Carol Sansour: Qadaa wa Qadar

The Palestinians today are drowned in a world of predestination. It looks and feels like the fight to defend their issues is not a choice they have made, but rather a call they have followed blindly. Those who have chosen not to follow that call as it is, or heard it differently, consciously or not, are considered out of tune (not to say labeled with the most horrid qualities).

There is no doubt that Palestinians have the absolute right to fight for their dignity and freedom (what is the meaning of life without dignity and freedom?) But to take to the streets without a real awareness of your purpose or a clear strategy of what it would take to achieve it is suicide.

A state of contradiction exists in Palestine today and it isn’t necessarily due to the prolonged Israeli occupation. Occupation played and will continue to play a major role in uprooting Palestinians from their land and, whenever possible, off the face of the earth. However, the psyche and the collective voice heard in Palestine today probably dates way back, pre Israel. Dare I say that this “rural”, “tribal” and oftentimes “marginal” line of thought is what is currently oppressing Palestine and the Palestinians, placing them in the top charts of the weak and declining reactionary communities?

This deeply rooted tribal mentality causes obstruction; indeed it empties all efforts of their meaning, leaving the mood somber, helpless, and to a great extent pettish.  Take for example the case of Samer al-Issawi, the longest hunger striker in human history (which in my own personal view is an unparalleled, supernatural act of sacrifice), it was invested as a card swap game and a pressure tool (and my apologies to Samer and the prisoners who are championing the hunger strike) to reach goals that are (1) much lower than the demands of Samer himself, (2) of an elastic nature and dependent on the rules of the game played right there and then (3) used to entrench and consolidate groups which are originally formed on a basis other than a free and comprehensive vision to inclusively serve the bigger meaning of the struggle: life.

Today, I no longer believe in the great conspiracy theory. We Palestinians are the greatest collective and coherent body conspiring against ourselves (Israel has clear goals – what are our goals?) No compromises are due in such a situation. The Palestinians need to ask themselves tough and real questions: who are we and what are we defending? Or they can carry on seeing themselves as the victim, the thief and the executioner, and say qadaa wa qadar: fate and destiny.