Friday, May 16, 2014

The "victim" trap

There's a great story on view at Counterpunch today by one of my favorite Israeli writers, Uri Avnery.

In The Moral Right of the Refugees to Return Avnery outlines his relationship with Palestinian hard-liner Salman Abu Sitta. Sitta is a "hard-liner" because he advocates for the unfettered right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their former homes in what is now the state of Israel.

As any sensible person who lives in the real world should know by now, that is what's known in diplomatic circles as a "non-starter."

As in, it ain't gonna happen.

Nevertheless, Abu Sitta sticks to the moral high ground and insists that this must happen.

Avery politely acknowledges that moral high ground, but takes a more pragmatic approach.

As in, it ain't gonna happen.

Ironically, Salman Abu Sitta is himself a very pragmatic person. After the Nakba he did not spend the next 65 years sitting around in a refugee camp nursing his very legitimate grievances.

He got out into the world and made something of himself. He is today a millionaire many times over on the strength of his international construction conglomerate.

That doesn't happen when you're sitting around in a refugee camp feeling sorry for yourself.

There is a lesson in that for every member of every group that has ever been abused, disenfranchised, marginalized, and otherwise shit upon by the winds of history.

That includes not just Jews and Palestinians, but Armenians, Kurds, Germans from the Prussian territories, Canadian Indians, natives the length and breadth of the Americas, Russians in Ukraine, Ukrainians in Russia, and many many others.

Which proves that you can buy into the victimhood of the refugee camp or the reservation...

Or you can do something else.

No comments:

Post a Comment