Why the Protestors of Hong Kong Are Destroying the Prosperity of Their Country

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Martin SIEFF

September 14, 2019

The people of Hong Kong enjoy one of the highest standards of livings of any city across continental Asia. Since peacefully being reabsorbed into mainland China in 1997, they have confounded endless Western Prophets of Doom: These falsely claimed that Beijing would not maintain its solemn undertakings for peace and security in the city and territory. They maintained that Hong Kong’s historic position as one of the great business hubs of Asia and the world would rapidly be destroyed. Nothing of the sort happened.

But the prosperity of Hong Kong for generations to come is danger now – and the threat manifestly does not come from Beijing.

The mass protests for greater democracy and freedom continue. And following a grim dynamic that goes back well over two centuries to the French Revolution they can never be satisfied.

The more that the administration of Hong Kong led by Carrie Lam and the national Chinese government in Beijing seek to avoid the undue use of force and the infliction of casualties, the more violent, the demonstrations slowly and remorselessly become, the broader and more sweeping are their demands for political liberties – though these are invariably vague and ill-defined.

I predict here – simply and clearly – that no matter how many concessions allegedly for liberty are given they will never satisfy the protestors and the Western governments who at the very least are using them as political puppets and pawns. All that can possibly be achieved is to create an atmosphere of fear, insecurity and violence: That is toxic to attract both Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and also regular investment from the rest of China.

Therefore Hong Kong’s economy will founder, while unemployment and economic suffering will grow. Then, those suffering from it will be encouraged to blame the very government that has sought so long and so hard to prevent disasters from happening.

I speak with a particular authority on these matters: Half a century ago as a teenage Irish boy, I watched the same kind of protests destroy forever the peace and prosperity of one of the most advanced industrial centers on the face of the planet in the city of Belfast.

The lessons I learned then would serve the people of Hong Kong well today before they bring an unimaginable disaster upon themselves.

For popular violent protests against authorities never bring peace: They only bring war – Almost always on a scale that none of the protestors dreamed of when they took to the streets.

Prosperity never follows. At best there is mass unemployment and despair as local businesses and national investment flee the territory for decades and generations. You do not build factories and hire workers for them when the factory will be burned down in one of the endless clashes that will soon follow.

The “freedom” that the protestors demand is illusory. It is fools’ gold: It is the fantasy of wealth at the end of the rainbow that is never found.

Hong Kong’s enormous economic advantage for nearly 180 years under first British and over the past two decades of enlightened Chinese autonomous rule has been that it has been a secure, predictable and safe place to do business with the Mainland and with the wider region.

But that is no longer true: The longer the protests rage and the wider and more serious they become, the more that incalculable advantage is eroded before our eyes.

When I was a young boy, my father on Sunday mornings proudly took me down to the Harland & Woolf Shipyard on Queen’s Island to see some of the biggest moving vehicles in the world – giant cargo vessels, tankers, aircraft carriers and cruise ships – being built.

My father was proud of his son, but he was proud of his city too: Belfast was still the largest ship building center on earth. The great shipyard at its peak employed 35,000 workers. Enormous rivers of humanity would flow back and forth on the bridge over the River Lagan every day as its workers streamed to and from their labors. But for most of the past 50 years, almost all of it has become an industrial wasteland peopled only by ghosts.

Peace finally returned to Northern Ireland after 30 years of civil strife, but it was too late. The great shipyard never recovered and it never revived. What had been done could not be undone.

If these riots continue, that will be the fate of Hong Kong too. Nearly two centuries of growth and prosperity will wither and die.

This is no wild prediction. It is tantamount to a mathematical inevitability: There is a remorseless tidal wave of fate to the pattern of rising political protests that escalate into a violent revolution that can only be contained by the use of military force.

The Civil War in Northern Ireland raged – sometimes horrifically, sometimes more subdued – from 1968 to the landmark Good Friday Agreement of 1998. My old, dear friend, British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Marjorie “Mo” Mowlam was the key figure driving the negotiations. She undermined her health doing so. Then a host of political parasites from US President Bill Clinton to British Prime Minister Tony Blair were eager to hog all the praise and credit for themselves years later as Mo lay dying from a brain tumor.

The decades that followed the collapse of law and order in Ireland in 1968-1972 were the darkest in the island’s troubled history since the Great Famine of the 1840s. The British government’s record of secret manipulation and involvement in dark excesses and crimes during those years gives London no moral standing today to lecture China on how it handles the unrest in Hong Kong, or anywhere else.

