Saturday, January 29, 2011

I had a dream

Egypt has not slept tonight and neither have I. I had dreams about the change that is sweeping through the Arab World, and about the hopes that the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt and the protests in Jordan and Yemen have instilled in each one of us Arabs.

The first outcome from the Arab People's Revolutions is the realization of the extent and the strength of Arab identity. Just switch on Al Jazira, or look at the overwhelming solidarity expressed in the Arab countries, in spite of the attempts by some media outlets and by governments (Arabs and Western) to downplay it. For many decades, the notion of the "end of the Arab identity" has been prevailing in Western thought. This notion had been constructed and peddled in the Empire, and was parroted by Arabs who sought to ingratiate themselves with the global rulers. Invented by Zionists and imperialists who used it to dissect and divide in order to better rule and conquer, the idea went mainstream and became part of popular culture, to the extent that many Arabs who wanted to wear a white mask over their brown faces repeated it like a mantra. In Lebanon, of course, this is at the heart of the issues the country has with itself, and the debate whether the Lebanese are Phoenicians or Arabs stil rages in school classrooms today, my kids tell me.

The other thing to come out of the revolutions is the clear message that, also in spite of what racists-orientalists would like us to believe, the Arab people is NOT a defeated people, and that it does NOT genetically favor dictatorships, and that being ruled by force in NOT the Arabs utmost wish. The reason why Arabs have been beaten by Israel and why Palestine is still occupied and why dictatorships flourished is the that the Empire and its Israeli thugs have been supporting Arab totalitarian regimes whose sole function is to crackdown on their own people. And these regimes are crumbling. I believe that the Lebanese Resistance has played a tremendous role by lifting Arab spirits: a small organized but poorly equipped group (compared to what the Israelis have access to) was able to beat the US and Israel thrice: They ended the occupation of Lebanon in 2000, they kicked Israel and the US's ass in 2006 and they quietly and constitutionally and democratically thwarted the US and Israel's and their Arab puppets attempts to isolate and destroy the Resistance with a political tool called the International Tribunal. In 2000 and 2006, the Resistance made Arab people proud to be Arabs on the battlefield. Part of this is being expressed today. This is precisely why the Empire and its guard dogs needed to destroy the Resistance so badly. Too late now.

A third outcome has been to expose the imperialist "democracies" and their bias. And I am not talking here only about the governments. The media as well as many cultural institutions and intellectuals are party to that. We have known throughout of course, that what Samir Amin calls the Triad of collective imperialism (the US, Western Europe and Japan) held a hypocritical discourse on democracy and used it as a tool for control of the people of the South and especially in the Arab World. But this time, the blunders have been blatant. It is a bit like the wikileaks phenomenon: it tells you nothing you did not know, it just gives you the irrefutable arguments to expose it. Look at the French who tried to support the Ben Ali regime! Look at the Western press and its differential treatments of the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt compared to the Green Revolution in Iran. Oh I am so tired of incompetent Western Journalists who pontificate about countries they have never lived in or sometimes even visited and who canot speak 10 words of the language and who rely for their analysis on a few sentences gleaned here and there in upmarket bars or in dinner parties. If you're reading this, let me assure you: you have no credibility, you are just a fraud and you know it. Look at the US who sent Jeffrey Feltman to Tunisia to try to take over the Jasmine revolution. He was kicked out of Tunisia, kudos to our comrades there! Look at Obama's speech about Egypt yesterday: while the Egyptian people are dying in the streets demanding the end of a 20 years old dictatorship funded and protected by the US, Obama wants to keep the regime and to encourage "reforms". You will have reforms soon Mr. President, after the regime collapses, and the first reform will be the cancellation of the peace treaty with Israel. But I expect the struggle to be protracted, as the Israelis and the US and their allies and acolytes and puppets have a lot at stake here: Egypt is the largest Arab Nation, the most powerful and it historically sets the pace of the Arab revolutions. The Empire will fight hard and dirty.

Fourthly, I cannot help but noticing the concern and fear in the eyes of the party of power and money in the Arab World. I am not talking here only about the regimes, I am talking about the tiny class of globalized capitalists who have been milking our countries dry and have been accumulating wealth from the exploitation of the poor. These are worried. They are suddenly realizing that there are other people in the Arab countries where they live, and that these people outnumber them and that they are not so docile anymore, in spite of the repression apparatuses they gladly support. They see that outside their air conditioned cars and their gated communities and their protected shopping malls, there are people who live and who are not just waiters or valet parking attendants. They are worried they will lose their luxurious lifestyle, which they can only afford because the money they pile up is not redistributed. These are people who think of themselves in the same way the pro-apartheid Whites in South Africa once did, because they live in their own class-based apartheid. In their private conversations and not so private newspapers they talk about the "differences in culture" between them and the "others". They point to the "other's" (who is also usually also the "Arab"), lack of "civilization" (preferably in French). And they say: "this country will stop being livable if the riff-raff takes over". Well you know, this is exactly what many white South Africans used to say, and look where they ended up: out. So get your Cannes, Nice, Marbella mansions cleaned up, you may soon be moving there, out of your own free will.


Nidal said...

Hi, I posted a French translation of your text. Best regards.

Rami Zurayk said...

Thank you Nidal, it is a great translation

Yann said...

Westerners have to demonstrate en masse to demand full equality, now - or never!
It's the last chance for all.