Barbarism triumphing at our doors

Gaza area bombed by Israel / Reproduction Telegram
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By DOMINIQUE EDDÉ*

“Us against them” inevitably signals the beginning of obscurantism and blindness.

“The vast majority of men would not be able to resist a murder without risk, permitted, recommended and shared with many others”, wrote Nobel Prize winner for Literature (1981) Elias Canetti [1905-1994] in mass and power. This phrase sums up the tragedy of the human condition. It takes us back to the decisive role of the remaining “small minority” when it comes time for the pack and the merger. She warns us against tribal reasoning, adapted to the comfort of our birth identities.

Whether we are Israelis or Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jews or Muslims, Christians or atheists, French or Americans, we will never be sufficiently suspicious of the “us versus them” approach, which inevitably signals the beginning of obscurantism and blindness.

Currently, the use of these three words records terrible records, from one end of the planet to the other. And it spreads at such a frightening speed that it sweeps away minds, like a hurricane sweeps through houses.

The barbaric Hamas massacre on October 7th not only left thousands dead and injured Israeli civilians, it dropped a bomb on minds and hearts, it stopped thinking. It allowed the unleashing of passions against the reasons and evidence of history. This triggering can be understood where the means of knowing are lacking, on both sides. Where the pain is overwhelming. It is unacceptable among the powerful: where wars are declared, where the chances of peace are decided.

What happened so that a young man who, in the 1980s, threw stones to be heard by an all-powerful occupying army became the father of another young man reduced to committing a massacre of civilians in order to exist?

A process of sabotage and destruction of the Palestinian people unfolded in silence, one decade after another, in the disdain of consciences, out of sight, which appears, over time, like ethnic cleansing. And this collective murder, in which all those who allowed or encouraged it collaborated, at the forefront of which were a majority of Arab regimes, generated the horror we are witnessing today. We are not facing a beginning, but an end. The end of a long process of decomposition and dismemberment that tore the entire region apart and marked the colossal defeat of all actors involved.

lose reason

What is now widely accepted in the West as an attack of barbarism on civilization, block against block, is in fact the terrible escape of horror when all other exits have been blocked.

Who will tell us that a peace based on the maintenance and extension of colonization is not an imposture, a crime? Who will tell us that a people, first denied their existence, then crushed to survive, betrayed on all sides, including by the authority supposedly representing them, does not have some reason to lose their reason? Israel's salvation passes through its hand extended to the people it colonizes.

May those who think that the inhabitants of Gaza are animals discover their humanity and their daily life, described by Israeli journalist Amira Hass, in her book published in 1996, Drinking the sea in Gaza: Chronicles 1993-1996 (La Fabrique). Let them read your comment, published in the newspaper Haaretz, on October 16: “Germany, daughter of parents interned in concentration camps, gives a 'blank check' to a wounded, suffering Israel, with a license to pulverize, destroy and kill without restriction, a license to be barbaric ”.

Is jihadist Islam a wound? It's the least that can be said. But how long are we going to pretend that the triumph of the Taliban has no relation to American politics and that the emergence of the Islamic State organization has no relation to the two Gulf wars, the second of which was built on an entirely fabricated lie? Former President of the United States Barack Obama expressly recognized it. “[Islamic State] is a direct outgrowth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq after our invasion of that country,” he revealed to Vice News, in March 2015.

Who will tell us that Hezbollah has no relationship with the Israeli invasion of 1982, the date of its creation as a resistance movement? Who will tell us, when looking closely at the growth of Hamas, that it was not co-made by the architects of Greater Israel post-Yitzhak Rabin [assassinated in 1995]? Who will tell us what to respond to the deprived, stripped of everything, thrown onto the roads, when they blindly trust in the God who is sold to them at a low price?

Israel's survival and security can no longer be negotiated within the four walls of savage capitalism, arrogance and absolute military power. Neither money nor weapons will silence the defeated. Will they no longer have the means to respond? Yes, they will bring the fearsome weapon that is the passion of God without God. And this will be carried out in all the territories it finds on its way.

