Sunday, June 10, 2007
By Mazin Qumsiyeh
"An old saying in the fight against segregation in the South was "free your mind and your ass will follow". I was thinking about this in the past few days in several events that ranged from racists lecturing their audience about how muslims treat non-muslims to supposed peace gatherings that did not want to deal with violations of human rights and international law when it is done to Palestinians (too controversial! even though funded by our taxes) to gatherings of few dedicated activists discussing the growing (but still in its infancy) movement of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions. Hypocricy, racism, and infiltration of peace movements by government agents, racists and others is not new (read e.g. David Dellinger's book "From Yale to Jail" about the 1960s). But in this short article, I want to focus on something else, 70% of the US public thinks the invasion and occupation of Iraq was wrong, nearly 100% of Arabs and Muslims in America think both the occupation of Iraq and of Palestine are wrong. Yet of these millions few want to change their routine to effect change. I want to take time to address those who have yet to do so by asking them the question How willing are we to be inconvenienced to get peace/justice? and till when will those who are silently observing (or cursing the darkness instead of lighting a candle) remain silent......
After 60 years of ethnic cleansing, 6 million Palestinians refugees and displaced people. After 530 depopulated villages and towns and more land being confiscated daily (All done with Western governments direct and indirect support).
How willing are we to be inconvenienced to get peace/justice?
After American-made Caterpillar bulldozers uprooted over 1 million olive and other fruiting trees. After colonial settlers (some of them soldiers) with US made M16 killed thousands of native civilians in their own lands including when the natives were protesting peacefully......
It is true that it is not the professors in the universities who are oppressing Palestinians, but in their silence, they are approving of the atrocities. And with their huge egos they ignore what is happening at spitting distance from them: that there are professors and lecturers just like them who can be treated like dogs by every pissy soldier, whose decision it is whether or not they will give their lesson today, and all this because they are Palestinians.
England, cradle of civilization, I salute those civilized people amongst you, who finally found the courage to to say to Israeli academics that they can't just worry about their own academic freedom, and that true civilization means fighting for the academic freedoms and for the rights of those who do not have them.
You know what? I'm am looking forward to the day when every Israeli who took part in the evils of the occupation will be refused entry into England. I want to see the faces of all those young heroes, who throw tear gas canisters at elderly women and who chase a disabled man in a wheelchair, and then when they're done with the army travel to India and become spiritual......."