I never expected to see the end of apparently endless war in Ireland in my own lifetime. Thanks to Mo Mowlam’s selfless labors and those of countless other British and Irish figures great and small, peace finally came. The protestors of Hong Kong too now need to take a step back, suck in a deep breath and pause to think long and hard before they charge down that same doomed and awful path.

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“Greater Lebanon”: where to?

August 19, 2019

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Abou Omar, a close friend of mine, is one whom I have so much in common. Not only he was my boss many moons ago, but we were both brought up in political families that endorsed and advocated the unity and integrity of Syria.

When I caught up with him recently after many years, I was not surprised that our thoughts had many congruencies, and the discussion we had has given me the inspiration to write this article.

One does not have to be a member of the Social Syrian National Party (SSNP) to realize that Syria and Lebanon have been the same country up till nearly a century ago when French General Gouraud redrew the map of what was then called “Petit Liban” (ie Small Lebanon) and annexed to it other territories and gave the “Grand Liban” (Greater Lebanon) tag to the new entity.

One of my first articles on The Saker, if not the first, was titled “The Capitulation of Grand Liban” https://thesaker.is/the-capitulation-of-grand-liban/. It outlines briefly the history of Lebanon in the 100 years or so.

For the benefit of those who do not wish to read the whole article above, I reiterate that the term “Small Lebanon” was used to describe a predominantly Christian Maronite and Druze entity. This state was the love child of an uneasy concession of the ailing Ottoman Empire to European powers (Britain, France, Italy, Austria and Russia) to give Mount Lebanon a reprieve after decades of sectarian strife between the Maronites and the Druze. The Maronites, being Catholic, were France’s favourites, whilst the Druze were Britain’s.

In rebranding Lebanon, as it were, and for whichever reason, Gouraud decided to include a Muslim component to the Lebanese demography. To this effect, the predominantly Sunni coastal cities of Beirut, Tripoli, Saida plus other Sunni provinces in the North, together with some Shiite provinces in the South and the Beqaa Valley were included in the new Mosaic that gave, according to the 1932 census, a marginal Maronite majority and hence stipulated, perhaps as planned, that the President of Lebanon will have to be a Maronite Christian. http://countrystudies.us/lebanon/34.htm

The 1932 infamous census was used as the defining foundation of “fairness” upon which all positions in all tiers of government were established. So unlike other states that provide merit-based employment, not only the President of Lebanon had to be a Catholic Maronite, but the PM had to be a Sunni Muslim, the Speaker of the House a Shiite Muslim, his deputy a Christian Orthodox and so forth. Each electorate was represented on sectarian grounds by candidates of same religion and sect, and even unqualified positions had to be based on “sectarian equality”. A government office could not even hire a janitor even if it needed only one, it must hire two; a Christian and a Muslim.

It wasn’t till the 1989 Taif agreement that followed the sectarian Civil War that the 1932-based model was revisited. But after a decade and a half of blood bath, one would think that the failed sectarian model was dumped altogether, but it wasn’t. It was only amended to give Muslims equal number of Parliamentarians as against the former 11-9 split.

But that sectarian “compromise”, which in itself was a reason for conflict, was not the only problem Lebanon had and has. In the 1920’s, the “new” Sunni Lebanese did not want to belong to what they considered a Western puppet state, and they took to the streets chanting “We demand Syrian unity, Christians and Muslims”. A few decades later when Egyptian President Nasser rose to prominence, the children of the first generation of new Lebanese took to the streets with a slightly amended version of the slogan demanding Arab unity for Christians and Muslims.

The Right-wing Lebanese Christians therefore felt Lebanese Muslims are fifth columnists who are not loyal to Lebanon, and as the rift grew and the Lebanese Left supported the PLO in its struggle, the Christian Right formed well trained and equipped militia, and the 1975-1989 Civil War was an inevitable outcome.

When the Syrian Army entered Lebanon in 1976 upon the request of the Lebanese Government, Syria had a golden opportunity to mend the growing rift between Lebanon and Syria, a rift that was fanned by pre-Civil War economic and development successes of Westernized Lebanon as opposed to an impoverished socialist Syria. But by then, Syria was on the road towards recovery under a huge nation-building scheme that was put in place by President Hafez Assad, the father of the current President and the founder of the Assad legacy.

Ironically, even after four and a half decades of the Lebanese slump and Syrian rise (despite the war), some Lebanese still live in the past and feel and act superior to their Syrian cousins. I say cousins not only metaphorically, but also because there is hardly a family in Lebanon that doesn’t have family in Syria.

But during the 29 year long presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon, Syria did not manage to win the hearts and minds of the average apprehensive Lebanese. Among many other acts of corruption, Abou Omar’s (my friend) car was stolen by a corrupt Syrian Army officer. Acts of such nature did not sway those who understood the basics of the anti-Syrian politics. Abou Omar was a victim of corrupt Syrian Army thugs, but his loyalty to Syria remained unwavering.

Ironically, eventually a substantial section of Lebanese Sunnis became aggressively Lebanese in their outlook. It is possible that the current anti Hezbollah passion has united some Sunnis and Christians against a “common enemy”. But perhaps by the time they developed this sentiment, it was already too late for Great Lebanon to rise from the ashes.

And whilst the Lebanese economy is going down the gurgler, corruption is having a huge surge and the state is now virtually bankrupt with very heavy debt and no solution in sight. Corruption has reached epic proportions that recently, a Lebanese Member of Parliament has publically said in the House that the public knows that politicians are lying to the public about the debt, and the politicians know that the public knows that the politicians are lying. https://www.facebook.com/1234196636614228/posts/2624089564291588?s=549881917&v=e&sfns=mo (Facebook link).

During the Civil War, the specter of Lebanese partition was always on the cards and high on some agendas. Back then, the scenario for such a partition was that Israel would take South Lebanon and control the Litani River water, a Maronite “canton” akin to the former Small Lebanon would be created, and the North and the Beqaa would go back to Syria.

Such a partition scenario is no longer feasible, mainly because there is a new force on the ground; Hezbollah.

With Hezbollah on the ground, Israel will never be able to secure any territorial gains in Lebanon. Furthermore, the Maronite politicians ie members of the so-called “The Maronite Political Entity” are now split between a traditional Right and pro-Hezbollah faction. The incumbent President Aoun belongs to the latter group, but his tenure has thus far been plagued by bigtime corruption and squandering of resources.

Aoun’s ascendance to the presidency was not an easy birth. It was fraught with hard labour and many political settlements; the most important of which was the reconciliation of Maronite leaders. Another friend of mine, a former ambassador, a Sunni, told me back then that he felt that the Maronite-Maronite reconciliation puts Lebanon finally in good hands. This is because the Maronites are meant to be the custodians of Lebanon, the integrity of its statehood and independence, and that they would rebuild the state and its economy. But the Aoun presidency has failed abysmally and poured oil onto fire with its rampant corruption. Aoun, who is in his eighties, has given the actual reigns to his son-in-law Gibran Bassil, and Bassil is one hell of a corrupt crook with an insatiable fetish for dirty money.

General Gouraud announced the birth Greater Lebanon 99 years ago, and specifically on on the 1st of September 1920 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Lebanon. Will this state survive another century? It is simply cannot, because it is heading towards a cliff edge, and heading there fast.

So where does Greater Lebanon go from here?

With partition no longer on the agenda and Israel kept at arm’s length, Lebanon can only eventually merge back with Syria; but currently this is not possible given that the “War on Syria” has not yet ended.

Sooner or later, one way or the other, willingly or unwillingly, fully or partially, and I dare say for better or for worse, the Lebanese will see themselves back in the bosom of Syria. This however will be faced by resistance; not necessarily armed resistance, but one cannot zero out violence. Ironically this time, the biggest opponents may prove to be the anti-Syria Sunnis in the major coastal cities of Beirut, Tripoli and Saida. The Right wing Lebanese Christian groups will also oppose any such merger, but the much wiser Lebanese Christians understand that Syria has proven to be the actual defender and custodian of Levantine Christianity when the West stood by and watched young Christian Syrian girls sold as sex slaves.

The success or failure of the future “Take 2” version of the Syrian Army entering Lebanon will also depend on to what extent victorious Syria will be able to curb corruption within Syria first. A repeat of the 1976-2005 experience of Syrian Army presence in Lebanon will ultimately lead to another unsavoury outcome.

Syria has to win her moral war like she won her military war; and I have been emphasizing the need to do so in many previous articles, because unlike most other wars, this war has been a war of morality against immorality. Morality and corruption do not mix, and fighting corruption should now be high on President Assad’s agenda.

But above all, Syria is the key for the future of the region. She is the key for the regional geopolitical make-up, the key for Lebanon, the key for justice for Palestinians, the key for Palestine, the key for any matter pertaining to the Levant, because Syria is The Levant.

