
Trinidad and Tobago News Blog
SOME 40 years or so ago, in the heady days of Black Power and the global fight for basic human and civil rights by non-Whites, I saw all White people as oppressors. I was a young firebrand, who, in the universal spirit of my revolutionary hero Cuban Che Guevara, was ready to fight against injustices wherever they existed. I actually lived out part of my utopian dream by taking up arms against “the establishment”, a feat many of my contemporaries also dreamed of, but never experienced.
In the sobering post-prison years-I was still not 30 years old-when my sponge-like brain absorbed information that I gathered from many sources. Besides being a voracious reader, I talked extensively with people whose wisdom I learned to value. It was during that period I recognised the folly of judging people by the colour of their skins, by their ethnicity. More important, I learned to distinguish between Jews and Zionists.
The woman who changed this warped perspective of mine was renowned economist Kari Levitt, herself a Jewess. I attended a conference in Montreal, Canada when she took me under her wings, in a manner of speaking. We spent many hours discussing everything under the sun. She disabused my mind of many radical concepts I held, pointing out that some of my ideas bordered on anarchism. I remain thankful to Kari, and to others, too many to name, who shaped my post-mutiny thinking without denuding me of my revolutionary spirit. The latter I shall carry to my grave, proudly so, I need add.
I have related my metamorphosis for good reason. A Jew who, I think, lives in Trinidad, has written several letters attacking my stance on Israel whenever I have had reason to write on that country’s murderous excesses. He hides behind anonymity: I do not. I write the way I see things, and I expect people to disagree with me, to engage me in debate. Indeed, given some issues I have addressed, I knew I risked bodily harm, even death. That prospect does not deter me. I firmly believe in fate.
It is against this background that I write about the Zionist massacre in the Gaza that was underway as 2008 made way for 2009. Those who justify Israel’s attempt to strangle the Palestinians, to deny them the right to exist in a sovereign state, quote from the Bible, from ancient texts, and they brand all Palestinians terrorists. In other words, Israel is fulfilling a holy mission by obliterating these “pests” from the face of the earth. Some claim Hamas has been pounding Israel with rockets, hence Israel’s right to retaliate with maximum force.
Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian (UK) last week, made the point that in seven years of conflict, 14 Israelis were killed by Hamas’ rocket-fire while an estimated 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments. He added, “Among those killed in the first wave of strikes were eight teenage students waiting for a bus and four girls from the same family in Jabaliya, aged one to 12 years old.” Milne did not add the mosques, the university, ordinary houses.
In the face of such facts, those who defend Israel’s atrocities, nay, genocide, sound very much like people who blame the victims, not the rapists, for this ghastly crime (and these include many Islamists, I should add). Hamas won a free and fair election to govern all of Palestine, but has been denied that right by Fatah, by Israel, by the US and its allies. Democracy does not count for these hypocrites. Israel cut off electricity and water from Gaza, denied Hamas the right to money collected on its behalf, and during the six-month ceasefire, murdered Palestinians by the scores.
This time around, though, Israel has gone a sand dune too far. For the first time in this 60-year conflict, Israel’s Arab neighbours are saying, “Enough is more than enough”. Last Wednesday most Arab countries that are pro-West, cancelled all Old Year’s night parties, and called instead for a “sombre solidarity” with the Palestinians. Arab League foreign ministers met in Cairo on the same day. Hezbollah, which put a serious licking on Israel in 2006, has been suspiciously silent, as has Iran.
The tide is turning against Israel’s bloody hegemony in the Middle East. Its foray into Gaza will undoubtedly kill hundreds of innocent people, many of whose lives were a living death long before the bombs struck. But the resilient fighters from Hamas would have carefully planned for such eventuality and will live to fight another day. The massacre will also anger millions of Muslims, with many young zealots joining the radical ranks of suicide bombers. The mullahs and their madrassas will be happy for Israel’s recruitment bugle-call. Acts of terrorism against Zionists, those who support them, and even innocents, will intensify rather than diminish.
Maybe the Zionists always had a death wish, always saw their obliteration from Earth as being inevitable. They are now courting their extinction to fulfill some archaic biblical prediction, a doomsday scenario. What a way to start the New Year.
Trinidad and Tobago News Blog’s URL for this article: