Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is peace "too much to ask" in 2011?

Gaza's youth lash out at the institutions maintaining the seeming status quo on the hopelessness in Gaza.

Mark LeVine

"That's the question a group of frustrated young Gazans asked the world as 2010 drew to a close. In a bold declaration titled the "Gazan youth's manifesto for change" released on Facebook and quickly circulated globally via the Internet, the young Palestinians bluntly attacked not just Israel but Hamas and the entire structure of authority inside Gaza and Palestine/Israel more broadly.

"F*** Hamas. F*** Israel. F*** Fatah. F*** UN. F*** UNWRA. F*** USA!" the manifesto begins, with the verb [FUCK] spelled out fully. "We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference," it goes on to say.

One of the ways colonial powers succeed in maintaining their control over a subject population is to get the colonised people to behave towards each other with similar kinds of violence and oppression as deployed by the coloniser against the native population. This tactic of dehumanisation is one of the most effective ways of maintaining power by dividing the population against each other and has long been deployed by Israel to weaken Palestinian society; nowhere more so than Gaza, where it has been used precisely to dampen, if not silence, the injustice and indifference of the occupation.

In the 1990s it was the newly empowered security forces of the Palestinian Authority which all too easily adopted the tactics of violence and oppression against fellow Palestinians. Visiting with mental health officials in the Strip I learned first hand from recently released prisoners who had been tortured by newly empowered security men, often in the very same jails that Israel had only recently before tortured many of their torturers.

Hamas as a movement was similarly born in violence, initially against Palestinians more than against Israelis. And now that it has become the de facto state in Gaza, it has deployed its violence against fellow Palestinians with little more scruples than the PA.

Multiple walls, multiple occupations

Such violence corrodes the social and national solidarity without which large scale, coordinated resistance against occupation is much harder to sustain. It creates, as the authors of the Gazan youth manifesto describe it repeatedly in their text, a "nightmare inside a nightmare," one with "no room for hope, no space for freedom."......."

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