14 آب ليس يوماً مضى بل صيرورة مستمرة… والمطلوب؟

أغسطس 14, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– في الرابع عشر من آب 2006 تحقق عظيم الإنجاز بما يقارب الإعجاز في نصر تاريخي هزم أعتى قوة يعتمد عليها الغرب في فرض سياساته على الشرق، وبزغ فجر حركات المقاومة لتعيد كتابة التاريخ وترسم حدود الجغرافيا باسم الشعوب التي غيّبت طويلاً عن قضاياها المركزية، حيث ترجمت المقاومة التي احتفلت بانتصارها كل شعوب المنطقة إرادة هذه الشعوب في تعبير نوعي عن مفهوم الديمقراطية والإرادة الشعبية. بالتوازي سقطت أحلام وتهاوت أبراج من الأوهام، حيث كل ما سيهدد به الغرب لاحقاً هو ما سبق وما فعله سابقاً، وكانت حرب تموز البديل الذي راهن عليه لاستعادة ماء وجهه بعد حربين فاشلتين في أفغانستان والعراق، لتشكيل شرقه الأوسط الجديد كما بات ما لا يحتاج دليلاً ولا برهاناً، وأصيبت «إسرائيل» في روحها، حيث لن تنفعها بعد ذلك لا قبب حديدية وفولاذية ولا خطط ترميم لقوة الردع ولا استعادة العافية لجبهة داخلية أصيبت بمرض عضال لا شفاء منه، وخرج الشعب في مسيراته المهيبة فجر الرابع عشر من آب يكلل النصر بالمزيد من التضحيات حاضناً مقاومته وفارضاً تفسيره للقرار الأممي 1701، وخرج الجيش اللبناني المتوّج بالثلاثية الذهبية مع شعب ومقاومة لا ينازعانه الحضور العلني لعروض القوة، كأقوى جيوش المنطقة بهذين الرديفين، لا تعوزه المساعدات ولا الرعاية الأميركية الهادفة لتجريده من أقوى ما عنده، وهو الثلاثية المقدسة التي أكدها النصر.

– الصيرورة المستمرة لمعادلات 14 آب ظهرت مع تعميم نموذج المقاومة من لبنان وفلسطين إلى العراق واليمن، وظهرت في النموذج السوري لمقاومة الغزوة الدولية الكبرى، وفي صمود إيران، وفي نهوض روسيا لدورها كدولة عظمى، وفي استفاقة التنين الصيني للمنازلة في ساحات الاقتصاد تمهيداً لمنازلات مقبلة في سواها. وفي هذه الصيرورة تأكدت معادلات نصر آب، وترسخت وتعملقت، وخلال الأعوام التي مضت حاول الأميركي والإسرائيلي وما بينهما من حكام الخليج والغرب، وبعض الداخل اللبناني والعربي والإسلامي تعويض نواقص الحرب ومعالجة أسباب الهزيمة، فكانت كل حرب لإضعاف المقاومة تزيدها قوة.

– قرأ المعنيون بالهزيمة على تنوّع مشاربهم وهوياتهم أن نصر آب هو نتيجة الطبيعة الخارجية للحرب، وأن تفوق المقاومة على جيش الاحتلال تقنياً جاء بفعل أسلحة لا قيمة لها في مواجهات داخلية، فكانت تجربة الفتنة الداخلية، من محاولة كسر الاعتصام الذي دعت إليه المقاومة وحلفاؤها في مطلع العام 2007، وصولاً لقرار تفكيك شبكة اتصالات المقاومة، تمهيداً لتوريطها في فخ التصادم مع الجيش وتفتيت الشعب إلى قبائل متحاربة، فكانت عملية 7 أيار، التي يقدمها البعض دليلاً على استخدام المقاومة لسلاحها نحو الداخل اللبناني، تأكيداً لمعادلة العجز الشامل عن كسر مصادر قوة المقاومة. ومثلها جاءت الحرب على سورية وما رافقها من استقدام كل منتجات الفكر الوهابي أملاً بتعويض عجز جيش الاحتلال عن بذل الدماء باستحضار من لا يقيم لها حساباً، فجاءت نتائج الحرب تقول إن مصادر قوة المقاومة لم تمسها لا محاولات الفتن الداخلية، ولا المواجهة مع تشكيلات الإرهاب التكفيري.

