Posted by Sadie from ? (22.214.171.124) on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 at 10:02AM :
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Following the first release of the Pan-Arab Call for Unity, activists and community members responded with massive support and contributions. Addressing an urgent need, the Call was issued with the intent of building a consensus platform and associated programs on matters of fundamental importance to us as a people.
As we issue this second Call, we urge all to join in supporting this historic effort. Core representative activists reflecting a wide spectrum of community and student organizations, programs, and backgrounds are on board with support and endorsements that have spanned North America from coast to coast.
We propose this Call as the working document for the upcoming Pan-Arab founding conference to be held in Washington, D.C. in September 2003. Organizing efforts are well underway, and will be announced to representative activists and community members indicating direct interest.
To become part of this historic project, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call to Action:
Building the Platform for a Pan-Arab Consensus
This is a call for Pan-Arab unity. In light of the critical challenges facing our people, we seek to build a Pan-Arab Consensus Platform among Arab organizations and individuals living in the United States, and to initiate mechanisms and programs that will implement our vision.
As the US administration and Israel further expand their hold on the Arab World, an increasingly dangerous future looms ahead. In their model, expressed today in various forms such as the “Road Map” and the “democratization” of the Arab World, the US administration and Israel are introducing a modern colonial version of the Sykes-Picot agreement that aims to further balkanize our region.
They are scurrying to replace Palestinian liberation with a truncated and disjointed semi-Palestinian polity. This Palestinian Bantustan, the ultimate political ceiling in the US-Israeli political model, would be effectively demilitarized and subject to the alleged “security needs” of Israel. Explicitly removed from any ongoing or upcoming “negotiations” are all the core issues that constitute the totality of the Palestinian movement for liberation, particularly the right of return and Jerusalem.
Under the threat of significant “sanctions,” Syria is “required” to surrender its political discourse and to halt any support for Palestinian liberation and resistance in Lebanon.
Colonized Iraq is “required” to “normalize relations” with Israel, extend an oil pipeline to the port of Haifa, fundamentally alter its written Arab history and educational curriculum, and extract itself from the popular Pan-Arab consensus for unity and liberation.
The responsibilities of Jordan and Egypt to the rest of the Arab World are effectively removed. Rather than belonging to and representing their Arab citizens, Jordan and Egypt are transformed into aid-dependent neo-colonial polities. Their task is to establish regional security in collaboration with Israel, and to open Arab gates to the advances of globalization – none of whose benefits accrue to the people.
The Arabian Peninsula has been transformed into a military base for U.S. troops. Transnational corporations and direct U.S. and European-related interests dominate the economies and national sovereignty of North and East African Arab states. Borders, forms of government, and national infrastructure are being reconfigured largely to meet the dictates of the U.S. administration and U.S. lending institutions.
The ultimate goal of Israel and the U.S. administration is to effectively de-Arabize the Arab World.
Simultaneously as the U.S. administration embarks on redrawing the political map of a region thousands of miles away, it imposes yet another war within. It positions Arabs and Muslims as conspirators and fifth columnists, gradually yanking away their constitutional rights through a multitude of regulations and laws under the guise of “Homeland Security.” The foreign-domestic duality of the U.S. administration’s quest for empire has no borders.
Mechanisms of Control
In order to gain acceptance for this project, the joint pact between Israel and the U.S. government employs not only clear colonialist tactics of military takeovers and brute force, but also less confrontational (although equally dangerous) and low intensity methods of normalizing defeatist notions. To that effect, the United States and Israel have succeeded in securing a long line of applicants for the job of propagating a defeatist mentality from within.
In an attempt to place the Arab people in perpetual servitude, those insisting on full independence and the legitimate and inalienable Palestinian national and individual rights are positioned as extremists deserving the wrath of “the international community.” Alternatively, those who accept prescribed duties and partial semi-rights are hailed as brave heroes, heavily rewarded, and are incorporated as obedient functionaries into the system of dominance. The more drastic the departure from Arab and Palestinian national rights, the more appealing the reward, and the more generous is the praise.
Arab regimes have been fulfilling their dictated role for a long while. Historically and at present, prisons run by these regimes have been filled with activists, intellectuals, unionists, and young students who challenge the injustice of the status quo. But this dangerous course has also expanded and has taken hold on other levels. Increasingly, various voices and organizational entities have joined the pact, and are unabashedly implementing the U.S.-Israeli vision as they compete for favor from D.C. and Tel Aviv. They are executing prescribed duties while masking their real political intent through ambiguous “diplomatic” language. Many of these voices have gone so far as to leverage the apparatus and resources of existing organizations (or create their own) to market their narrow political agenda.
The Role of the New Functionaries
This course found its natural extension and ultimate purpose in Iraq, where the U.S. administration is engaged today in imposing obedient functionaries who for years have advanced the U.S. vision on various levels. But this is not limited to Iraq; the pact between Israel and the U.S. administration extends to all areas where potential strategic benefits lie – the consequences to Arab life and liberty be damned.
Examples of entities serving the U.S. administration’s vision have sprung up everywhere, with significant financial backing, consistent political cover, and major media platforms. Almost uniformly, these entities attempt illogically to equate the violence of colonization on one hand, with the people’s natural and legitimate resistance against colonial rule on the other. Some have begun using catch phrases such as “clashists, to rhyme with fascists,” joining the chorus that demonizes resistance and relegates the anti-colonial movement to the margin.
