Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Forget Palestine": Fighting back an infection

Iranian students are protesting against the Mullah government and their dear President. Police besieged the campus and entered there, arresting and severely beating protesters (see for details). Of course Bulgarian media report none of this, it is not interesting. The same can be said about the international "big" media, as Iranian-Canadian blogger "Winston" rightfully complains ( Don't the brave young Iranian freedom fighters deserve at least being mentioned in the news and some passive sympathy that costs nothing?
What especially impressed me were their slogans: "We don't want nuclear energy" and, notably, "Forget Palestine - think of us". In the current war threatening to destroy the civilization, Palestine is an unusual hot spot. It has become the banner of the enemy, some kind of an infection, an abscess causing blood poisoning again and again. To be honest, in my early youth I also was pro-Palestinian, but stopped supporting them as soon as I realized what their cause actually was. In the post-Sept. 11 world, only intellectual and/or moral deficiency can make a Westerner support the Palestinians (both deficiencies are observed fairly often, accounting for many millions of pro-Palestinian Westerners). However, in Muslim societies the pro-Palestinian propaganda is so overwhelming that anybody can succumb to it. During the February cartoon crisis, I acquired the habit to frequent Arab blogs. Regrettably, most of these blogs not only contain pro-Palestinian anti-Israeli/Jewish materials, but evidently post them fairly often, because you needn't even read much of the blog to find one or more of them. When I spot such a text, I think of the blog's author, "How sad! He/she is also infected."
So I am pleased to learn that the Iranian students have managed to fight back this virulent infection of the mind. They have saved their souls, and many of the people who built the civilization would say this is the most important of all things. As for me, I also wish them to get rid of their crazy blood-thirsty rulers and enjoy freedom soon, and without a war if possible.


programmer craig said...

Infection. That's a good way to put it. I try not to even voice an opinion about Israel/Palestine, because I've noticed that as soon as the issue comes up, all rational discussion ends. It's amazing to me that "the powers that be" someplace, somewhere have managed to create an issue that is SO emotional for SO many people that they just completely stop using their brains. It's like turning off a light switch. I just don't get it, and that's why I try to steer clear of the whole thing.

Maya M said...

The emotional people you are writing about - are they all Muslim or include non-Muslims as well?
The key issue is of course Israel rather than "Palestine". The same people who say their hearts bleed for the Palestinians don't want to let even a single Palestinian settle in their country and try some normal life. As far as I know, Arab countries would sooner let me become a naturalized citizen than a Palestinian! So, if you understand the Holocaust, you will understand the current "Palestinianism" as well. It's all about opposition to the civilization, to which Jews have contributed immensely and continue to contribute.

programmer craig said...

Hi Maya,

The emotional people you are writing about - are they all Muslim or include non-Muslims as well?

Both. Pretty close to 100% of Arabs I've been in contact with feel this way, including Chrsitains. I think I've met more Christian Arabs here in the US than muslim Arabs. Lebanese and Egyptian mostly. Come to think of it, the only Arabs I've ever seen discuss the issue rationally are the bloggers Sandmonkey and Big Pharaoh. I'm no expert, just making a subjective observation :)

Alos, we do have some leftists in the US who are rabidly anti-Israel. Not many, but some. I think they are motivated entirely by a political agenda, though.

Some of the best discussions I've had on this issue have actually been with Highlander. We completely disagree, but she has explained to me how things seem from her perspective quite well. She's good that way, she can remain logical even about issues she has strong feelings about :)

Highlander said...

I'm glad you've brought that topic up Maya. I think the Iranian students are right to chant 'forget Palestine' after all they are not Arab and so their government should not be using this excuse to undermine them.

When Iran stops caring about Palestine it will have no more feud with Israel. Actually Iran can become an ally , and it would benefit immensely from that :) on all fronts . Thus paving the way to international help with acquiring nuclear technology including nuclear weapons. It would have received the blessing of Israel and the West in the process.

I would still cheer for Iran in principle because they would have gotten their weapon and that would make them on an equal par ( even if that means it could and would threaten the neighborhood Arabs :) ).

