Friday, January 23, 2009

Letter to Obama

As I listened to Obama's inauguration speech yesterday. like millions and millions of people all over the world,a tiny spark of hope invaded my gloom. Do I dare hope ? Do we dare hope? Do I dare dream? Do we dare dream? For we all have a dream. We have a dream that there will be more justice and less suffering. That we shall all be made accountable equally. That we are all, we who are alive, shall walk in peace and raise our children in peace and when we are old have shelters above our heads. But why do we dare now when we could not before, during the murky years of Bush's administration? Perhaps there is something in the character of the man that has awakened in us visions of All men are equal.. And perhaps the impossible vision of all nations are equal and no nation is above the law no matter how mighty and great. Something in the earnest eloquent spirit of the man is saying to us, it might be, it just might be that a great leader of mankind is in the making. The moral bankruptcy of our world is so dire that there is a terribly sad dearth of leaders of vision and message. Obama, the fiber of your voice carries moral authority, Is this the moral authority of the island or of the continent.
I know that I speak a as a poet and as an artist. I know that I lack political schooling and grooming. I know that I am naive and in the game of power my voice does not count. Never the less I believe in goodness, wholesomeness, honour, generosity, speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defending the weak, and most of all I believe in love and life. Will this entitle me to be heard, entitles me to send an open letter to you Mr. President? You declared, We reject as false the choice between our safety and ideals.. But what is the definition of ideals? Are they the universal ideals of mankind. I reiterate, are they the ideals of the island or the ideals of the continent No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...
You have inherited a bitter legacy indeed. A world at war in many of its parts, a world where many poor and torn countries walk in the darkness inflicted upon them by the mighty,a world whose wealth has been squandered and economy sabotaged by avarice and greed. Yours is the legacy bequeathed by an unrelenting ruthless administration which reeked havoc on a global scale and sawed the seeds of devastation and division, preaching the morality of shame. A network of terrible violence and hatred did come into being because a great nation and its fellow big powers failed to address the roots of violence and to acknowledge the old festering wrongs and wounds. When the greatest powers of the world fail to heal the results are famine, hunger, disease, massacres, wars and blind insane destruction.
Mr. President, I quote you, the time has come to...chose our better history...the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. These words which are derived from the Bill of Rights are noble in sentiment and premise. Only they should not apply exclusively to America and the Western world. There is a whole world outside which is hungry for justice and clamoring for happiness. You went on to say, Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity. Do we dare hope that all this we can do. And all this we will do.
While writing this letter and quoting your beautiful words, I was thinking of the holocaust of Gaza and the endless tragedy of the Palestinian people. There are many Gazas in the world and they deserve addressing as well, but this is the Gaza I know at first hand. The war of Gaza Israel fought under the very eyes of the world. Previously the crimes Israel had committed against the Palestinian people remained largely hidden from the world, and willfully hidden by the Western world. This war was launched against a hungry besieged disinherited people amidst the global propaganda of the exclusive right of Israel to defend itself It seems to have been taken for granted that the Palestinians never had and will never have the right of self defense. The dreaded word terrorism will for always apply to any attempt by this hapless nation to defend itself and its land. Palestine, hitherto just an impossible and a vague concept in the logic of world powers, is not a respectable member of the UN. Any attempt at armed struggle is totally prohibited. Only Israel has the divine right to slaughter indiscriminately.
And Israel obliged in the most spectacular and incredible fashion. For days the skies of Gaza remained ablaze with uranium, phosphorus and dime explosions. Israel gets 90 per cent of its weapons from the US. for weeks the skies rained severed limbs, blasted vital organs and cancer to come on the helpless people of Gaza, especially the children. On the ground the tragedy was even more grotesque. As the army advanced, the people were rounded up, terrorized, driven from one spot to another and shot deliberately. The children were specially targeted. The wounded were left to bleed to death and when others beseeched and begged for mercy they were also silenced. In many cases the citizens were ordered out so that their houses can be looted in peace. Having finished their bloody deeds, the army then flattened the houses and demolished them. Those who remained behind in the broken homes stayed with the corpses of their relatives for days. Children and infants wailed and screamed but they were left to die of hunger and horrific injuries. Those who crawled out to safety on their hands and knees were shot at and hailed with ridicule and cruel humor.The ambulance men and medics were prevented from reaching them again and again. DEATH IN ITS MOST TERRIFIC FORMS OVERTOOK THEM. When the medics eventually reached them their corpses were decomposed beyond recognition. The corpses of children were devoured by the dogs. All that happened and was documented. The story was mostly revealed by the surviving children who in the telling were witnessing again and again the horror inflected upon them. Will they ever emerge from this nightmare, from the deadly confines of their memories? This is not only sick. It is insanely pathological. How can the soldiers who committed these crimes live with themselves. Will Israel try them? Will any International court of justice dare to try them? The Palestinians have a sort of a government in the occupied West Bank. This government is either too intimidated or too governed by self interest and the desire to play a role on the world stage to have the courage to prosecute the Israelis in the International Court of Justice for the war crimes committed in Gaza . But the crimes committed in Gaza under the very eye of the world should not be assigned to oblivion for political expediency. A man of your moral stature Mr. President cannot permit this to happen. The Palestinians are a people without a state therefore the so-called free governments of the world should take up their case and seek justice for them instead of receiving and embracing in public one of the perpetrators of this heinous crime. We ask for one law for all. Black and white, Christian and Muslim, Hindu and Jew One law for Palestine and Israel.
