Mazin Qumsiyeh

Here in Palestine, we face a relentless assault not only on us and our lands
but on truth, on decency, on nature, on dignity, and, dare I say, on God.
Israeli authorities are working overtime to transform the Holy City of
Jerusalem from a multi-ethnic and multi-religious city to a distorted vision
of what Zionists think Judaism is about (supremacy, ethnic purity, tribalism
etc).

They will be debating in the next few days a project for an additional
1400 “housing units” near Gilo colony.  The land targeted belongs to the
village of Al-Walaja and the Town of Beit Jala. The Negev village of
Al-Araqib was also just demolished for the 9th time*. More home and business
demolitions were carried out in Jerusalem and the Jordan valley.

Taking
lands from Christians and Muslims, destroying over 2 million trees and
countless homes and businesses are not just war crimes but crimes against
humanity. We must continue to challenge these destructive policies and
demand the international community bring those responsible to justice.
Please write to media, politicians, and all others (the internet allows you
to get hundred of emails very quickly for decision makers).**

I think the empire’s hold on the Arab World has begun to unravel and I think
we see in Tunisia the first spark of a revolution that will reshape the Arab
world for the better and spell the end of repression. In 1948, the insertion
of Israel in the Middle of the Arab world was designed to dominate the area,
keep the people disjointed, disunited and ruled by (Western-appointed)
dictators.  In 1953, the US and Britain engineered the coup that removed the
democratically elected government of Mousaddeq and placed the brutal Shah in
power in Iran.

These moves worked for many years because people in the Arab
world let them happen and offered limited resistance.  Things have been
changing.  In retrospect, the year 1973 was pivotal as for the first time
two Arab countries decided to fight to take back their stolen lands.
Unfortunately, the US chose to save its monstrous creation from having to
return all the stolen lands (and Sadat was willing to walk a separate line).
Then came the nonviolent people’s revolution in Iran which got rid of the
Shah in 1979.

Since then Israel and its benefactor has attempted in vain to
crush any Arab resistance by might.  Fom their invasion and occupation of
Lebanon to invasion and occupation of Iraq, these evil forces attempted to
keep the lid on Arab democracy and keep their hegemony.  Arab dictators were
useful tools in implementing these destructive policies.  But many of us
have long argued that these shenanigans will and must come to an end.

As people around the world evolved beyond dictatorship and racism, we in the
Arab world will too.  After all, why should people in Latin America (some
that used to be called banana republics) be able to say NO to the
neo-liberal and neo-colonial systems while we in the Arab world could not?
Why should Iran and Turkey be able to say NO to violations of International
law and NO to hegemony while we in the rich Arab world stay silent?  The
directions may be coming from Tunisia.  I have visited Tunisia twice and
have many colleagues and friends that hail from Tunisia’s beautiful towns
and villages. My single largest scientific collaborator is a Tunisian
scientist living in Paris.

I have commented on the similarity that
Palestine and Tunisia has in geography, topography, climate, and village
life.  Tunisians used popular resistance methods I discussed in my recent
book on Palestine to get rid of a corrupt leader who had hung on to power
for over 23 years.

But there are other Arab leaders who have been in power
even longer.  It is time for real change, a change not to replace one face
with another but to begin to form truly democratic institutions throughout
the Arab world.  Our demands include democracy, transparency (including
totally free and critical press), plurality, and justice.

We have enough natural and human resources to build new vibrant societies.

All we have to
do is muster the will to free our minds.  Those of us who have done so and
shed their inhibitions should also begin to discuss and ORGANIZE for the day
after (after Zionism and after imperialism).  We have to begin to examine
how we may repair the damage caused by the corrupt systems and build a
better future.

*
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