January 22, 2008

All you sinners; put your lights off

The other day, I took a work partner of mine to lunch, during which I skipped the small-talk and asked him how he feels about the recent development in Gaza, and he replied "Man, let's not start a pointless discussion here", I reiterated "You what? How could this topic possibly develop to a pointless discussion? They've cut-off the petrol supplies for God's sake…" and he responded "and whose fault is that you say?" as he staired at the tip of my beard as if it automatically affiliated me with Hamas or whoever!!!

I realized I was talking to someone who's too blinded by his political affiliation to the point were he no longer recognizes the human suffering that the orgnization (he claims to be part of) is suppose to be fighting against! While Gaza sinks into the swamp of darkness, some who flatter themselves by claiming to Palestinians, or better still; claiming to be affiliated with a certain faction or movement, kick back and relax theorizing and pointing fingers but eventually doing nothing (and that goes to everyone).

Actually, I stirred the conversation else where, I'm too disgusted (not to mention distressed by the developing situation in Gaza) to talk about the consumed Hamas-Fatih discussion, so I stirred the conversation else where, to the question of the Palestinian identity, where does it stand after 60 years of Nakba?

But before I delve into that mine-filled pond (in a different blog post I assure you), I honestly can't believe how we as Humans, Muslims or Arabs can go about our daily lives aware of the sufferings that's being inflected by the illegitimate state of Israel against the people of Gaza without the least of an essentially disrupting thought or concern interrupting our daily proceedings.

I don't think I can put it in a better word than Rachel Corrie, Oh… so you already forgot(or: never knew) about Rachel Corrie huh! Will here's h
er Wikipedia article and here's the webpage dedicated to her from which I took the following excerpt from an email she sent to her parents before she was squashed to death by a Caterpillar bulldozer operated by the Israeli occupying forces while trying to defend a Palestinian house from demolition:

"Anyway, I’m rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop.

I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore.
I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world.

This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide"

What actually motivated me to post this is that yesterday, it was the 1st time I felt not only helpless but also hopeless, the reality that surrounds us is just so overwhelmingly negative and seems to be getting mad worse before it gets any better with no shed of light anywhere in the horizon; fundamentally I felt the start of something I feared the most, to be emotionally drained towards the Palestinian cause, as I can't make the injustice to basically stop.

A dramatic scene on a Thursday night movie aired by MBC 2 or an Opera show will probably raise the consumption of paper tissues by 173% in Amman, Cairo and Riyadh's suburbs (if not nationwide) out of running tears, yet the news of a deaf old woman being crushed under the rubble of her demolished house because she failed to here the occupying force's loud-speaker warnings to vacate the house within 30 minutes before they topple it down; this scene will merely register as "oh, those poor Palestinians, but what can we do… Mohammed, don't forget my diet coke in your way back from lunch break"

We are drained from any notion of humanity, sympathy, compassion or even empathy, we became accustomed to our intentional obliviousness of the suffering of anyone but us (and that's even questionable), we barely relate to the prone injustice inflected on them and the inhumane conditions they live by, some think it's merely the inconvenience of not being entertained by TV shows, turning on light bulbs at night or the 6 month stockpile of frozen foodstuff melting down with fowl smells?

The reality most of us are unaware of because we take modern life for granted is this: Electricity is not for juicing up our home appliances and lighting up streets, it also run our infrastructure, from water pumps to the sewage system and others… Yes the sewage system, there'll be a sewage flood out of manholes if there's no electricity to exhaust the sewage where it's meant to go, and the water pipes won't run because the pumps will not function. Of course that's beside the hospitals with all the equipment keeping hundreds and thousands of people alive that will simply power down once the backup generator run out fuel too!

It's a scary reality that our people is living back in Gaza, and we choose to lead our lives as if nothing is happening few hundred kilometers away, but in the word of a 17th century Muslim scholar once chanted while being imprisoned by the ruler of some province the following:

ضع في يدي القيد, ألهب أضلعي بالسوط, ضع عنقي على السكين, فلن تسطيع حصار فكري ساعة أو رد إيماني و نور يقيني, فالنور في قلبي, و قلبي بين يدي ربي, و ربي حافظي و معيني

This reads (excuse the loose translation): Handcuff me, flame my back with lashes, lay my neck on your knife, you won't be able to corner my thoughts for even an hour, or overshadow my faith and my enlighting certainty, for the light is in my heart, and my heart is in the hands of my master (the creator) and he is my sustainer and supporter.

If "tangible" actions are not feasible or not possible now, at least we shouldn't give up on our selves by giving in our thoughts to anything but utter distress and solidarity with the people of Gaza, to learn that the comfortable surrounding we live in is volatile and uncertain, and could vanish over night. If you watch a movie tonight and get too engaged in it, or watch your favorite entertainment TV programme and feel moved or touched by it, you should know that you've committed two sins (in the general not religious sense of it), One is utter hypocrisy because your moved emotions should be directed to the reality next door, and two; not to mention the sinful drop of tears over fictional characters while real drama hits a family near you.

Families who share our same names, language, culture, religion(s), region, history and aspirations, will not sure about the latter, probably a person weaping over fictional drama couldn't possibly live up to the aspiration of a person stuck in Gaza!

Dedicated to Rachel Corrie, who's probably more Palestinian than any hard green-blooded blood-shut-eyed heretical university za3boor/a who probably only recognizes him/herself as a Palestinian when negatively aggravated by a like minded person deluded by his/her tribal affiliation.


Yazan said...

What does this have anything to do with sinners?

Basem said...

non whatsoever, its an old song title twisted a bit to serve as a preface to he post! thanks for dropping by and asking...