By M. I. Bhat
When Arab streets started swelling with anger political pundits in the West tried to explain it away as public outburst against poverty, unemployment and dictatorial suppression, and spin it as the flowering of Obama’s Cairo speech extolling and inciting democracy — of course, without a word acknowledging American contribution to the installation and sustenance of those Arab dictators. They conveniently ignored the fact that protests were mass revolution that included businessmen, Government officials, professionals, entrepreneurs, techies and the like who apparently lived comfortable lives.
Hardly a few saw it for what it actually was: Human yearning for justice and dignity not just for themselves but also for others around them, which supremely includes long-suffering Palestinians – a people that humiliates and mocks Arab pride for the past six decades.
The “Arab Spring,” as the West eulogizes the Arab revolutions, was expected to remain largely unique to the Arab world, which incidentally still represents majority of the world’s kingdoms and dictatorships. President Obama, though, wished it to sweep Iran and cross over the Atlantic and into Cuba and Venezuela.
Arab Spring may not have entered Iran, it did cross the Atlantic — not to bloom revolutionary flowers in Cuba or Venezuela but in Obama’s America. And therein is a lesson.
Come to think of this. Who could have predicted that the common Americans whose monies and support, wittingly (at their Government level) or unwittingly (at common public level), underwrote construction of the Separation Wall in the West Bank, without bothering how much more miserable it would make Palestinian life, would so soon be hitting their heads against their own wall – the Wall Street? For America the Wall Street has come to symbolize the Israel’s Separation Wall, isolating the exploited and usurped (99%) from their own exploiters and usurpers (1%). It has made millions (and still growing) Americans jobless, homeless and hungry. It has broken up families and communities very much like the Israeli Separation Wall did in the West Bank. In Palestinian terminology, the Wall Street is truly the Apartheid Wall for the American 99%.
The 99% are allowed inside the Wall only to hand over their hard earned monies to fatten the stocks and wallets of the 1% much like the Palestinians are allowed inside the Apartheid Wall only to spill their sweat and blood on Israeli construction and other sundry menial work sites.
When Palestinians were protesting against the construction of the Apartheid Wall and suffering arrests and killing, the US would justify the Israeli actions, and its “international community” would look the other side. Defense and security of Israel against suicide bombers was, and is, the American argument without a word about the land grab and displacement it meant for the Palestinians. So is the American Government narrative in defense of saving the Wall Street without a thought to how that is squeezing lives of its own 99%.
Though the end result is the same, the Palestinians were fore-warned of their coming additional misery, American 99% were caught up suddenly like in Fukushima earthquake, resulting in a tsunami of social and psychological meltdown with unpredictable consequences for the future.
Economy is on a steep slide and so is the political environment necessary to stop it. Stimulus package and other revival measures have proved nothing more than the ‘peace process’ for resolving Israel-Palestine conflict that always benefits Israel, in this case 1%.
Naturally OWS is going strong and into its third month. Protest control has started presenting the Third World look with the number of arrested and injured slowly but surely on the rise. With the protesters not inclined to step back and 1% now actively out in the ring to defend their Wall, it is open to speculate when American administration goes fully and muscularly ballistic like its Arab clients – yet some gone, some on way out.
A simple calculation on your palm would lead you to conclude that without its ongoing decade-long wars the American economy would not be in the mess that it is and OWS wouldn’t have been there. And however differently America may dress up it rhetoric about Afghan-Iraq wars there is little that can change general public opinion within and outside America that these wars are rooted in defending and promoting Israeli interests. It is then no coincidence that if any country’s embassy draws protesters’ attention it is Israeli, both in the Arab world and in America.
There is no denying that America has given the world a lot to make life physically comfortable. But it has come at a cost that has left the world morally and spiritually bereft and barren like the Afghan and Iraqi landscape. That is what OWS patently and glaringly announce other than their mounting economic suffering.
Regardless of how much Arab Spring influenced its birth, the OWS is an idea that would only fortify with faltering American economy. It is embedded with paradigm change, a change that would in due course call the American political class to account its deeds it has been committing at the altar of Israeli interests.
– Professor M. I. Bhat is the former Head Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Kashmir, Srinagar. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.