Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘existential enemy

Barbara made me walk on air

Note: Re-edit of “I Should Have Told Barbara (Jan. 2003)”

The day before my trip to Los Angeles in the summer of 1976, Sue, the girlfriend of a dear friend of mine studying at the same university, asked me to get in touch with her sister Barbara.

I were in the USA since June of 1975, my first trip ever outside my country.

The International Office at the University arranged a group trip for one week to California, for some of us new international students. We were to meet families in this exchange program.

I did not care meeting any American families for the time being, but I needed to get away in my first summer and wanted to see California.

The International student advisor knew about my origin. The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena without warning me. I do consider Israel as our existential enemy and anyone who support Israel financially could never be a friend of mine. I did assume this family supported Israel.

The family had a fourteen-year old boy, or maybe he was their grandchild.

I was Not that curious: They looked pretty old to me. The husband was very helpful and friendly, but his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program.

A student from Nigeria was assigned to the same family. The house was large with a garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, gloomy, dark and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people.

The same evening they asked the Nigerian student a few questions, but I was spared this torture, may be because I didn’t look that forthcoming. Or that they figured out I’ll be very sensitive to whatever pertinent questions they might ask.

It is a crime to surprise youth among old people. Youth has to be forewarned, to be prepared on what to expect from elder people. Youth has to be reminded that elderly can be wonderful and much active, That older people are great people, still very much living humans And who could be funny, charming and could be very functional…

We had a general gathering the first day with all the host families and various students. Then we were given the daily program of places to see and I barely paid attention to the program.

We were to see Disneyland the next day for free. I declined the invitation: Disneyland is for kids.

I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later. And I again declined. Disney was still just for kids.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my nephews. My little nephews and nieces, five in total then, loved Disney.

Not as much as I did enjoy it that day.

My host drove me for an hour to the meeting place with Barbara, living in West Hollywood. He drove two hours to pick me up, three hours later.

Youth: ruthless, mindless, uncompromising, and unappreciative.

I still can visualize Barbra after thirty years, coming toward me, in white shirt, long brown skirt reaching below her knees, almost touching her long brown cowboy boots.

Her boots must have added a couple inches to her stature. She is shorter than me in an afterthought. But the vision is always of a tall and grand lady.

She appeared taller than me but my pride increased correspondingly, by her side.

Her then long blonde-brown hair was raised over her beautiful head. She looked glamour incarnate.

She hugged me and made me feel I was a dear friend, of long time, whom she missed.

She spoke with effusion and earnestness.

She wanted to know all that is to know, instantly,

About how her sister is doing, what about her sister’s boyfriend who was my friend, About their relationship, about Oklahoma her home State…

About everything, but nothing about me, or how I feel or felt that moment.

I was glad that I was not the object of the conversation then, but not so glad now.

We walked together so close, and I was walking on air.

I felt that I must look the most envied guy, a most glamorous guy in the whole wide world.

I asked permission from my host family to move at Barbara’s, for the duration of the program, and they agreed.

Next morning was warm and sunny and I walked to Beverly Hills to see her in the fashion store she managed. I did walk on stars’ hands and the walk was Not that long.

She received me like a VIP and was happy at my surprised visit. And I toured Downtown Beverly Hills: Pretty empty of clients, boring, clean, expensive for no reasons… I cannot recall if I waited for Barbara to finish work or that I returned by myself.

I wanted to be with Barbara every second of my trip in California.

A couple of years later, I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles hoping to see Barbara again.

It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it.

My friends drove me through Beverly Hills, where the rich and glamorous live, but I was not impressed.

Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood.

I called up Barbara and I invited myself to stay overnight at her apartment.

She had many friends. She was attached at the moment to a fashionable young man, working in fashion and with fashion, but they had problems.

She appeared depressed and disappointed and not in the mood for me. Her TV was on 24 hours.

I slept and woke up with the TV on.

Six years later, during my second extended trip to the USA, I had another opportunity to visit with Baraba

Sue was leaving to Little Rock with her boyfriend had she told me that Barbara was married and living in Oklahoma City and she gave me her phone number.

I met Barbara on Thanksgiving and she did not look the Barbara of my vision.

Her skin looked darker, her face emaciated, down to earth, resigned and decked in simple blue jeans and an old black sweater.

She was married to a full-blooded American Indian, herself a half-blooded lady.

A soft spoken husband, a polite artist who toured the USA exhibiting his paintings.

She stayed at home designing jewellery and managing her man’s business.

I accepted her invitation for a Thanksgiving lunch.

I went down to Oklahoma City for an important and specific purpose of mine: I was determined to tell Barbara my secret.

I went down with my steady girlfriend at the time. I had to because I had no cars: actually, I spent most of my University education on a bicycle.

Barbara’s eyes had an ironic shine looking at my oriental (Filipina) short friend.

She asked my friend all kinds of questions about our relationship,

How we met and what are our plans.

Barbara said to me: “You know, someone needs news about your friend”.

She meant that her sister needed to know the whereabouts of her ex-husband.

I had lost track of the whereabouts of my friend too and could not be of much help.

Barbara was entitled to know the truth, that the first time she walked with me, she made me feel that I was the most glamorous guy in town.

But I did not tell Barbara the truth.

I don’t recall that I talked during my two hours stay at Thanksgiving.

Maybe it did not feel right at that moment, but I should have persevered on my initial decision:

This truth is hers no matter what.

She could be eighty, but age does not erase the feeling, that to my young eyes, she was the most glamorous woman I set my eyes on.

She could be a hundred, but age does not change the fact,

That Barbara made me once walk on air.

Maybe if I had told Barbara, I wouldn’t have written this story.

Where Lebanon from here? Structural political change is obvious. What intermediary reforms?

Lebanon is a very tiny State (about 10,000 sq. km) with a reduced population of less than 5 million and 19 officially religious sects  having the sole monopoly of individual registry.

With the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 (by a majority of a single vote in the UN), Lebanon has but a single land trade route to the rest of the world through Syria.

Since the creation of Israel (our existential enemy) daily trade and communication of our people have been blocked.

Unless political close relationship is established with Syria, there is no possibility to encourage the productive sectors in industry and agriculture or even in financial sectors.

The current financial fiasco in Lebanon has proven the tight interaction between Syria currency and Lebanon overvalued currency (linked to the dollar since 1994).

The impact of Lebanon tenuous currency has directly affected the currency of Syria since most of their entrepreneurs deal with Lebanese banks for their imports.

Our highway robbers of militia/mafia “leaders” are controlled by their Godfather:

  1. Nabih Berry has been chairman of the Parliament since 1994 without discontinuity. He is every-time elected by the entire deputies, give or take a couple of deputy. The reason for this is that Nabih has supported every deputy to acquire a monopoly of a consume good, energy, financial transaction, services… Berry has transformed our Ponzi scheme system into an anomy system.
  2. Nabih Berry considers himself the sole interpreter of the Constitution, although we have no idea which constitution is to guide us: the initial constitution of 1943 or the constitution of the Taef ( Saudi Kingdom) in 1992
  3. Actually, the Constitution is basically scarecrow that nobody abide by and is repeatedly baffled on the basis of urgent trade-off among the sectarian parties. We do have officially 19 religious sects, each one maintaining the citizens’ private registry.
  4. What Berry and most of the deputies elected by the sectarian parties and enjoying astronomical privileges is to wipe out, by a general amnesty, all their highway robberies during the last 30 years, and escape facing justice. The mechanism is to create special Courts elected by the parliament deputies itself.
  5. As long as Berry is still in power, Lebanon will never experience any reforms or any kind of change in its political system

Tidbits and notes. Part 421

Wars of choice“? And decided by the 1% elite class in the “war industry” that plunder other nations raw materials and oil.. and open market

Do you know there are 40% unemployed youth in Lebanon? This anomie system expected that most of them will find jobs overseas. It turned out that there are no jobs overseas at this junction. This militia/mafia system has to contend with all these educated youth demanding drastic changes: This is the real cause for the current mass upheaval 7iraak.

