Mr. Rumsfield is one of the signs of tragedy in our time. The world has become a cold and lonely place when such people as Bin Laden, Bush – and his entourage of the likes of Rumsfield – and Sharon entered the scene, each with a deserved bang. They represent failure. Collectively Bin Laden is a representation of Arab Muslims who failed in entering the modern times of democracy and the rule of law, and continue to be hostage to demagogy slogans, police states, and a tribal system. Muslims generally failed to protect their religion from being hijacked by the few extremists.
The Zionist project failed. Instead of turning Palestine into a safe haven for Jews, Israel became just another Ghetto and a slaughter house for Jews and others. The failure of Israel is partly due to its military dictatorship, arrogance of power, and paranoia.
Extremism is an expression of Paranoia. People like Bin Laden and Rumsfield have the world divided in their paranoid eyes between the good and the evil. According to Bin Laden you have to be a Muslim to be good, and according to Rumsfield you have to be pro-American, preferably white and Christian. They are mirror images of each other. Sharon’ world was already divided, between Jews and Goyim.
The tragedy of our time is that it is the Bin Laden’s, Bush’s, Rumsfield’s, and Sharon’s who decide for our future and the future of our children.
Extremism flourishes in an environment of poverty and hopelessness. Palestinians have failed in liberating their land. Their desperate resort to violent suicide bombings has only served to strengthen Sharon and to cost them the morality of their just cause. Earlier failures were as spectacular, from black September, to Lebanon, to the second Gulf war, and to the Oslo process. The Palestinian leadership never understood the Israeli Jewish psychology or political environment. Arafat is not an extremist, nor a terrorist. Today he is impotently squeezed between extremists who decide his own fate and ours. As in the rest of the Arab land-with the exception of Sadat-Arafat has failed in war and in peace. It is open for speculations if he ever had a strategy for either. The big failure was when the Palestinian Authority prevented the Palestinian society from transforming into democracy and the rule of law. Instead they exploited the tribal structural map to divide and rule, and thus encouraged nepotism and corruption. Arafat’s regime could not stand the pressure from inside or outside. The traditional argument that we should all unite against the common enemy could not lead to unity behind Arafat. His real demise came when he did not put up a fight against Sharon when Israeli forces took over his headquarters. He let down the excited masses who were longing for a hero. The romance with Arafat was over.
Perhaps Britain is the biggest failure in modern history as it left disasters behind her savagely exploitive colonial rule. Britain who has contributed through its mandate over Palestine to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians has failed to address its colonial brutal past.
But worst of all is the failure of the U.S. to provide itself and the world with a moral leadership equivalent to its economic and military power. It is truly a sad time to see ultra-Zionist Christian fundamentalists like Cheny and Rumsfield in control of America.
Perhaps an illustration of the global failure is Kofi Anan, the so called Secretary-General of the United Nations. Anan is a miserable man who, under American pressure, only helps to deprive his organization of its morality. The latest of his achievements was his so called report on events in Palestine in which he equated the Israeli occupation policies of murder and destruction with the legitimate Palestinian resistance.
Today The Palestinian scene is a testimony to the failure of all. It is wide open and pregnant with dire possibilities. Rumsfield’s shocking remark about the “so called occupied West Bank” is a signal of one scenario in which Israel will not leave the “so called” occupied West bank. Instead she will withdraw from Gaza, which is where the future Palestine is planned to be. Such a possibility will certainly bring defiance and more murder for thousands of people. But would Mr. Rumsfield, the so called Secretary of Defense, care?
(Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj is Human rights activist & Chairman of the board of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.)