What is needed is the rule of law, applied indiscriminately to all. No country in the world should be above the law. Israel broke almost all the resolutions of the UN. Israel can act with total impunity. It was never prosecuted for any crime. The Us and the Western world have given Israel a special status in the world community. Israel is above the law. Israel can murder and wage lethal wars with unquestionable immunity. Israel can rewrite every code of behavior and every law in order to serve the people of Israel at the expense of their victims, the Palestinians. Israel can turn a whole nation into beggars and steal their land, flatten their villages and cities, almost starve them to death with unquestionable righteousness. Let the world tell the maimed children whom Israel has left behind that they have no rights because Israel dictates their fate and the universal laws do not apply to them..Was all this ruthless destruction wrought upon a defenseless people, was it fought in order to ensure the security of Israel? Why can't Israel understand that the only security it can ever dream of will only come thought justice to the Palestinian people. All the prisons and ghettos, all the wars and dearth dealt to its victims will not ensure the safety of its people. The walls it is building to shut the Palestinians out are the same walls that are shutting it in inside a huge ghetto of its own making. The Jewish people fought so hard in order to free themselves from the ghettos of Europe only to end in the ghetto of Israel, The walls Israel is still building will not last for ever and its friends will not be there for all eternity. If Israel continues to tread the road to perdition, I promise you that The US and the world's Jewish People will one day feel obliged to confront Israel and bring it into the fold of world justice and jurisdiction.
Mr. President I am not asking you to love Israel less but to love it more. Israel needs to be saved from itself. Israel needs to know that all are accountable and no crime is exempt. Israel needs a lesson in humility and a lesson in humanity. A lesson in justice and a lesson in responsibility. A lesson in universal morality and a lesson in coexistence. A lesson in seeking the truth not fabricating it. Israel has the right to defend itself so does every nation in the world. So do the Palestinians. Why do we never hear that a beleaguered occupied besieged nation is also entitled to defend itself against tyranny, continuous violence and aggression? See what happened in Gaza. The defenseless were slaughtered and their city wantonly demolished and destroyed. They could not face might with might. Their meager defenses failed utterly failed. Did the world powers try to defend Gaza, try to stop the senseless bloodbath until it was too late? For three weeks Gaza was pounded with the most sophisticated weapons of mass destruction while the great custodians of world morality stood and waited. No city any where in the world should embrace the terrible fate of Gaza and its children. Why was the war conducted against the women, children, old men , the land, the hospitals, the schools, the mosques, the infra structure of sustaining life. the UN establishments? Why were the combatants not the sole target? The war did not damage them.It did the children It did their mothers. May be the combatants were never the true target. We have lived to see this. Help us Mr. President not to see this repeated for our cup of suffering is full and our souls yearn for jubilation not lamentation. No more lamentation.
Yes, Mr. President your burden is almost unbearable. You are reaping a harvest of conflicts and terrible suffering all over the world. It is too much for one man, too shattering. too unbearable. Naturally charity starts at home. But the people of Gaza must be saved now. Every passing moment is making it too late. In Gaza the clock of annihilation is kicking. Those who were not killed by war are being killed by peace and inaccessibility. The war of the crossings is raging unabated.
If a Palestinian state comes into being with your help, this state should be inviolate and sovereign.A land of opportunity where the Palestinians can engage in the pursuit of happiness and stand tall and equal. It should be the country of the free not the country of the paupers and the deprived. A country that Israel will not invade and overrun when it fancies.A country where the Palestinian children can sing and play and engage in childish things A country defended and guarded by the world community and protected by the good will of the freedom and justice loving peoples of the world All this we say to you Mr. President For we have a dream Mr. President. The dream of a great man made it possible for you to become the President of the US and perhaps a dream not a nightmare will bring Palestine into being. A great poet once said that in dreams starts reality.
Mister president, the Palestinians have a dream that one day freedom will ring from one hilltop to another, from their villages, from their earth and from their skies, that freedom will ring from their sacred olive groves, that freedom will ring from the ruins of Gaza to the Dome of the rock They have a dream that they will no longer live in ghettos and slums, that somehow this situation can and will be changed., that they will not wallow in the valley of despair for ever. They have a dream.
Will it one day be said of you, a good man walked among us and we and our world are the better for it.


  1. aren't you asking too much of Mister President? Even if he has the will to answer your pleads he won't be let do. So, I think, a dream is a dream...

  2. Perhaps. Either Obama will prove he is different and astonish us all or he will fall in step with all that was before and the magic word, change. with which he won will be relegated to forgetfullness. The old guard will fight him relentlessly. He will be betested mercilessly. Khairat

  3. Ali said:
    As an artist, you dare have one more dream. But the Palestinian people, who live since sixty years continually in a nightmare, need more than a dream.
    As Abou Hussein (Obama) few months ago visited Sderot on the Israeli side of the "frontier of death" to Gaza, he hadn’t the courage for a dream jumping over the bitter reality of the Zionist occupation. When Obama (Abou Hussein) try now, like some members of the European political class, to reduce the drama of Gaza to the level of a banal weapon smuggling affair they have to stop fore the sake of Israel, one need more than a dream to stop their political prostitution.
    Realistically speaking, expectations must be tempered by the reality of the US Middle East policy constants.

  4. We shall temper expectations by the facts on the ground for now. Let us wait and see what will happen. I might be wrong in seeing in Obama a man of universal principles.