By Gilad Atzmon – Denver, Colorado
I am very lucky to be in America this week, to watch a place being transformed, to smell the refreshing scent of restored liberty, to glance at the euphoric rise of hope. When I visited America two years ago it was a different place. There was fear in the air, the country was terrorized by its own lethal retribution. The gigantic American flags that were waving from every corner had a rather threatening impact on me. And now somehow, seeing exactly the same flags evokes sympathy and trust in me.
Three days ago, at 5 am, still in my London home, while waiting for the airport cab service, I caught Justin Webb’s BBC interview with President Obama. I will be honest and say, as much as I wanted to love Obama like the rest of humanity, I was very suspicious of the man. I remembered him rushing to appease AIPAC within minutes after he secured his Democratic Party nomination. We all knew about his first appointee Emmanuel Rahm, we obviously learned quickly who Rahm was and what he was affiliated with.
And yet, at 5 am, waiting for the driver to knock on my front door, I was blown away by President Obama. I wasn’t prepared for it and I simply couldn’t believe my ears. When asked about Iran’s nuclear project, this is was what President Obama had to say, “What I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations. On the other hand, the international community has a very real interest in preventing nuclear arms in the region.”
This didn’t leave much room for interpretation, Obama simply said ‘YES to nuclear energy, No to nuclear bomb.’ I, on my part, actually believe that an Iranian nuclear bomb is the necessary way forwards. It will deter and restrain the Israeli leadership that had been proving time after time that Israel is merciless and murderous beyond comparison. However, approving Iran’s legitimate right for nuclear energy was indeed the right move. It left the BBC interviewer in a state of confusion, he was probably as surprised as I was, he wasn’t sure whether Obama really meant what he said. He repeatedly challenged the President asking whether Iran could have the “right to reprocess energy?” Once again President Obama didn’t leave any room for doubt. “We need,” he said, “to reinvigorate a much broader agenda for nuclear nonproliferation – including the United States and Russia drawing down our stockpiles in very significant ways, to the extent that Iran feels that they are treated differently than anybody else. That makes them embattled.” Obama’s message was lucid and transparent. It was also an ethical and universal one. We are about to restore the belief in humanity and brotherhood. President Obama was there to remind us that the United State of America was founded upon the ideal that all are created equal. And this obviously applies to Iranians and Muslims (not just Jews and Christian Zionists).
Watching a world leader talking sense, thinking ethically and expressing himself eloquently is indeed a rare, refreshing event these days. After years of repulsive world hegemony invaded by Zionised Neocon war mongering a la Bush and Blair. After years of Western leaders dancing to Israeli cacophony composed and orchestrated by different types of repulsive Wolfowitzes, listening to Obama’s extended humanist cadenza was indeed music to my ears.
With Obama’s shift in my mind, I was looking forward to my trip to America. In spite of the credit crunch inflicted on America by the enemy within, there is a scent of cheerfulness in the air. As much as Bush and Blair failed to liberate the Iraqi people, the Americans have managed after all, to liberate themselves. They left the keys to the White House in the possession of a man, who at least verbally, is inspired by humanism and tolerance. They have elected an inspiring man of incredible intellectual esteem.
I am now in America for a week. I am meeting hundreds of Palestinians and solidarity activists. I can definitely detect a level of genuine optimism, something I couldn’t even remotely feel two years ago. America is expressing some real fatigue of its Ziocon invaders. Not only have the Ziocons failed to achieve anything. It made Americans accomplices in a colossal crime, the Iraqi Holocaust that until now has cost more than 1,300,000 civilian lives. It bought America some fierce enemies all over the world and if this is not enough, the financial meltdown is there to make sure that each American will pay in the coming decades a heavy personal price for both Wolfowitz’s wars and Greenspan’s speculative capitalistic financial models.
Being a lucky sod, I was here in America yesterday when President Obama delivered his landmark Cairo speech to the Muslim world. It is rather obvious that Obama and his team were doing their homework. It seems as if they manage to grasp what Islam stands for and what Jihad means in particular. Obama’s speech is immaculately structured to address the Islamic meaning of Jihad. By doing so, Obama assures America’s enemies that respect for Islam, to Allah and Muslims is indeed restored.
Unlike his shameless predecessor, who for some reason was sure that Islam and Fascism were one word, Obama and his team realise that Islam is actually all about Salam i.e., peace. ‘Armed jihad is temporary in that it ends when the enemy ceases its aggression.’ Obama grasped also that Korea tells its followers to ‘move quickly to establish peace once the enemy seeks peace.’ Obama comprehended that America had been defeated in Iraq. He realises that in Islam, ‘showing compassion to the enemy that has been defeated or in seeking peace is considered superior to achieving victory.’
