“Sometimes words are like the cage, in which ideas live but cannot really be truly free.”
— Khalil Gibran
We struggle to describe the Orwellian reality we live in. In this land, a new colonial settler from Russia or Poland or America can roam free, get all sorts of financial gifts (from US and other taxpayers) and settle on land stolen from people whose ancestors farmed it and cared for it for 4000 years. The natives, considered children of a lesser God, are removed from their lands, live in nearby countries in refugee camps or live in shrinking concentration camps in their own homeland.
Where else do we have a nation still being built on the destruction of other peoples villages, lives, and livelihood?
Where else does a 19 year old white racist able to get away with insulting and degrading hundreds of dark skinned "others" in words and deeds that evoke KKK and White Afrikaner racism?
This Orwellian disease is not confined to Palestine. It has infected discourses from Iraq to the US.
How else to explain denying an ex-president (Carter) the podium at his own party convention for speaking the truth?
How else can one explain Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden saying he is a Zionist and joining with others regularly to condemn the victims and support racism?
How else can we explain the billions of US tax money spent on a country that has the largest number of violations of UN resolutions and provisions of International and humanitarian laws?
Indeed, how to explain a superpower being stripped of its dignity, its wealth and its reputation around the world by a domestic lobby working for a foreign country to push for endless wars "on terror" when they are the ones perpetrating the worst terror on earth?
Of course, we could spend (waste) time exploring the problems but we must focus on the solutions. Focusing on solutions is what so many people here in Palestine (including Palestinians, Israelis, and others) do.
In 2001, when the current uprising started, I started compiling data for a book envisioning peaceful future based on justice and human rights for all. Published in 2004 and other books like it published since that speak of coexistence and equality in one democratic state resonated well. Every day, more people are convinced that there is simply no other pathway to a durable peace.
Just in the past few days, I interacted with hundreds of fellow Palestinians (Christians and Muslims), with visiting internationals, and with some Israeli Jews who continue to cross the foolish walls and other borders that separate us. All the facts and opinions offered lead in that general direction. This is painfully obvious from conversations with the people in Gaza, environmentalists, students at Bethlehem University, professors and laborers, doctors and beggars, and those in all walks of life here.
So, I think it is time to shed the illusions that some have had in the past that an "us here, them there" solution is possible. The racist laws in this apartheid state are simply not sustainable on long term basis. Peace cannot be built upon injustice; restorative justice is a prerequisite for peace.
And people of good faith keep working. A group of Europeans rode their bikes around the occupied West Bank in the past few weeks. You might want to check out their reports here.
Finally, here is an Action item for the week: More than 400 individuals have signed the petition for protection of Academic freedom in the case of Dr. Terri Ginsberg at North Carolina State University. Please read and sign the petition here – so the goal of 1000 signatures can be reached soon to submit it to the authorities.