Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Road to Palestine passes through Nahr-El-Bared

In the battle for Nahr-El-Bared the Lebanese Army finds itself reluctantly at the forefront of the fight for Palestine and the Arab cause.

This is despite the inclinations and the hidden motives of its political backers who, along with elites across the Arab world, are at least indirectly responsible for the current state of affairs. Arab regimes but also intellectuals and activists, through their resignation to a Middle East dominated by the US, have disconnected themselves from the aspirations of the masses. It is this mechanism that has led to the proliferation of obscure groups with fundamentalist agendas which propagate a mythical Palestine Islamic and homogeneous which is unlike the Palestine at anytime in its turbulent history. The more the case for this mythical Palestine gains acceptance the further we move away from the possibility of an independent, modern and integrated Palestinian nation.

The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon deserve better than Fateh-El-Islam. They deserve a leadership brave enough to tell them the truth about the prospects for the future while making every effort to improve their present situation. They also deserve better treatment from their fellow Lebanese who should shelve their paranoia and accept that no human being should be stripped of his dignity and denied the right to gain his livelihood whatever the Regional situation dictates.

This is no utopian suggestion. It is rather a call for a radical change in attitudes and the initiation of a series of small steps to improve the inevitable cohabitation of two realities within a shared geographical location. A workable framework is possible if, of course, the humanitarian conditions are carefully handled by the Military. Otherwise we have a recipe for further conflict between one people desperate for Recognition and another desperate for Stability.

Image by Howard Davies can be found at


Bachir said...

i love the way you put your conclusion, could be a nice headline for a future post

Anonymous said...

Just a point of note, people only ever heard of the Fateh al-Islam group when this horrendous event and this was voiced even by people in the camp, which means that this group are not representatives of the palestinians anywhere.

'a leadership brave enough to tell them the truth about the prospects for the future while making every effort to improve their situtation'. I think we long passed the point of idealism, Palestinians have negotioated, made severe concessions (and seem prepared to make more) to their occupiers, they have resorted to in-fighting to keep said occupier happy, all in the name of improving the day-to-day lives of the Palestinians in Palestine. I am not criticising the motive, and some would say the relative calm and prosperity enjoyed by Ramallah are indicative of the success of this tactic. When in actuality it is a result of the divide and rule strategy and would not work if all Palestinians adopted this method (Ramallah is calm to stave people off going down the Hamas route). But we can say that Palestinians (not all, but a significant some) accepted that Israel exists and that the aim now is how to deal with it.

The Palestinians have been down the nationlist/secular route, the Islamic route, have accpeted the reality of the occupation, and still one could easily argue that their plight worsens. So, I am saying that what you are calling for has been tried, and is still being put to use today.

Arab Democracy said...

I thought you said earlier you were an idealist.

My personal view is that if that the mythical Palestine we all aspire to in our speeches and Poems is not achievable, whatever ideology or strategy we adopt. On the other hand if we cant recover the land in its entirety at least we can recover some rights in Palestine as well as for the ones in the Diaspora, an economically and politically viable nation (some argue that the 2 state solution should be ditched in favour of a multi-faith entity).

I dont agree with you that the Palestinians have embraced pragmatism. The support for Hamas is very significant. This is also the case for other Arabs, as shown by the fascination with the message of Hezbollah.

Fateh is corrupt and Hamas is autodestructive. Is it too naive to expect more from the Palestinian people who resisted one of the most vile aggressions throughout the 20th century?

I dont think so