Now to move on to your comment about naturalization of Palestinians in Arab countries , I think I've touched on that once in my blog but I don't mind repeating some of it here. It would help me see clearer in the situation :)

Therefore the situation of Palestinians in Arab countries varies from country to country. I think you are slightly mistaken in your analysis is why . Let us take the border countries and start with Jordan. Jordan is currently formed of 75 % Palestinians, they enjoy full nationality and rights just as the tribal bedouins who were the original inhabitants of Jordan.They are all identified as Jordanians. The only ones who are not have remained so by choice because they would loose their right to live in what is now Israel. In Syria Palestinians have all the benefits that the Syrian citizen have minus they don't need to serve in the army. How cool is that ? They don't even have to suffer. On top of that they enjoy the UN aid in Syria because they are still entitled to it. And yes they get Syrian documents too and have prospered to the extent that the original refugee camps of the 1948 settlers have become sprawling cities on the Damascus suburb and now indiginous Syrians live there alongside the Palestinians. Those who have treated the Palestinians worse than the Israelis are actually the Lebanese. The Palestinians there have no hope as a stray dog is treated better. But then a faction of the Lebanese wants us to believe that Lebanon is not Arab ( wishful thinking ). It is obvious to onlookers why the Lebanese government past and present did not naturalize the Palestinians...because this would alter the Muslim -Christian ratio. This delicate balance had been artificially maintained and now cannot be so anymore as the Muslim number is the majority with a 'democratic' process clearly steeped to favour the Christians , so an infusion of more Muslims is bound to drive fear into the Lebanese who could loose in the election and this would erase a system installed in France to maintain a suzerainty over it's Lebanese 'children' when it granted them independance . Simple demographics. France could not interfere anymore, and that faction of Lebanon who wishes to renounce their Arabism cannot run to mommy... :) So they have kept people who are interbreeding in camps of appaling squalor ( I've seen them) literally stuck in no man's land because they cannot return to their parents and grandparents lands in the occupied territories and because they are forbidden to prosper in Lebanon. All this of course does not exonerate the horrible behaviour of the PLO in Lebanon before though I admit. I'm just trying to show you what's going on. In other Arab countries wherever Palestinians have gone they have worked hard , prospered and lived there for generation.They were granted nationality but neither were they mistreated as they enjoyed because of their status privileges that non of us locals enjoyed. Not grantim them nationality was sometimes from their own choice not to loose the special UN favour as refugee which would allow them to request assylum in Canada, Australia and the US. It was more their choice as well after they finished free education and healthcare etc. in host countries... then they had the opportunity to start on a good basis in the West. But not granting them nationality was also done not to loose their right of return so that the 'Palestinian'did not get diluted and serve Israel's purpose because the issue would be dropped :) - no refugees anymore, no more Arab land and that is an admittal that we have finally lost. Caving in to Israel. Some Arab govs did grant some Palis citizenship because of their extraordinary behaviour and contribution to that adoptive country. So Palis did not fair badly wherever they went except in Lebanon.

Maya at the risk of getting emotive ;) allow me to disagree that it is about the 'opposition to civilization'. It is simply about someone who took your land and is continuing to do so and you are not admitting defeat ( whether that is the right decision or not is not my concern right now ). The Israelis won the wars against great odds, but cannot really enjoy fully the fruits of their victory and land acquisition so long as the 'loosers' in that war do not accept defeat and move on.

I personally get angry at Palis too at times and am not their greatest fan but I do support their right to have their own state after all they did not loose all their land :).

To be honest, in my early youth I also was pro-Palestinian, but stopped supporting them as soon as I realized what their cause actually was.

What do you think is their real cause ?

And in the post 9/11 world do you think one should stake their side ? being pro or anti US ? or pro and anti -semitic? is that how humanity should be divided now , by only this criteria. I find that strange, maybe you could help me and define it more Maya. I genuinely need to understand because I noticed that many people think this way too ...

Highlander said...

oops sorry did not think I talked so much :)

Highlander said...

Craig :)
Pretty close to 100% of Arabs I've been in contact with feel this way, including Chrsitains

This is the greatest testimony that Palestine is not about being Muslim, but about usurped land :) ( ok won in war ).

Thanks for the compliment by the way :)

programmer craig said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
programmer craig said...

