Saturday, November 13, 2010

Legacy of Arafat

There's a Palestinian proverb that goes like this: all Palestinians need is a wedding to dance to. Give them any occasion, no matter how trivial, and they won't disappoint. Such was the case on Thursday in Ramallah, which commemorated Yasir Arafat's 6th year dead. Do we need to do this every year though? We're pretty sure those who work in the government ministries don't mind, as they get to finish work a few hours earlier. But the point of that is so they could participate in the commemoration festivities held in the PA's headquarters, al-Muqata'a compound. The planners however already acknowledge that the majority of the employees won't show up, and so they've come up with an ingenuous plan to resolve this little complication. Buses are sent to the north in the West Bank, which promptly get filled by teenage boys who equate the city of Ramallah to something like the city of Paris. These people from the north have their own special name, but it's so derogatory and racist we shall refrain from mentioning it here. Ok fine, they're called tailandiyeen. We'll let your own imaginations figure this out. Anyhoo, the teenage boys somehow always end up to the worst kind, the ones who think greasy hair, low rise tight jeans, smoking and hitting on girls older than they are is hilarious and parrot everything they're told without them God forbid thinking of using their brains to ask questions. They are so caught up in the pomp and grandeur (cough) of being invited to Ramallah for free and to celebrate the anniversary of a prominent political leader's death. By the end of the night, Ramallah itself is trashed. Litter and piss streaks are everywhere. Local residents breathe a huge sigh of relief when these tailandiyeen go home. Al-Muqata'a basically fills up with people where various self-important figures give embarrassing and ineloquent speeches and free kuffiyehs are parcelled out to everyone attending. We wonder though, why these fools are so ready to believe in the 'commendable' legacy of Abu Ammar. Hey look where we are now, the Apartheid wall is still being built, checkpoints and road blocks have increased to over 600 in the West Bank, settlements are continuing to be built, there's no sustainable economy, the present regime is now openly collaborating with Israel, the huge funds from countries donated to the Palestinian people are still getting shovelled righteously into the pockets of top members in the PA, and of course, there's the restriction of movement.

Arafat, whatever your intentions were, you did pave the way for where we are now. And we don't like how your memory lives on portraying you as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, who put Palestine on the westernized version of a map by forming the PLO, and how your fatherly depiction is reiterated by schools and the media. We bet 80 percent of the lapping adoring masses don't know how exactly you sold your own people and country out. But hey, they take what they can get, because at least you're more pathetic looking than that proud quisling Abbas and so looks here work in your advantage because of how readily people are to defend and laud your accomplishments, even if they don't know what they are.

Surprisingly at the university, nothing was done on Thursday. But during the whole week leading up to that day, the loudspeakers were out and Quran was played out before the corny Fateh songs took over. The yellow flags of the student Fateh party, As-shabeeba adorned every corner of campus, and a couple of large posters of Arafat's face adorned a couple of buildings. We found out that the actual commemoration day in the university was on Tuesday. Good thing most of our classes are in one of the buildings furthest away from the ratty student council building where the speakers were set up. We don't need to listen to guys magically empowering their voices over the microphones yelling out empty silly speeches that we have heard over and over again. Palestinians can be accused with being too occupied with the past. Hey, the guy is dead, let's move on and figure out a way to actively resist the Israeli occupation (which is still going on by the way) and to effectively replace Abbass and his yes men with real representatives of the rights of the Palestinian people, who don't have to negotiate for their basic human rights. But no, we must make a big deal out of triviality, to ensure that Arafat has not been forgotten from our minds.

The west are so eager to describe Arafat as a terrorist who practiced terrorism for forty years and whose sole mission was the eradication of a people and their state. He is viewed as a man who cared too much about his own pride and couldn't give a damn to his own people, and this is epitomized in his refusal to negotiate for a peace settlement. He was a complete failure as a diplomat and never is this more illustrated by his signing of the Oslo Accords. This catastrophic decision gave birth to the corrupt Palestine Authority who patted themselves on the back for securing a pseudo Palestinian state, and who were in control of Areas A but not B or C. This decision legitimized the Israeli occupation, enveloping it as more acceptable for the small amount of land they were granted, even as they were funnelling down billions of dollars in aid meant for the people and the state into their own bank accounts. We can never forgive him for that. Land for peace. Hm, should have talked more about the concept of what exactly peace is. He also had a huge number of security forces, numbering 45000 that were let loose on the Palestinians because they lacked the political conscience to target Zionists. Collaborators, spies, agents all flourished under him. He never entertained the idea of a successor, and was possessed by the threat of assassinations. Personal loyalties made up his administration, and he never gave thought to what would happen to Palestine after his death, proof that he was playing the Arab Power Rule game to the fullest.

We get that Arafat is viewed as a symbol and the father of nationhood that never quite materialized. Under his corrupt rule, Fateh and Hamas were united against the main affront, the Israeli occupation. His early resistance days were never thought out clearly and more often than not gave rise to increased vilification of Palestinians not just in the West but in neighbouring countries like Jordan and Lebanon. Commemorating him and overlooking his grave selfish mistakes is another from of brainwash. The future generations owe it to us to give them the correct history of their country, including the people who royally fucked it up.

1 comment:

  1. Ladies this is truly truth speaking to power! Wehad to go through through much the same thing at Bil'in before we could actually get down to the business of confronting the Wall & the Occupying Force. BTW,I have followed your blog since discovering it some weeks back and I can't begin to tell you how much I look forward to reading and thinking about your posts. And I apologize for posting as anonymous but that's the only way I succeeded Usually I just post straight to my Wall (Facebook not Apartheid) but here I am lost.