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February 18, 2009
When you go to a grocery shop or a superstore in England, you would find freezers and refrigerators that contain packs of readymade meals. Meals that you only need to put in the microwave for some minutes, and afterwards you can enjoy a nice lunch. You will find a huge variety of meals from various cuisines. You can find British “Fish and Chips”, Chinese “Noodles”, Japanese “Sushi”, Indian “Chicken and Curry”, Pakistani “Biryani”, Italian “Pizza”… But until this moment, I did not find any readymade Arab meal, I did not find a readymade Jordanian “Mansaf”, a Palestinian “Msakhan”, a Saudi “Kabsa” or even Mediterranean “Yalangee”, and I was always wondering what things do we have in the Arab world that are readymade to be put side-by-side with the other international items in these stores, and could not really find an answer until few days ago. So what was the thing I found few days ago that can be put in this “International” environment?
Few days ago, I realized that we have readymade certificates we issue, not academic certificates, but certificates of loyalty and treachery. If you are Fateh, then those who disagree with you will be immediately issued a certificate announcing that they are “the agents of Iran”, if you are Hamas, the certificate will be the same, but “Iran” will be replaced by “Israel and the United States”. So goes in Lebanon between the “14th of March” and the “8th of March”, in Jordan, in Egypt, in the whole Arab world.
Why cannot we accept that there is another opinion? If someone supported Hamas in the war, it does not mean that he is patriotic, and if another person thought that Hamas was mistaken, it does not mean that he is a traitor also.
After the end of the Israeli invasion to Gaza, I received some emails “quoting” the Israeli foreign ministry site talking about a list of “traitors” who dared to write articles against Hamas (and there is no real way to know if the quoting was correct or not, because it was only written as “quoted from Zionist newspapers”, no names, no dates). Not only had the emails described them as traitors, but also “Zionists” and “Israeli Ambassadors”, although some of them had a well known history in the literature of resistance against Israel and is married to one of the famous Palestinian women who was resisting Israel years before Hamas was even founded. And this made me wonder, if those writers were decided to support Hamas tomorrow, would that change them to patriots?
When are we going to accept the existence of a different opinion? When are we going to accept that those who promote violent resistance and those who promote peace negotiations are both patriots, but are having different opinions and different approaches?
Maybe when we realize that, we will gain the world’s respect again… and then we can get our rights back.