It was like this from the begining. A game of power and a game of blood. Someone has political inspirations; someone is after power and influence. And in the Middle East you gain power by being “jabbar” – mighty – like the legendary heroes, like the great Salah a-Din, 800 years ago. “Look at me,” you say. “I am just and noble and I am fighting a terrible enemy and his cruelty on your behalf.”
For that you need two things. First, you have to find a theme. You have to struggle for something, don’t you? And you need an enemy. This enemy has to be terrible, it has to be monstrous, the devil himself, the “shaitan”. Why? Because the blacker he is, the whiter you become. He is the dragon, you are the knight in the shining armor.
For many years, the ME is playing this game. Actually, it always did, but in this round we are the dragon. Our very existence provides “chairmen” and “presidents” the epic struggle they need in order to control the streets. And the more people suffer at their side, the more people die – the better. “See,” they say, “it truly is a terrible dragon! See? And now, after this last evil he did, we have to retaliate, we have to make him pay, we have to slain him.”
And in the middle there are the people. The Palestinians, who could live in an independent country for more than six decades now, the Syrians, who suffered more oppression than many other people in the world, the Egyptians, who died in the thousands on the sandy battlefields. For the masses it is a holy war, the resistance to some devilish foreign onslaught. For the people in charge this is a game. They are playing with lives. And we are paying the price.
Like always in the ME, it is a complex game. There are many centers of power, many players. And everybody is using the Palestinians. Including, of course, the Palestinian leadership. They need a victim for their epic tale, don’t they? They need their captured princess. But here nobody cares about the princess. She is a recourse. A leverage. She needs to remain captured. The problem must go on. Or else there is no cause, no struggle. And without the struggle there is no power, no control.
From 1948 the Arab countries used the Palestinians. They started a war with Israel – about five minutes after it was created – claiming to defend the Palestinian interests. They spoke about liberation, but when the war ended there was no independent Falastin. Jordan annexed most of it, Egypt captured Gaza. And they have being doing the same since.
But times have changed. There is peace with Jordan now and there is still peace with Egypt. Only Syria remained somewhere in the 1960s. We saw it just now. And now zoom in on Syria.
Few days ago (5.6.2011), on the Syrian border, Palestinian demonstrators were killed while trying to cross to Israel. It was presented as a spontaneous national protest, a wave of refugees bravely marching towards the fences to return to their conquered homes, calmly walking towards the fire breathing dragon.
A day (6.6.2011) later hell broke loose in a place called El-Yarmouk in Syria. The families of those who died protested against the people who sent them. You see, in Syria there are headquarters of different terrorist organizations. Some we have heard about more often, like Hammas. Others were once very active and well known, but now became obsolete. Such are the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and the PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command). They were born in the 60s and practice Marxism-Leninism. They preach not only for the destruction of Israel, but also for the building of a socialist Palestinian society, just like the USSR. Their rhetoric included terms such as “Palestinian proletariat” and “Zionism-capitalism”. They were supported, funded and trained by Moscow and the KGB. And even if we didn’t hear about them lately, we know their CV – Entebbe (1976) for example (actually – they invented airplane kidnapping) and recently – the Fogel family murder. They are still here and they rely completely on the Syrian regime.
Now, the families of the killed protesters blamed them for sending them to die as a service to the unstable Bashar Assad. In other words – using them. Once again. When representatives of the PFLP-GC wanted to speak at the funerals, the crowd drove them away and their guards opened random fire, killing Palestinian mourners. Few minutes after, the angry mob charged the headquarters of the PFLP-GC, burning it to the ground. The organization members guarding the building shot their Palestinian brothers, killing about 20 of them. It ended only when the Syrian army arrived. Yes, Palestinians were shooting Palestinians trying to burn the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Zoom out again. This was only one incident, but it shows a principle. In the ME things are not what they appear to be, remember? A game is going on and power is the trophy. “Defenders” don’t defend and “oppressors” do not necessarily oppress. Sometimes it is just the opposite. The El-Yarmouk shooting is a breach in the general picture, a window through which one can see the mechanism behind the conflict. Our war is not with the Palestinians – they are only tools. Our war is not with Syria or Iran, because there are no Syria or Iran in the western concept of statehood. There are the Syrian sultan and the Iranian Shah (aka “presidents”) that we are fighting with.
The sad thing is that the mechanism works. The world doesn’t see, doesn’t want to see the actual picture. It’s just not fashionable, not accepted. While nuclear weapons are built in Iran and fundamentalists are gaining power in Egypt, the world condemns us for building houses and cheers the revolution that threats to destroy one of the few islands of stability in the ME. The true story is not “Israel – Palestinians”, it never was. It’s not even “Israel – the Arabs”. But here also, in the ME, the Arab masses are convinced, are swept in this epic struggle.
And the game that we live in goes on.