Friday, May 14, 2010

Burning Questions

"Palestinians are the only people on Earth that use, as their national day, someone else's independence day. Tomorrow is Nakba Day. 'Nakba' means catastrophe in Arabic, and the 'catastrophe' they commemorate is the establishment of Israel." (Palestinians architects of their own misery, Bren Carlill*, The Age, 14/5/10)

[*Bren Carlill is an "analyst" at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)]

Excuse me, Bren, mind if I ask you a few questions?

First, a shortie: can you perhaps shed any light on the Palestinians having a "national day," but not a nation?

Second, when you say the "Palestinians are the only people on Earth that use, as their national day, someone elses's independence day" - by which you mean, I take it, Israel's Independence Day - I have a problem. Allow me to explain. You see, when I think of independence days, I think of people winning their independence from the rule of some oppressive foreign power. To cite but three examples: the Algerians from the French; the Indians from the British; and the Indonesians from the Dutch. You get my drift? You with me? Yes, I'm coming to the point. Just what oppressive foreign power did Israelis win their independence from?

And no, don't say Britain. Face it, without Balfour, Wingate, Churchill and the British army, without the British Mandate over Palestine, there'd be no Israel today. So please, if you wouldn't mind, tell me what Israel's Independence Day is all about.

Finally, there's that bit about the Palestinians commemorating the establishment of Israel as a catastrophe. Do you think it might have something to do with their being the "architects of their own misery" as you put it? I mean, and I'm sure you'd be the first to agree, didn't the Palestinians, in 1948, for reasons best known to themselves (or maybe not), mysteriously, inexplicably, incomprehensibly just walk away from their homes? You know (who better?), the full Marie Celeste. The air of enchantment. The porridge still warm on their breakfast tables. The fruit fairly bursting on the trees in their orchards. The money stashed away in their bank accounts. The goods going nowhere on the shelves of their shops. But, amazingly, no Palestinians! And then there's their Jewish neigbours, distraught and in tears at their going. I mean, the Palestinians just upped and went walkies, right? Probably, and I've got the uncanny feeling here you'd be in complete agreement with me, in response to those Arab Alan Jones's of the day in Damascus and Cairo and Baghdad persuading them to drop whatever it was they were doing at the time and go. I mean the likes of you and I would just tell Alan to shove it, right? OK, maybe not you then, but you know what I'm getting at - unlike your Palestinian klutz, normal white folks like us, we'd just stay put, now wouldn't we?

Sorry to burden you with so many questions, but hey, your an expert, an analyst, right? Even better, an AIJAC analyst. Which explains the appearance of your learned treatise, Palestinians architects of their own misery, in one of Australia's very best papers, The Age.

My ears are fairly itching to receive your pearls of wisdom. Please don't disappoint.

PS: Of the 54 readers of Bren's little diatribe who bothered to comment before The Age quickly closed off discussion, only 14 gave it the thumbs up. Oh dear!

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