Israel versus Palestinians

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By DIOGO FAGUNDES*

Irrational conflict between peoples or struggle for justice?

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I follow the Brazilian media more than what should be considered healthy by common sense. There is no surprise, on my part, by the way in which the “conflict” in Palestine is portrayed, but I take the opportunity to underline the discomfort: the prevailing view prevents, or rather acts as an “epistemological obstacle”, to speak as a structuralist. , to any rational political understanding of the situation.

Here is a summary view of the understanding conveyed: we have an irrational dispute between peoples who hate each other — Arabs and Israelis, each of them essentialized not only by a religion, ethnic origin, history or culture, but also by the identity and action assumed by their “representatives”. ”: State of Israel and Hamas.

The description is the usual one. Some pissed-off, fanatical Arab terrorists drop bombs on Israel. This one retaliates with more bombs and deaths. An endless cycle of revanchist barbarity sets in, as in Aeschylus' Oresteia, in which there is an endless causal chain of bloodshed, with the exception of one essential element of the tragic trilogy of ancient Greece: there is, at the end, no break in this cycle through the victory of justice, symbolized by the court of Athens, only the persecution and the endless struggle of the erinyes against Orestes, Arabs and Jews, in an endless tension between terror and anguish.

This view removes any political rationality from what is happening, as it is subject to an identity essentialism: two peoples, two cultures, two irreconcilable religions. We only have something pre-political: the conflict of peoples with closed identities fighting each other, as is often portrayed in Western discourse in relation to “exotic” peoples who are very tribal and far from modernity – something similar happened in the ideological representation of war of Yugoslavia or the genocide in Rwanda, the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis – or even in relation to its own past, in the supposedly inexplicable wars between different religions and sects in the XNUMXth century.

Often, this identity reading is resigned to the state of established facts, with the following argument: not even the Arab countries of the Middle East care so much about the Palestinians! That is, not even their own “people” care about them, what morals do they have? Leave it there. As if we were really dealing with a “clash of civilizations”, in which each side is only interested in its own “nation”. Jews on the side of Jews, Arabs on the side of Arabs.

The only way out of this vision that eternalizes endless violence and enshrines the inexplicable involves the subtraction of “culturalism”, the de-hermeneutization of fixed cultural identities. It's not about Arabs or Jews. But of colonialism versus decolonization, domination versus dominated. On the side of the “dominated” can be not only Arabs, but everyone who fights for equality in the world, including many Jews (yes, they exist and they are not few) and people of any origin or territory. Believing that something as prosaic as a militarized state, a group of armed men, represents the “essence” of a people, is the unambiguous path to all kinds of variations of fascist ideology.

Thus, everything becomes less subject to the passions of fixed and frozen identities: just like in Algeria's independence, several French people were against their own State in defense of the liberation of the hitherto colony or, in Vietnam, the best of American youth and culture united against the own interests of their official armed wing, we can now understand what happens in Palestine in more universalist terms, which can interest any human being and not just the people directly involved in that region.

Always, throughout the history of the human species, there has been, against the military expansionism of some power or appendix of a power (USA and Israel have a privileged relationship), an opposing tendency pointing to an alternative future, involving two words very dear to humanity : equality and justice.

May the Palestinians free themselves and thus make their contribution to the beautiful history, yet to be built, of collective emancipation!

* Diogo Fagundes is studying law at USP.

 

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