– اليوم ومع تسيّد معادلات المقاومة على مساحة المنطقة من مضيق هرمز إلى مضيق باب المندب ومضيق جبل طارق، ومضيق البوسفور، وما بينها من بحار ويابسة، تبقى المعضلة في قدرة مشروع المقاومة على بلورة نموذج للحكم يُحاكي نجاحاتها في مواجهة العدوان والاحتلال والإرهاب، فيما السلاح الاقتصادي الهادف لتفجير معادلات الدول من داخلها يشكل أهم استثمارات المشروع الأميركي، ويبدو أن إعادة تنظيم الدولة الوطنية ومؤسساتها يسبق في الأهمية الحلول الاقتصادية والمالية التقنية في خطة المواجهة. وهنا لا بد من التأكيد أن بناء الدولة القوية كهدف يبقى هو العنوان، والمقاومة محور تحالفات عن يمينها وعن يسارها ما يكفي لموازين القوى اللازمة لمفهوم الدولة المرتجاة مع مراعاة ضرورات الواقعية والمرونة، وحيث يتحدث الجميع عن الدولة المدنية كإطار للحل، يتباين المفهوم حول طبيعتها، وتبدو المقاومة معنية ببدء الحوار الجاد حول هذا المفهوم خصوصاً مع حليفيها الاستراتيجيين في حركة أمل والتيار الوطني الحر ومعهما حلفاء أصيلون بالمناداة بالدولة المدنية ويحملون نموذجهم اللاطائفي إثباتاً على إمكان تخطي الطائفية، كما حمل مشروع المقاومة الإثبات على إمكانية هزيمة الاحتلال، وهؤلاء الذين يتقدمهم الحزب السوري القومي الإجتماعي متطلعون لهذا الحوار الجاد من موقعهم الشريك في مشروع المقاومة ومعاركها، والهدف هو البدء ببلورة مفهوم موحد، سيكون وحده الجواب على التحديات، خصوصاً ان الهواجس التي يثيرها طرح التيار الوطني الحر بالدعوة لتطبيق عنوان الدولة المدنية بما يتخطى إلغاء الطائفية كشرط للسير بها، ليست هواجس العلمانيين بل هي هواجس تمسّ ما يهتم به حزب الله من شؤون تتصل بدور الدين في الدولة وكيفية الفصل والوصل بينهما وضمن أي حدود. وما يثيره حلفاء حزب الله الذين يثير هواجسهم خطاب الحقوق المسيحية التي ينادي بها التيار الوطني الحر كتعبير عن تصعيد للعصبيات الطائفية، لا يخشونها من موقع طائفي وهم عابرون للطوائف، بل من موقع الحرص على عدم إثارة العصبيات، بينما في هذه اللغة ما يثير مباشرة هواجس قواعد وجمهور المقاومة وبيئتها الحاضنة.

– المهمة ليست سهلة، لكنها ليست أصعب من مقتضيات النصر في آب 2006، وأهميتها في كونها تكمل حلقات النصر، وتجعله مشروعاً وصيرورة، لا مجرد لحظة تاريخية مجيدة.

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دروس في ذكرى الحرب اللبنانية

أبريل 13, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– قبل أربعة وأربعين عاماً انطلقت الشرارة التي أشعلت حرباً امتدت لخمسة عشر عاماً في لبنان، قبل أن تنتهي باتفاق الطائف الذي أعاد ترسيم حدود التوازنات المحلية والإقليمية التي ستحكم لبنان الخارج من الحرب، والأكيد أن هذا الحدث اللبناني والعربي والإقليمي الكبير وما استدرجه من سياسات وتطوّرات كان الاجتياح الإسرائيلي عام 1982 أبرزها، وكان اتفاق السابع عشر من أيار لإنهاء علاقة لبنان بالصراع مع «إسرائيل»، برعاية أميركية مباشرة وحضور عسكري أميركي مباشر أحد أهم ملامحها الدولية والإقليمية، تحتاج إلى الكثير من الدراسة والبحث لفهم أسبابها العميقة، الأعمق والأبعد من فهم أطراف الحرب لسياق انخراطهم أو تورطهم فيها.

– الدرس الأهم الذي تقوله الحرب اللبنانية خصوصاً للجيل الذي انخرط في غمارها تحت شعارات اعتقد أن الحرب سبيله لتحقيقها، أن الحماسة والصدق لا يعوّضان عدم دقة الحسابات، وأن النيات الطيبة كثيراً ما تخدم في ساحات حساسة وفي لحظات حرجة مشاريع شريرة، فقد ثبت سوء الخيار وعقم الرهان، بعد سنوات من الحرب تكفلت بإحراق الأخضر واليابس وإيقاظ العصبيات والغرائز وتدمير العمران في الحجر والبشر، واستخلاف أجيال ولدت وترعرعت في ثقافة التعصب والقتل والجهل والعصبية على مصير وطن، تقاتل حول هويته ومستقبله قادة الحركة الطالبية والمثقفون والحالمون بالتغيير، كل على هواه ووفق رؤيته. وصار وقف الحرب أغلى من أي هدف يبرر استمرارها، وصار الثابت الوحيد أن الخط الأحمر الذي يجب أن يحكم كل مشروع سياسي حالم يميناً أو يساراً، هو عدم المجازفة بالسلم الأهلي، الذي صار كما المقاومة التي أدارت ظهرها للحرب الداخلية ومقتضيات الانخراط فيها، ثمرتان ذهبيتان يكفي الحفاظ عليهما إطاراً لأي مشروع سياسي جدي، يرى تحسين الأداء السياسي والإصلاح السياسي والتقدّم في بناء الدولة ومهماتها، أهدافاً نبيلة يقتضي الخوض فيها والسعي إليها مع الحذر من الوقوع في محظور المساس بإحدى هاتين الثمرتين أو إحداهما.

