Horrifying Parallels

On September 11, 2001, the world changed. Why? Not because 3,000 people were killed in one day by a horrible terrorist attack but because 3,000 Americans were killed in one day by a horrible terrorist attack. Since then, the dichotomy that has divided the world into "us and them" has created tidal waves of chaos, disruption and above all, loss of human life. The US has since used 9/11 as a justification and a pretext for wreaking havoc on whole countries and entire nations. The original death toll of the 9/11 attacks has multiplied to exponential digits, men, women and children killed in their homes just as innocent, if not more, as those sitting in their offices of what used to be the World Trade Center. But they are not American, so they do not count nearly as much.

Ever since that fateful day, the Palestinians, already on the wrong side of the proverbial (and literal) fence, found themselves shoved to the far end of this dichotomy of those who are "against us". Israel, naturally, was the microcosmic representation of the US. No matter how many Palestinian lives were lost, in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank or anywhere else, the value of these lives was not nearly as high as those few Israelis who fell victim to Palestinian retaliatory attacks. Israel, much like the US, has used these few and far between attacks by the Palestinians as justification to create mass destruction.

Of course, the situations are not completely parallel. The Palestinians, unlike the attackers of September 11, are a people under occupation, fighting for their own freedom and independence on their rightful land. Those who perpetrated the attacks on the World Trade Centers and on the Pentagon did so to create terror and an imbalance, to create chaos and fear among a population that was not directly involved in US foreign policies.

But it is exactly these policies that have placed the US and, in our case, Israel on the receiving end of much resentment. The 9/11 attacks were unjustified, just like any attacks on innocent civilians. However, there is rhyme and reason behind why such heinous attacks are carried out against Americans and not, say, Swedes or Malaysians. America has bred so much resentment in the world because of its plots towards global domination it is only natural that there will be those who strike back.

Yesterday, five rockets were shot into Eilat and the Jordanian resort town of Al Aqaba, days after Katyusha rockets fell in the Negev Desert. True, the attacks did not reap any major damages or human losses, but the fact that rockets are fired into Israel from Gaza and now apparently from outside of Israel’s borders says volumes. Israel does not enjoy a blanket acceptance as a dignified nation among nations, something clear from the sporadic signs of resistance to it from inside and abroad.

However, the world is far from an epiphany as to Israel’s true nature. What is so eerily similar between the US and Israel is that both have secured a position in the world community as "protectors of democracy", of freedom and equality. In attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States claims to have freed their people from tyranny and to have planted the seeds of democracy and freedom. No matter that Iraq is in shambles, tens of thousands of people have been killed in the process, that Iraqi society is now embroiled in bitter civil strife that has claimed scores of lives or that the US forces there are an occupying power, there only to rule, oppress and suppress the people.

It is understandable why the US and Israel would justify their oppressive measures. They are simply protecting their own interests. However, how much does the world question why some people or nations choose not to accept these justifications? Those rockets that fell on Eilat or on the Negev or in Askalan are not coincidental. Neither are the attacks on American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even the attacks of September 11. Instead of accepting the Israeli or American propaganda, which gives a one-dimensional perception of who is right and who is wrong (they are always right, by the way), when is the world going to look at the underlying causes of all of this resentment?

There is no doubt that if the US or Israel were truly the peaceful countries they claim to be, such attacks and pent up resentment would not exist. It is only natural that Israel, a country that displaced hundreds and thousands of Palestine’s indigenous population and then proceeded to occupy and oppress those who remained would be perceived as a rogue state by many. It was just over 200 years ago that the United States had these same beginnings, slaughtering and oppressing the indigenous population of a country it later claimed as its own. Today, the plight of Native Americans is honored mostly by the descendents of those who originally lived on the land, largely forgotten by the rest of the world. If Israel has its way, the Palestinians will one day share that same plight, pushed into reservation-like areas, their natural resources usurped, their land plundered and their history recreated and encapsulated into a one-day delusional celebration similar to modern day "Thanksgiving."

The Palestinians and hopefully the Iraqis, Afghanis and any other people who find themselves trampled beneath the heels of oppressive regimes, will not allow this fate to befall them. All that is needed is for the mask to fall and for Israel to be exposed in its ugly nakedness. Look beyond the headlines, beyond the accusations of terror and anti-Semitism and the attack on "freedom and democracy" along with all the other catch-phrases Israel has learned from America. Just behind these smokescreens is the real truth why Israel is constantly under attack, why so many oppressed peoples abhor US foreign policies and why it is inevitable for justice to eventually prevail.