A once profound and widely read commentator recently claimed he no longer writes about the Palestine/Israel conflict because "Palestinians are killing each other". Feeling his words have ceased to carry weight he simply decided not "to take sides".
What should be made of such a reaction? Granted, what has transpired in
It is disheartening because a long-victimised nation, subject to an intense and ongoing colonial project should deploy all its energies in fighting its enemy’s long-term goal of an ethnically cleansed
It is demoralising because the Palestinians should inspire a global movement aimed at sending a clear message to
And what is happening in
Thus is the conflict between a nation denied its land and basic freedoms and a state with immense wealth and power distorted, allowing the latter to defy international law on a daily basis, thanks in part to the backing of the world’s only superpower, the United States. Decontextualised, the struggle has become the vehicle for spurious meanings that lead to the misunderstanding of what is in fact transpiring. In some instances it has led to an over-romanticising of the conflict, which goes part way to explaining the bewildered response of many who long stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
But the Hamas takeover of
Many questions must be asked and debated. Should solidarity with the people of
One can understand the sense of demoralisation that has struck many supporters of the Palestinian cause as events unfolded in the Gaza Strip and the
I believe that there is no choice but to side with that which is just and morally upright even at the risk of creating ideological inconsistencies or, dare I say, upsetting religious dogma. The conflict in
The responsibility of deciphering recent accretions to the seemingly mystifying conflict is the responsibility of the intellectual who is capable of research, analysis and articulation. The intellectual is not a cheerleader, nor a poet, and should, no matter where his sympathies lie, remain capable of dispassionately approaching the subject at hand.
Over 30 years ago, Noam Chomsky wrote in the New York Review of Books : "Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression."
No one can claim that the Palestinian question is easy to understand. It may be a classic colonial case that should not have been allowed to fester for so long but to grasp an event as recent as Palestinian infighting requires an examination of various layers of analyses, local, regional and international. One must ask questions about causes, motives and hidden intentions. If done properly, this will show that as disheartening, demoralising and confusing as they may seem from the outside, recent developments in
-Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press,