– تحتاج الحركات الاحتجاجية الناشئة في العالم العربي، سواء تلك التي اكتوت بخماسين الربيع العربي، أو تلك التي تختبر مشاريعها التغييرية الآن، إلى هذا الدرس ومثله درس ثانٍ حول كون الدولة، كهياكل لإدارة الشأن العام، بمعزل عن درجة صواب خياراتها السياسية الداخلية والخارجية، منجزاً حضارياً وإنسانياً يشكّل التفريط به تحت شعار الثورية والتغيير، عملاً أحمق وقفزة في المجهول ومخاطرة بالذهاب إلى الفوضى وشريعة الغاب واستيلاد أشكال من التوحش السياسي والاجتماعي، تستجلب معها كائنات تناسب استمرارها وتناسلها ثقافة وسلوكاً، تتكفل بخلق سياقها وتناسلها، وتحويل الأوطان ساحات تعبث بها كل أشكال التدخلات الخارجية، وتستثمر فيها كل أجهزة المخابرات، وتستنهض كل العصبيات والغرائز، بحيث يمكن القول بمسؤولية إن الدولة السيئة تبقى أفضل ألف مرة من اللادولة، وإن السعي لتغيير سياسات وأداء الدولة يجب أن يلتزم الحذر من الوقوع في فخ تدمير هياكل الدولة، والذهاب نحو تشريع الفوضى. وهذا لا يجوز أن يعني دعوة للتكلّس والذعر من كل دعوة للتغيير، بل الحذر من التسرّع في إجراء الحسابات واستسهال القفز إلى المجهول.

– أسئلة لا بد من الجواب عليها بتأنٍ حول الحرب اللبنانية ومثلها حروب أخرى، تتصل بالنظرة الغربية لكيانات المنطقة، التي رسمت حدودها بأقلام القناصل وخرائط وزراء الخارجية، وأبرز ما فيها ذلك التلازم بين اتفاق سايكس بيكو ووعد بلفور، والحاجة الوظيفية لترسيم الحدود في تمرير نشوء كيان الاحتلال الاستيطاني في فلسطين، والحاجة لامتصاص الفائض السكاني الناتج عن تهجير الفلسطينيين دون امتلاك فائض قوة يتيح التفكير بالحرب، وتركيب معادلات للديمغرافيا السكانية داخل حدود كيانات الجغرافيا السياسية للكيانات، تتيح تفجيرها من الداخل عند فشلها في تحقيق الهدف، كما حدث مع لبنان، أو عند امتلاكها فائض قوة يهدد أمن «إسرائيل»، كما يحدث اليوم مع لبنان، وكما قالت الحرب على سورية أمس، وكما هو الحال منذ عقد ونيّف في العراق.

– هل بلغ اللبنانيون رشداً سياسياً كافياً لسلوكهم طريق بناء دولة عصيّة على اللعب بتوازنات الديمغرافيا، وعصيّة على الحرب بقوة إدراك قواعد الجغرافيا، وعصيّة على الكسر بالتهديد، وعصيّة على العصر بالإغراءات؟

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Civil War Coming to America?

February 12, 2019

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‘How the West Eats Its Children’

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By Thierry Meyssan

For Thierry Meyssan, by taking to the streets, the French have become the first Western population to take personal risks to oppose financial globalisation. Although they do not realise it, and still imagine that their problems are exclusively national, their enemy is the same force that crushed the region of the African Great Lakes and a part of the Greater Middle East. In order to understand the project which inextricably unites these apparently disparate events, we have to take a step back.

The cause of Western recession

International relations experienced a profound change with the paralysis of the Soviet Union in 1986, when the State was unable to control the civilian nuclear incident in Tchernobyl [1], then with the revocation of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, when the East German Communist Party [2] destroyed the Berlin Wall, and finally, with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

At that time, the President of the United States, George Bush Sr., decided to demobilise one million soldiers and devote the efforts of his country to its own prosperity. He wanted to transform US hegemony within its zone of influence, and expand it into that of the leader of the world, the guarantor of world stability. With that, he laid the foundations for a « New World Order », first of all in the speech he gave side by side with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at the Aspen Institute (2 August 1990), then during his speech to Congress (11 September 1990), announcing operation « Desert Storm » [3].

