Middle East Opinions - opinions about all aspects of the middle east region

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Palestinian national anthem

Very often as English speakers (or at least non-Arabic) we are unaware of what exactly is being said in Arab media about Israel and the West. More often than not there is a disparity between what is said in English and "officially" to what is being said in Arabic. Since I don't speak Arabic I can't go around translating all the news report so I rely mostly on English news and friends and people (or resources) that are credible for this info.

With this in mind I decided to write about the Palestinian national anthem. A national anthem is meant to sum up what the people stand for and hope for. It ususally includes reference to great liberties or accomplishments of the people in question. So I had a look at what is being said in their national anthem (translation care of Shoebat.com). This is meant to be something that all Palestinians are taught and sing regularly with passion and pride, so here goes....

My country, my country
My country, the land of my grandfathers
My country, my country
My country, my nation, the nation of eternity
With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my revenge
The longing of my blood to my land and home
I have climbed the mountains and fought the wars
I have conquered the impossible and crossed the borders
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the guns
And the determination of my nation in the land of struggle
Palestine is my home, Palestine is my fire, Palestine is my revenge
and the land of eternal
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
I swear under the shade of the flag
To my land and nation, and the fire of pain
I will live as a guerrilla, I will go on as guerrilla,
I will expire as guerrilla until I will be back
My country, my country, the nation of eternity


Looking at this 2 things stand out for me:
  • The repeated use of violent language and reference to blood
  • The end which speaks of living, continuing and dying as a guerilla
The first point shows that they are more concerned with the means to be used for their aspirations (destruction of Israel!) than the end which should be freedom and a life of their choosing (or something along those lines). When people first decide on the means and then use that exclusively as their path to an end then the end will naturally mirror the means. When that means is violence and murder then we can clearly see the path of their choosing and where it is headed.

The second point is quite scary for me becasue it is the end of the anthem (which is usually a point of psychological emphasis) and it does not speak of anything to do with the hope or the possibility of an eventuality of "success" (whatever exactly that might be aside from just killing Jews). Reading these last lines the message one gets is live fighting (or killing) and keep killing and die killing. There is no mention of a condition or situation e.g. if you are at war or oppressed. This simply tells Palestinians (in language of war) to fight, fight, fight!

This is another good example of Palestinian psychological propoganda and how it clearly must (and has already) influence the Palestinian population, especially the youth. When anthems like the Palestinians speak of peace and hope for a better future, then and only then will then be a realistic chance of peace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hamas kills more Palestinians than Israel

Over the weekend two events occurred in which Palestinians were killed:
  • Israel bombarded terrorist installations and strongholds in Gaza
  • Hamas detonated a Katyusha rocket by accident in a military parade
In the bombardment by Israel which was an attempt to stop missile attacks into Jewish areas (there were roughly 50 missiles launched over the weekend) 20 Palestinians were reported injured by Palestinian officials and 12 killed. The Palestinians killed by Israel were terrorists mostly from Hamas and Islamic Jihad including Jihad Islami commander Sheikh Muhammed Khalil.

Hamas in traditional fashion had a military parade where they fired off rounds and marched with the newly acquired Katyusha rockets in Gaza (these have not been publicly in Gaza before, longer range, more damage than Qassam rockets). During this parade a Katyusha rocket went off killing 19 Palestinians. This is not the first time that Hamas has been asked by Palestinian officials to stop their military parades.

These parades accomplish nothing productive for Palestinians (unless you call inciting violence and prancing around showing "power" productive). These military parades ultimately hurt the Palestinian cause and show the true colours of the Palestinian terrorist organisations like Hamas.

Perhaps one day soon we'll see Palestinian parades of accords signed, societal and infrastructural accomplishments and maybe even terrorist attacks halted or prevented! Please G-d this should be the case soon. It is obvious to me as an outsider that this "display of force" and "call to violence" are not helping either Palestinian or Israeli society.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hamas stops attacks from Gaza

I heard on the news that Hamas has announced that they will stop attacks on Israel for the rest of the year.

