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   Volume 10 |Issue 37 | September 30, 2011 |


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Writing the Wrong

The Declaration of (A Terrible) Irony


The big letdown. President Obama addresses the UN Assembly. Photo: AFP

Last week in the USA two incredibly awful things happened–on the same day. I mean several awful things happened simultaneously through out the world, indeed possibly in your own home, but I have chosen to focus on one particular event because of the far reaching implications for all of us. A most likely innocent man named Troy Davis was executed for a crime no one is totally sure he committed in Georgia. He was a black man, and yes, I do think that matters. On the same day, a Wednesday, President Obama stood in front of the UN General Assembly and attempted to explain why one group of people was lesser than another, deserved less and would be better off capitulating, for the time being, i.e. indefinitely, to their oppressors. Though this may sound wildly reductionist, in the final analysis, in denying the Palestinian people the right to be recognised as a state, President Barack Obama made a mockery of the very principals on which his nation was built. Indeed, he all but disavowed it. Please indulge me while I lamely attempt to reword a portion of the *American Declaration of Independence to more closely reflect the course the US appears to have set for itself in the 21st century. As I watch events unfold and US policy in the Middle East increasingly isolating both it and Israel from the rest of the world, I realise that my President and I have very different reads on what the country stands for.

What the President was really saying to the UN:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to rise up and demand recognition as actual human beings, desirous of self determination, and the ability to feed their children and live on their land without being routed out because a passage in the Bible may or may not infer that the land does not belong to them, then a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to demand recognition–unless they are Arabs, Muslims, Black, on welfare, or further, anything other than white, lobbyists, Christian or Jewish; then their bid for freedom is illegitimate.

Therefore, we hold THIS truth to be self evident, that in the eyes of the American government, both state and federal that all men are apparently NOT created equal. That they, unless they are Israeli or of a certain class, do not have the inalienable right to pursue, neither life nor liberty (as to happiness: please folks, do not make us laugh). That to secure at least some rights they must follow strict guidlines, that preclude self defense when incursions from IDF forces occur; that may appear to strip them of their humanity and self determination and render them unable to feed, clothe or educate their children. That, since they have become destructive by challenging these precepts, the Government of Israel can now abolish or alter as many Palestinian homes they deem fit and institute a new group of settlers (who are arriving every other day from Brooklyn, NY) who will lay the foundation for their new homes over the rubble of Arab ones; and by not challenging this, the Arab peoples will thereby effect their safety and happiness (what is left of it). If the Palestinians indeed show prudence, this will dictate that the policies by governments long established such as Israel and the United States will not change for what they consider the light or transient causes of the Arab peoples; and will, accordingly be more disposed to suffer (and all Israeli evils are sufferable) than to better their lives by attempting to abolish Zionist forms and simply grow accustomed to them.

Demonstrators rally to urge Georgia state officials to halt the scheduled execution of Troy Davis.
Photo: AFP

I could go on, but why bother? I have included the portion of the Decalaration I have re-interpreted below. I watched the President address the General Assembly; I stopped listening and just watched, because what he was saying was, for me, on some other frequency; a foreign language of double speak, riddled with flaccid platitudes, that eventually said this: you, Palestinians, you mean nothing to us. Your lives, the lives of your children are less valuable than that of Israeli citizens. Now if you give up what little you have already to the settlers, only then can Peace be achieved. What you must be willing to do is give up your dignity and your right to self determination, be willing to give those things up and only then will we entertain the notion of you having a state of your own. Also, you cannot defend yourself when you are attacked by anyone, that is considered an act of war, but only if you respond.

Folks, I want you to ponder this: this was a half BLACK man talking, who's wife is a descendant of slaves, and in vetoing their bid for statehood, trying to lead a people away from the Promised Land, or their idea of it and back INTO the desert. There have been recent reports that Israel is “re-locating” Bedouins back to the Negev desert from where they have lived for thousands of years. Again, terrible, terrible irony, as one of the greatest stories ever told was about how the Jewish people were led OUT of the desert.

Now, do the Palestinians have to also recognise Israel as a legimitate country? Absolutely! However, not recognising the Palestinian state won't speed things up.

The President had demanded at one point early on in his administration that the settlement building cease at once. Prime Minister Netenyahu responded, very calmly, “No, we will not stop.”

Obama said, “Uh, okay.” And that appears to be that.

The perverse aspect to my nature–and yes we ALL have one–is incredibly curious to see what unreasonable and unrealistic deal the Obama administration wants Abbas and his people to agree to. Because from where I am standing it seems the Palestinians are being asked to accept second and third class (non) citizenship and being homeless. And accept it without protest. How is this possible? How does US think that this is going to work? More importantly, how does the President sleep at night knowing he has inexorably aligned himself and his country men to an Apartheid state?

Actual Declaration of Independance, penned by Thomas Jefferson in 1776.

* “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”


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