Guernica Revisited

By Mohamed Haiba

Human beings have alas short memories. Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Dachau aren’t ancient history and yet they seemed already completely forgotten. When the most iconic victims suddenly gain power and become surprisingly the oppressors, moral amnesia sets in and erases all memories. They then slowly lose any sense of history and unconsciously give in to the illusion of eternal power and racial superiority. Irrational blindness becomes the norm governing their mindset and arrogance their behavioral attitude par excellence.

Yet despite the apparent oblivion and subsequent short sidedness, one has to recall that very sad history of the recent past in order to understand some of today’s most enduring tragedies. The viciousness and deliberateness of the onslaught on Gaza these days aren’t comparable, in scale or nature, to anything in modern times short of the tragedies undergone in the Warsaw Ghetto or the hell lived in Guernica. The strangulation of and indiscriminate attacks against Gaza epitomize the acme of human absurdity. They are coldly and remorselessly executed by people who, only half a century ago, were considered by some of their most ardent supporters today to be a subhuman category whose rightful place lie in the barbaric gas chambers or the ghastly human cremators. And it is unfortunately done today with the full support and enticement of the political leadership of a great democratic nation that ironically thinks of itself as a universal promoter of democracy and human rights around the globe and in the Middle East in particular.

Not only one has to recognize the direct support of the US government in the current murderous campaign but also the shameful and criminal complicity of the Arab regimes, namely that of Egypt. When Tzipi Livni issued her warnings, she did so next to Ahmed Gheith whose silence says a lot about the hypocrisy of the Egyptian government. Egypt is not only a bystander in this game; it is directly responsible of the blockade unjustly forced on Gaza and the subsequent deprivation of its civilian populations for at least the last consecutive twelve months.

The illegal restrictions unilaterally imposed by the Egyptians – who alas control the only point of exit to the outside world from Gaza not located in the Israeli territory – under the mendacious pretext that the government of Gaza isn’t a legitimate one, is not only outrageous but deeply inhumane and immoral. Besides, Egypt certainly needs not talk or even dare raise the issue of political legitimacy. It is, and shamefully so, the last country on earth whose political leadership qualify for such a position. Its senile autocratic ruler has been for the last 30 years the most visible western-backed puppet symbolizing political illegitimacy in the whole region. He has never been democratically elected to hold his current position nor has he ever bothered to organize something remotely close to fair elections, much less free his captive people from the opprobrium of state emergency and many other forms of humiliating oppression daily endured.

The honor of this proud and ancient nation, birthplace of Arab nationalism, has been cheaply traded, alongside its future as a progressive country, since the Camp David Accord, in return of a meager annual pittance of barely two billion dollars which is an indirect subsidy of American farmers.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, is not an idle bystander either. He does not have the moral authority to issue statement or otherwise. For two years since the election won by Hamas, he and his coterie have been actively collaborating to first besiege Gaza and then overthrow the Hamas leadership. Its responsibility is here outright and must be unequivocally stated. The Palestinians "Contras" hired and trained by Dahlan and his cronies were finally uncovered and quickly defeated last year by their political opponents to the dismay of their American mentor: L-General  Keith Dayton.

Today Israel tries to produce and promote the fiction that it is engaged against an enemy entity as though Gaza has a conventional army. What Israel is actually doing is what it has always done since its inception, i.e., murdering with total impunity a captive civilian population, 80% of which are today either refugees or descendants of refugees who fled their lands because of Israel or were forcibly expelled by her and over 700,000 of whom are just children.

Nancy Pelosi the so-called “progressive”,” liberal”, “anti-war” democrat Speaker of the House issued an abject statement giving her full support of the crimes being committed in cold blood. The UN issued an unbalanced statement equating the victims with the oppressor obsequiously aimed at covering the backside of those who dictated it. Obama follows suit here, for his flagrant silence is just another expression of the extent of his political opportunism and the depth of his subservience to the political establishment he was chosen to restructure and reform. A passionate response from Harry Belafonte would rightly befit his level of complacency.

The order given everyday by the war-criminal, Ehud Barak to attack civilian targets in Gaza – such as the Islamic University, the fishing boats, the schools, the mosques, funeral processions – is just as lethal as his less publicized and no less odious orders to withhold chemo drugs, insulin medications, dialysis supplies, basic commodities at the SS-like military checkpoints his army controls and where women have regularly died giving birth or lost their babies without medical assistance.

As usual the American press is as awfully partial and utterly subjective in its coverage of the conflict as in the past. And as always, the Palestinians are being conveniently labeled the evil aggressors and Israel the immaculate victim. Never mind the grim and unequal equation of the conflict: roughly 1 Israeli or less for 100 Palestinians killed. Never mind that it was the Israeli military that broke the cease-fire with a provocative cross-border raid into the Gaza Strip in which six members of Hamas were killed in November 4, not by coincidence Election Day in the US. Never mind the continuing blockade (air, sea and ground) that asphyxiates the whole of Gaza Strip and makes life unbearable for its population.

While some ‘moderate’ Arab rulers naively believe or cynically pretend to believe that the onslaught could have been avoided had the Palestinians been united, many around the world, including Israelis, are convinced otherwise. It is mainly an election ploy hatched up by immoral and racist politicians competing for the voices of the right wing segment of the Israeli electorate in the upcoming February elections. In fact, the Israeli design against Gaza had little to do with the ‘escalation’ of the rocket attacks of mid December as reported on December 28 by the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz:

"Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public – all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip."

– Mohamed El Mokhtar Ould Sidi Haiba is originally from Mauritania. He is finishing an MBA in Roanoke (VA). He contributed this article to

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