In isolation this seems like a positive step but many facts are missing from this. Upon investigation Hamas actually said that they will stop attacks on Israel from Gaza. What a concession! Amazing how the mainstream media seems to be reporting that Hamas will stop all attacks. Do they not have access to the statement or to choose to ignore the part that says Hamas is still free to mount attacks from any other area? Bear in mind that this decision was endorsed by Egypt. Out of context it seems like Egypt might be helping the Middle East peace process but in reality Egypt is endorsing the fact that Hamas can CONTINUE attacks from other areas. The only process they seem to be helping in this context is the process of the destruction of the state of Israel. This is not my opinion of what Hamas meant but actually a two-part statement where a piece seems to have been omitted by the media.

Now let's look at why Hamas may have decided on this "generous" act. Since Friday over the weekend almost 50 Qassam missiles were launched out of Gaza. Israel decided to stop this barrage of missiles and the Israeli Defense Forces were given the go-ahead to do anything necessary to stop the attacks without killing civilians. I think this statement also shows Israel's high level of morality and concern for civilians of all denominations. Hamas uses high-density civilian areas for its weapons factories and to launch attacks (what brave terrorists!). Despite being attacked constantly Israel still does everything in its power to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Israel bombarded Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist installations over the weekend killing 12 Palestinians including Jihad Islami commander Sheikh Muhammed Khalil. After the bombardment Hamas decide to stop Qassam attacks from Gaza. Could it be that they are afraid? Either of another attack or of losing face again?

Either way I think this response by Hamas in context of their response to the Gaza pullout says a lot about them as an organisation (other than being cowards). Israel pulls out of Gaza (giving them what they asked for) and Hamas call it a victory and vow to "continue until Jerusalem" and increase attacks. Israel bombards their missile installations and factories and they "decide" to stop attacks out of Gaza for a while! Join the dots on this one! This is who Hamas really are and this is why I believe giving in to their demands will never bring peace. This is an organisation that's objective and purpose is the destruction of the state of Israel; an organisation that only understands one language - violence. Sad but true.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Middle East Opinions

I've started a mailing list to alert people to new middle east opinions on this site. Every time I post a new middle east opinion I'll send you a quick mail to let you know (no SPAM!). Please subscribe to the alerts and you'll always know when there is a new article or opinion!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Gaza disengagement and Palestinian education

This is my first post on the Israeli pullout from Gaza. It has literally taken me months to make up my mind on this issue (usually I have an opinion immediately!), but I finally know where I stand; I am against it. This is a complex and heavily involved issue and it would be impossible to address all aspects of the disengagement in one Middle East Opinion post. So for my first post I choose to focus on the role that Palestinian education (or lack thereof) has played in creating the current Middle East situation.

I heard a speaker the other day compare the Gaza disengagement by Israel to the creation of a garbage dump. Instead of throwing out the trash from Gaza, Israel has chosen to pullout and close off the entire areas as one large garbage dump.

The speaker was Walid Shoebat, an ex-PLO-brainwashed Palestinian who started asking questions and came to realise that what the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was feeding him was hateful propoganda. Check out his site here (I've also added a link on the right).

I think this comparison is very apt and obviously very scary too! Now as much as I understand most of the motivation for the disengagement I think that previous actions may have led Israel to the point where this seemed a necessity. I think that the fault lay in Palestinian education and a sooner addressing of the Palestinian education system (rather Palestinian propoganda system) would have been much more effective than pulling out of Gaza. Aside from obviously blaming the Palestinian leaders for the propoganda and brainwashing in Palestinian areas, I blame Israel for not addressing it. Already we can see the reactions from many Palestinians to the pullout; One of perceived victory and a renewed vigour to "continue pushing until Jerusalem". I fear that this may have served to greatly fuel the Islamic fundamentalist fire.

I think that Gaza disengagement was unfair to both Israelis and Palestinians and both groups will suffer as a result.

