The Reason I Don’t Criticize Israel!

While Israeli actions in Lebanon are outrageous… I think this is pretty much the only condemnation of Israeli actions in Lebanon that I have made ever since the beginning of the current tragedy. I frankly thought that this little adjective, “outrageous,” would prove quite sufficient to convey my feelings about this new round of Israeli aggression and intransigence in our midst. But many seem to have had a different impression. Indeed, quite a few people have so far conveyed their “annoyance” with me for failing to be more critical of Israel, and some have even begun to draw their own conclusions about my motivations in this regard, ones laced with a rather “healthy” doze of the sort of conspiratorial thinking for which we are all too famous.

So, and in order to set certain minds at ease and certain rumors to rest, let me come out and say categorically that I am definitely against the current Israeli aggression in Lebanon. If I choose not to dwell upon it, this is because there are so many people, bloggers, journalists, commentators, experts and officials, who do. Meanwhile, dissenting and heretical voices like mine, who insist on reminding our people of the other and quite forgotten side of the equation, the one that is equally guilty in the making of this mayhem, if not even more so, are very few. So, it is only natural that I choose to focus my energies on this matter.

The wisdom of this focus may not be visible now, and may never be understood by all, but, then, heresies seldom acquire popularity in the lifetimes of their authors. Moreover, few active “converts” to the “cause” may indeed suffice to make the necessary and required impact at this stage, namely: to preserve a core of independent voices that refuse to be mobilized like chattel for the “national” cause advocated by the regimes and their lackeys, and that would, once the dust of war settles, prove to these types that their internal problems are far from over and that their perceived victory, if victory is to figure anywhere in the equation for any side, is not only pyrrhic but completely illusory. Because we will still here, and the internal accounting which they were trying to elude by instigating all these external crises will be upon us all and will prove much harder and much more urgent.

There is a battle going on for our souls in the region, and I know where I stand. I shall not compromise my freedom for the sake of national sovereignty nor national sovereignty for the sake of my freedom. In fact, this should not be made into an either or situation. Indeed, it is for this reason that I refuse to join the ongoing mobilization campaign, because the people who are benefiting from this campaign are the very corrupt elite who continue to deny us our freedoms, and yes, Nasrallah is one of them. Whether he was always one of them or has just joined their ranks is academic now. He is clearly in. And while the resilience of his fighters and his on-camera serenity and calm might win him much popular adulation at this stage, especially outside Lebanon, the price for the conflict he helped generate will be born by generations to come.

The establishment of the State of Israel has always been quite problematic for us, but our reaction to its establishment has been far more problematic and costly, and has only helped Israel become more powerful and us more weak. Meanwhile, Israel’s international backers made quite sure that its military adventures did not impinge on its ability to develop itself, its infrastructure and its economy. We, on the other hand, have only our internal resources to rely on, and they will have to suffice. For this reason, the greed and ineptness of our ruling elites need to be combated. Much has been squandered already with little to show for it, in most cases. It is about time we held our ruling elites accountable for their disastrous performance over the last few decades. It is about time we set our priorities right. Freedom from internal oppression and development should come first. Our campaign to retrieve our occupied land could and should run concurrently with that, but it should not come at the expense of that. For this reason, the strategy and tactics employed and the way policy is conducted in this regard should be subject to a popular review and should take under consideration the material and human costs involved for all sides.

Even the Palestinians, the people who are more concerned with the Arab-Isrseli conflict than any other, seem to have opted for such an alternative in the recent elections. For, and as all polls conducted at the time, especially those conducted by Palestinians, demonstrate the people voted for Hamas because they were seeking a cleaner more efficient government, one that is more capable of improving their living conditions. They did not elect Hamas to fight Israel, nor they did they do it to create an Islamic state per se. Our people tend to be quite pragmatic when given the chance to express themselves freely. But they also have a very soft spot when it comes to the issue of national identify and sovereignty. This is the main weakness in our psychological constitution at this stage, one that the ruling regimes and their lackeys have learned all too well how to manipulate in order to stay in power and remain unaccountable.

I say, accountability should come first.