Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Children of Sarah and of Hagar: An Open Letter to Condoleezza Rice

Madam Secretary,

Whatever people may have thought of the policies of the Bush administration, many, if not most, have respected you for your meteoric rise from an underprivileged African-American background in the racially segregated American South to the highest corridors of power in Washington DC.

This is what boggles the mind when one contemplates your defense, and indeed, active support of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon.

As is well known, you grew up in Alabama, the cradle of the US Civil Rights Movement, partially started off when Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man simply because she was black. This background of racial discrimination is a frequent theme in your speeches. And yet you are prepared to defend Israel when it practices a blatant form of racism, slaughtering innocent Lebanese and Palestinians en masse, quite apart from its perennial hunger for land and water that don’t belong to it. This is besides the fact that it practices a blatant form of apartheid. This word is what first comes to my mind because my mother wrote her MA Thesis on the subject, which was a comparative study between racial discrimination in Israel and that practiced in South Africa, that being in 1967, the year of the Israeli blitzkrieg that occupied an amount of Arab lands nearly ten times the size of Lebanon. . But whereas the Apartheid regime was brought to its knees by sanctions and other international pressures as well as the ANC movement under the inspired leadership of Nelson Mandela, the Israeli Zionist regime continues to be nurtured and encouraged in its racist and criminal conduct by the international community.

It must be noted that the Jewish people themselves were, just over half a century ago, exposed to a hideous form of racial genocide. Yet they continue to practice a form of racial cleansing (albeit far smaller and different in scale) against the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples, while they shamelessly exploit the Holocaust to extort money to subsidize their state and to manipulate the Western public to win its sympathy. The German people to this day bear a complex of guilt towards the Jewish people because of what their forebears inflicted upon them, although Jews were by no means the only victims of Hitler’s holocaust, records being quite clear that among its victims were also Slavs, Gypsies, and other races, besides certain segments of society such homosexuals, handicapped people, and others.

The fact is that though there are were, and to some extent, still are, sizeable communities of Jews in many Arab countries who have coexisted with their Moslem and Christian compatriots (despite occasional persecution and discrimination) for centuries, Israel continues to deny the full rights of citizenship to its Arab nationals, a fact perhaps most poignantly illustrated in the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, for all intents and purposes the Palestinian national bard.

When the Aqsa Intifada broke out in September 2000, members of the Arab community in Toronto, Canada demonstrated in protest against the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and the violation of one of Islam’s most sacred sites. They were promptly accused by members of the Canadian Jewish Congress of being “anti-Semitic”. That, for its part, is difficult to comprehend, since we as Arabs are just as Semitic, the Torah and the Koran both teaching that we both spring from the seed of Abraham, they being the children of Sarah, his legitimate wife, and us being the children of Hagar, his concubine, a theme that they have used to put us down since time immemorial. The fact is that they are culpable of “Intra-Anti-Semitism” towards us.

The upshot, Madame Secretary, is that you, whose forbears, after being freed from slavery in 1865, were lynched and raped without mercy for decades, are now condoning even more horrific acts, this time not by a mob or secret society such as the Ku Klux Klan, but by an internationally recognized nation-state that claims to be a functioning democracy, dedicated to peace and justice.

Madam Secretary, how you are able to explain or justify this double standard in your ethical reasoning I must confess is beyond me. You have a great deal of explaining to do, and nobody can do it for you. What do you have to say for yourself?

Amer R. Saidi


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you studied on why apartheid in SA ended you note that the events that led to the int'l pressure was the non violent resistance. The same reason the civil rights movement succeeded in the USA. Once you resort to violence against civilians to make your point you lose any moral superiority and are merely murderers who have a political agenda. Stop suicide bombing cafes, shooting rockets at cities and maybe the world would see your movement as legititmate. Resort to murder, terror and thuggery and expect to see people turn a deaf ear. No one wants to encourage terror as a legitimate technique. When people become suicide bombers and celebrate such actions how can you expect others to value your lives?

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Simon Assaf said...

we walk in the tradition of Watts and the greatest civil rights leader, Malcolm X... ¨the only thing power respects is power¨

but if the Israelis want to disarm and fight hizbollah with non violent means that´ll be fine with me.

12:48 PM  
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