The Palestinian right of return is a primary target of this tendency, simply because it is the core of all issues. Self-appointed “task force” leaders have begun to use cryptic diplomatic language about giving refugees “options” (i.e., “repatriation” to Western Europe, Canada, and the U.S.) in order to mask their intent of removing the right of return as a central Palestinian Arab demand – a demand that challenges Zionism on its face and strips it naked of its neo-liberal cover. To pave the way for implementing U.S.-Israeli “pragmatism,” these Palestinian yes-men and yes-women are willing to abrogate the right of return with the morally reprehensible goal of preserving the “Jewish-only” demographic make up of Israel.
The trend of installing individuals who claim “centrist” positions, but who in reality speak the political language of the U.S. administration and Israel, is neither new nor limited to Palestine, Iraq, or the wider Arab World. Afghanistan is a dramatic example, where the U.S. government, to implement programs prescribed within its hegemonic model, handpicked the head of the state, formulated a government, and created a facade of democracy. All the while, the spin-doctors hailed the “return” of a “pluralistic and representative” government – never mind its arrival on a U.S. tank.
Rather than focusing on material realities and the gross power differentials that produce these realities, the self-styled “centrists” cloak their invitations – to war criminals, to proud Zionists, and to representatives of the U.S. police state’s apparatus – in a liberal garb that supposedly and magnanimously reflects an “acceptance of all views.”
For a Constitutional Citizenship Anchored in the Principles of Justice
In the United States, the people’s membership in a constitutional society under the protection of laws and democratic representation is being purposely confused with a false allegiance to the designs of a hawkish U.S. administration. Increasingly, swearing one’s political allegiance to the dominant empire is becoming a prerequisite to “good” citizenship. Rather than assume our natural role with various other communities and social forces in our joint struggle for a better and more just society, Arabs in the U.S. are being tricked and strong-armed by the many trumpeters of the administration to accept increasingly more subservient roles. The intentional obfuscation between legitimate constitutional belonging on the one hand, and roles of servitude to the current reigning ideology on the other, is being played out in full. In this context, the right to dissent (the anchor of any real participatory democracy) is vilified, while acts of blind obedience are hailed as appropriately within the orbit of civic duties and obligations.
With this call for a Pan-Arab Consensus Platform, we present an alternative vision. We envision a world that is anchored in justice and that is based on equity between peoples and nations. We seek a grassroots empowerment that protects everyone and marginalizes no one. We seek a consensus that does not leave anyone behind.
The Call to Join Us
In this context, we call on the Arab-American and Palestinian communities to resist all attempts to strip away our rights. We reject the strategic attempts to replace the unyielding demands of the Palestinian people in exile with a confused and opportunistic “state-building” model. We proclaim our resistance to political servitude and defeatist tendencies. We are certain that the collective Arab history of anti-colonialism, resistance, and struggle for liberation, will surmount this challenge.
We call on everyone to join together in formulating a Pan-Arab consensus on issues from Palestinian liberation and ending the colonial occupation of Iraq, to combating the war at home.
In formulating this consensus, we have taken notice of the shortcomings of previous projects for Pan-Arab unity, drawn from the successes of our collective experience, and projected a vision for a future based on the combined new realities of our people and the world.
In a time when regional and international alliances are emerging on the economic and political scene, Pan-Arab unity continues to be an existential imperative and a historic yearning that must become reality.
We initiate the discussion by proposing the following draft consensus platform:
1. We reject colonial occupations in all forms anywhere, including Iraq, the Golan Heights, all remaining portions of Southern Lebanon, and Palestine.
2. We hold that colonial rule is the anti-thesis of a participatory people’s government, and hereby fully reject the notion that military conquest can in any way produce democracy.
3. We recognize that the Arab people, like all peoples, have the right and the duty to resist colonization, and to struggle for social and economic justice.
4. We consider Palestine to be indivisible from the rest of the Arab World’s heritage and culture, despite the passage of time.
5. We insist that while ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is a right due to the Palestinian people, it is far from being a substitute for the goal of liberating the Arab people from Zionist settler-colonialism. Terminating the occupation is not an upper ceiling that either displaces or mitigates all of our other inalienable rights.
6. We reject any compromise on the individual and collective Palestinian right to return, and declare that no single person or entity has the authority to dispense or negotiate this fundamental national right.
7. We maintain that the Palestinian Arab people within the 1948 borders of Palestine are part and parcel of the totality of the Palestinian people, deserving along with all displaced refugees, national, civil, and human rights.
8. We reaffirm our rejection of Zionism as a form of racism, and emphasize our active refusal to normalize either with Zionists or with their institutions.
9. We uphold the individual and collective rights of all indigenous people in the Arab World regardless of background.
10. We regard the constitutional rights of Arab-Americans in the United States as inviolable, despite the unabashed agenda of the hawkish U.S. administration, and we reject any abrogation or minimization in part or in total of such rights. We seek to safeguard our position, as individuals and as members of a collective, to struggle within constitutional means along with all others for a just nation that is at peace with itself and the world.
For decades the Arab people and all those fighting for liberation have recognized that the Palestinian struggle cannot be reduced to a mini-state, that it is Arab in character, and that it represents a historic stand against colonial dominance in all of its manifestations. It is within the context of decolonization that we affirm the inextricable link between the liberation of Iraq and Palestine, and the international movement against war and hegemony.
The assault on our people and community is massive, and is employing the most dangerous of all tactics: destroying a people from within. We cannot but rise to the challenge, and prevent the fall of the Arab consensus.
Safeguarding our collective Pan-Arab consensus has become priority one, and we accept this responsibility.
To join the call for unity and consensus and to participate in formulating future steps, please write to: email@example.com
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