Since its independence in 1943, Lebanon successive governments and institutions totally ignored the southern region, the Bekaa3 valley and the northern regions: they were to fend for themselves to survive. The southern region had no borders with Syria and they were plagued with the “legitimate” presence of Palestinian PLO in their midst and the successive excuses for Israel to bomb their towns and force them to flee, mostly toward the Capital Beirut (al Da7iyat)

What is the main institution that ruled and controlled this fiasco in Lebanon for 30 years? It is the Parliament and all its deputies for 30 years. They all, and invariably, elected the non-changeable Nabih Berry by all the deputies. They all have to face the justice system for cooperating with this anomie system

Nothing is spontaneous. Nothing but paying jobs can organize a mass movement. And the more the content is based on abstract concepts (freedom, liberty…) the worse is the “Style” of the particular 7iraak (tent, khaymat)

The higher the indirect taxes the more outdated the political/economic system. Lebanon is the worst: a non-productive society and budget mostly based on indirect taxes that rob the citizens in every of his daily activities

In Middle-East politics, I have two invariable positions, based on daily confirmation for many decades: 1) Israel is our Existential Enemy, and 2) Greater Syria forms one Nation with One people (current Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq)

Think with me: if you are an Ethiopian from the center of the country, how could you manage to save $400 in order to flee the country toward Djibouti, Yemen and Saudi Kingdom? Would you take this totally hazardous and and insane  route if you were Not submitted to an ethnic cleansing? I submit that the multinational agro-businesses that rent for cheap vast land and entice the peasant to flee their land? This regulated scheme has been going on for decades in Ethiopia. And how come the world community dare attribute a Nobel of Peace to the President of Ethiopia?  And why this dam on the Nile if Not to provide cheap water for the multinationals?

Same basic rule in Japan: No eye glasses are to be worn by female employees in tourism, fashion industries…

Apparently, frequently catching cold is the symptom of a transformed constitution that is getting allergic to many items and pathogens that it was previously immune of. Kind of the immune system got set on an old administrative routine and unable to cope with the exponential increase in polluters and human-made poisonous products

Let’s us Not be that confused: In every country, there is an “elite class” that managed to take roots with all the privileges that have Nothing to do with “money” as we know it. For fundamental reasons, and Not related to any rational basis, No revolution ever eliminated the elite class.

Every other “citizen” regardless of color, genders, race, financial social status… are necessarily second class, given that the Elite Class conserves its status. Sure, there are third and fourth classes… All you can do is learn and do your best to advance to the second class.

 

 

A plausible settlement for the “Deal of Century” to both Palestinians and Israelis

Note: The created State of Israel by the colonial powers has all the blueprints of a colonial occupation of a land by force. The State of Israel, with all the determination of the colonial powers to keep it alive and floating financially, politically and militarily, has gone way too far in its brutality, its calamitous myths, and unwavering decision to wipe out the culture and identity of the Palestinian people.

This article, (dated on November 13, 2008) is a temporary resolution until the far-right Israelis desist from their occupation mentality and reach a reasonable state of common status of living together with Palestinians on equal rights. Until then, Israel is our existential enemy.

There are reams and reams of plans and counter plans and resolution suggested to containing this everlasting unjust and uncalled for reality of the 20th century monstrosity that permitted the establishment of the State of Israel by displacing its original inhabitants (the Palestinians), as so many monstrosities in this century.

There are two viable solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, short of exterminating one party or the other or most probably both, that has been spreading death, disabilities, miseries, indignities and humiliation since 1920.

The Israeli Olmert PM has lately declared that the time to facing truth has come.

Since the Madrid convention in 1990 among the “Arab States” (excluding Syria) and Israeli delegations and mediated by the US Administration, during the Bush Sr. tenure as President, for a resolution of this conflict, it was becoming evident that the “Biblical” strategy of Israel, for further expansion and pre-emptive wars, is no longer tenable, especially after its total failure in 2006 of invading Lebanon.

A resolution was contemplated but the US had an old battle plan to invade Iraq before resolving this conflict.

