Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Testifying to Truth—and Paying the Price

An excellent piece from Samar Jabr, a psychiatrist practicing in the West Bank and her native Jerusalem.

FOR MY RECENT article on the neurotic obsession with anti-Semitism and on using the fear of a “future holocaust” as camouflage for colonialism (see “Searching for the Elusive Israeli Partner,” December 2008 Washington Report, p. 26), I have paid a heavy price: the ending of a significant relationship which sustained me through several adversities over the past two years. I was informed that my words demonstrated that I “hate all Jews and don’t know enough or don’t empathize enough with the Jewish experience of man’s brutality to man.”

But learning about other people’s experience of injustice has been my own “neurotic obsession”: I read books, watch documentaries, visit museums, listen to people’s testimonies, and write frequently about oppressors and the oppressed throughout history. My “sin,” apparently, is that while I don’t exclude the Jews from my efforts to learn, I don’t believe in the special status of their experience. I reject the ranking of human suffering, and I certainly protest against the exploitation of that experience (what author and scholar Norman Finkelstein terms The Holocaust Industry) which has resulted in my own people’s experience of man’s brutality to man.

I was expected to apologize for my “poisonous” comment in order to save this dear relationship. But I could not—precisely because I treasured the relationship too much to contaminate it with deceit by saying I’m sorry when I’m not. I refrained from continuing to defend my words from the inferred conclusion because I could not tolerate having my thoughts and words constantly monitored as if I were at a checkpoint and had to show all kinds of documents to a suspicious soldier to prove that I’m not a dangerous person.

Like every other human tragedy, the European holocaust has its traumatized, its survivors, and its beneficiaries. I fell into the hands of the traumatized while talking about the beneficiaries—and for that I was punished.

I do indeed perceive much of the discussion about a “future holocaust” as camouflage intended to keep the present reality of Palestinians in the shade, hidden from the world’s knowledge or attention, and to provide a pre-emptive answer to anyone who would lament Israel’s occupation. Today, in effect, it is Palestine that has been erased from the map; many Palestinians, including myself, hold identity papers referring to us as unidentified. It is Palestinians who live under siege, in small ghettos created by the apartheid wall—which is twice the height of the Berlin wall. Palestinians’ daily lives are subject to the whim of the lowest ranking Israeli soldier, who has the ultimate power to prevent any Palestinian from going to work, home, hospital, school, to interfere with what items of food we can eat, with whom we can socialize or marry, and in many other brutal ways make life for many of us an option worse than death.

I could not tolerate having my thoughts and words constantly monitored.

When I think of how many times I have been strip-searched and interrogated at airports, how often my professional and identity cards have been taken away or thrown in my face because a checkpoint soldier deemed them false; when I listen every day to the heart-wrenching experiences of torture victims; when I have dinner every night against the background of bloody TV images from Iraq and Afghanistan; when I learn about the horrors of Abu Ghreib and Guantanamo, secret renditions of Arab- or Muslim-looking persons via special flights from the United States to countries where they will be tortured—and as I know that the world is silent about these routine experiences—is it at all strange that I diagnose the selective, repetitive discussion of anti-Semitism—while xenophobia, Islamophobia and other kinds of racism are ignored—as an obsessional neurosis?

There is something inept, at best, in expecting the Palestinians—the very ones who are living in the shade, away from the world’s awareness, who have their plate full of torment, who have been dancing with death throughout their lives—to show more empathy for Israeli pain and desire for safety.

Had I not been born a Palestinian I most probably would have spent my free time perusing a childhood interest in singing, painting and photography. But I am a Palestinian, and I have been dealing with the disadvantages associated with this identity since I woke up one day, at the age of six, and saw my parents weeping painfully for the massacres in Sabra and Shatila. At that age, of course, I could not understand what was going on, but I could feel the pain, which grew only deeper as I grew older and understood more. I have found an outlet for that pain in writing and in voicing my thoughts and feelings, trying to make a healthy contribution to the Palestinian resistance and deliver an honest testimony on this period of Palestinian history.

A Spiritual Obligation

For me, this is a spiritual obligation as well. The Arabic word for martyr is shaheed. It is not necessary to be killed to be a shaheed: the word literally means one who testifies honestly and courageously and pays the price for doing so. I believe it is the fear of death as the price for testimony that explains the popular meaning of the word martyr.

As I mourn another personal loss, however, I retain my insight: my call to the world is not the European holocaust, but the Palestinian fight for freedom. As I consider the history of the holocaust and other past human tragedies, I admire those who resisted and refused to be victims, as well as those who stood in opposition and fought against their own people to prevent collective tyranny—and who paid the price for doing so.

This most recent loss is not the first one in my life: for the past 30 months I have not been paid a salary; not long ago, I was denied a visa by the French Embassy. Other, more significant losses are still too emotional to mention now. Once again, however, I feel the occupation’s bite, and anger at its annihilation of important physical and metaphysical resources in my life. This only urges me on, however, to continue learning and seeking truth and to carry on my fight for liberation. My commitment never to testify falsely, no matter what the temptation or price, has not been weakened, but reinforced.

5 comments on “Testifying to Truth—and Paying the Price

  1. Freeborn
    17 March, 2009

    Jabr’s refusal to accept the special status of Jewish history is thoroughly commendable.

    The wholly self-absorbed Jewish interpretation of history derives ultimately from Levitical teaching but its endurance and enforced acceptance across the West since WW2 is not well understood.

    It owes much to the sponsorship by the Jewish elites and banking synarchy and their corporate cyphers of the idea of a Jewish god who serves the Jews rather than vice versa.In occult terms deemed peripheral to such topics as Jewish history but actually the essence of the problem elite Jews have created a Jewish god as “egregore” or spiritual animus to serve their collective will.

    The “egregore” because it is an exclusively Jewish god willed into being as a means to destroy the Other is thus the cause of anti-semitism.The anti-semitism charge,of which Jabr has become but the latest victim,is not just a means to remove recalcitrant non-Jews,quite often semites like the Palestinians,but also to manipulate Jews themselves who are taught that they are reviled without due cause by all non-Jews and the host societies of the diaspora generally.

    In the ethnocentric,originally Talmudic,view of Jewish history gratuitous hatred substitutes for the real reasons for historical and current anti-semitism.These derive in no small way from the ever increasing power of Jewish elites but in this elite-sponsored view remain hidden.

    Read attentively the history of some of the major events of the last century points to the continual recourse by Jewish elites to the active provocation of anti-semitism as means to create Jewish cohesion and survival.

    Holocaust fundamentalism and other forms of elite Jewish mind control have succeeded beyond the expectations of their instigators in corralling swathes of Western opinion behind a Zionist apartheid wall that puts the “Jewish” experience at the centre of all human history.So that the clamour in Israel for an attack on Iran may well trigger a conflagration which in its subsequent horrendous consequences for mankind will resemble the two wars of the last century.

    Both these previous wars,it has been argued,helped begat the satanic “egregore” statelet that exists today ever more ominously in Palestine today.

  2. Ann
    17 March, 2009

    Agreed, Freeborn, Jabr’s integrity, painfully but firmly asserted, is indeed admirable. I hope she sees it bear fruit for standing up to her principles.

    Just a quick note on your intriguing use of the egregore concept. It seems to be alluded to in the New Testament as well, though in very different ways from the Judaic OT (eg “when 2 or 3 gather in my name …”).

    I wonder to what degree it might be employed as a strategy against those who use it malevolently? Can we use egregore to enact good? What makes one thoughtform/ collective consciousness stronger than another?

    Metaphysically, if we are in thrall to an egregore’s god-spell (gospel), how do we break out and rebuild more autonomously a world that is just? I realize my comments, perhaps rhetorical, are opaque but they are deliberately veiled and I think you may understand their meaning.

  3. Freeborn
    17 March, 2009

    The “egregore” concept has enjoyed wide currency in conspiracy circles for some time.This is because it is known to have been popular with Jewish Illuminati groups like the Golden Dawn.

    The Golden Dawn is forever associated in such circles with the Rothschild clan.Thus conspiracy theories abound around Illuminati involvement in historical events like the American,French and Russian revolutions as well as the two World Wars and of course the founding of the Masonic colony in Palestine.

    The Masonic architecture of the Israeli Supreme Court building is often cited as bearing witness to the Illuminati provenance of the state.

    Such conspiracy theories are not to everyone’s taste and therefore a more neutral introduction to the etymological origins and rhetorical potential of the concept may be gleaned from reading Liora S Bernstein’s essay on the net.

    There is also an interesting discussion including reference to the potential of “egregore” as a positive concept at Illuminati News.

  4. Pingback: Paying the price « Business News

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This entry was posted on 16 March, 2009 by in Palestine, Palestine Peace and tagged .

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"