While Rice Visits Us
Hazem Saghieh Al-Hayat - 03/10/06//

Rice's visit is reawakening myths. It is said, for example, that the US policy was, and will remain, the cause of the problems which we experience, including terrorism, because the US is not working to resolve the Middle East crisis.

The truth in this talk is not new, and what is new is not true: the failure to resolve the Middle East crisis has been a persistent cause of tension and terrorism. The history of the current US administration in dealing with the Middle East problem is the worst among those of the White House administrations since the birth of the Middle East crisis.

Here, we are not comparing this to Dwight Eisenhower's policy regarding Suez or John Kennedy's policy of openness to the region, but rather to Ronald Reagan, who proposed a settlement plan that collided with Menachem Begin. Consequently, Reagan's pro-Israel Secretary General, Alexander Haig, resigned, in what was almost a dismissal, while the 1982 war was still being fought.

Nevertheless, the understanding of US policy is worse than the policy itself, and resisting it is much worse.

Regarding understanding, we are ought to believe that the US policy in the Middle East lies behind every other thing, from the Iraqi and Somali terrorism, as well as the cases of extremism and collective mental retardation among Muslim immigrants in Europe. We are also required to believe that occupation is the sole cause that prevent a country such as Afghanistan from becoming a natural and harmonious society that heads toward progress.

Although a simple generalization such as this absolves us - as Arabs or Muslims, or as residents or immigrants - from our responsibilities, it leads to only one conclusion: 'Resistance. Take up arms'.

The fact is that if we go back to the countries with the hottest issues, Iraq and Palestine, we will come to the following conclusion: there is occupation, which, like any occupation, is horrid; but it is not an occupation of a unified people and one homeland, but rather of the projects of warring peoples and belligerent homelands. It is not the orientalists who said that our political culture is alien to the idea of the nation and the nation-state, but it is reflected in our daily dilemma about how to define ourselves. Are we, as political entities, communities and ethnic groups or citizens of homelands? Are we Arabs, Muslims, or an 'Arab-Islamic nation,' according to the latest fabrications?

This means that no matter how we resist the occupation and US policy by arms (accompanied with social fragmentation), we lay the foundation for what is worse than occupation: civil war. In order to prevent such a possibility, Nelson Mandela and the 'African National Congress' made tremendous efforts to combat the political influence of the 'Nationalist Congress' and the groups of Steve Biko's 'Black Consciousness' Movement.

They realized that fighting against the racist regime loses much of its essence unless the rest of the national community, the whites, the Indians, the middle class, and the intellectuals are reassured. Such reassurance cannot be fulfilled without confronting the radical forces which puts the society, whose binding ties are fragile, on the verge of permanent civil war.

In this regard, there is a serious concern that the Palestinians, following their recent engagements, may have determined to emulate the Iraqi experience along with the Lebanese 'dignity', used by Hezbollah as a slogan in the face of life and promoting life.

That being the case, we must contemplate and reconsider for a moment: how can we begin to establish national communities while putting guns aside. Those two functions are contradictory, because through guns we only succeed in intimidating other compatriots, and, consequently, harming ourselves before we can even harm the supposed enemy?

Regardless of what she means by 'moderation', Rice may be responsible for many things, but she is definitely not behind the quarrel between the Shiite and Sunni youth in Beirut's 'Tariq al-Jadida'!