The Bush “Son” Jr. administration dusted off this war plan and invaded Iraq. This invasion has failed miserably but Israel is no longer necessary for the strategic interest of the US in the Middle East:  The US has military bases in the Arab Gulf States and Saudi Kingdom, and it has many heavy weight allies among the Arabic States.

And the price of oil on the market is far cheaper than physically securing its exploitation and distribution in Iraq or elsewhere or even resuming plans to intimidating China and blackmailing her by outdated military presence in Iraq.

The return of the heavy investments of the US in Israel has been reflecting sharp negative rates of return for decades, politically, economically, and socially within the US society and foreign policies.

My plan is of two phases:

The first phase is recognizing the State of Palestine by the United Nation, a State self-autonomous, independent and all.  It is of primordial interest by the world community and the Jewish State that the Palestinian people recover their dignity and rights as a full fledged State and be permitted to exercise the complex task of administering and governing a State.

At least from a psychological necessity, the Palestinian people should feel that persistent resistance and countless “martyrs” for re-establishing their rights as legitimate and independent people have brought fruits, as any genuine national resistance ultimately should.

The second phase is the merging of the two States of Palestine and Israel into a confederate State with a central government and several self-autonomous “cantons”.  I can envisage the following cantons: West Bank, Gaza (including Escalon), Galilee (including Haifa and Akka), Judea (around Jerusalem and Bethlehem), the “East Shore” (Tel Aviv, Yafa), and the Negev (including Akaba).

I have this impression that the tight religious extremists on both sides would opt to move to Gaza and Judea, and the very secular citizens would move to the East Shore or Galilee, and the economically minded people might reside in the Negev backed by strong financial incentives.

The second phase will witness the return of the Palestinian refugees as ordered by the UN resolution of 193 in 1948 and the refugees would have the right to select the canton of their preferences.

I can foresee that the key offices in the central government would be equally, including genders, shared by the Palestinians and Israelis on a rotation imposed law.

The representation in the cantons would be proportional to the general census of the period (at 5 years intervals).  The representation among sects, factions, or other types of social divisions within each “people” would also follow the proportions in the census.

I suggest to the interest of the future “Palesrael” State that Israel let Lebanon structure and experience, without foreign interventions, study the pitfalls and strength of such a system of co-existence and avoid the unnecessary miseries of minor civil wars and countless frustrations in its future unfolding.

It would be inevitable that the State of “Palesreal” be guaranteed a neutrality status (No pre-emptive wars within and outside its borders) by the world community and the regional powers.  It is evident that this could be plausible after Syria recover all its lands and settles on a political constitution that safeguard its autonomous decisions.

Then, it is hoped and strongly desired that the State of Lebanon would secure this neutrally status.  Amen.

Tidbits and Notes. Part 283

Anyone who believes Israel is our existential enemy and Syria should Not be degraded and divided by USA and colonial powers and believe in the separation of religion from civil laws is a potential Souri Kawmi. All other issues should be opened for free discussion and open communication. It will require plenty of time and energy to discuss positively, but it is about time for walk the first mile.

Iran gave EU a 60 days ultimatum to side economically with it. I suggest Iran to be ready to announce the production of a nuclear bomb by that time, otherwise, USA will take a chance to take the risk of an “owe and dazzle” attack on Iran 

It is Not worth reading the fundamentally “rootless” authors: They cannot worry about any society. Worst of all, those “rootlessly” living authors in their own country and just dream of leaving it.

L’alternative pour une paix durable c’est de diviser le monde entre la majorité ecrasante de ceux qui croient au destin et la minorité du libre-arbitres. La minorité aurait une chance de s’épanouir. A ce moment, les barriéres peuvent s’élevées. Mais les barriéres sont déja lá, avancant a une vitesse assourdissante

La conversation intellectuelle est eminement erotique, surtout quand on apprend a ecouter et a poser des questions pertinente sans ironie.

It was the British who consistently supported with finance and weapons the Wahhabi tribes since the 19th century. Egypt Mohammad Ali and his son Ibrahim crushed this Wahhabi insurgency that disturbed all the neighboring tribes, Iraq and Syria and Mecca by looting and assassinating everyone in their path. The British rearmed and financed the Wahhabi again.

