jump to navigation

Arab revolts for change…a feeling of déjà vu! March 22, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Africa, Imperialism, Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Libya.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

BentAljazair

Me…an ordinary Algerian woman.
The rest is all in my writings…all in my silent ellipsis …

By BentAljazair

Long time ago…in the Middle East – 1916-1918…the Arabs wanted to rise up against the Ottoman Empire. They wanted change! They wanted to get rid of the Turkish tyranny!

The British Empire offered them a helping hand…the empire promised freedom for all the Arabs…they believed it…Arabs thought, it is their right to use any mean to gain freedom from tyranny…so they backed the British army in their fight against the Ottoman empire (which was the Muslim khilafa at that time, but that is another story)…the local Arabs even helped General Allenby in the 3rd battle of Gaza… yes Gaza… they helped the Trojan British horse get inside Palestine …and the way was open to the holy land…to all the Middle East…

After the defeat of the Turks…it is the strong British empire that filled the vacuum left by the fall of the Ottoman empire…and the British empire didn’t honor its promises …and the Arabs didn’t get freedom … their land got reshaped …sliced into many states under British occupation and the ruling of new local tyrants…

…and the best of the best…a precious bit of their land was given to the… Zionists!

Almost a century later…the whole region still suffers from the consequences of these “British manipulated” Arab revolts…

Without the help of the Arabs …the British Empire wouldn’t have occupied the region…

Without the miscalculation of the Arabs there would have been no land to be given to the Zionists…

Without the betrayal of the Arabs the Muslim khilafa wouldn’t have fallen…(but that’s another story)

The Arabs’ resentment against the Turks was used by the British to topple the Ottoman empire …the Arabs didn’t have any alternative to offer to the Ottoman empire…they just wanted to get rid of it…but the power vacuum had to be filled… and the British empire had power, a plan and a clear goal…occupation!

 Revolt is not revolution!

One century later…

…2011 in the Middle East …the Arabs want to rise up against their ruling dictators. They want change! They want to get rid of tyranny! The US Empire offered them a helping hand…the empire promises freedom, democracy  for all the Arabs…and the Arabs still believe the promises…made by Western empires…and Arabs still think… it is their right to use …any mean to gain freedom from tyranny…

…trading local tyrants for …new global ones…

same old… Arab story…

Our myopic view of Gaza conflict January 8, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Media, War.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Toronto Star, January 8, 2009

I was holidaying in India when the Israeli onslaught on Gaza began Dec. 27.

There were banner headlines coupled with editorial outrage in the Urdu media, the language of Muslims, and dispassionate but balanced coverage in the English media and the regional language newspapers.

Across the Arab Middle East, Al-Jazeera and others were providing one-sided, wall-to-wall coverage of death and destruction in Gaza.

Travelling through Europe, one could appreciate the powerful reporting and commentary, which conveyed the scale of the tragedy, without crossing the line into propaganda for either side.

It didn’t take long upon landing here to be reminded how much the political and media establishment – in the U.S. and, lately, Canada as well – are divorced from reality.

The Stephen Harper Conservatives, as well as many editorialists and pundits, seem to inhabit a make-believe world into which no inconvenient facts are allowed to intrude.

Their mantra is that Israel has a right to defend itself, has to protect its citizens from Hamas rockets, and had to retaliate for the breaking of the ceasefire by Hamas Dec. 19.

True. But deprived of other truths, this performs the desired magic of absolving Israel of any culpability.

According to this view, hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including women and children and seniors, being bombed and shelled to death in schools – even clearly marked United Nations schools – mosques, refugee camps, streets and homes are acceptable collateral damage.

Few tears need be shed, especially since Hamas is to blame, anyway.

There’s amnesia about the brutal 40-year-old occupation.

There’s nary a mention that in Israeli military operations in 2008, 420 Palestinians had been killed prior to Dec. 28 vs. five Israelis, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights body,

And Israel’s crippling economic blockade had prompted the UN special rapporteur Richard Falk to say on Dec. 9 that Israel’s collective punishments amounted to “a crime against humanity,” and that the International Criminal Court ought to investigate whether Israeli leaders and military commanders should be indicted.He noted that the last time there had been “such a flurry of denunciations by normally cautious UN officials” was during the reign of the apartheid government in South Africa.

 

On Nov. 21, the chief of UN Relief and Works Agency, Karen Abu Zayd, said supplies had run out. She reported “a chronic anemia problem” and “the stunting of children.”

All this was long before the latest carnage, which foreign journalists have been prevented from witnessing. Dead, as of yesterday, were 650 Gazans, a fifth of them civilians.

What our political and media establishment are telling us is this:

Israel must not be provoked but the Palestinians can be.

The trauma suffered by Israelis in the border area along Gaza is not acceptable. But 60 per cent of 1.5 million Gazans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is.

Israeli politicians, facing an election Feb. 10, have to be sensitive to electoral concerns, but Palestinians elected in a fair election Jan. 2006 must be isolated and jailed.

There’s an equivalency between Hamas’s handmade, ill-targeted rockets and the lethal hi-tech Israeli arsenal, some of it of American origin.

Palestinians must pay heed to Israeli/American/Canadian demands but Israel may ignore calls for a ceasefire by the UN, the European Union and even allies France, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Israeli lives matter, Arab ones don’t. In fact, it is worth prolonging the bloodshed in Gaza, as in Lebanon in 2006, to allow Israel time to achieve one or two more of its objectives. Arab blood is cheap.

“Unfortunately, all this plays into the hands of those Palestinians and Arabs, and more generally, Muslims, who say, `the West is against us because of who we are and is engaged in a civilizational war against us,'” says Jim Reilly, professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto.

“If we include Iraq and Afghanistan, it reinforces the message of Al Qaeda and co-thinkers that they are waging war against a predatory and rapacious enemy.

“All this makes it that much harder for us to argue back against the militants and the zealots.”

 

Haroon Siddiqui’s column appears Thursday and Sunday.

hsiddiq@thestar.ca

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 232 other followers