The world of the après-Soviet Union is one of free circulation, not only of merchandise, but also world capital, under the unique control of the United States. In other words, the passage from capitalism to financialisation – not the triumphant culmination of free exchange, but an exacerbated form of colonial exploitation of the whole world, including the West. Within the space of a quarter of a century, the major US fortunes have multiplied many times, and the global wealth of the world has increased considerably.

By allowing capitalism to run wild, President Bush Sr. hoped to extend prosperity to the world. But capitalism is not a political project, it is simply a system of logic designed for creating profit. The logic of the US multinationals was to increase their profits by delocalising production to China, where it is now possible, and where workers are the lowest paid in the world.

Those who were prepared to measure the cost of this advance for the West were few and far between. New middle classes began to appear in the third world, and although they were, of course, far less wealthy than those in the West, they enabled new, mainly Asian states, to play a rôle on the world stage. But simultaneously, Western middle classes began to disappear [4], meaning that it became impossible for the democratic institutions they built to survive. Above all, the populations of entire regions were to be entirely crushed, starting with those of the African Great Lakes. This first regional war caused 6 million deaths, in Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and was met with general incomprehension and indifference. The aim was to continue to seize the natural resources of these countries, but to pay less and less for them, which meant dealing with gangs rather than with the States who had to feed their populations.

The sociological transformation of the world is happening very fast and is clearly without precedent, although we do not have the statistical tools available today to evaluate it with precision. However, everyone can witness the increase in power of Eurasia, (not in the Gaullist sense of « Brest to Vladivostok », but that of Russia and Asia without Western and Central Europe), which seeks liberty and prosperity, while the Western powers, including the United States, are slowly and progressively declining, limiting individual freedom and ejecting half of their population into zones of poverty.

Today, the percentage of imprisonment in China is four times inferior to that of the United States,while their purchasing power is slightly higher. Objectively therefore, with all its faults, Chine has become a freer and more prosperous country than the United States.

This process was predictable from the beginning. Its application was studied for a long time. So, on 1 September 1987, a US forty-year-old published a page of counter-current publicity in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. He warned his compatriots about the rôle that President Bush Sr. was planning to allocate to the United States – to assume and finance out of their own pockets the responsibility for the developing « New World Order ». People read it and laughed. The author of these texts was real estate promoter, Donald Trump.

The application of the economic model to international relations

One month after the attacks of 11 September 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld nominated his friend Admiral Arthur Cebrowski as Director of the new Office of Force Transformation. He was tasked with changing the culture of the entire US military in order to enable it to respond to a complete change in its mission

There was no longer question of using US armies to defend principles or interests, but to use them for a reorganisation of the world by dividing it into two parts – one one side the states integrated into the globalised economy, and on the other, the others [5]. The Pentagon would no longer fight wars in order to steal natural resources, but to control access to those resources by the globalised nations. A division directly inspired by the process of globalisation which had already trashed half of the Western populations. This time, it was half of the world’s population which was to be excluded [6].

The reorganisation of the world began in the political zone known as the « Greater Middle East », that is to say stretching from Afghanistan to Morocco, with the exception of Israël, Lebanon and Jordan. This brought about the alleged epidemic of civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, which has already caused several million deaths.

Like a monster eating its own children, the global financial system based in the United States faced its first crisis in 2008, when the subprime bubble burst. Contrary to a commonly-held belief, this was absolutely not a global crisis, but a Western problem. For the first time, the NATO states experienced the first consequences of the policy they were supporting. Yet the upper Western classes changed nothing in their behaviour, as they witnessed with compassion the wreck of the middle classes. The only notable modification was the adoption of the « Volcker rule » [7], which forbade banks from profiting from information obtained from their clients in order to speculate against their interests. But while conflicts of interest enabled a number of crooks to get rich fast, they are not the root of the problem, which is far more wide-reaching.

The revolt of the Western populations

The revolt of the Western middle and working classes against the globalised upper class began two years ago.

Aware of the Western recession as compared with Asia, the people of the United Kingdom were the first to attempt to save its life-style by leaving the European Union and turning to China and the Commonwealth (referendum of 23 June 2016) [8]. Unfortunately, the leaders of the United Kingdom were unable to conclude the agreement they hoped for with China and experienced great difficulty in reactivating their links with the Commonwealth.

Then, witnessing the collapse of their civil industries, a part of the United States voted, on 8 November 2016, for the only Presidential candidate who was opposed to the New World Order, Donald Trump. He spoke of a return to the « American dream ». Unfortunately for his voters, although Donald Trump began to question the rules of globalised commerce, he had no team with him apart from his family, and was only able to modify, but not change, the military strategy of his country. Almost all of the general officers had adopted the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski ideology, and could no longer imagine themselves in any other role than defenders of financial globalisation.

