Dear brothers and sisters all over the world,
Today I write from the deepest recesses of my heart. This heart is heavy with the anguish of betrayal. As “secret negotiations” are under way in London between self-anointed Palestinian leaders and Israeli representatives, we may be left with the severe consequences of these behind-the-scenes deals.
And what sort of deal is being cooked up behind our backs?
A deal to relinquish the Palestinian Right of Return is on the table.
We have reached the period in our struggle where our leadership is no longer willing to lead. They have lost their way because they prize a seat at the table of power more than they covet the notion of justice. In so doing, they have adopted the mindset of expediency, tyranny and occupation.
Is there a more brutal tyranny than that which is shielded under the umbrella of expediency and promotes peace without justice?
Is there a more useless leadership than those who have forgotten to dream? It is they who have forgotten that thoughts and ideas really do matter. Is it not the mark of great leadership to dream the dreams that animate the soul?
Napoleon said, “Great people are meteors designed to burn so that the earth may be lighted.” Have we not reached the point that we should demand a leadership that offers us light, and not the darkness of fear? Have we not endured over 50 years of brutality and does this not cry out for a leadership that offers hope instead of despair?
If it is folly that only youth offer dreams then let the torch pass to a new generation. Our people, separated by every ocean, must come together to seek what is our destiny – a destiny that tempers peace with justice. This is a greater greatness than any current leader offers. Plato said,
“Those who intend on becoming great should love neither themselves nor their own things, but only what is just, whether it happens to be done by themselves or others.”
Brothers and sisters, is it the case that the trappings of privilege and power have corrupted our leadership? Or is it the case that they have become so gripped with fear, uncertainty and doubt that they can only see hopelessness?
We must reject a leadership that offers only the visions of Yasser Abed Rabbo’s nightmares. We must categorically reject the cold world of Sari Nusseibeh that sets foot upon the slippery slope that justice does not matter.
I am but one solitary voice. I have no political ambitions.
But I have three boys for whom I shall pass the dream that my father gave to me; a dream that justice will prevail, maybe not today, but one day it shall burst through the clouds and bring its light.
But we cannot sit idly by while a leadership works the backrooms of London. We must assert loudly that our rights matter. That a right lost for one is a right lost for all. This is not rhetoric but a principle for which we must band together.
We must stand together to assert that it is not foolishness to demand justice. Our leadership cannot escape our judgment any more than our occupiers. Because they have escaped judgment for so long, they have falsely believed that the delay meant that justice did not exist. But as Thomas Carlyle said, “Justice for an evil thing is many times delayed some day or two, some century or two, but it is sure as life, it is sure as death.”
We must band together as never before. We must cling to our dreams. We must assert the primacy of justice. The great former slave Frederick Douglas said it best when he said, “Where justice is denied…where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Sari Nusseibeh has denied justice and Yasser Abed Rabbo wishes to conspire with our tormenters to rob us of our dreams. These are their words. And what will become of the peace that they offer? Who will be safe if we do not stare down the beast of injustice?
Brothers and sisters, we are in a battle. If we gain Palestine and lose our soul, what does it matter? Already the strings of power are evident everywhere. Collin Powell has asked Qurei to recognize the Iraqi council. In exchange for what? Israel and America demand an abrogation of the Right of Return. In exchange for what?
The answer is a sacrifice too great to bear, the sacrifice of our soul.
It is clear that we need a new leadership. This generation is too tired. The great Roman statesman, Marcus Aurelius said, “Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.”
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to believe in the power of ideas. I ask you to believe in your better angels. We must have faith to endure. We must reject a leadership who is unequal to the task before us. We must believe that the power to forge a peace based upon justice is within our compass.