Friday, May 15, 2009

The subversion of liberation

When leaders in struggle confuse themselves with recognition of the rights of the people they claim to defend, everyone suffers, including the national cause.

A Great Piece
By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

(I posted an Arabic version of this article which appeared on earlier)

"......How can we tell that we are faced with such a leadership? Quite easily. Such a leadership does things as the following:

- It wages armed resistance operations not with the aim of bringing victory into sight but in order to remain enough of a pest that the opposing side is forced to recognise that the source of the trouble is also the party capable of stopping it. In this context, sustaining a long-term grassroots-based underground movement is not important; in fact the very concept is marginalised. What counts is merely the ability to mount attacks, with no eye to strategy or cumulative affect, but with the sole purpose of driving home the message to the enemy: "If you want calm restored, you have to talk to our leadership."

- It is forever trying to persuade the international community that the key to solving the problem resides in the recognition of this leadership, and its stress on this point far exceeds its stress on the need to recognise the national rights of the people, to lift the occupation, to recognise the refugees' right to return, and to acknowledge such values as equality and the rejection of racism and Zionism. In fact, it becomes palpably clear that to this leadership the rights in question are not aims but rather bargaining chips to be played with the purpose of securing recognition.

- It constantly strives to prove that it can maintain order. But its actions in this regard are such that the people under its authority soon discover that the leadership which their sons had defended with their lives in the hope that it would eventually procure them their rights is now imposing security measures that are stricter and more violent than those meted out by the occupying power.

- The very leadership that attacks the enemy (in ways that sometimes incite racist hatreds against the enemy) bows and scrapes in order to win the admiration and approval of any foreign delegation, even when that delegation is not there to negotiate but to fire questions at the said leaders as though they were on trial.

It is not my purpose here to point a finger at any particular Palestinian or Arab leadership. All leaderships are prone to such lapses if they do not keep themselves in check or if the people whose interests they are meant to promote do not do so. It is dumfounding and dismaying to one who has experienced first hand life under a culture of persecution, and who has condemned and rejected that culture in solidarity with the targets of that persecution, to watch many of the representatives of the persecuted people scramble for the approval of the persecutors."

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