Party Time in Gaza

Teach your children wellFun for the whole family!

Palestinians celebrated another glorious victory in Gaza over a 3 year old child, 15 other civilians and a bus in Be’er Sheva. This proud dad hoists his child Koran packin’ gun toting child aloft as if to say “Him! Take him next!” Oy. I try, lord knows I try. When I see stuff like this, even patently ludicrous (but kinda funny in an ironic way) ideas start to seem palatable. But never mind all that. I don’t know why these people are celebrating. They are so blinded by their hate that they fail to realize that what they are in fact celebrating is nothing less than their own self-condemnation to more violence, more death … It’s like “Yaaaay! We’ve just f*cked ourselves and our children good! We’re totally screwed! Yaaaay!”

dumbassInto the fray steps Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith. In a commentary piece (requires free registration) in the LA Times, she describes a Palestinian people occupied by a second occupation, “the ideological occupation of the Palestinian people by their own leadership, their own culture.” Because the article requires registration, I’ll reproduce it for you all. Click on the “more” link below to read it in full.

Palestinians Are Trapped by Their Own Culture
By Irshad Manji
Sept. 1, 2004 LA Times

Tuesday’s simultaneous bus bombings in Israel, carried out at a time when the Sharon government insists on withdrawing from Gaza, raises a basic question: Why is peaceful coexistence taking so long in the Holy Land? It’s because there isn’t only one occupation of the Palestinian territories. There are two.

The first is a military occupation by the Israel Defense Forces, and the distress that it’s inflicting can’t be denied. Neither can the resentment fueled by Israel’s security barrier, a combination of fences and walls that turns some Arab villages into holding pens.

But in the spirit of honesty, liberals like me need to deal with a second occupation — the ideological occupation of the Palestinian people by their own leadership, their own culture. Over the last six decades, several offers for an independent state of Palestine have been floated by the British, the Israelis, the Americans and the U.N. — Palestinian leaders have rejected every proposal. Worse, they have never consulted the Palestinian people before saying no.

Which brings me to the bigger problem of Palestinian culture — a popular culture of incitement that doesn’t exist in Israel. Already I can hear the cries of “racism!” As a Muslim woman, however, I don’t feel the need to toe any tribal line. I also don’t give up hope, for cultures can and do evolve; they are, after all, the handiwork of human beings, not of God. To question a particular aspect of Palestinian culture, then, is nothing more than an expression of faith that more humane choices can be made.

Let me illustrate. In June 2003, a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that most Palestinians could not envision a way for their rights to be protected as long as Israel existed. By contrast, the survey found that, among Arab citizens of Israel, a solid majority felt the opposite. Of the Arab Israelis surveyed, 62% said it would be possible for both groups to have their rights protected. What accounts for this difference in attitude?

Posters of shaheeds — martyrs — plaster the buildings of the West Bank and Gaza. Billboards proclaim their undying honor. Adolescents make up rap tunes to them while expressing hope that one day they will imitate the self-immolators. Even a soccer tournament on Palestinian Children’s Day is named for a suicide bomber.

I’m not implying that Israeli government policies are blameless. Far from it. For example, the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon refuses to arrest the criminals who set up illegal outposts in the West Bank. Such willful negligence will only feed extremism on both sides.

But let’s not lose sight of the larger reality. After the Aqaba peace summit in June 2003, both the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers encountered protests. Hard-line Israelis resorted to demonstrating and jeering. Hard-line Palestinians resorted to blowing up buses and the people in them. That’s a life-and-death difference in choices.

Many of my fellow liberals would argue that choices don’t exist for Palestinians — they’re economically impoverished and desperate. Not according to Mohammed Hindi, the top Gaza leader of Islamic Jihad. His response was part of a longer interview I conducted with him in Gaza — on camera and before the construction of Israel’s security barrier.

“What’s the difference,” I asked, “between ‘suicide’ and ‘martyrdom,’ as you folks now call it?”

“Suicide,” he replied, “is done out of despair. But most of our martyrs were very successful in their earthly lives.”