Bearing it all in mind, Obama was ready for his Cairo platform. Launching his speech greeting the Islamic world with assalaamu alaykum he prepared the ground for an outstanding speech. “I am here to talk to you face to face. It is peace I am searching.” Unlike the previous Zionised puppet, the current American president understands the notion of mutuality and respect.
“You and us,” he told his billion and a half Muslim listeners, “share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
This is very interesting indeed, considering the fact that these are the exact qualities that the previous administration was lacking. Instead of justice and progress it was reactionary bigotry. Instead of tolerance and dignity it was overwhelmingly supremacist, chauvinist and Ziocentric.
Obama is brave enough to admit that in spite of 9/11 being an ‘enormous trauma’, “it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course.” Besides the fact that Obama confesses here that mistakes had been made, he also hints that actually the Bush administration and its Ziocon ideologists were in essentially Non American by nature for failing to understand the Americans ‘Ideals’. For many years we speak about the elementary de-Zionification of Israel. Surprisingly enough, the de-Zionification of America seems to be more likely.
It is clear that Obama is not yet ready to depart from his dedicated fundraisers. He still seems to be committed to the Zionist phantasmic narrative. In spite of the fact that Obama did not use the word ‘terror’ even once in his speech, he still seems to be committed to the Israeli cause and the ‘Israeli right to exist’ at the expense of others. “America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.” Actually, I myself believe that it can be easily denied. In fact there is no rational reason for the Palestinians to be penalised for crimes committed against Jews by Europeans.
However, as much as Obama seems to succumb to the Zionist narrative, he doesn’t stop himself from the necessary equation between the Jewish Holocaust and the ongoing Palestinian holocaust that is committed by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people.
“Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust”, says the president, but he then continues, “on the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
I think that this doesn’t leave a room for a doubt. President Obama seems to realise what is going on. He knows about the humiliation, he knows about the starvation, he knows about Israelis using WMDs against civilian population. He for the first time promises one billion and a half Muslims around the world that America will not turn its backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.
Whether Obama keeps his promise time will tell, however, the fact that he allows himself to juxtapose the Holocaust and Gaza proves that he is a million years ahead of most Palestinian solidarity campaigners who are reluctant to engage in this necessary equation just to avoid offending one Jew or another.
I may allow myself to advise the President that he is slightly misinformed in regards to Palestinians and their rights and aspirations. On top of ‘aspiration for dignity’, ‘opportunity’ and ‘a state of their own’, the Palestinians also have another fundamental legitimate right in their disposal, it is the right to return to their homes, villages, towns, lands, field and orchards. In short we call it ‘the right of return’.
Every Palestinian refugee holds such a legitimate right within his disposal. Not a single Palestinian leader will ever give this right away, and if this is not enough, not a single world leader has the authority to dismiss such a right. The right of return is a right that belongs exclusively to the very owner of the land, the Palestinian people themselves. It is not a political matter for anyone to give away this right collectively in the name of very many Palestinians. As one extremely clever Palestinian refugee pointed to me last night in Houston: “my land near Safad”, so he said, “is my land, and no one can negotiate its fate on my behalf. Neither a Palestinian leader nor any other world leader.” I admit, as simple as it is, I have never thought about it before. The right of return is not a political matter or subject for negotiation. Thus, it won’t be resolved politically. It is an elementary fundamental right that will be fulfilled, as long as it takes.
As much as I am inspired with Obama the intellectual, I do also realise that putting his ideology into practice may take some time. Obama should prove us that he knows how to translate his beautiful words into action. It is rather clear that Obama is reluctant to put real pressure on the Jewish state. If it were down to me, I would give the Israelis a 24-hour ultimatum to lift the closure on Gaza. Would they fail to provide, I would call home my ambassador in Tel Aviv, I would immediately stop any form of financial and military aid to Israel, I would freeze Israeli assets for being a terrorist state, I would also start a rapid deportation of Israelis from America. But as it seems, at least momentarily, I am not Obama, I am just a non-elected monarch of the Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble. President Obama, on the other hand, is the elected president of the American people, he may know what he is doing.
The president has still long way to go. And yet, President Obama has made a major step in the last few days. He is now marching America towards humanism. He reclaims the American ideology of liberty. I salute the man, I salute the great intellect, I salute the humanist. Gladly I am to admit that God blessed America. But someone better take very good care of the safety of its president. He has some fierce and relentless enemies out there. And as we know, they do not stop in red!
– Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.