(too many typos, trying again! Shouldn't comment first thing in the morning I guess)

Hi Highlander, we've talked about this before, so I'll let Maya respond to what you said if she wishes too :)

I'll just re-affirm that I don't think that's the strait story. It's just been the way it was framed for the Arab world, by the powers that be in the Arab world. And it was either quite brilliant, or quite stupid. Depending on whether one likes the current situation or not, I guess.

If you go back through the history of the last 40 years or so in the ME, you can see how this one issue has given rise both to international terrorism (and therefore the War on Terror) and radical Islam.

I still see it as a poison, and we're *all* victims of it. Not just Palestinians/Arabs.

PS- I'd still like somebody to explain to me why Israel is the only country in the history of the world that is expecting to unilaterally and voluntarily give up land it has occupied as part of a war effort, while the war is still ongoing. If Arabs are unwilling to make peace with Israel, why should Israel make any concessions? It's not logical. It's like demanding that the winner surrender to the loser.

Maya M said...

I've never before had such a discussion on my blog. I have to post more often about Palestine :). The joke aside, I really have to, because the subject is very important.
I have the impression that Arab Christians are under strong Muslim influence. This is not confined to the Mideast conflict. E.g. I know about a Bulgarian woman married to a Lebanese Christian (now divorced) who had absolutely the same problems she would have if she were married to a Muslim.
Highlander, when I was younger I thought that Palestinians want a state on West Bank and Gaza. Now I think their cause is destroying Israel, finishing what Hitler began. My current opinion is backed by the results of the recent Palestinian elections. I read your comment twice but I am still unclear what you think of Israel's right to exist. It seems to me that you support the Palestinian cause, i.e. you think all Israel's land is occupied and must be returned to its rightful owners. But I'm still not sure, possibly you meant just retreat to the pre-1967 borders, so I'm not going to challenge an opinion that you maybe hold and maybe not.
I am not sure that the situation in the Arab world is so good for the Palestinians as you think. I know that Jordan allows at least some of them to settle. But besides Lebanon, things are nasty for them in Egypt. I know it from Egyptian blogs (e.g. As for Libya, my only knowledge of the plight of Palestinians there is the fate of Ashraf al Hadjudj, the doctor accused together with the Bulgarian nurses. I don't know where he was born but I've read that he has lived in Libya since early childhood, yet he didn't become a Libyan citizen. He claims that during the interrogation his torturers said, "You (Palestinians) have no state, so don't hope anybody will come to your help." He thinks that the only reason he is still alive is that Bulgaria included him in its campaign. About Syria I know little and have the feeling that nobody knows much more; and I don't like what I know. A Palestinian from Syria named Martin recently was shot dead at Five Corners, a well-known crossing near our Medical University. I hope to have awaken your curiosity, because very few Palestinians are likely to be called Martin, and who and why shot the poor fellow in the center of Sofia, so far from the evil land of Israel? I'll write more about him some other time, but I don't want to believe that he would choose the path to a dog's death in foreign land if he had a better opportunity in Syria. But perhaps you are at least partly right and I am misled by wishful thinking about the human nature. I just want to think that most Palestinians are the genocidal maniacs they are because they are "stuck in no man's land", rejected both by Israel and by Arabs and desperate. But possibly they have the opportunity for a normal life and are genocidal maniacs entirely by choice? (In case some Palestinian is reading this - don't be too much offended, I don't think you are biologically inferior in any way, you just have a bad time of collective madness turning everybody's life into hell, like the Germans 70 years ago.)
Now I'll reply to the end of your comment with something you'll find offensive, but it simply cannot be formulated diplomatically without losing its meaning. I could define a civilization as some order including and respecting all human beings. I often read about "clash of civilizations", but, like Wafa Sultan, I really cannot see more than one. It is in fact difficult to explain why the enemies of the civilization are invariably anti-Semitic - first the Russians, then the Germans and Japanese and now the Islamists. (Jews gave disproportionately high number of scientists and other important people, but still their contribution is not so great to determine whether the civilization will survive or not.) The only real power standing for the civilization is the USA. Not surprisingly, it is Israel's ally. So the pro- or anti-US and Israel attitude draws the front line.