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The Stage of History

by RON JACOBS

 

“He must be removed from the stage of history, ” said the Israeli Defense Minister the other day in regards to Yassir Arafat. He went on to say that the world now considers Minister Abbas the leader of Palestine. This statement got me to wondering if this world that recognized Mr. Abbas was the same world that recognized that the war in Iraq was over. Or maybe it’s the world that thinks George Bush was honestly elected to the office he now holds. Then again, it could be the world that is convinced that the globalization of capitalism is helping the poor people of the world get rich.

All I know is it’s not the world I live in. I’ve never been a fan of Mr. Arafat, mostly because I’ve always disliked his nationalist politics that border on the reactionary. In addition, his early support of terror as a political/military tactic has always seemed morally questionable and politically ignorant. Furthermore, his distaste for the grassroots that appears at times to be based on a fundamental mistrust has helped to keep the Palestinian people in the morass they are in. Indeed, it could be argued that this apparent mistrust is a fundamental reason his branch of the Palestinian movement chose terror as a military strategy. Nonetheless, he does represent a substantial portion of the Palestinian’s hopes in today’s world, which is exactly why the Israeli government would love to render him irrelevant. If their words don’t do so, one wonders what their next move might be. Whatever it turns out to be, it won’t be pretty.

Americans and Israelis who support their respective governments are in for a rude awakening. Military occupations do not foster docility. Even the Nazis faced constant resistance. It’s our present day shame that the government claiming to represent the people most hated by the Nazis (Israel) and the government (U.S.) who did much to free them and their compatriots from their hell are now the governments most often compared to their former enemy.

I receive responses to my commentaries and articles from people around the world. Besides those who write only to threaten my person and attack my masculinity, there are a number from folks who opposed the US war on Iraq and other parts of the world but disagree with my call for an immediate withdrawal of all US forces. Their usual reasons for their opposition include the fear of potential chaos and a return of Saddam Hussein. None of them address the fact that it is the Iraqis who are demanding that the US pull out of their country. That fact should be reason enough. The US was not invited in, nor was it invited to stay after it finished its blitzkrieg attack. Indeed, the resistance to its presence is greater now than at that time. Not only is it greater, but it is growing increasingly more deadly, just like in the West Bank and Gaza, which has been occupied by Israel for more than thirty-five years. You’d think we would learn.

The arrogance implicit in Israel’s stance regarding Arafat is also present in the rhetoric of the regime in Washington, DC. Now that they see their Iraq strategy stumbling badly–so badly, in fact, that it could ruin their hopes of another four years of their reign–they have made statements to the effect that they would like other governments to commit troops to the colonization of Iraq. Despite the US newspaper headlines implying that these new troops would be under UN control, this is not the case. Indeed, if one reads the statements from the US administration one thing will be immediately clear. I quote the Washington Post: “What remains key is that the US remain in charge of the operation,” a senior defense official said. Any government who honestly believes that their soldiers will be anything but substitute targets for the GIs the resistance would rather be shooting at is beyond foolish. One can only assume that these regimes are hoping to get some substantial crumbs from the Empire’s table in return for the sacrifice of their citizens. History tells us otherwise, but it also tells us that governments are only too free with the lives of those poor souls who fill their militaries.

The government of Bush and Oberfuehrer Rumsfeld has no intention of sharing the military command, the colonial government, or the oil of Iraq with any other nation or people, including the Iraqis. This has been clear since well before the war in Iraq. Despite this, there are some governments in the world who would like to be involved in this imperial folly. The only way their megalomania will be stopped is if the people of every nation make it clear to their governments that collaboration with the Bush regime will mean their removal from the stage of history. Who knows, but Tony Blair may be able to explain this better than I can in a couple more weeks. One can only hope.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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