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 - Lebanon war: the normalisation of barbarism

    Lebanon war: the normalisation of barbarism

    Ghassan Hage

    Here we are, once again, protesting Zionist barbarism — that same technologically over-equipped barbarism that has made the lives of so many of us unbearable for the last 60 years.

    The issue today is not the rights or wrongs of Hezbollah — an issue that divides Lebanese themselves. Rather, it is about how anyone can give themselves the right to destroy a whole country to achieve their political aims.

    Some are trying to make such a happening appear like an everyday event. “We’re going to take Lebanon back 20 years”, said an Zionist minister. You’d need to go back hundreds of years to hear people threaten others in such a way. The massive destruction of whole nations, from the bombing of infrastructure to the savage killing of civilians, is made out to be a “small price to pay” to reach questionable political goals.

    Yesterday it was the United States destroying Iraq. Today, it is the Zionist entity re-destroying Lebanon, the country that it has already contributed to destroying not that long ago.

    How deep into the normalisation of barbarism can one get?

    The Zionist entity has made a career out of using the Palestinians to practice its “destroy them, and destroy them again” logic, while the world sits around cheaply asking for “mutual restraint”.

    The Zionist entity wants everyone to recognise it, but does not recognise or respect anybody else in the region. It claims to represent a people who have suffered from dehumanisation, but it has made the humiliation of others its specialty. It claims to always fear being destroyed, but is continuously destroying every other country around it.

    The Zionist entity claims that suicide bombers are evil because they target civilians, but when its military is attacked, it makes nothing of the fact that civilians become its primary target. It claims to be egalitarian, but believes that the value of Jewish human beings is superior to the value of every Arab human being.

    Let us be clear: two human beings, whether Zionist or Arab, should always be important. But making a fuss about two of “your” human beings killed when you are killing tens of others on a daily basis is nothing short of sick.

    This is the country that lets thousands of Arabs, some of them children, rot illegally in its jails, but that thinks it is unacceptable for Arabs to take Zionist prisoners.

    We should not be afraid of claiming the moral high ground from the US-Zionist empire. Like Palestinian land, the moral high ground can be stolen, but nothing will change the fact that it is rightfully ours and we can struggle to reclaim it. We are the civilised and they are the barbarians. We are the ones who care about peace and they are the one who have lost touch with humanity.

    In Palestine, the US-Zionist empire is the land-thief which claims that peace will come when people stop asking for what has been stolen from them. It is the US-Zionist tyrant which claims that animosity ends when the oppressed simply acquiesce to their oppression and abandon their desire to live in dignity.

    And it is the anti-Arab racists who think that such an impossible, undignified and dehumanising pseudo-peace is “reasonable”, and those Arabs who reject it are “extremists”.

    Many people I know do not agree with the political programs of Hamas or Hezbollah. They agree even less with attaching their political program to the foreign policy of Syria and Iran. But this does not stop people from identifying with the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah represent those who want to retain a minimum of their human dignity in the face of the US-Zionist onslaught. And for that, they support them.

    The empire can destroy all the infrastructure it wants, but nothing will change the fact that the moral high ground still belongs to the oppressed and to those who recognise their suffering. Only a peace that emanates from this moral high ground will have the possibility of lasting.

    I still believe this peace is possible. Despite our sad history so far, and the unbearable present, there are enough Zionists and Arabs who want to build a good life together in the Middle East. This dream of a peace with justice and dignity for everyone is achievable and will ultimately be stronger than the military might of the barbarians.

    [Abridged from a speech given by Allisar Gazel on behalf of Ghassan Hage at the 20,000-strong July 22 rally in Sydney against Zionist aggression. Gazel is the dean of anthropology at the University of Sydney and Hage is associate professor of anthropology at the same university.]

    From Green Left Weekly, August 2, 2006.

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