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Home arrow Canada and the Middle East arrow Reflections on Permanent War and Palestine
Reflections on Permanent War and Palestine PDF Print E-mail
Aug 16, 2002 at 12:00 AM
by Mordecai Briemberg
August 16, 2002
[Published in issue #1 of OUR PAPER (Victoria) and last issue of ALARM (Vancouver)]

Years ago I remember hearing a radio report recounting memoirs of some private discussions that had taken place when Trudeau and Mitterand were players at the G-6 summits. Reagan then was U.S. president. Out of earshot, on the quiet margins of their meetings, the worldly Trudeau and Mitterand pondered over the "enigma" of this sometimes dozing, doltish figure named Reagan. But, they asked each other, despite all appearance, might he not be informed and intelligent after all? To pose this question was to reveal a deep need they (and we) have for reassurance that reason is an integral dimension of power. Apparently they decided, driven by their need for reassurance, that in the case of Reagan, appearance was deceiving.

Today, it is my guess, there are fewer in ruling class circles outside America, and perhaps within, who can find a way to reassure themselves about the reasonableness of today's "sole superpower". The conversations on the margins must be intense as they see before them this monstrous lurching and thrashing, as it tries harder and harder to squeeze a slippery world from popping out of its grasp, this disaster for humanity blinded by its own arrogance.

But what to do?

And what should we, the Lilliputians, do? We the targets of the erratically implemented strategy of permanent war-making and internal repression of dissent?

Another question to answer that question. Let me ask what you think has been the most powerful anti-war movement against the Bush gang? Who has most impeded their unilateralism?

My own answer is the Palestinian people in the post-1967 Israeli occupied territories. These targets of Israeli barbarism, these people burdened with "leadership" neither capable nor sincere, these combatants almost entirely without weapons, these refugees huddled in their dense hovels and trapped inside smaller and smaller segregated pockets of their homeland, these "wretched of the earth" have shown such resilience, determination and furious resistance that they are shaking the political structures of an entire region, raising a spectre of regional chaos that scares even imperial masters and has split them among themselves over their war plans.

The Arab street is in revolt explicitly over Israel's tormenting of the Palestinians; but without doubt the revolt also is against the dictatorship and corruption of their own rulers, who have served as imperial agents and often Israeli collaborators. These rulers, seeing the unpredictable consequences of the already planned second U.S. war against the people of Iraq, and the likely possibility of their own overthrow, plead with their U.S. master to delay new war -- at least until a "settlement" of the Palestinian question.

The populations of Europe are recovering from the initial paralysis inflicted by post-September 11. This improvement in political health is measured in passive opinion polls expressing opposition to the expansion of war-making. This sentiment is manifested actively in the snow-balling challenge of the British trade unions to P.M. poodle-Blair. In Germany, the social-democratic prime minister declares his country neither will send troops nor will it provide money for the costs of the new war against the people of Iraq. Thereby Gerhardt Schroeder hopes to recoup his slipping political fortunes in upcoming elections.

In Latin America the establishment media now mutter aloud about the continental collapse of neo-liberalism and the popularity of voices and movements of rebellion. Why even the first to visit Bush, Vincente Fox, now cancels his trip to Washington, declaring outrage at the execution of a Mexican citizen by U.S. "justice".

Still the symbiotic Bush-Sharon policy making circles, their alliance of Zionist and Christian fundamentalism, their shared racist fantasy of endless rule through unrestrained military power, their thirst for historic revenge -- Bush for the "sell-out" of Vietnam, Sharon for the "sell-out" of Oslo – pump their legs like a tackled full-back, ignoring the referee's whistle.

And in Canada Bill Graham whispers caution and John Manley promises to salute, our familiar duplicitous dance of obedience. Clearly they do not yet feel so insecure as Blair or Schroeder.

Clearly we Lilliputians have much, much more to do.

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Jonathan Cook wins the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism

At the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism, awarded at a ceremony in London on 2 June 2011, Jonathan Cook was one of three winners. The other two were Umar Cheema, of the International News of Pakistan, and Charles Clover, of the Financial Times. Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

The judge's citation reads: "Jonathan Cook's work on Palestine and Israel, especially his de-coding of official propaganda and his outstanding analysis of events often obfuscated in the mainstream, has made him one of the reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East."


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