Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gaza Crossing - Peoples's Power in Action

Sunday Observer Online

Gaza Crossing - People's power in action

In his book 'Hegemony or Survival', Noam Chomsky says at the height of US military plans to attack Iraq, the press reported that 'there may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion'.
At that point of time such a statement might have looked absurd despite the fact that there were huge protests against American plans to bomb Iraq - already devastated by UN sanctions sponsored by the 'civilised world' with the US giving it the leadership. 

Could world public opinion stand up to the US juggernaut? Or the Palestinians the Israeli military might? To believe in such a thing was embarrassing. 

But the answer came in January 2008 when the Gazans bulldozed the Berlin-type wall that separated them from Egypt and walked into their neighbouring country to buy provisions that Israel had deprived them of, in its bid to starve them into surrender. 

And what could the mighty Jewish State do? Just stare in disbelief as the Gazans stood up to their brutality and 'escaped' to Egypt from their open-air prison. One observer described the demolition of the Gaza-Egypt border fence as the biggest jail break of all time! People power was at work. And how! 

How could a force even as vicious as the Israeli one or even the narcissus European Union prevent mothers from buying milk and other food stuff to save their children from death by starvation? And 'civilisation' thought it proper to stand by and let it happen? What a shame! 

Not even the 20,000 strong truncheon-wielding riot police that Mubarak sent to prevent the Gazans from entering Egypt could do a damn. Maybe they didn't want to. Or maybe they couldn't summon the wickedness to do the dirty on their starving brothers and sisters from Gaza. 

After all they had borne Israel's inhuman collective punishment with courage and fortitude never seen before. They needed help and understanding not a thrashing. There was not a single country that raised its voice against the continuing Israeli horror of collective punishment against the Palestinians which is a war crime by all cannons of justice. 

It seemed like the whole world was against the Palestinians in Gaza. Iran and Venezuela were the only two nations who protested and they are supposed to be 'terrorist' States. Come on! Please give us a break. 

Yes Egypt did try to stop the Palestinians from entering their country. But by that time it was too late. It was too late from the moment the Hamas led Gazans smashed the wall. Since that moment, history has begun to take another course - a course that cannot be reversed. Middle-Eastern politics will never be the same again. 

The Zionist/Jewish state and its western patrons imposed all kinds of barbaric sanctions on the Gazans in the hope that they will abandon Hamas and surrender to the tyranny of the 'civilised world'. But their actions have had the opposite effect. The Gazans have got closer to their elected leaders. This was something Israel had wanted to avoid at all costs. 

If the Israeli and American leaders thought the worst was over, then they had another thought coming. Egypt invited both Fatah and Hamas for talks in Cairo - thus recognising Hamas as a key player. One thing is certain now - Hamas has to be included in the discussions if there is going to be any sense in the 'Peace Talks' that are supposed to take place. 

The people's power has provided the Arab countries with a fantastic opportunity to get their act together. They have no excuse to be divided anymore - the Palestinians in Gaza have given them the raison-de-etre to get together and stick like glue. 

Saudi Arabia and Egypt should take the lead and if they don't, then there might be a show of people's power in their respective countries as well. Just like the one in the US right now where Barack Obama is making vast inroads into the system that the neo-cons or the plutocrats ruling the country had painstakingly built over the years to remain in power forever. 

Obama has left the WASPS (White Anglo Saxon Protestants) gasping for breath. He's calling for a change that Americans can believe in. He might not make it to the top but one thing he has shown already is the ordinary decent American folk don't like the way their country is run. Old America, you better watch out! There is a new dude on the block. And he's 'connecting' with the people like mad. 

The 'Gaza Crossing' was not the first one that had shaken the Israeli's or their backers. There have been two Intifidas and though the Palestinian struggle for freedom from oppression is far from over, they can take heart from the success the 'Gaza Crossing' had given them. 

No power on earth can crush the human spirit that is craving for a life free from oppression. The only solution the Jewish State can think of is to eliminate all the Palestinian Arabs. But that's just not possible. The Jews know that better than anybody else. 

And for sure there will be more uprisings, more Intifidas and, sadly, more bloodshed before the Jewish State realises the Palestinians will simply not roll over and die. History is on their side. 

The 'Gaza Crossing' is similar to the Aquino's people power in the Philippines, Ayatollah Khomeini's overthrow of the Shah - the king of kings, the Nelson Mandela led ANC's victory over Apartheid and with Martin Luther King the success of the civil rights movement in the US. 

And yes, if the Jews need another example from history they can take their own survival from the Nazis as living proof that you just cannot finish off a people, nor suppress them for too long.

(The writer is Vice President of the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine)

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