Can the Palestinians Wait That Long?

Can the Palestinians Wait That Long?

The standards have dropped so low, we can’t separate the joke from the insult.” I said to myself, “I am with you brother Cornel West” as I read it in his Democracy Matters. This was how I felt when I listened to President Obama’s Cairo speech.


 Which was an oral equivalent of slap and a kiss-one minute his words were making you feel alright and then, you had to say, ‘Wait a minute, didn’t you just say…?’


After which I had two other frightening thoughts: Who picked the audience and are they really listening? Not only did he have a few daggers stuffed in his cushions, he had a few impossibilities holding them together as well. “Non-violence brought civil rights to African Americans.”


However this movement was organised by faith-based institutions like the black Church so does he mean that Palestinians should look to their faith based institutions such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to find a means in which to gain their human, civil, and political rights? Didn’t they try that already? 


So, I have to ask why Obama had to steal from the Prime Minister of Turkey’s Davos speech?  “We have to accept who ever the people elect, even if we don’t like them.” He had to be joking when he suggested that Palestine using non-violence would earn them civil rights and statehood, “like African Americans and black South Africans.”


I am sorry, Mr. President, firstly as long as Palestinians are portrayed as “violent baby-killers,” and Israelis as “peaceful victims suffering patiently under the gun,” it will take longer than the two civil rights movements combined, which is a total of 700 years, to decent life to nation Palestine.


These are wishful hopes that will never see the light of day as President Obama said, “The US has strong ties with Israel.” These ties are so strong that Israel is almost the 51st state. While the Palestinians, no matter what concessions they make, they are patted on the head and sent on their way. Like dogs. Just like Africans in America had been for 557 years. Yes, it took that long for African Americans to get civil rights and it’s still not perfect.


Do Palestinians have that much time? From 1507 when the first Africans landed on the soil that would be called the United States of America until they were given partial citizenship in 1865 and then by 1890 many of their hard-won rights had been snatched back.


Afterwards, it would take another 75 years to get the universal right to vote in 1965, which still is tenuous at best. It’s ironic that First Lady Michelle Obama herself is a product of that long and powerful history; the child of working class southerners who migrated from South Carolina to Chicago, looking to escape Jim Crow and find a better life. 


Literally from the South Side of Chicago’s middle class to the highest position that a child of working class parents can get. Still, Chicago’s African Americans are among its poorest citizens. Listening to his Cairo speech, it was clear that the experience of African Americans was something that Barack Hussein Obama has been more of a spectator than a participant.


Obama talked about of America’s most famous martyrs, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian, but neglected the Muslim Malcolm X. These were just two of the mere million black martyrs whose blood has fertilised the American dream for its black citizens and everyone else who came to her shores.


He also neglected Nat Turner who revolted and killed his master and anyone else who stood in the way of his freedom from slavery. Or about the terror of lynching, and riots, and one protests that saw thousands dead by they time it was over.


People were not just sitting down and singing songs. 


They fought with every inch of their lives. “Burn a white man’s barn down, if he made me mad enough,” one old timer told me once. That is how freedom was won-it was obeying the rules when necessary and throwing them away in times of war. Isn’t that how the US does it anyway?


Ok, I will be the first to say, “Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah stand down.” Let’s just see what America and Israel will do.


But again unlike African Americans, who were citizens, taxpayers and participants in the US political process and were guaranteed rights of all citizens, what guarantees has Israel offered the Palestinians? Who represents Palestinians in Israeli parliament?


At the end of the day, African Americans had the laws on their side. The US constitution said they had the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But under which laws can Palestinians take their freedom peacefully from Israel?  Would the European court of human rights demand that Israel rebuild all of Palestine and once and for all accept the borders drawn?


Will the American Bar Association send a plane full of lawyers to fight for the rights of Palestine? Will the UN impose sanctions against Israel for the war crimes that it has committed against the people of Palestine retroactively? Will they make it illegal for US citizens to migrate to Israel and thereby create the need for settlements?


Will President Obama as the leader of the ‘civilized world’ demand that Israel open all borders of Palestine so that aid can go in? Will the US guarantee employment to the near 50 per cent unemployed Palestinians to rebuild their homes? Will they send olives so that Palestinians can replant their olive groves?


Will the peaceful, patient Palestine get its final rescue? In the name of Allah, I am willing to tell the Palestinians, ‘go head, give it a try!’ And then, the spectre of reality pays me a visit.


And then I hear the New Orleans poet, Sunni Patterson speak the truth that the power will never hear:


“For we know this place.


For we have glanced more times than we like to share into the eyes that stare with nothing there behind them but an unfulfilled wish


An unconscious yearning for life, though death rests comfortably beside us at night, their moans are louder


They come to visit the guards at the gate and they stay until the morning


Torturing their guilt ridden insides-the silent cries of the keepers are louder than the booms of the guns they used to occupy this space…


We have vowed before never again to return, but here we are again…”

She is talking about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Is this the future that Palestine really wants or something better?


I think President Obama and his speechwriters should stop selling dreams that have yet to come true at home. How can he pretend that these dreams have a better chance some three continents away when he has already sent guns ready to shoot them on first sight? 


The Source