Hellish pressure

To ensure its long-term existence, Israel must desist from the annihilation of Gaza and the annexation of the West Bank. Its future cannot be guaranteed by expulsion, extermination, conquest of the little territory that remains. It can only be achieved by a radical change of policy. A renunciation of the logic of self-affirmation through military superiority and the denial of the other. Then the ignorant or limited spirits of the Arab-Muslim world will better understand the time of absolute horror that was the Holocaust. It will finally be taught and transmitted to new generations. We will learn, on both sides, that no story begins with self.

Radical Islamists will not be destroyed by declarations of war, they will be weakened by removing, one by one, their reasons for existing and for instrumentalizing Islam. Will it be long? Yes. But tell us, what other way is there to extinguish a fire without borders?

By removing the “pretexts” of general bad faith, perhaps we will bring about the peace that the vast majority desperately aspire to. Psychotherapists know what politicians refrain from considering: expressing the other's suffering, their humiliation, helping them express their scream, their anger, their hatred, is disarming them. This is a fight against hate now. It involves each one of us, if we want to give the next generations a chance.

May the Israeli leaders and their blind supporters renounce their brutal, satisfied and unshared domination of this explosive place that is the “Holy Land”. Let the Arabs, the Muslims, the defeated of history, not forget that, by giving in to anti-Semitism, they debase themselves, they fall into an evil that is not theirs, they turn against themselves. Let them rise up, of course, against the mass massacre that is taking place, but let them not deprive the grieving Israeli families of their compassion, let them not confuse their revolt with the fantasy of Israel's disappearance.

Let us not forget, we Arabs, that we contributed massively to our misfortune. Let us not forget that, in terms of horrors, we have recorded on our soil, since 1975, an abominable series of massacres. From Lebanon to Syria to Iraq, our prisoners have been locked up in atrocious conditions. Women and men were tortured, without us knowing how to defend them. Our memories, our brains, our souls have been tortured. Our cultures. Our ancient history. None of these countries managed to resist internal and external manipulations, the infernal pressure of the great powers, the sinister alliance of corruption, contempt for the poor and the most abusive of virility.

We can no longer raise our heads with slogans and complaints directed exclusively against Israel. The future is not about reclaiming what has been lost, but about examining what remains to save. Israel exists. What was bad for many of us could be good for everyone.

A gigantic project

Let us not fail in this terrible and final encounter. Let us remember that life, death, day, night, pain, the orphan, the earth and peace are said in the same way in Arabic and Hebrew. It is time for each of us to make an immense effort if we do not want barbarism to triumph at our doors, or worse: within each of us.

Is the project gigantic? Yes. It implies a change in political actors. Yes. Is it too early? No. Is it a dream? Yes, but tell me if there is another scenario that isn't a nightmare. At the conclusion of his book, The question of Palestine, Edward Said wrote: “Palestine is saturated with blood and violence… The question of Palestine is unfortunately condemned to renew itself in forms with which we know too well. But the people of Palestine – Arabs and Jews –, whose past and future are inexorably linked, are also called to renew themselves. Your meeting has not yet taken place, but it will happen, I know, and it will be for mutual benefit.”

It was 1980. Perhaps the time had come for each one of us to do our hummingbird job, to prefer the threatened caravan of humanity to the fast car of brooding ideas. May those in power put pressure on Israel to immediately put an end to the torture that its army inflicts on the residents of Gaza, to its savage and suicidal commitment in a territory saturated with misfortune, attacked from all sides and with no exit doors.

All destinations in neighboring countries are linked. It is precisely this message that foreign powers pretend not to understand: the region asks to be treated as a single gangrenous, mortally wounded body. By repeating the past instead of starting a new one, we run the risk of sacrificing the priority project of this XNUMXst century: the survival of the human species.

*Dominique Eddé is a Lebanese writer and essayist. Author, among other books, of Edward Said: Le roman de as pensée (Factory).

Translation: Lucius Proves.

Originally published in the newspaper Le Monde.


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