Category Archives: Revenge

Nakba… Naksa… Naqsba: The Victimization of Palestinian Refugees

Fragments in honor of Naqba Day

  • The original meaning of Nakba: the catastrophe Arab leadership brought on the refugees from their failed war. It was initially voiced by refugees as criticism of the Arab elite.
  • Naksa: (the setback), the term to designate the repeat catastrophe that befell the Arab world under Nasser in 1967: global humiliation, Israel from the river to the sea, Jerusalem in Jewish hands.
  • Current meaning of Nakba (as in Nakba Day): accusation against Israel for treating Palestinians so terribly, sometimes accompanied with comparisons of the Holocaust and the Nakba.
  • This is same scapegoating discourse that created the Nakba in the first place: accusing Israel, erasing criticism of Arab leaders.
  • Naqsba: the mentality of those Arab leaders who scapegoat Israel while abusing their own people, and thereby perpetuate an ongoing catastrophe for Arab people in Arab lands, especially for Palestinians.
  • The way for Palestinians to put an end to the Nakba is to stop blaming Israel and self-criticize. Ouch. A little help here, “western” (ie privileged) progressives? Or is it just too important to you to blame Israel. Ouch.

The term nakba first appeared among refugees to describe the catastrophe that befell them in the failed Arab war to destroy Israel. Told to flee their homes with rumors of Jewish slaughter even cannibalism, to make way for the victorious Arab armies that would defeat this terrible enemy, not only did they get imprisoned in refugee camps, but their neighbors who stayed, not only didn’t get slaughtered, but got treated far better by their Israeli “enemies” than those who fled got treated by their Arab “hosts”. Indeed, one phrase for referring to this catastrophically shameful event was: lammā sharnā wa-tla’nā (“when we blackened our faces and left”).

So one of the original meanings of Nakba was a reproach from “refugees,” the greatest victims of the Arab elite’s irresponsible war, against Arab leaders for their terrible treatment of their own people (lying to them to get them to run, impoverishing them, and imprisoning them in camps to await the day of vengeance). There was even an element of self-reproach for running. In any case, Israel was neither the main culprit, nor even the main target of the criticism. Part of the shame of running, was the Israeli treatment of Arabs who stayed.

Over the last couple of decades, the meaning of Nakba has been completely reversed. It now designates the catastrophe that Israel brought on the “Palestinian refugees,” kicking them out and not letting them back in. The role of the Arab elites in creating the catastrophe, and prolonging it by keeping the refugees in camps, is erased, and its place taken by a loud outrage at Israeli sins and fierce calls for Al Awda – the return.

This reversal of blame rides on the analogy that Palestinians make about how their suffering is somehow equivalent to the Holocaust, and that they are the new Jews, and the Israelis are the new Nazis. It feeds so nicely into the (false) equivalency: what the Nazis did to the Jews, the Israelis did to the Palestinians. How sad! How appalling of the Jews… no sooner do they take power than they do onto others what was done to them.

This switch in meaning is being pushed by the same Arab leadership that brought on the Nakba, with the same strategies of victimizing their own people in pursuit of restoring Arab honor, and scapegoating the Jews as guilty ones. Those outsiders (non-Palestinian progressives, or diaspora Palestinians) who adopt this inverted narrative, thereby support the Arab Nakba-causers, and their descendents who want to prolong the catastrophic policies of Arab forbears, and who benefit from prolonging the suffering of “Palestinians” in pursuit of their irredentist goals.

Naksba: a term to designate the behavior of Arab “leaders” who perpetuate these catastrophes by pursuing the same catastrophic goals and sacrificing their own people in order to attack Israel. Western progressives have no business being Naqsba enablers. It’s almost as if, having taken a time-machine into the middle ages, we were to side with the aristocracy, enabling them to crush their subjects.

From wikipedia:

Initially, the use of the term Nakba among Palestinians was not universal. For example, many years after 1948, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon avoided and even actively resisted using the term, because it lent permanency to a situation they viewed as temporary, and they often insisted on being called “returnees.”[10]

ie: it recognized the naksba logic of turning them into victims, i.e. prolonging their status as refugees.

In the 1950s and 1960s, terms they used to describe the events of 1948 included al-‘ightiṣāb (“the rape”), or were more euphemistic, such as al-‘aḥdāth (“the events”), al-hijra (“the exodus”), and lammā sharnā wa-tla’nā (“when we blackened our faces and left”).[10]

also self-critical or at least a self-reproach. our leaders misled us, but we are shamed for having listened to them and run like cowards.

Nakba narratives were avoided by the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon in the 1970s, in favor of a narrative of revolution and renewal.

when they have power, they get triumphalist, no more of this victim stuff. we’re headed for victory. result: over a decade of civil war (1975-82) in which 150,000 civilians were killed by various factions, among which the PLO was a major player. (NB: all the Arab-Israeli wars together (1948-present), have produced fewer dead (counting both civilians and soldiers) than ten years of civil war killed of Lebanese civilians).

Interest in the Nakba by organizations representing refugees in Lebanon surged in the 1990s due to the perception that the refugees’ right of return might be negotiated away in exchange for Palestinian statehood, and the desire was to send a clear message to the international community that this right was non-negotiable.[10]

so instead of protesting that Arafat wouldn’t let them into his Palestinian state, the one he’d be creating by (allegedly) giving up this right of return, thus leaving them – even after “independence” – in their brutal Lebanese captivity (naksba policy), the spokesmen for the Lebanese Palestinian refugees (and here i’m guessing a naksba elite, not the refugees whose suffering the world must see and blame on Israel) insist that Arafat not touch “their” right to return to Israel. Everyone show your ancestor’s key. Naqsba thinking all the way.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has prompted Palestinians like Mahmoud Darwish to describe the Nakba as “an extended present that promises to continue in the future.”[7]

a stark and pregnant description of the condition of his people. the Naksba mentality – blaming Israel, seeking revenge – is precisely what extends into the ongoing present, the Arab elites’ exploitation of, and sacrifice of, Arab people,especially those they designate “Palestinians,” thus perpetuating this Nakba into the future. 

Réponse au sujet de l’Islam et la culture d’honneur et honte

Réponse au sujet de l’Islam et la culture d’honneur et honte

J’ai reçu une requête par Facebook d’un chercheur français au sujet de mon article sur Edward Said et la culture d’honneur et de honte.

Il m’a adressé la question en anglais, j’ai répondu en français pour essayer de formuler mes idées dans une autre langue. Merci Jean Patrick Grumberg pour une lecture correctrice approfondie.

(i) would you have any idea why honor and shame-avoidance seem to be such strong motivations in the muslim world compared to most non-muslim countries?

La puissance du désir de recevoir les honneurs et la crainte (dread) de la honte (oneidophobie) est énorme. Tout individu y est lié toute sa vie, et tout culture passe par ce “code d’honneur primordial ” “primary honor code.” Cela prend une forme particulièrement tenace chez les tribus de guerriers comme les germains, les celtes, les romains, grecs, sioux, japonais, mongols, africains, bedouins, berbères, etc.

Cette dynamique guerrière se trouve partout dans le monde, et l’importance de la dynamique honneur-honte est universelle.

Par contre, en Occident, on a su (à travers le dernier millénaire) transférer pas mal de valeurs vers un “code d’honneur inférieur” “secondary honor code” qui renverse le sens moral de certaines pratiques culturelles clé – par exemple le duel, l’esclavage (v. Appiah, The Honor Code and Moral Revolutions). Ce processus a produit entre autres, les Démocraties, et la culture de connaissance/ technologie/ production qui en ce moment est l’hégémonie du monde (siècle de globalisation), et peut-être destructeur de ce même monde d’abondance.

Pourquoi les musulmans, en particulier les arabes, ont-ils eu plus de problèmes avec ce processus ? Tous le monde (y compris l’Occident) expérimente le processus qui consiste à arriver à une société civile et pacifique comme un traumatisme (pour l’Occident, voir l’oeuvre de Norman Cohn). Par contre, les autres cultures non-occidentales, même en gardant la dynamique honneur-honte à une place prédominante, arrivent néanmoins à s’adapter au monde moderne, et semblent mieux négocier cette transformation. (exemple le Japon, et pas mal de cultures confucéennes)

Le problème de l’Islam, dans sa forme politique (dar al Islam/dar al Harb) traduit les préoccupations d’honneur et honte en religiosité triomphaliste. “Nous avons la vraie foi, car nous dominons” (jeu de somme nulle). Donc la victoire d’un occident post-honneur (qu’ils voient comme une forme d’emasculation), constitue une insulte narcissique intolérable, surtout après l’humiliation globale que represente Israël – le destin interrompu. Ils sont donc dans une spirale négative où ils cherchent à détruire le succès de l’autre par leur autodestruction (somme negative, terrorisme suicidaire)

 

(ii) according to you, why has the quest for honor taken a more and more religious overtone since the 1970s in the muslim world, i.e. from Morocco to Indonesia?

D’abord, pour les musulmans du Proche-Orient (les arabes), le “nationalisme arabe” (oxymoron du premier ordre) recelait la promesse messianique : en devenant laïque on pourrait maitriser le monde moderne, et developper notre puissance pour a) détruire Israël (et laver notre visage noirci dans leur sang), et b) ainsi tenir tête (au moins) au Occidentaux.

Après la Naqbah de 1948, toute l’énergie des élites était dirigée dans cette direction, avec des résultats médiocres. Les pertes catastrophiques de 1967 et 1973 contre le minuscule Israël ont détruit la force de cette promesse de libération “nationale et laïque.” Donc le souterrain jihadiste (toujours présent même s’il n’est pas dans la conscience des Occidentaux qui insistent toujours pour ne voir les palestiniens qu’en termes laïcs comme mouvement “national”) a resurgi, car il y a  toujours eu un jihad.

Le nouveau message salafiste est le suivant :

“On n’a pas fait faillite devant le monde parce qu’on était insuffisamment séculiers (une concession humiliante à l’ennemi), mais parce qu’on était insuffisamment dévoué.”

Dans les deux cas, la motivation est de compenser la perte d’honneur, de se venger, de verser le sang et retrouver son statut d’homme d’honneur et de respect. Cet aspect religieux, bien qu’il va à l’encontre des mouvements globaux sécularisants, prend son élan avec l’arrivée du mujaddid en 1979 (voir la suite).

Dans le reste du monde musulman (le monde des peuples convertis, selon Naipaul), je crois qu’une dynamique alliée, mais beaucoup plus multidirectionnelle, s’est déclenchée surtout en 1400 AH (1979). C’est le 14e mujaddid, moment centenaire qui au moins depuis 200 AH (815 CE), promet aux croyant l’apparition d’un “restaurateur” (dans l’analyse apocalyptique: un rédempteur/mahdi avant l’avent du centenaire, restaurateur après, ex post defectu).

Ce fut certainement un élément clé dans la transformation de la théologie shi’ite de Khoumeini (par exemple à Paris) en mouvement révolutionnaire (ie millénariste) en 1400/1979, développement qui eu rapidement une réponse dans le monde Sunnite, surtout avec l’émergence d’al Qaeda et du Hamas (1408/1988).

Bref, le Mujaddid de 1400 déclencha (selon moi) la vague du millénarisme apocalyptique qui eu son point fort au tournant de notre centenaire/millénaire en 2000, et qui continue à croitre.

Yussuf al Qaradawi considère tout le 15e siècle, déclenché par le mujaddid, comme le temps pendant lequel le Dar al Islam global va s’étendre, non seulement par le Jihad, mais aussi, et même plus encore, par la Da’wa. Le premier sursaut de cet esprit apocalyptique/millénariste se voit déjà chez les musulmans non-arabes dans le récit de voyage de VS Naipaul publié en 1981, bien que pour lui, comme pour Gilles Kepel en 2000, c’était le crépuscule de ces zélotes. Le Pakistan nous fourni un bon exemple d’un militantisme islamiste lié à une culture d’honneur et honte très prononcé. (ainsi que l’Afghanistan et toutes les autres sociétés tribales musulmanes (Somalie, Niger, Soudan).

Ceci dit, on espère que dans les courants spirituels musulmans, on trouvera un millénarisme un peu moins triomphaliste, par exemple même démotique. Mais à présent, dans le monde musulman, les gens qui prônent la dynamique honneur-honte (primary code), les oneidophobes, dominent l’espace public (à savoir que ce sont eux qui définissent le cadre de l’honneur : s’occidentaliser c’est s’émasculer).

Ils ont un point de vue radical du jeu de somme nulle (qui devient facilement un jeu de somme négative – voir les nouveaux “martyrs” du 15e siècle), et n’hésitent pas à recourir à la violence pour imposer leur hégémonie (takfir), et donc, la revitalisation de l’Islam de nos jours est, pour la plupart, très belligérent non seulement contre les kufars (nous), mais aussi contre les musulmans insuffisamment mobilisés.