There is No such thing as an idiotic kid who cannot be impressed by adult’s heart when it delivers suggestions and positions.

Il est des heritages qu’il est preferable de liquider

Monterrey Bay in California seems clean, but the pollution levels are profound. Researchers recently found the concentration of micro-plastics in the bay’s depths rival the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world’s filthiest stretch of ocean.

Located between Hawaii and California, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a shifting mass of trash covering about three times the size of France. 618,000 sq miles (1.6 million sq km).

Pregnancy is one of the most awesome feats of humanity. The metabolic rate adapts to the level of exertion in both endurance athletes and expectant mothers.

Everyone knows that a good normal shit is the most sexy period of the day but no one dare declaring this truth.  When you badly need to piss and feel ready to releasing the water then, you feel sexier than ejaculating.

Mission Accomplished? And why you refuse to own the subsequent horrors? The cases of Iraq invasion, other pre-emptive missions, and secret services operations…

An experiment is designed to study the behavior of the values/responses of a dependent variable (for example data collected) as the values/stimuli of an independent variable/factor are changed, manipulated, or presented randomly or in fixed manner.

La Liberté de m’exprimer sans mensonge, mon drapeau et ma patrie

You hear fantastic stories of leaders, prophets, or messengers marching with a large following of disciples trailing after them.  I am one to immediately wonder “What happens when the leader has to go? Like to piss or take a shit?”  Do followers line up with him to take advantage of this glorious break? 

The “average” person may need to be nudged into cruelty, (trusting that this cruelty won’t be fatal or handicapping), but it can still be done disturbingly quickly. It is the system and how the system set up the rules and regulations. The question is: how do we evaluate an average man?

You worked, you should be paid for. Never trust an institution that make people work for “free”, even slaves were paid indirectly. This is “sokhrat”.

 

Obsessed with Time? Applicable to every Palestinian living under Israel occupation

Ramallah, occupied West Bank – Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh has used his pen to delicately trace the contours of Palestinian history and landscapes, bringing readers into the harsh and complicated realities that shape daily life in the West Bank, where some two and a half million Palestinians have remained under an Israeli military occupation for more than half a century.

Jaclynn Ashly, Nov. 20, 2018

Shehadeh, who also practices law, wrote his first book in 1982, titled The Third Way: A Journal of Life in the West Bank, which painted a nuanced portrait of life in the occupied territory and created the ideological foundation for his future books.

“[The book] started when I went to the United States for the first time,” the 67-year-old told me at his office in Ramallah city, where shelves of legal books and documents line the white walls.

“I met a close friend of mine, who, although he is Palestinian and follows things here, he really had no idea what life was like here,” he explained.

“When I returned [to the West Bank] I wrote him lengthy letters trying to explain how it is day to day. And it wasn’t a dramatic thing. It was little harassment and difficulties that people outside could not imagine happening at all.” (The daily frequency of these harassment is the main culprit of apartheid practices) 

“I realized there was a need for such writing, and I expanded it into a book,” he said.

The book consists of stories and journal entries written by Shehadeh. Its title is derived from a saying among inmates at the Treblinka extermination camp in Nazi occupied Poland during the Holocaust: “Faced with two alternatives, always choose the third.” (Not applicable for Palestinians in colonial Israel which has endured over 7 decades and worsening)

In Palestine, he uses this saying to explore the options Palestinians have under Israel’s occupation: to either face “exile or submissive capitulation” or “blind, consuming hate.”

The third way is sumud, or steadfastness, a word used by Palestinians to articulate the act of staying on the land, regardless of the difficulties in doing so, in order to resist Israel’s ultimate goal of expelling Palestinians from their lands.

Shehadeh has since written 10 books, his most popular being Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape, which explores his changing relationship with the landscape of the West Bank owing to Israel’s settler colonial project.

He has a new book set to be released next year, titled Going Home.

Although Shehadeh did not want to speak at length about the focus of the book, he said it explores aging and the changing perceptions of time as “you become closer to the end.”

