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Breaking the barrier by the power of people PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The United States is utterly perplexed at the freedom forced by Gaza people; is tirelessly trying to shut the breaches in the prison wall; pressing upon Egyptian ally to shut the road to freedom. Europe is habitually complicit though not entirely without making some hypocritical noise about human rights and humanitarian concerns. As to the United Nations, the less said the better; the UN stands stripped naked of all its pretences

Dr Zakir Husain

THE human spirit for freedom has always been indomitable. Freedom and light have shone even in deep darkness. Man does not live by bread alone. When even bread is denied, people will break even the most formidable barriers and wrench free. Long live freedom and liberty – the very essence of human rights beyond all else.

The people of the Gaza Strip of occupied Palestine did precisely that; they threw open the barrier of border by sheer force of mass uprising. The illegal and inhuman blockade by Israel imposed on the entire civil population of Gaza was an affront to humanity; was a crime most venal; a blunder of tremendous magnitude. Yet, the international community met that with mere concern; the United Nations Security Council met several times but failed to make even a statement, let alone lift the blockade. Concern does not feed the hungry, does not balm the bruise of humiliation.

What alternative was left to the million and a half people of Gaza? Concern added insult to injury.

In any other context at any other time, the Gaza blockade would have amounted to declaration of war on an entire population. The Berlin blockade by the Soviets had seen a massive airlift response by the United States. That was then applauded by the ‘free world’ as the greatest act of humanitarian response spearheaded by the United States. Alas, times have changed; so has the world. At the threshold of the twenty-first century, the world of freedom and democracy tolerates, even abets, blockades and embargos that de-humanise existence of millions for no fault other than they happen to be on the wrong side of the divide that separates the powerless from the rich arrogant and powerful of the world.

What meaning freedom has when its champions turn their eyes the other way when entire population of Gaza is imprisoned? What meaning democracy has when elected Hamas is refused recognition and the Palestinians are punished for exercising their democratic rights? Their fault was to have chosen the ‘wrong’ party. Oddly and insanely, punishment is pronounced by priests of democracy and freedom, who have not hesitated to invade countries they chose to impose ‘democracy’ with bombs and bullets. Such is their perverse zeal and their ordained duty!

The United States is utterly perplexed at the freedom forced by Gaza people; is tirelessly trying to shut the breaches in the prison wall; pressing upon Egyptian ally to shut the road to freedom. Europe is habitually complicit though not entirely without making some hypocritical noise about human rights and humanitarian concerns. As to the United Nations, the less said the better; the UN stands stripped naked of all its pretences.

As to Israel, it has won a position where its security stands above all. The strongest party craves for elimination of any semblance of others’ rights and its own responsibilities. Paradoxically, Israel’s security is best undermined by its own established policy of occupation and military incursions, targeted assassinations, embargos and blockades, and collective punishments – all under the flimsy excuse of self-defence. Quassam rockets are no match to Israel’s missiles. Truce by Hamas is met with scorn and no quid pro quo by the occupying power. Now the ultimate evil weapon of total blockade of Gaza extending even to food and medicines, water and electricity, ban on travel and trade seems to have failed to produce surrender by Palestinian resistance.

As long as Israel continues to commit such evil and illegal deeds, such monumental blunders, and do all these with unchecked impunity thanks to the staunch and trusted ally in the United State, Israel shall not achieve the security it craves and uses as a cover to aggress and expand. So, is it Israel’s security that is the central issue? On the other hand, is it Hamas with its refusal to recognise Israel? Does Israel exist by the grace of Hamas? Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak know better. So, do the ‘honest brokers,’ the ‘Quartet,’ and now the tireless and equally clueless diplomat at large Tony Blair.

Autocrats in the Middle East have been punished or rewarded depending on their usefulness or otherwise. One of them punished by hanging. All of these in the name of spreading democracy and freedom. There is no remorse or regret; the White Knights are determined to remain vainglorious though the enterprise did cost enormous blood and treasure; blood of others do not count but treasure of ours do, and have to be recouped from the ‘beneficiaries’ of democracy later. Iraq has been a shining example.

However, the tyrants in the guise of democracy have not been exposed, let alone reviled or forced to reverse their evil designs and deeds.

That is the new world order. The world of G-8, of Davos conclave of the rich and powerful, of the new aspirants of those epithets, will continue to preach concern for the world’s poor and dispossessed but seldom redeem their lofty pledges. These will stop short of taking the steps to empower the poor with real transfer of real resources. The poor and disenfranchised cannot be assuaged by palliatives of charity without change of the unequal world order left eminently unjust. That pervasive injustice has caused an explosion in Gaza- a mere symptom of deeper malaise.

In days rather than weeks, the people of Gaza will again be imprisoned, returned to wallow in misery and suffering intolerable abuse of human rights. Egypt will be obliged to reseal the Rafah border or might even be permitted by the ‘international community’ in agreement of course with Israel to take over the administration of Gaza much like the erstwhile colonial ‘mandate.’ Will Gaza return to peace and tranquillity? Will that be the peace of the graveyard of human rights and freedom?

But the people of Gaza have tasted the ‘blood’ of freedom; they did not enter Egypt to plunder but merely to access goods and services long denied, to breathe fresh air after stifling in suffocation. Will the third intifada be business as usual like its predecessors? Time will tell.

Let international politics remain occupied with power games and pursue partisan goals of one name or the other. Let the self-righteous custodians of peace and securities apply, if only selectively and with dubious standards the principles of justice and humanitarian law. However, the people’s upsurge that broke the blockade of Gaza showed the irrepressible strength of human spirit for freedom and rights.

Bravo the people of Palestine! Congratulations to you for your undying spirit and courage.

Your barehanded defiance shows once again and proves yet again, if proof were necessary, that people united and standing up against tyranny and oppression have power stronger than the police and security forces of the state

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