From the Editor’s Keyboard

There is something you can do about Lebanon

19 August 2006 at 22:21 | 295 views

"The history of British colonial domination across (the world) is full of repeats of this pattern of public declarations that ‘we won’t talk to terrorists’ but making deals behind closed doors usually after realizing that they cannot defeat the ‘terrorists’ militarily. Former British terrorists included many Israeli Zionists like former Prime Ministers Begin, Rabin, Sharon and others who were leading members of ‘terrorist’ cells that waged a campaign of terror, murders and assassinations to chase the British out of Palestine and establish the Zionist state of Israel."

By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Guest Writer.

The Irish know a lot about colonialism and oppression. They know what it means to be occupied, humiliated and oppressed, denied dignity and humanity on your own God -given soil. They are the first and last colony of the British. They have rebelled, sabotaged, rose up in arms and fought many wars, against the British in order to secure their liberation. Thus one of their famous nationalists, Connolly, knew what he was talking about when he stated: ” A nation that holds another in bondage cannot itself be free”.

Ireland did win its independence from Britain but not as a united country because the British gerrymandered the borders of the Irish counties and manipulated the Independence referendum in a way that ensured that a pro colonialist (otherwise called Unionist) majority was guaranteed in six of the counties which became ’Northern Ireland’ within the United Kingdom.

The Irish Nationalists never accepted the division of their homeland and this gave rise to armed resistance by the Irish republicans through the IRA (Irish Republican Army). After decades of armed struggle, despite protestations to the contrary, it was no less a conservative ‘Queen and Country’ party than a Margaret Thatcher led Conservative government, that began negotiations with the ’terrorists’ that finally led to the Good Friday agreement and ended major active hostilities between the British and the IRA in Northern Ireland.

The history of British colonial domination across (the world) is full of repeats of this pattern of public declarations that ‘we won’t talk to terrorists’ but making deals behind closed doors usually after realizing that they cannot defeat the ‘terrorists’ militarily. Former British terrorists included many Israeli Zionists like former Prime Ministers Begin, Rabin, Sharon and others who were leading members of ‘terrorist’ cells that waged a campaign of terror, murders and assassinations to chase the British out of Palestine and establish the Zionist state of Israel.

Many people regarded as national heroes in Israel were at one time or the other under ‘terrorist watch’ by the British. But today all that is forgotten with Britain as the most pro -Zionist state in Europe supporting anything that the Americans are doing in their uncritical support for anything that Israel does.

The history of Israel as a Zionist state and the collective memory of pain, suffering, oppression and humiliation as a people, either in Biblical Egypt or fascist and genocidal ‘modern’ Europe, should have taught them that no matter how unequal the power balance, oppressed peoples will always rise. Even if all the powers in this world combine to hold them down they will always find a way to affirm their humanity.

Its current unjust war of destruction and campaign of annihilation in Lebanon is a glaring example of how i might is able to be right. The attacks on Lebanon are ostensibly justified as ‘retaliation ‘for the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese resistance group, Hizbollah whom they regard as terrorists. But three weeks into the this unequal tragedy it is clear to anybody that even if the two soldiers were not abducted Israel would have found another reason for ‘reinvading’ Lebanon, a country from which they were expelled by the same Hizbollah and other patriotic Lebanese forces.

How much is the life of an Israeli worth? On the principle of a-life-for-a-life how many more Lebanese children, women and innocent men have to be killed, orphaned or widowed before Israeli lust for blood is satiated?

Lebanon has been bombed continuously for three weeks, its infrastructure destroyed in a vengeance spree of collective punishment by the Israeli Army. Those that have the power to moderate Israeli militarism, principally, its biggest backer, the USA, have egged it on against all pleas by the UN and other members of the international community, for a ceasefire.

Instead the US and its loyal poodle, the British Prime Minister, have speciously insisted that Lebanon somehow brought this unto itself. They have not learnt their lessons from Palestine. They humiliated Yasser Arafat in life and death, orchestrated the succession of Abbas but still gave nothing in return to show that ‘moderation’ can deliver, and were later surprised that Hamas won a democratic election. No sooner than Hamas was elected they began a campaign of blockade and sanctions that punishes the Palestinians for voting democratically!

In Lebanon only two years ago, we are made to believe a popular uprising of Lebanese democrats, eschewing foreign intervention consequent to the assassination of the popular PM, Hariri, led to the exit of Syrian forces. It is this same democratic government that is being ‘supported’ by invasion. Israel, like its Anglo-American backers, has a weird way of ‘bombing people for freedom’ despite trying it in Iraq and Afghanistan without evident success. Instead of securing their illegitimate occupation of Iraq through divide and rule of the population, what their occupation has done is to unite Iraqis in a patriotic resistance against foreign domination.

No fewer outcomes will come out of the current attacks and occupation of Lebanon by Israel no matter how long it takes. I saw a young woman interviewed the other day who summed up both the mixture of hopelessness and defiance when she said: “Lebanon has seen war before and we survived............ we will survive this one too and the Israelis will leave our country...”

Does this mean that there is nothing that anyone of us can do? There is a sense of powerlessness and anger by many that given the power balance even if you do not support the Israelis you have nothing but moral outrage to help the Lebanese or the Palestinians. We should not underestimate the power of moral outrage. The ANC and other Liberation Movements in South Africa like the Mau Mau fighters in Kenya before them or the Algerian Resistant Movement before that, and the Madiba, who is now venerated by everybody, used to be regarded as terrorists.

* Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem(photo) is General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement,
Kampala (Uganda) and Co-Director of Justice Africa

Source: Pambazuka News

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