Pesspotimistic reflections from besieged Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 6 Comments

One cannot understand the deadly, medieval siege imposed on Gaza apart from Israel’s settler-colonialism in Palestine. The horror inflicted on Gaza is, in fact, rooted in the political fragmentation caused by Apartheid Israel, reinforced by the Oslo authority, and sparked by factional struggles over access to power in a Bantustan turned into a concentration camp.

The rationale behind this genocidal blockade imposed by Apartheid Israel, and supported by a complicit ME Quartet is that we, 2 million Gazans, are expected to recognize Israel’s right to exist on our ethnically cleansed villages from where we were expelled in 1948 and renounce our resistance as a form of violence. This is how this Crime of Collective Punishment is justified! The international community is basically telling us that we must collaborate with the occupiers in order to be accepted, that we must normalize apartheid and settler colonialism. If we don’t do that, we are doomed then and must pay a heavy price with the lives of our children.

The question then is whether the indigenous population of South Africa were asked to recognize Apartheid’s right to exist? Or, to put it bluntly, whether Jewish victims of Nazism were expected to collaborate with the Nazi monster in order to be accepted as humans?!

The extent to which Zionists hate the people of Gaza is materialized in Israel’s attempt to literally drown Gaza in shit! Did the white supremacists  of South Africa, or the Nazis of the Third Reich for that matter, or the KKK in the American South, ever think of constructing a sewage damn that cracked and spilled its contents on their victims?!

We’ve ultimately been reduced to a vegetative existence in a concentration camp, the largest open air prison on earth.

But unlike the victims of Nazism, we keep reminding ourselves to be careful enough and not fall into the trap of believing that our cause is exceptional, albeit extreme.

I belong to a generation that did not witness the Nakba, a generation that was thought to be resigned to 50 years of military occupation, and 69 years of dispossession and apartheid. But we’ve decided to rise up and resist. Hence our call for BDS, inspired by the anti-apartheid movement and other struggles against settler colonialism.

The way I look at it is that by allowing Israel to impose this unprecedented blockade on 2 million civilians and launching three massive wars on them in 2008, 2012, and 2014, resulting in the deaths of 4000 of them and the maiming of tens of thousands, in addition to the destruction of the infrastructure, the post-WWII International Community has failed to uphold principles of justice and peace. It is therefore incumbent on civil society to take the lead. Hence the hope created amongst Palestinians by the huge successes achieved the BDS movement. It is, as I keep repeating, the only window of hope we victims of occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism have in the era of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

* The word “Pesspotimistic” is taken from Emile Habibi’s masterpiece  The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist. It is the result of merging the Arabic words for pessimist (al-mutasha’em) and optimist (al-mutafa’el).

About Haidar Eid

Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza's al-Aqsa University. He has written widely on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including articles published at Znet, Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle, and Open Democracy. He has published papers on cultural Studies and literature in a number of journals, including Nebula, Journal of American Studies in Turkey, Cultural Logic, and the Journal of Comparative Literature.

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6 Responses

  1. just
    October 20, 2017, 5:17 pm

    I thank you for this very powerful piece, Haidar. You make some superlative points, especially this:

    “The rationale behind this genocidal blockade imposed by Apartheid Israel, and supported by a complicit ME Quartet is that we, 2 million Gazans, are expected to recognize Israel’s right to exist on our ethnically cleansed villages from where we were expelled in 1948 and renounce our resistance as a form of violence. This is how this Crime of Collective Punishment is justified! The international community is basically telling us that we must collaborate with the occupiers in order to be accepted, that we must normalize apartheid and settler colonialism. If we don’t do that, we are doomed then and must pay a heavy price with the lives of our children.

    The question then is whether the indigenous population of South Africa were asked to recognize Apartheid’s right to exist? Or, to put it bluntly, whether Jewish victims of Nazism were expected to collaborate with the Nazi monster in order to be accepted as humans?!”

    The picture up top is beautiful and horrible…

  2. JosephA
    October 21, 2017, 12:33 am

    Haidar, your justified frustration is eloquently palpable.

  3. JustJessetr
    October 21, 2017, 5:34 am

    Free Gaza! From Hamas!

    • eljay
      October 21, 2017, 8:59 am

      || JustaJester: Free Gaza! From Hamas! ||

      Free geographic Palestine! From Zionism!

    • Misterioso
      October 21, 2017, 10:35 am

      Free the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms/Kfarshuba hills from illegal/brutal occupations by the entity known as “Israel.”

      Re: The Gaza Strip:

      https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-delays-cancer-treatment-gaza-children/[email protected]

      “Israel delays cancer treatment for Gaza children”

      By Sarah Algherbawi The Electronic Intifada Gaza Strip 28 March 2017

    • Mooser
      October 21, 2017, 1:24 pm

      “Free Gaza! From Hamas!”

      You tell ’em, Jesse! “You want to know who helps Palestinians at the Coop? Jesse Rosenfeld does! He worked like hell to bring a new brand of Palestinian olive oil to our shelves. Rosenfeld has strived for unity at the coop in all sorts of ways. He’s helped with food drives, called for every coop member to donate one dollar to help relocate a Syrian refugee family, helped bring Palestinian olive oil to the shelves,”

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