Imagine, if you can, a time of colonial conquest. A time when a monotheistic religious creed originating from Mesopotamia, enslaved an entire population, forcing women and children into captivity, smashing indigenous expressions of spirituality and building places of worship on the ruins of temples and alters to the creator?
Sound familiar? The invasion and conquest of the America’s by Spanish conquistadors is well-documented, as is the leveling of the Mayan, Toltec and Inca civilisation and its replacement by Catholicism. The result we see today in social upheaval and revolutions in support of indigenous autonomy such as the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas.
The reason I bring this up, is because the experience of the Zapatista’s is not all that different from our own revolutionary experience in South Africa, and has much to show us about the way forward in the Middle East.
Both Israel and Palestine claim land in Jerusalem. Both sides are embroigled in super-power politics and colonial interventions. The media has told us absolutely nothing about what is actually happening on the ground, nor has it given us the views of those who object to the use of force, or dissent from acts of violence.
In fact we know next to nothing about the present Intifada. For example: The Wailing Wall, and Temple Mount around which the second Intifada has focused, is holy for both Moslems, Christians and Jews alike and reminds humanity of our common heritage. Unfortunately, there are those in the minority who would claim the City of Jerusalem, (as well as the Temple Mount upon which the Al Aksa Mosque is built), for there own political objectives.
The Zionist State is no better, putting up walls, bulldozing houses and ignoring calls for peace, harmony and mutual respect of all peoples.
Today brother is fighting brother, and walls are being put up to seperate families from one another. Jews are battling Moslems and Moslems are battling Christians in the fight over Al Aksa and the City of Jerusalem, in a war that also involves some territories annexed by Israel, ostensibly to safe-guard, the Holy City, as well as the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.
How is it possible for a single state to cause so much trouble for world peace? Can we allow the boundaries of the nation-state, whether Israeli, or Palestinian, to determine how the world views the 21st Century? Looking through the prism of Palestinian Nationalism is as myopic as viewing everything through the lense of Zionist Fundementalism.
Can we continue to explain away the atrocities committed on either side, as the simple necessity of survival from religious persecution, or the right of each people to self-determination?
Whether theist, or non-theist, believer or non-believer, the truth of our common oppression by Bush’s New World Order, the Neo-Liberal Empire and the Nation-state must be told. While there is no person alive who does not desire freedom i.e. autonomy, none is prepared to take collective responsibility for the realisation of this freedom, which can only come if we are all free.
DEMAND THE OTHER CULTURE, SEE THE OTHER POINT OF VIEW.
(some comrades are more equal)