“I’ve become rather obsessed with time,” Shehadeh said. “Maybe that’s why it bothered me so much that you showed up late.” He smiled and chuckled – the first sign of warmth he showed me since I had agitated him by arriving a half hour late. (I had used the wrong café as a reference point to his office.)

Shehadeh lives a simple life in Ramallah city, gardening, reading, listening to classical music and, of course, writing. Shehadeh has kept a sometimes daily — sometimes weekly – private journal for decades, allowing him to revisit old events, feelings and perspectives, transforming blank pages into literary works that have earned him international acclaim.

“I have a practice of always carrying around a small piece of paper or notebook and jotting things down,” Shehadeh told me. “It’s not a journal that I make myself write. I write when I need to in order to explain things to myself, or when I’m coming to terms with things.” (I take notes when I read books)

From law to literature

Shehadeh, one of the founders of the Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, had always wanted to be a writer. However, after the publication of his first book, “I realized there was a lot of work to be done in the legal aspects and the human aspects [in the occupied West Bank],” he said.

He instead dedicated most of his time to challenging Israel’s occupation and human rights violations through international legal frameworks.

“The biggest asset for Palestinians is the law,” Shehadeh told Mondoweiss. “Because the law is on our side. To some extent [at the time] there was more interest and shame among the international community regarding international law.”

(There are 2 parallel law codes in Israel)

Shehadeh served as the legal adviser for Palestinians during the Madrid peace negotiations in 1991, but left over disagreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s focus and priorities, which the writer said valued political expediency and the return of exiled leaders over issues facing Palestinians on the ground.

“The PLO agreed to terms that, from the beginning, I thought were too restrictive,” Shehadeh said. “It would have taken great effort to bring in issues that are so relevant to us [Palestinians] here, such as [Israeli] settlements and the land.”

He sipped from a cup of coffee an assistant had brought, and then went on: “It was only about creating a self-government for Palestinians. In my mind, [the negotiations] were leading to Israel unilaterally confirming and consolidating what was already happening. I decided it was futile and left.”

Years later, the Oslo agreements were signed in secret between the PLO and the Israeli government, dramatically altering life in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The agreements broke up the land in the occupied West Bank into Areas A, B, and C, leaving more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, while the newly established Palestinian Authority (PA) was permitted to govern just 18 percent of the land.

“I was very disappointed [after Oslo],” Shehadeh said calmly, his hands clasped together and resting on his knee. “It made a difference in my whole life, because until then I was giving up everything I could to the legal aspect of the struggle.”

“My life really changed. I felt that my work had amounted to very little in terms of political effectiveness […]

Since Oslo, the Palestinian leadership has been excusing its failures and holding onto this deal, which they are bound to hold onto because they have no power to get out of it. And it has been downhill ever since.”

It was Shehadeh’s frustrations with Oslo that spurred him to leave al-Haq and direct his energy towards writing.

‘My father would feel very disappointed’

While Shehadeh always wrote on the side, even as he did legal work documenting Israel’s violations in the Palestinian territory, the first book he was able to dedicate a significant amount of time to was Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine, which he wrote when he was in his late 30s.

The memoir explores Shehadeh’s complicated relationship with his father Aziz, an accomplished lawyer who was stabbed and left to bleed to death near his home in Ramallah in 1985.

Israeli authorities were accused of harboring political motives and not investigating the murder properly, and the case has since remained unsolved.

His father had, and continues to have, a profound influence on Shehadeh, and to this day the book was the most challenging for him to write, he tells Mondoweiss.

“Parents are extremely important and the perceptions and relationships change when one changes in time,” he said. “Whenever I tried to write something else, I would get back to that subject in my mind. So it was important and difficult to write.”

Since then, he has explored his relationship with his father in many of his books.

His father Aziz was one of the first Palestinians to promote a two-state solution and recognition of an Israeli state.

In 1953, his father won a case against Barclays bank that allowed Palestinian refugees to access their accounts after Israel had seized them in 1948, when Israel was established upon the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians from their lands.

