Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Intimations to an Awakening ! Don't Cry Palestine

 In the mid sixties of the last century one was so excited-politically...After having become free, like India many other post colonial countries were demanding their place in the sun. Sovereignty, mutual respect, peaceful co-existence, territorial integrity were hallowed phrases and buzzed around as the new heady pills of freedom and unfettered challenge. Nehru, Nasser and Tito were grudgingly being given respect for ushering in a new era - quite different and away from the pressures and coercion of cold war politics. It was quite another thing though, that one enjoyed the helping hand of Soviet Union which was hammering away at the butt of USA, as a friend of the wronged and colonized of history. The Arab World and Palestine were our brothers and we had the strength, righteousness and time for them. It was found mutually beneficial, too. Yasser Arafat, the Cuban Castro were our heroes .That the Arab World was Muslim was incidental. India chose the right side and pursued a kind of moral politics that it was capable of. And the Arab World recognized this. That is how I remember my child hood to be and fond memories they were. Surely, most of my friends in school shared a similar but unsophisticated delight.

Mind you, we had also read Leon Uris’ The Exodus and his various tomes on the Jews, their misfortune, historic struggles against torture and discrimination, the Diaspora and Destiny of the return to the Promised Land of Babylon and Palestine. We had also watched David Leans’ magnum Opus the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and picked up a half-baked and confused understanding of the history of the Arabs and the role of the British. But one feeling persisted and was crystal clear. The Jews were reinstated into a place christened Israel by a combined strategy of the great powers to right their own wrongs committed against them. (Principally the English, that is).
The Arabs and Palestinians in particular bore the brunt of this international act of thuggery and were made aliens in their own native land. Thereafter, it has been one long story of the Palestinians fighting a losing battle against the Israelis and their benefactors.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union, India, however since the eighties developed a softer stance on the Israelis. And in the nineties, it was more pronounced and in favor of the latter, under pressure of a rapidly globalised, neo-liberal ,uni-polar world with USA having become the International gendarme. I watched in dismay this gradual shift .Egypt, till late the voice of the Arabs had lost out in the Wars against the Israelis and had been forced to a humiliating surrender and compromise. Israel had successfully played on the internal divisions among the Arabs, some Sheiks had been befriended in Saudi Arabia and UAE amongst others, the untruth of the religious divisions within Islam was propagated, and a slow shift towards the right was being noticed in the Asian World while the left was in retreat across the world. I, too had grown up during this time to be a salaried adult and then a middle-aged pensioner and like many others had mellowed and gone suspiciously silent with age.  
It was rumored that the one-eyed Moshe Dayan, the famed Israeli General in the early nineties had met secretly Lal Krishna Advani and interestingly the Congress was becoming ambiguous in its friendship with its own Muslims internally while at the external level, quite willfully was looking to align with the international designs of America and play as its proxy on the eastern front of Asia in a manner of speaking. Israel provided the physical support by way of weapons, military intelligence, special ops training, agri-based technological support and radical agricultural know-how on how to green the vast deserts and make it bloom.
Viewed against these broad historical changes in the political landscape of India, it is small wonder that we began to fight America’s war at our doorsteps with an unfounded sense of insecurity and purchased perception of terror. The goodwill of the Muslims in India and the Arab world had been since lost with the minor exceptions of Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps. The Congress Party chose to dig its own grave and  to make way for the BJP for its brand of non-inclusive and hinduised sectarian politics. This has been grist to the new -found mill of Israeli friendship putting behind the centuries of historical association and bonhomie with the Arab world. I could only wrap my anger in a silent sadness for that is all one is capable of. Indeed, many who knew and loved a different India must have shared a similar sense of grief and loss.
And now Palestine cries as Gaza burns
.Alone.Friends there are no more and none...Yasser Arafat has died since. The mad and strong thugs of Israel and they are many celebrate their power to hit and kill at will. Their drones, crack assault teams, super accurate military devices bomb, shoot and target any and every Palestinan.Children and innocents are killed as of routine for they are blessed by the Gods of Zion,race,country and Flag.History is reenacting a different kind of an Auschwitz,a new breed of Nazism on the streets of Gaza by the same Jews who once suffered such horrible wrongs.Now when I recall the images of unseeable horrors perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and remember the stories of their courage , sacrifice and struggle for dignity against all odds in Leon Uris’ Exodus I question the truth in these stories. Alas, and no more
I simply want tomorrow to be better than today. I want Palestine to be independent and sovereign... Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.

It is in the live images of the dark goings on that the horror of all horrors is there for all to see.
Any more words would do no better.

No comments: