Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Orwellian theories are being acted out in Israel - as persecution against Palestinians begins to echo 1984.
Comment in the Guardian
By Nimer Sultany
"It is one thing to read George Orwell and Franz Kafka, it is quite another to live their texts. For us - Palestinians - Orwell and Kafka are not works of fiction but concrete reality.
Israel's persecution of Azmi Bishara, the prominent Palestinian scholar, head of the National Democratic Assembly and - until recently - member of the Israeli Knesset, is only the recent articulation of this reality. After all, this is not the first Israeli attempt to criminalise Bishara or other Palestinian political leaders. The state hopes that by reframing his political agenda as treason, incitement to violence and support of terrorism, his ideas will lose legitimacy, his community will be intimidated and the establishment will not need to deal with the challenge that the Palestinian citizens of Israel present to the ideology of the state through their demands for equality......
Israel is in effect presenting Azmi Bishara with two similar "options": to end up as either a Kafkaesque or an Orwellian protagonist. The former was executed, the latter was brainwashed and forced to betray his world waiting for an impending execution.
Meanwhile Bishara, as a genuine civil rights leader, is resisting the attempt to drag him into Kafka's Trial by Big Brother and his Thought Police. He courageously holds his ground: "We will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the Arab world.""