“I think my father would feel very disappointed [by the current state of the Palestinian territory],” Shehadeh said, without hesitation. “He realized early on, before many others, that we have to make a peace deal with Israel.”

However, Aziz was unique in his ability to see the potential positives in making a peace deal, Shehadeh noted.

“His father thought that Israelis and Palestinians working together would bring about a much better people, for both of us,” the writer explained. “We complement each other and we can do great things together.”

Shehadeh says that he has also inherited parts of his father’s vision.

Like Shehadeh, Aziz understood the importance of Palestinians staying on the land. “My father would do everything possible to help Palestinians stay here. Every new person staying here was a gain.”

However, unlike his father, Shehadeh does not support a two-state or one-state solution to the decades-old conflict, noting that these discussions were “irrelevant.”

Instead, the writer says his “dream” is “one region,” reminiscent of a Greater Syria, and believes this will inevitably become the future. (So far, Israel is the existential enemy of the One Syrian people)

“It will come one day. But it’s a dream, just like the one-state solution is a dream,” he said. “It’s futile for us to dream now. I think we should focus on calling for the end of the occupation, and then we can find ways that we can live together. The question is how do we relate these two nations — Palestinians and Israelis together?”

The most pressing issue for Shehadeh is the right of return for Palestinian refugees — upheld by United Nations resolution 194 — who were expelled from their homes and lands during the Zionist takeover of historic Palestine in 1948.

“The right of return is a fundamental matter for Israel, because Israel bases its state mythology on the lack of a presence or existence of a Palestinian nation,” Shehadeh explained.

“So to recognize that there was a Palestinian nation living in what became Israel means Israel has to readjust its identity. And this is essential if there’s ever going to be peace”

‘To dehumanize them, you reduce your own humanity’

His latest book, Where the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine, published last year, documents Shehadeh’s shifting perspectives and relationships with several Israeli friends throughout Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.

“I’ve been rather obsessed with the fact that when I go to a place, let’s say a checkpoint or a certain landscape that was changed, I see it both in the way it was and the way it is now,” Shehadeh explained to me.

“These two realities are in my mind all the time […] But it’s only because of my age and experience that I can see it in this way. But anybody who is an adult now, even in their 20s or 30s, will only know about how it is now. They will have no perception or imagining of how it was before.”

These thoughts created the framework for the book, exploring various “crossings” that have changed throughout the occupation.

He said that he explores “how different relationships existed between Palestinians and Israelis at various levels, the relationship and continuity of the land, the way that it was open at one point, and how the crossings into Israel have changed.”

Shehadeh’s book, which in part focused on his relationship with his Israeli friend Henry and included personal letters exchanged between the two friends, examines these relationships in a humanistic, thoughtful and honest way.

In a land where even the most mundane aspects of Palestinian life are shaped by Israel’s occupation, it can be a personal struggle not to become bitter and resentful toward Israelis as a whole.

But Shehadeh has been able to transcend these feelings. “To dehumanize them [Israelis], you reduce your own humanity,” he said.

“I’ve passed through stages,” Shehadeh added. “The first intifada was one, when I would be so angry and so full of hate, and therefore feel myself reduced by the hate. I realized it doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t provide me a service and it doesn’t give my cause a service.”

“It doesn’t help me in my life or my understandings. So I got over it, and I never succumbed to it again.” (And now he is succumbing to what? The laws of the occupiers?)

Continuing Sumud

Much has changed throughout the decades Shehadeh has been writing.

He remembers when it was difficult to get away with even mentioning Palestine in his books. When he did write that controversial 9-letter word, his books were often taken from public library shelves and torn apart.

“I remember going to Barnes and Noble, and noticing that one of my books — When the Birds Stopped Singing: Life in Ramallah Under Siege — was placed in the military history section,” he said, noting that he believes someone had placed it there so that no one would see it.

However, “now there are many books and intellectuals who are critical of Israel, which was not the case before.”

Meanwhile, he said, Israel has shifted farther to the right, with US President Donald Trump “allowing Israel to do whatever it wants.” Shehadeh believes that this is in fact bad for Israel.

