|September 2000 - Return to Monthly Index MiddleEast.Org 9/24/00|
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REFLECTIONS ON LAST SATURDAY'S
WASHINGTON "RIGHT OF RETURN" RALLY
MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 9/23:
"And most amazing of all some of the speakers
to the podium represent the very organizations that
can't wait for their White House invitations to
celebrate the agreements that in reality further
suppress the very rights the marchers came to promote!"
"To sum it all up, the Arab Americans are today decades
behind and miserably inadequate to the historic moment.
This is the price they pay for so many years of failed
leadership, self-delusion, and co-optation."
They didn't protest at the Israeli Embassy. No speaker mentioned Yasser Arafat. Nobody talked about the complicity of the Arab "client regimes" in all the Palestinian suffering as well as in today's "peace process" which has rounded them up onto separated and controlled reservations.
No one sat down in protest or engaged in peaceful civil disobedience. No one criticized the various Arab American groups for doing so little for so long. No one asked why in the year 2000 there still isn't anything that could even be reasonably called an "Arab Lobby" in Washington. No one asked what was done, and not done, just a few years ago at the time of the 50th anniversary of 1948. No one asked what has happened with the more than $25 millon these Washington-based groups have raised in recent years. And no one bothered to spend just a few of those dollars constructively calling any of the many squalid refugee camps to hear what some of the actual refugees themselves might want to say.
There was no press stand as is usual at important Washington events; because there were no significant press people and no broadcast cameras.
And there were no significant political personalities either, in or out of office, though one Congressman did send a brief message while not bothering to come.
To sum it all up, the Arab Americans are today decades behind and miserably inadequate to the historic moment. This is the price they pay for so many years of failed leadership, self-delusion, and co-optation. The history train left the station quite a long time ago now, but they don't even seem to know that it is gone and they are definitely clueless as to where it is going. They operate in a self-created vacuum feeding (and even that only occasionally) on the most simplistic of slogans and self-congratulations. Everything they do it seems bears little relationship to the realities taking place all around them, as well as within their own ranks.
Most tragic of all is how the unsophisticated leadership of these incestous and interconnected Arab "client organizations" terrribly mislead so many well-meaning but naive young Palestinians and Arabs whose energies and enthusiasm are squandered and misdirected.
And most amazing of all when it comes to last Saturday's rally, some of the speakers invited to the podium represent the very regimes and the very organizations that can't wait for their White House invitations to celebrate the agreements that in reality further suppress the very rights the marchers came to promote!
One telling little vignette to this whole confusing and demoralizing picture was recently forwarded our way. In the days before last Saturday's mini-march a Palestinian with family in one of the big refugee camps in Lebanon wrote of his concerns to the demonstration organizers. After enumerating the sacrifices persons in his own family had made for Palestine he wrote that "all this Arafat wasted selling his blood and our future for Arafat airport in Gaza with a red carpet and personal guards."
Instead of distributing the personal and passionate message to those organizing the rally as had been requested, instead the organizers censored it! Indeed one of the main realities of the "client organizations" is that they what they do pay careful attention to is censoring any criticism of themselves and of the regimes that sponsor them, while channeling all energies into simple safe slogans and politically safe distractions. Those they cannot censor they try ignore. Those they cannot ignor they try to co-opt. Those they cannot co-opt they try to defame. All along they way then, what this results in is a situation where the newcomers keep tripping over themselves while trying to recreate the wheel time after time. And then they all wonder why in the year 2000 in the very midst of history-changing developments their numbers remain pitifully small, their leadership confused, their followers bewildered, their allies practically nil.
Meanwhile, and most importantly of all, the big issues -- in this case
the very nature of the "peace process" itself, the "massive fraud" that
it should be exposed to be, the ongoing solidification of a novel form
of apartheid in the once Holy Land -- all these crucial issues are largely
left unaddressed. And meanwhile the powers that be proceed to consolidate
their control, their repression, and their corruption everywhere...
including in the about to be stillborn mini-Palestine as well in Washington, DC.
"On September 13 I submitted [a] message to Al-Awda
(the organizers of the Washington rally). An unidentified
Al-Awda moderator rejected the message and the message did
not post on Al-Awda... The poignant message is non-
controversial, very relevant to the "Right of Return"
issue and was an emotionally timely one in preparation
for the Right of Return Mass Rally... I know that the message
was rejected because its author vociferously [opposes]
Al-Awda's political approach... Now, we all come from
backgrounds where freedom of speech is restricted to pen
prostitutes who made themselves cheap tools for the venereal-
disease-ridden monarchies and the ruthless eternal nepotistic
rulers. Do we want to want to follow their example and afford
freedom of speech to only those who agree with us? Please
think about that for a minute. I am not accusing Al-Awda of
being the cyber-equivalent of our bankrupt rulers..."
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