- By Haifa Habib
It was the Palestinians uprising against Israel’s ethnic cleansing, encroachments on their rights, faith and lands, that coined the term Intifada. The first intifada 1987-1993 and the second 2000-2005. While many have now seen the premise of a third Intifada, this Palestinian resistance bears the features of a grander, broader movement – one which stands against fascism. A stance against the manipulation of human life as nothing more than a colonial commodity, a global intifada.
Intifada in Arabic literally means, as a noun, shake, tremor or shudder (انتفاضة intifāḍah) taken from the Arabic verb Nafada, meaning to shake off, much like a dog shakes off water.
As covered in our recent article about the #Rise Up October protests, recent intifada movements have rapidly spread across the western world, in particular; USA, UK, France, Germany and Spain, nations who along with Slovakia, Sweden and Hungary have been criticized for a dangerously rapid growth in right wing policies and totalitarian enforcement.
Violence in Palestine has reached new dizzying heights, so much so that hateful mobs have turned on their own. Israeli soldiers have shot their own Jewish-Israeli citizens over mistakenly assuming they looked Palestinian and settlers have targeted a Rabbi for daring to preach tolerance and compassion for all.
Undoubtedly Israel has crossed the Rubicon, this unfathomable line where a people’s paranoia and self-taught rejection of the “other” devolved into hatred of all people. This madness, this negation of Judaism’s teachings of nonviolence and self-sacrifice for the greater good, surely is the product of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fascist and imperialist ideology. From the man who told his people on national television that it was the Palestinians and not the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust in World War 2.
From the shores of Mediterranean to the burning deserts of Saudi Arabia, Western powers have aligned themselves and defended those most violent, far right and reactionary. Why? Because democracy was never the intended ending of any one country or people’s story – control was always, since inception of the New World Order the end game.
Speaking in Beirut, Lebanon, the Secretary General of the Lebanese Shi’a party, Hizbullah, called on the tens of thousands of people who hung on his every word to remember the long lines of men who died to oppose tyranny and oppression. He urged the crowd:
“Are we given a choice in between humiliation and defeat? We are not a people to be humiliated.”
In a call for non-violent action he went on to say:
“There lies the courage of a people – defeat may come and wars maybe lost, but never will the people accept humiliation, for humiliation is rooted in oppression and oppression needs always be resisted. Let’s remember, resistance does not necessarily equate violence.”
Maciej Bartkowski and Annyssa Bellal wrote for Open Democracy:
“Civil resistance can overtake violent resistance as overtake violent resistance as the global default method for grievance and rights-based struggles in the twenty-first century. At the same time, these positive developments are paralleled by the determination of autocrats and their enforcers to use every means at their disposal, not least violence, to crush civil resisters.”
As a Muslim, and a second generation immigrant living in Britain, I can categorically say from personal experience, that I am a second class citizen. I am subject to harsher treatment at the hands of abusive government officials, I am racially and physically abused in the streets, I am.. not welcome. But I am British, born and raised, I speak English, I enjoy my very British shopping sprees and know nothing else other than being British. I have never been to the country of my parents’ birth, and do no speak the language they speak there. I am not welcome in my own home.
As soon as resistance becomes violent, all arguments are lost, the oppressors have their justification to use full and extensive force and equip themselves with tighter, more totalitarian legislation. Violence has no place in a civilized and modern society. This intifada is manifesting in global, peaceful, protests.
Today, globally, when children are being dragged away from their mothers’ arms, families are pulled apart, and citizens classed and ranked according to their ethnicity and religious beliefs, soldiers and police have lost their humanity in the abyss of hatred and contempt they were taught to believe in. This is not just the plight of the Palestinians, this is the plight of all citizens, this is Global Intifada.