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Are Nobodys Trump Card
We are a people. Our roots in this land are as old as the roots of the olive trees in the garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem where Jesus prayed earnestly after the last supper with his disciples, and "His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." While he died on the cross for the salvation of humanity, and for exposing the truth and pointing at the root causes of evil, he rose from the dead to give us hope. But nobody is allowing us to even envisage such hope.
We have not only been dispossessed of our land, our identity, and our dignity, we have been occupied for the last thirty-four years. Under the guise of a peace process we have been brutalized for daring to resist the occupation. To add insult to injury we have been used as a trump card in all of world politics. The United Nations, the United States, the Europeans, and our dear Arab neighbors have had their share of bartering on our account, and this includes our own Palestinian Authority. And the last of the list is the statement of Osama bin Laden who swore by God that "Neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live it in Palestine."
We can see how bitter and vengeful Osama is for what the USA has done to his country, but Saudi Arabia is not the only country which has been abused, raped and manipulated by the USA. Ever since the attack of September 11, many Americans have started questioning their administration about its foreign policy. And although the reaction to the tragic events from around the world was very sincere, there were many people who thought that it was high time the USA got back a taste of the manipulation and devastation it has been delivering to so many countries through its foreign policy. Stories from Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Vietnam all surfaced on the internet after September 11 to answer Mr. Bushs big question, "Why do people hate us?"
When Mr. Arafat allied himself with Iraq at the time of the Gulf War in 1991, we paid the price. Now we have already started paying the price for the statement of bin Laden, even by our own Palestinian police who shot and killed students demonstrating against the bombardment of Afghanistan. Most probably the students in Gaza were not cheering Osama, as much as they were getting out their frustration on America for its unwavering support of the Israeli occupation, and for being labeled "terrorists" for attempting to resist the brutal Israeli occupation.
If the occupation of foreign land is illegal, and Iraq had to pay heavily for the last ten years because of its occupation of Kuwait for a few months, then why has Israel been allowed to maintain its occupation of the Palestinian Territories for over thirty-four years against international law and in defiance of all UN resolutions? How ironic that the UN should be awarded the Nobel Prize for peace when the world is in such shambles, which has mainly happened because the UN has allowed the USA to take it over. Its role as an international body is subject to the views of the USA. Durban [The UN World Conference Against Racism] was such a clear signal, which the USA did not want to see.
People are supposed to learn from history, but history seems to be repeating itself these days. "Like father like son," Mr. George W. Bush picked up a personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein. Hussein had been nurtured and supported by the USA to wage a war against Iran, then all of a sudden he became an uncontrollable monster in the eyes of the Americans. Was not Osama bin Laden the choice of the USA to help them crush the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? And the Stinger anti-aircraft missiles installed in Afghanistan, were they not supplied by USA? Yet before the smoke from the Twin Towers of the WTC had subsided, Mr. George W. Bush announced his war against terror, and picked a personal vendetta against Osama bin Laden. What is very ironic is that Mr. Bush had never heard of the Taliban before he was elected president. He thought they were a rock group when he was asked for his opinion about them before he was nominated for president. He certainly knows who they are now, and from what we see on TV of how they live, they are literally a "rock group."
Lets assume Mr. Bush was right that Osama bin Laden was behind the heinous attack, and that bin Laden sacrificed so many innocent people to get back at American foreign policy. Is not the USA doing exactly the same by sacrificing innocent people, just because their government is harboring Osama bin Laden in their caves and hovels? On the one hand, bombs are devastating what remains of the land, and on the other hand, food supplies are dropped to the stricken people. And how considerate of those [military] forces to stop the attacks on Friday, it being the Muslim Holy Day. People who are killing civilians and innocent people do not know what "holy" means. How hypocritical and unchristian. "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets. (Matthew 6:2)"
If by trying to justify their "terrorist acts" those people have done harm to Islam, then the so-called Christian world has done just as much harm to Christianity by the vengeful attack on Afghanistan. "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48)" Easier said than done.
So what is all this about? Is it a holy war? Is it a crusade? Is it really "jihad"? I hope and pray it is not. We in Palestine have suffered enough because religion has been used and abused to justify all our dispossession and oppression, so we certainly do not want to "do to others what we do not want for us." But isnt all this about power and structures of domination? Even the most naïve people realize that.
Is it possible that the USA and its ardent ally and Masters Voice, the United Kingdom, are continuing their war on a stricken people and are threatening to reach out to other areas in spite of all the demonstrations which are going on around the world as if they hold the whole world in their hands? God forbid for there is still a God in this world to whom these powers will have to answer
one of those days. If there is a serious resolve to eliminate terrorism, those leaders will need to work at eliminating the root causes of terrorism. If peace and security are to prevail, justice and only justice is the answer. "The fruit of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes. (Isaiah 32:17-18)"
Samia Khoury is president of Rawdat El-Zuhur, a coeducational elementary school for the lower income community in East Jerusalem. She also serves as treasurer of the board of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Samia can be reached by email at Samia@rawdat.org