“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.”
Frederick Douglass – “West Indian Emancipation”
– August 4, 1857
At a meeting of The Wildlife Society just a couple of years ago, conservationist Andy Kerr discussed the conservation of a bird species, the sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) which is in severe long-term decline and headed towards extinction. Kerr noted that the principal cause of sage grouse declines was human economic activity, often in the form of cattle ranching, which degrades the habitat of a species formerly so abundant that huge flocks of many tens of thousands of birds could be seen in many places in the sage grouse biome. Kerr made a very important point when he discussed the anticipated tension that would be very predicable as a result of efforts to conserve sage grouse by curtailing the production of beef. “Social change only comes about by social tension”, said Mr. Kerr. We have to undergo social conflict before changes in the social status quo can or will occur.
Students of history know that black people in the United States were not the sudden beneficiaries of societal changes based on “epiphanies” of conscience by white people. The dominant society did not simply wake up one day and make the assessment that slavery, racism, or bigotry is wrong, immoral and must be ended. To the contrary, many thousands of lives were lost in a war of secession centered around the rights ot states to secede from the American union of states based on primary desire to continue with slavery. And for decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and after the Civil War, American blacks and other minorities, including women, have had to struggle every step of the way in order to win affirmation and then implementation of their civil rights. Status quo did not change in the absence of struggle.
Likewise, around the world, colonized nations entered into their own struggles against imperialist empires. The sun never set upon the British empire in the days of Queen Victoria. But the English colonies eventually engaged in prolonged, often violent struggles to win their freedom and independence. The same is true of colonies of other European nations, including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and others. The Algerian War for Freedom from France was a particularly brutal war, and the determination of French forces to maintain hold on the former colony led to the permanent disbandment of the First Parachute Regiment of the French Foreign Legion, as this formerly distinguished French military organization actually rebelled against France and the French President because of its zeal in wishing to maintain Frnch sovereignty over Algeria.
As we know, the establishment of the State of Israel in the middle of the twentieth century was a singular act of injustice to millions of resident Arabs who already occupied the Palestinian lands. Many thousands of Palestinians were disposed, and violent acts by Zionist forces led to massacres of many innocent Palestinians. The situation has only grown from bad to worse over time. Many Palestinians have now lived for decades in refugee camps. Brutal oppression, suppression and repression have been the lot of countless Palestinians. The United States of America has armed Israel with sophisticated weapons of war and turned its back to colossal violations of human rights and brutality that remains almost totally unknown to the masses of American citizens.
The degree of human suffering borne by Palestinian peoples is so enormous that even the disparity in military might no longer can prevent Palestinians from resisting Israeli oppression. Palestinians have learned that no one has acted as if they heard that call for relief, not even fellow Arab states, not the United Nations, and certainly not the United States of America, which proclaims itself the promoter of freedom and human rights in this world. Palestinians have learned that their own resistance, their own intifada, is the only way to create the necessary tension that will eventually bring about change and justice.
Without intifada, the Palestinians might as well not exist. The Israelis clearly would like Palestinians to shrivel up and blow away, just like the desert sand. The Israelis would like to detain and muzzle and intimidate and arrest and frighten Palestinians into submission and silence. Israel would like to starve and kill and force indoors all the children of Palestine so that the Israeli bulldozers and missile-firing helicopters could complete the cultural and even physical genocide of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian intifada brings dignity back to the Palestinian people. These long-suffering innocents are proving that the human spirit can be amazingly resilient. The unbroken minds and stalwart hearts of Palestinians, whether Christian or Moslem, are more powerful even that the missiles tipped with depleted uranium, which can cut through steel like a hot knife through butter.
Palestinian resistance is accomplishing what acquiescence never could. The world is gradually turning its eyes to the massive injustices and violence perpetuated in the name of the Judeo-Christian religions. The cruel merciless avarice of the Zionists and their American supporters is increasingly being detected on the world register of outrages.
Can the Palestinians hold out long enough to win their freedom, to obtain justice? Yes! Yes! Yes! Slowly the tide is turning, and when the new tide rolls in, it will bring relief from the current suffering. These injustices must end, and they will end.
It is absolutely critical that Palestinian resistance to oppression continue. The most effective resistance will be non-violent resistance, because it creates no victims and only emphasizes that truth and justice be heard and prevail. The world must open its eyes and see the history, hear the truth, and act for justice in Palestine.
The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.