“It is destroying the country,” he told Mondoweiss. “They are becoming fascists.” (They have been acting fascists since they were created and planned their terrorist activities as fascists before their “independence” from mandated Britain)

For the daily life of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Shehadeh believes that it has become more complex. “I think in the past it used to be a lot simpler because we all understood occupation and we all thought it would end soon. But as time went on we realized that’s not the case,” he said. (As he understood Britain mandated occupation?)

“But it was clear where we were moving and the situation wasn’t confusing,”’ he continued. “At the same time, daily life was much more difficult and obstructed.”

However, now in the occupied West Bank, he says, there are more opportunities and possibilities for Palestinians. Particularly in cities like Ramallah, which boomed after 1997 becoming the de-facto capital of the West Bank, Palestinians have more access to economic ventures or other projects than they did before. (An economy that is extension to Israel economy?)

According to Shehadeh, this is all part of the continuing sumud, and represents developments that have made it easier for Palestinians to remain here.

“If you think about Ramallah, as bad as the government [Palestinian Authority] is, they’ve managed to make it possible for people to lead their lives with clean streets and cafes.” (Great, while settlers dump their sewage in Palestinian schools?)

Ramallah’s active cultural scene, consisting of everything from visual arts, poetry and theater to hip hop and underground music, is an important element of sumud. “The assertion of the self is an important part of the resistance,” Shehadeh says.

“People are staying, and that’s very important. There is power in the fact that despite everything Israel has tried to do we are still staying,” he said, highlighting that the population of Palestinians and Israelis within Israel-Palestine is almost equal.

“That’s a great achievement considering how much Israel has tried to prevent it.”

Shehadeh politely glanced at his watch to check the time. We had been speaking for about two hours, and I thought it was best to finally end the interview.

The acclaimed writer walked me out. “Thank you for your time,” I said, and his reply was brief. “Yes, thank you. Good bye.” His eyes lowered to the ground as he gently closed the door in front of him.

Part 10. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is Not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Israel Is Not a Democracy

What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy.

Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery.

Although large sections of civil societies throughout the world deny Israel its pretense to democracy, their political elites, for a variety of reasons, still treat it as a member of the exclusive club of democratic states.

In many ways, the popularity of the BDS movement reflects the frustrations of those societies with their governments’ policies towards Israel.

(BDS movement for sanctioning Israel settlement economy on occupied land and divesting in Israeli activities that promote apartheid policies and programs)

For most Israelis these counterarguments are irrelevant at best and malicious at worst. The Israeli state clings to the view that it is a benevolent occupier.

The argument for “enlightened occupation” proposes that, according to the average Jewish citizen in Israel, the Palestinians are much better off under occupation and they have no reason in the world to resist it, let alone by force.

(That’s the same propaganda that mandated powers of France, England, USA disseminated during their occupation of lands)

If you are a noncritical supporter of Israel abroad, you accept these assumptions as well.

There are, however, sections of Israeli society that do recognize the validity of some of the claims made here. In the 1990s, with various degrees of conviction, a significant number of Jewish academics, journalists, and artists voiced their doubts about the definition of Israel as a democracy.

It takes some courage to challenge the foundational myths of one’s own society and state. This is why quite a few of them later retreated from this brave position and returned to toeing the general line.

Nevertheless, for a while during the last decade of the last century, they produced works that challenged the assumption of a democratic Israel.

They portrayed Israel as belonging to a different community: that of the nondemocratic nations. One of them, the geographer Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University, depicted Israel as an ethnocracy, a regime governing a mixed ethnic state with a legal and formal preference for one ethnic group over all the others. Others went further, labeling Israel an apartheid state or a settler-colonial state.

(I go even further to state that Israel is an existential enemy to the Middle-East people because it was created to block daily trade and connections among the neighboring countries: This the purpose of the Sykes-Picot strategic dismemberment of the region)

In short, whatever description these critical scholars offered, “democracy” was not among them.

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. Most recently, he is the author of Ten Myths About Israel.

This article was originally published by “Jacobin 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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