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Good Morning, the Human Rights, Please...
von Anis Hamadeh, July 12, 2005
German Original

One morning, when Samir sat down at the computer with the coffee mug in his hand, he noticed an email which several networkers had sent to him. The title was: "Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights." Quickly he read the content of the call. The Palestinians demanded their human right. As through all the years it had been impossible to have Israel follow the law the only way to peace would be a boycott, like in South Africa. The concrete demands were the ending of occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The call was signed by almost 200 Palestinian organizations, Samir knew at least half of the names on the list.

He went to the window with the coffee and thought that this nonviolent call for a boycott would hurt many Germans and many Israelis deeply, they would find it horrible. They would not understand why their country Israel could be rejected so hard, because they had a positive image of Israel in their heads. Then Samir thought of his family whom he had told about the problems with the parents years ago, when he had still tried to bring the family together again. The criticism of the parents had hurt them deeply, they found it horrible and got angry, when they heard about it. They could not understand why the parents were rejected so hard, because they had a positive image of them in their heads.

Samir sighed. Here in Germany it was impossible to publically support such a boycott call against Israel or against parents, rather they boycotted you when you tried. This had nothing to do with the legal situation, but with the fact that certain people and things just stood beyond any criticism. The German society COULD not call against Israel, for this would mean a suffering of Jews and thus a revival of National Socialism. Strangely, many people thought like that, especially in the public. And just as well the German society and other societies COULD not call against the parents generation, because the parents generation had given life to the youth generation, it had nourished it and paid for its education. Thus it was factually immaterial what the parents did apart from that. They were the way they were and they would not change. At least, one had to arrange with them.

It was hot outside, a beautiful summerday. Samir switched on the television and saw a report about the old Alexandria. In Ptolemeic times it had been the most progressive place in the world, with an incredible library and cultural diversity. Samir loved history. There were so many things to discover in the world, so much to do in this short span of a lifetime. But people sat on unresolved conflicts and could not concentrate on the beauty in the world. They would surely like to, but there were mass unemployment, there was terrorism, there were climate catastrophes, there was aids. Samir felt betrayed. He did not regard mass unemployment as a problem that could be "solved", for it had been visible even forty years ago that our economic system would develop in this direction. People had simply not cared, just like his father had simply not cared about the fact that he did not have the money to employ his son in the company, only that he did not want to admit that and so it had become unevitable that severe problems occurred.

He entered the bathroom and threw up. If there was one thing the German society did not want at all, then it was the return to the Nazi period. If there was one thing that Samir did not want himself, then it was the same thing. Once, a bold conservative journalist had explained to him that it could not happen again in Germany, because we had a free press. Many people seemed to think that only a lack of hatred against Jews would be the opposite of National Socialism. Again he had to throw up. He had analyzed the mechanisms of the Nazi ideology. Doubtlessly, the industrial murder of the Jews was the worst thing that historically had developed out of this ideology. But the Nazi ideology was not dependent on Jews in the first place, it was dependent on the concept of non-Aryans. And even more precisely: it needed non-wes. We against the others, the non-wes. That was the central message of the National Socialists. It was a magisterial class system in which obedience was demanded. The state territory was expanded through conquests, there were racist laws, prosecution, expulsion, dispossession, murder and wars. Racial arrogance. Ingroup arrogance.

Samir had separated from his parents, because he had enough of the arrogance, the injustice and the lies. He did not want to have anything to do with it anymore, it was disgusting. Of course the Palestinians were right with their call for a boycott. Just like his parents were able to see that they had done something wrong at all only now that Samir had turned away in detestation, this was how Israel would only be able to begin to understand, as soon as the world would loudly say no. No to racist laws, prosecution, expulsion, dispossession, murder and wars. No to the magisterial class system, no to military conquests.

His stomach was almost empty now. What was he supposed to do? He was German, he knew what racism was and he also knew what family power was. He had to reject it, because it led to evil situations. As a German he was unable to behave like that. A networking friend of his had advised him to go into a therapy in order to cope with his family conflict. "Why don't you advise the Palestinians, too, to go into therapy?" Samir had asked back and he received the answer that one could not compare these things, because a group would have other possibilities to be in solidarity with each other in cases of injustice. It was then that Samir realized how deeply rooted this two-classes system was in society. For of course there was no difference in injustice only because one was alone and not in a group.

A boycott against Israel. Samir rinsed his mouth and sat in the armchair to regenerate. One could not boycott Israel, because one did not do that. The status quo was that Palestinians were second-class people. They were told: you can (sometime in the future) have a (non-viable) state, but in exchange the refugees must not return. As if they told them: you are allowed to eat straw, but you are forbidden to sleep. They did not yet have the human rights, they had to earn them first. Prove that they are human beings. He asked himself how the mainstream rationalized this obvious injustice. How it managed to be so cold-blooded.

He remembered how the society reacted when someone revolted against his or her family. Maybe the patterns were the same. In the course of time he had met four people who were brought into psychiatry by their families for lack of loyalty, or at least the attempt was made. The act of isolation was justified with the notion that the critic was no sane human being, no normal human being, no human being. Criticism was not taken seriously as criticism, but as a disease. In this way people did not have to confront themselves with the content of the criticism. But those had been extreme cases, it mostly sufficed to ignore the criticism for a while until the emotions of the critic dammed up and unloaded. Then they could say that the critic acted out of emotions and thus was irrational. The point was that parents remained beyond criticism, only that the mainstream refused to believe this. They thought of a thousand other things to come to a different conclusion.

It was quite similar with Palestine. The mainstream always found something to make Palestinians appear irrational. No no, those were not critics, they rather were extremists, terrorists, fanatics, preachers of hate, enemies of Israel, uncivilized people, and so on. This was why they could be handled in such a cold-blooded way. Maybe it was not their human rights, which they wanted, maybe they only wanted to harm Jews. Like with this boycott. If Israel was boycotted the Nazis would be happy. Therefore it did not work. If Palestinians were human beings the Nazis would be happy about it, because they would interpret it in their own way. There were good reasons why things were the way they were.

Samir had accepted his fate. He had made mistakes, others had made mistakes, things were the way they were. Part of his fate was that he wanted change and that he could not be intimidated. He had withdrawn from society a little, because he did not want to be hurt so often anymore. There was no other choice at the moment. When people did not listen to him he could not stay, this silence brought pain to him. He also knew the danger that he could be for others when he felt misunderstood. He wanted to return to the garden and hoped that he could do so soon and leave the pain behind. The most important thing was to know where one was situated and why and Samir knew where he was situated and why.


Index page: Samir's Adventures