Edna Yaghi’s Column
“Who was that man with the silver bullet?”
“Why, that was the Lone Ranger!”
“And who was that Indian with him?”
“Why, that was Tonto.”
The Lone Ranger always wore a black mask to hide his identity. On the Silver Screen, he swept through the West defending the rights of the persecuted and upholding justice. His sidekick, Tonto was the “good Indian” who accompanied the brave Lone Ranger on his daring escapades and aided him in fighting off evil.
This is how the West was won, by super cowboy heroes like the Lone Ranger. In the old cowboy days, the good guys wore white hats while the bad guys wore black. It was easier to tell who was good and who was bad by the color hats both sides wore. Now that the Americans have “tamed” their native population and made turned them all into placid Tontos, they turn ever outward to ensure that American values and concepts are upheld all over the world.
The best example of American justice can be seen in its support for the army state of Israel. Though Ariel Sharon did take off his white hat, he is the Lone Ranger’s replacement. Sometimes when he is in a good mood, Sharon drops a little silver bomb on the Palestinian populated areas instead of leaving behind a small silver bullet as proof of his identity. But then, this is the year 2001 and cowboys have become more sophisticated. As for the black mask, Sharon has discarded it for an invisible one. This makes things a bit more confusing because no one really knows which mask Sharon will be wearing next.
Tonto, on the other hand, has been replaced by Sharon’s sidekick Shimon Peres. Peres is the frontier hero out to help quell the restless natives while making himself look good at the same time. Of course, he helps Sharon fight evil though all the evil is really in his own backyard. And voila, here it is, an ongoing adventure saga with repressive solutions to “why do those darn natives throw stones when all we want is to take their land and their rights as human beings away from them?”
In this ongoing saga, there is all the action that any Western movie could hope for. The wilderness of the West has been replaced by the wilderness of the concentration camps that house the Palestinian refugees while the remainder of Palestinian cities and villages are cut off by medieval trenches. Instead of seeing the cowboys and cattle drives of the old western movies, we now see armed Jewish settlers storming Palestinian cities and attacking unarmed civilians while the Israeli soldiers try their unbest to restrain them. Notice that the settlers also wear white hats and that the Israeli forces while seeming to aid the settlers in their rampages which are merely, “boys will be boys” escapades, are in reality not pushing them away from attacking the natives.
There is no prairie land left among the native population as the Israelis have already confiscated it all. Ghost towns abound where the native inhabitants were either driven out or killed off. No longer does the sound of children’s laughter echo through orange groves. They have been cut down and the children either were expelled or exterminated. Instead of the problems caused by extending the railroad at the expense of the Indian population, we now see by pass roads that literally cut off Palestinians areas from one another but miraculously seem to connect all Israeli cities together.
The theme of Manifest Destiny recurs on a daily basis in Occupied Palestine and is reinforced by the theory that the Israelis actually want peace but at the same time, they want to confiscate as much Palestinian land as they can and expand as many settlements as they wish to. Note how this goes hand in hand with the action-packed plots of Apache Helicopters that strike at civilian populations, of F-16 fighter jets that keep the natives “contained,” of the armored tanks that shoot at little children and of the bulldozers that demolish houses and uproot trees in order to make the land barren where it was fruitful.
But there is no one to film the true tragedy of what is happening to the Palestinians. There is no one to make an epic movie like, “Dances With Wolves” to incorporate a Native Palestinian point of view.
There are 2 new Israeli Public Relations firms working to ensure that the world, while Israelis are killing or permanently injuring Palestinian civilians, views the Israelis as civilized and democratic people while the Palestinians are portrayed as savages who jeopardize their children’s lives and safety for terrorist gains.
These Public Relations firms make sure that cameras do not catch little Palestinian children being shot in the head or chest by Israeli bullets. They make sure that no one sees the homes that are demolished or the trees that are uprooted or a whole way of life that is destroyed. They make sure that no scenes are shown of morgues with Palestinian blood seeping out at every corner and they make certain that no one sees the Palestinian mothers cry for their dead children or wives weep for their assassinated husbands. And funeral processions that in themselves are tragic are made to be seen as gatherings for Palestinian radicals out to destroy the tiny victimized state of Israel.
It is all a bit of Hollywood theatrics and a way of making the good guys look bad and the bad guys look good. But if you look very closely, you will notice that Sharon is not really wearing a white hat at all but sprouting a pair of horns. And his sidekick, Peres is not the man who is helping fight evil for he is part of the ongoing evil itself.
There will only be peace once the siege on Palestine is lifted, once Israeli excessive use of force is stopped, once the settlements are frozen, once the slaughter of Palestinians is halted and once the Palestinians are given a state of their own to rule as they see fit. Until then, my friends, the Holocaust remains Palestinian and the real Lone Ranger is nowhere in sight.