[News] Politics of Humiliation: Trump, Palestine, the Arab Peoples
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 5 11:36:41 EDT 2019
Politics of Humiliation: Trump, Palestine, the Arab Peoples
June 4, 2019
*By Ramzy Baroud <http://www.palestinechronicle.com/writers/ramzy-baroud>*
The Deal of the Century has inspired much discussion about Washington’s
latest political gambit in the Middle East. Largely excluded from the
debate, however, is the emotional toll involving the Arab peoples
The ‘politics of humiliation’ is fairly a new discourse associated with
the sense of collective defeat and emasculation generated by the violent
and condescending American foreign policy in the region, especially in
the extremely bloody response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Donald Trump administration’s anti-Muslim and pro-Israel policies
have further cemented the pervading sense of humiliation felt by Arab
collectives, especially as Arab rulers are themselves taking part in
Trump’s regional designs, all with the aim of normalizing Arab-Israeli
relations, at the expense of Palestinians and their rights.
But the Middle East is not entirely shaped by US interests. Since the
early decades of the 20th century, Palestine has served as a meeting
point for all Arabs, a just cause for their collective fight and a
rallying cry against western colonialism and its direct spawn, the
Cognizant of the depth of meaning that Palestine symbolizes to Arab
masses, Arab rulers have used and misused the Palestinian struggle to
achieve a degree of political validation, especially as their regimes
have often lacked any democratic legitimacy. Thus, since the
establishment of Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland in
1948, freeing Palestine became a common official Arab mantra, even when
Arab regimes conspired
the very colonial powers, and oftentimes with Israel itself against the
While Israel occasionally raged against
‘incitement’, using official Arab discourse to further illustrate its
point of being a perpetual victim of Arab hostility, both Tel Aviv and
Washington were unperturbed by the status quo. As long as Israel was
able to enrich its military occupation unhindered, through the
construction of more illegal Jewish settlements, the Arabs could carry
on with their harmless tirade and claims of Palestinian solidarity. The
barter suited Arab rulers well.
The 2011 Arab revolts
<https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-12813859> created a new
paradigm in the region. While it pitted newly empowered Arab populations
against their corrupt, undemocratic governments, it left the door wide
open for further foreign intervention. US-led Western governments,
desperate to sustain the century-old status quo, fought for relevance,
doing their utmost to prop up rotten political systems, especially in
While gains of Arab revolts were reversed by counter-revolutionary
forces – sending the whole region into a seemingly perpetual quagmire –
the political hawks within the Trump administration discovered in the
region’s chaos an opportunity to settle old scores against Iran, to
advance Israeli interests and to further exploit Arab wealth
As if the humiliation of military defeat and the faltering revolutionary
momentum were not enough, the Deal of the Century, championed by Trump’s
son-in-law, Jared Kushner arrives with the intentions of associating
collective Arab misery
an actual document, a new American Sykes-Picot
divides the Arabs once more with the aim of weakening them even further
so that Israel may reign supreme a while longer.
But the truth is, the Deal of the Century is not just an official
document authored by Kushner, US Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt or
any other pro-Israel US official. It is the marriage of interests
corrupt Arab governments and those of Israel and its benefactors.
Neither Palestinian rights nor Arab aspirations for which generations of
Arabs fought factor in the least in this arrangement.
Thus, it is not the Deal of the Century, in its technical details that
matter, but its timing and implications as the Arab world continues to
reel under failed revolutions, foreign interventions, civil and regional
wars. The US initiative is the political equivalent of the shock and awe
the unprecedented violent bombing campaign unleashed against Iraq in the
early days of war and subsequent invasion in March 2003.
The idea is that while Arab nations are desperately trying to weather
the storm of regional upheavals, the US and Israel are presented with
the perfect opportunity to alter the very reality of the region’s
politics, discard Palestinian rights altogether, and make Tehran – not
Tel Aviv – the new common enemy.
All of this is likely to contribute to the growing sense of anger and
betrayal that Arab nations feel towards their self-serving governments,
who are playing into American and Israeli hands to guarantee their own
survival. However, the Arab peoples shouldn’t be so easily dismissed and
discounted, for humiliation can have many unintended consequences.
The rise of the ‘humiliation’ discourse has placed much focus on how
emotions – those of despair and humiliation – often lead to terrorism
<https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354066108100053> as a way
to explain militant groups’ abilities to generate new recruits. That
conclusion – while it contains much truth – caters to research interests
in western academic institutions, always keen on deconstructing and
combating terrorism as opposed to ending western hegemony and
challenging the destructive US-Israeli relationship. However, the
collective humiliation that has been felt by Arab masses throughout the
years deserves to be studied from an Arab-centric viewpoint.
to a sense of collective emasculation, which undermines the sense of
nationhood altogether, leading to economic downturns and mass
migrations. Violence is only a component of the politics of humiliation.
And even then, it should not be readily assigned the ever-denigrating
designation of “terrorism.” In his introduction to Frantz Fanon’s
‘Wretched of the Earth’, Jean-Paul Sartre refers to violent resistance
as a process through which “a man is re-creating himself”.
Due to the current restrictions on the media, public demonstration and
opinion in general, it is not always possible to demonstrate the
centrality of Palestine to the popular Arab discourse. However, ordinary
Arabs take every opportunity to show their solidarity with their
Palestinian brethren. Who could forget how in February 2016, 80,000
Algerian sports fans cheered
the Palestinian national team against their own team, simply because for
them their love for Palestine trumps their love for sports? The same
pattern is often repeated, most notably in Morocco as well.
In fact, for various Arab nations, solidarity with Palestine seemed a
most urgent priority following the toppling of corrupt regimes. Aside
from the fact that Palestinian flags accompanied national flags of
rebelling Arab nations in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere,
delegations of Arab youth from some of these countries attempted
<https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqiyu7> to break the siege on Gaza
soon after the launch of their popular revolts. In Tunisia alone,
several caravans of activists representing many civil society
break the siege on Gaza, some succeeding and others getting turned back
at the Rafah border.
Egyptians who were not allowed to display solidarity in such a way
turned their anger at Israel into protests
the Israeli embassy in Cairo. They were met with violence, of course,
but remained committed to their demand that their government must sever
diplomatic ties with Israel.
Most meaningful of all such solidarity is the fact that tens of
thousands of Yemenis continue to protest
solidarity with Palestine despite the fact that their country is
struggling against a Saudi-led war, economic collapse and mass hunger.
The fact that Yemenis under the harshest of conditions still see
Palestine as a national priority tells volumes about the importance of
Palestine to the Arab nation everywhere.
As occasional leaks and statements convey how the Deal of the Century is
meant to marginalize Palestine and the aspirations of the Palestinian
people, tens of thousands of Jordanians launched
protests throughout the country in recent weeks. The protesters chanted
for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and vowed to fight the US-Israel plot
which aims, as Trump himself has asserted
to “take Jerusalem off the table.”
But Jerusalem cannot be taken off the table, nor will the Palestinian
people and their historic rights as enshrined in international law. What
the Deal of the Century, however, is likely to achieve is widening the
gap between humiliated Arab peoples and their undemocratic rulers who
are mainly interested in survival, even if that entails the very
destruction of the collective values embraced by all Arabs.
/– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine
Chronicle. His last book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto
Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the
University of Exeter and was a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center
for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa
Barbara. His website is //www.ramzybaroud.net/ <http://www.ramzybaroud.net/>
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News