Hindi’s answer floored me. By his own admission, what drives so many of today’s suicide bombers isn’t that which the material world has failed to deliver to them, but something besides — perhaps the Koran’s promises for the afterlife or, perhaps more precisely, Palestinian culture’s ideological exploitation of the Koran’s promise of paradise.

This much is clear: We liberals need to be asking as many tough questions of Palestinian officials as of Israeli ones. Until we do, we’ll always reduce Palestinians to the status of mere victims. And that does nothing to recognize their dignity. Or their capacity for making ethically — and ideologically — sounder choices.

Irshad Manji is host of TV Ontario’s “Big Ideas” and the author of “The Trouble With Islam: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith” (St. Martin’s Press, 2004).

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  1. Faruque ahmed

    9/15/2004 at 1:23 am

    Religion and Terrorism

    More than six million Palestinians of Muslim, Christian, … origin
    have been struggling to survive in the longest running concentration
    camp of this universe; while the most brutal, shameless, intoxicated
    and glass jaw terrorists known as the Israeli Defense Forces are
    also trying to demonstrate their prowess and paying back for the
    old “anti-Jewish” activities committed by the west.

    Beside 11 years of Zionised Anglo-Saxon holocaust in Iraq
    (indymedia.be/n...), today, – the
    unlawful, immoral and inhumane atrocities committed against the
    Iraqis are by none other than foreign terrorists under the guise of
    liberators. Should one wish to compare these groups; the
    Palestinians or Iraqis will undoubtedly pass as freedom fighters;
    despite the fact that I personally oppose violence as the only means
    to achieve a goal. On the other hand, Israeli forces in the occupied
    Palestine, American forces in Iraq and probably in Afghanistan could
    easily be defined as terrorists.

    To make it worst, the presence of more than 5000 Mossads in Iraq is
    like a severe blow to the stabilisation of that country. The traces
    of Mossad could be found from the calculated destruction of Baghdad
    Museum and Quranic Museum, systematic and targeted assassination of
    Iraqi intellectuals including nuclear scientists and technicians,
    many attempts to provoke communal clashes by bombing religious
    sites, kidnapping of two French journalists, murder of 12 Nepalese
    workers without enough warnings or even “reported” kidnapping of two
    Australians during their election campaign.

    These evil acts mentioned above may have been committed with or
    without assistance of the occupying forces. Whatever the case may
    be, only an open and transparent inquiry has to be conducted to
    clear the air and rectify the current situation. Even, an Abu-Gharab
    style dubious inquiry could be of some assistance.

    Conflicts mentioned above do not have the racial or religious
    origin. Yet, the Zionised American Corporate government has been
    working overtime to make it religious and cultural despite the fact
    that many people around the globe beyond sex, race and religion have
    been opposing it vehemently.

    Right now, we are passing through a period of fear and hate
    politics; promoted by a few dirty politicians and corporate media.
    Many of them were caught red handed in many times. Their lies and
    manipulations are glaring anomalies of objective and impartial
    journalism and reporting, as well as good governance. Yet, somehow
    they are enjoying a very strange kind of immunity because of some
    shocking type of mentality (unable to stop injustices) in the

    The Syrian Foreign Ministry’s less publicized warning regarding the
    unnecessary and counter productive Mossad presence in Iraq was
    ignored like other credible reports including Iranian media reports
    in this concern.

    Remember, the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olev Palme, the
    arrest of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ochalan, … Mossad was involved.

    Specifically, Mossad’s success of Abdullah Ochalan affair was
    credited due to American control and “protection” of Iraqi Kurdish
    areas, where Mossad was given a free hand at the expense of others.
    Possibly the rise of the reported Al-Qaeda connected Anser-al Islam
    in the same area is a good example of resentment due to Mossad
    betrayal to Kurds.

    Penultimately, Mossad’s reputations could be traced from …,
    Jonathan Polard affair, … , recent New Zealand and Pentagon spy
    affairs. They are the sacred cows of our time at the expanse of

    For more:
    Prostitute and Prostitution

    Religion and Terrorism

    How to stop terrorism

  2. ck

    9/15/2004 at 4:27 am

    uh… thanks for the cut and paste. next time, just post a link buddy….

  3. Pingback: 3 Mobile Phones

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