Israel:
  • What does this mean for the Jews (and other ISraelis) who have fought for (and many die for) the protection of Gaza?
  • Jews (and other ISraelis) have a right to live there. Regardless of what Palestinians say this is not a case of Jews "stealing" land for 38 years, but rather a case of 38 years back in land that they have struggled to return to for 2000 years.
  • Israelis now stand a greater chance of being attacked by terrorists from Gaza than ever before (and we have seen this beginning already).
  • Israel now has no say or control over what happens in Gaza in any regard including policy towards Israel.
Palestinians:
  • I think Israel is passively screwing the Palestinians over by leaving them to their own leaders and Muslim fundamentalists. Not that Israel has the responsibility to entirely correct the Palestinian fundamentalist issue in Gaza but the Palestinian leaders sure aren't going to!
  • There is now even less freedom in Gaza for Palestinians. At least when Israel was there, some Palestinian moderates could speak out without fear of being lynched. Now the militants are in charge.
  • The rule in Gaza is now more tyrannical and one-sided than ever before. It may suck to have tanks in your city but at least it allowed for some range of opposition and difference of opinion in Palestinian society.
  • There will be even more propoganda and Israel will know less about it. More propoganda means less chance for Palestinian children and more Palestinian terrorists.
Please remember that this is my opinion and I have looked at one aspect of one side of the argument. Please post your comments I would love to hear them!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Middle east leaders

I was looking through middle east cartoons to review and a thought struck me - all (at least most) of the most recent cartoons focus on the leaders only. I know that satirical cartoons are most often targeted at leadership (especially since they are so often responsible for these situations), but we must not forget the man in the street. Since the beginning of the year all attention has been focused on Israel (represented by Ariel sharon), Palestine and Palestinians (represented by Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas) and America (represented by George W Bush or an American symbol.


This is all great and wonderful and these may be the "main players" on the political and world stage but in the bulk of cases and facets to the Arab-Israeli conflict, peace will not come from these leaders. This I believe to be the case for a multitude of reasons. Two of the most relevant are:
  • Much of the rethoric coming from these leaders is promoting terrorism. Even in the case of Abbas much of what he has promised to different factions of the Palestinians is "arguably" counter-productive to true peace.
  • Secondly and most importantly the true day to day environment of the middle east will be dictated by the opinions of the man in the street and not the leadership. Leaders may be able to start a process or initiate change but only the man in the street can see it through to success.


    Implicit in the above overly simplified version of things are some assumptions, including that leaders do what is best for their people (if things were this simple I wouldn't even have a blog about the middle east!), community leaders encourage peace and tolerance as do religious leaders (that means ALL, not just the "moderate" leaders). There are too many cases of mosques preaching violence and hate as the only answer and too many allowances for "non-moderate" or "hard-line" factions.

    For a in-depth look at my thoughts on middle ast cartoons that have been in the media, go to Middle East Cartoons.

  • Thursday, April 28, 2005

    Abbas speaks for Hamas

    Hamas was saying on their site. I am not going to link back to Hamas and unless you have a good reason to go visit, it is a waste of time (unless of course you blame "Zionists" for all the world trouble, then enjoy getting some more propaganda!).

    Hamas has historically been one of the most vicious Palestinian terrorist groups in Israel. Not only does Hamas see violence (against civilians) as a legitimate political endeavour but they see it as the ONLY means! (I'll deal with their charter in another post). I found this quote on their home page as one of their "news" stories.

    Hamas: We won't drop weapons as long our country is occupied

    Occupied Jerusalem - The Palestinian Islamic resistance group, Hamas, has rejected remarks by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over the need to disarm Hamas after the upcoming legislative elections this summer.

    Abbas said during a press conference in Ramallah Monday that Hamas would have to hand over its weapons to the PA government after the 17-July elections.

    Now two things here worry me very much:
  • The difference in what Mahmoud Abbas says Hamas has agreed to and what Hamas says they have
  • That Hamas will not put weapons down until they have freed the entire land of Palestine

    If we understand that Hamas is an organisation that sees its political and military operations as one, and do not support negotiations or peace talks, then we have one helluva scary picture on our hands. If one considers that there is fragmentation in Palestinian society with Abbas struggling to unite all Palestinian factions into one voice and that organisations only survive on public support then again one helluva scary picture!


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