Je n’ai pas de solutions.

Je crois qu’on ne peut s’adresser à ces sujets qu’en commençant par la compréhension du problème, et ensuite (ou pendant le processus de compréhension), on trouve des solutions, ou au moins des chemins à suivre.

S’interdire de comprendre parce que les problèmes ainsi identifiés n’ont pas de solutions immédiate, ou parce que c’est un “racisme orientaliste” d’ainsi parler des sociétés musulmanes, ne me semble pas un processus de raisonnement mais plutôt de dhimmitude proleptique.

Jewish anti-Zionism: The proxy honor-killing

Available in Polish, translated by Malgorzata Koraszewska here.

The recent stunning performance of Marcia Freedman at the J-Street conference, calling for a one-state solution (almost surely not called Israel), in which an Arab majority would fiercely defend the rights of a protected Jewish minority, heartily applauded by an audience of alleged “pro-Israel, pro-Peace” attendees, has once again raised the question sent to me by someone who saw The J-Street Challenge:

WHY do J Street activists take these positions that they know are destructive to Israel’s chances for survival? 

Obviously, the easy way to answer is to claim they don’t realize the destructive nature of their “plan for peace.” Certainly this would hold for Ms. Freedman, who apparently believes that once Israel becomes a “true democracy [applause]” (whatever that means), that Jews won’t need to maintain control of the levers of power, since that now truly democratic “state” would secure the rights of the Jews no matter who was in power (e.g., an Arab majority).

Only someone struck with terminal cecity could not notice that beyond Israel’s borders, Arab majorities rarely protect the rights of minorities, especially those they feel threaten them. The notion that 2000 years of determined victimization of Jews without sovereignty means nothing, and that somehow an Arab majority would “fiercely defend the rights of the Jewish minority,” such ideas defy the reality-based social and political imagination. Freedman’s speech, so totally divorced from the all-too-human reality of this part of the world, gives us a sterling example of the vapid moral angélisme that animates so many anti-Zionist Jews.

[For those not convinced that J-Street pursues suicidal policies for the polity it professes to “love” – withdraw to ’67 borders as an unreciprocated concession – I’ve written about this elsewhere.]

Here I’d like to address my correspondent’s well-posed question by slightly rephrasing it:

Why do Jews identify with and promote Palestinian lethal narratives about Israel, and ally with, encourage, and promote groups who openly desire the destruction of Israel, even as they assure us (M.F. style) that we have nothing to fear from them?

In a word, I think they’re engaged in a long-term, proxy, honor-killing.

Eye for an Eye: On the moral chasm in the Arab-Israeli conflict

People who like to bait Jews enjoy accusing them of taking “an eye for an eye” in their fight with the Palestinians, despite its profound misunderstanding of the original source. (I argue that it’s also a indicator of equality before the law: unlike other law codes, Israelite law does not recognize aristocratic privilege in its “wergeld/manprice.”)

It’s also a favorite theme of pacifists arguing against retaliation, as, e.g., in the case of 9-11. Gandhi, in what I’m beginning to suspect was not an innocent misreading of the principle, is quoted for saying, “an eye for an eye and pretty soon the whole world is blind.

Here’s a good illustration of what the phrase means in reality. Nothing quite like an incident like this for clarity about the huge moral chasm that separates Israeli culture from Palestinian.

Monday, July 19, 2010
Israel Treats Palestinian Cancer Patient, Father Goes on Terror Rampage
Posted by Jameel @ The Muqata at 7/19/2010 01:09:00 PM

On the Monday morning of June 14, 2010, an Israeli policeman was killed and three others were injured when Palestinian terrorists opened fire at a police car near the Yehuda/West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai. The officers were making their way to Hebron from the southern city of Beersheba.

The killed officer was identified as Command Sergeant Major Yehoshua (Shuki) Sofer, 39, who had served in the Hebron region for 14 years. (YNET).

This morning, the Shin Bet cleared for publication, that the Shin Bet has arrested a Hamas cell believed to be behind the shooting attack.

The Paradox:

One of the cell’s heads said in his interrogation that just two weeks before he embarked on the attack, his six-year-old daughter was hospitalized in Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she had a tumor removed from her eye. The operation was funded by an Israeli organization. (YNET)

I’d love some more information here. How did this man talk about the two deeds – his and the Israeli hospital’s?