Aware of the collapse of their national industry, and certain that they would be betrayed by their upper class, the Italians voted, on 4 March 2018, for an anti-system party composed of the Ligue and the 5-star Movement. These parties built an alliance in order to implement social policies. Unfortunately, they were rejected by the European Union [9]. In France, tens of thousands of SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises), subcontractors of industry, had gone bankrupt over the last ten years, but their compulsory tax deductions, already among the highest in the world, increased by 30 % over the same period.

Several hundreds of thousands of French people suddenly took to the streets to demonstrate against abusive financial measures. Unfortunately for them, the French upper classes have been contaminated by the very idea that was rejected by the United States, and therefore did their best to adapt their policies to the popular revolt, but not to change its basic causes.

If we look at each of these four countries separately, we will find four different explanations for what is happening there. But if we analyse the situation as a single phenomenon affecting different cultures, we will discover the same mechanisms across the board. In these four countries, consecutive with the end of capitalism, the middle classes disappeared more or less rapidly, and with them the political system that they incarnated – Democracy.

So either the Western leaders abandon the financial system they have developed and return to the productive capitalism of the Cold War, or they will have to invent a different organisation that no-one has so far been able imagine. Failing that, the West, which has directed the world for five centuries, will sink into a long period of internal chaos.

The Syrians were the first non-globalised People capable of surviving and resisting the destruction of Rumsfeld-Cebrowski’s infra-world. The French were the first globalised people to rise up against the destruction of the West, even if they are not aware that they are fighting the same unique enemy of all of humanity. President Emmanuel Macron is not the man for the situation, not because he has any responsibility for the system that preceded him, but because he is pure product of that system. In response to the riots in his country, he spoke from the G20 in Buenos-Aires, declaring that the meeting was a success in his eyes, (which it was not), and that he intended to advance more efficiently than his predecessors – in the wrong direction.

How to save privilege

It appears that the British ruling class has its solution – if London in particular and the Western nations in general are no longer capable of ruling the world, it will be necessary to cut one’s losses and divide the world into two distinct zones. This is the policy implemented by Obama in the final months of his presidency [10], then by Theresa May, and now by Donald Trump, with their refusal to cooperate and their ready-made accusations, first of all against Russia and now against China.

It also seems that Russia and China, despite their historical rivalry, are aware that they will never be able to ally themselves with these Westerners who have never ceased trying to carve them up. This is the source of their project, the « Eurasian Economic Union » – if the world must be split in two, each participant will have to organise its own. In concrete terms, for Beijing, this means abandoning half of its « Silk Road » project and its redeployment with Moscow only in Greater Eurasia.

How to determine the line of demarcation

For the West and Greater Eurasia, it will be necessary to determine the split line as fast as possible. For example, what side will Ukraine choose? The construction by Russia of the Kertch bridge was aimed at separating the country, absorbing the Donbass and the Azov Sea basin, then Odessa and Transnistria. On the contrary, the incident at Kertch, organised by the Western powers, is aimed at enrolling all of Ukraine into NATO before the country fractures.

Since the ship of financial globalisation is sinking, many people are beginning to save their personal interests without any care for others. For example this is the source of the tension between the European Union and the United States. As far as this game is concerned, the Zionist movement has always had a length’s lead, which explains the mutation of Israëli strategy, which has abandoned Syria to Russia, and turned to both the Gulf States and East Africa.

Perspectives

Taking into account what is at play here, it is obvious that the insurrection in France is only the beginning of a much wider process which is going to spread to other Western countries.

It would be absurd to believe that at a time of financial globalisation, a government, whatever it might be, could resolve the problems of its country without first of all questioning international relations and at the same time regaining its capacity for action. But precisely, foreign policy has been kept on the sidelines of the democratic field since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is both necessary and urgent to resign from almost all of the treaties and engagements of the last thirty years. Only the states which are able to re-affirm their sovereignty can hope to recover.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] According to Michaïl Gorbatchev, this was the event that made possible the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in so far as it delegitimised the State.

[2] Contrary to a commonly-held belief in the West, it was the nationalists from the East-German Communist Party (and the Lutheran churches), and not the anti-Communists (and pro-US movements), who broke down the symbol of Soviet domination, the Wall.

[3] The main purpose of the invasion of Iraq was not to liberate Kuwaït, but to use this affair to build the strongest coalition possible under US command, including the USSR.

[4Global Inequality. A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Branko Milanovic, Harvard University Press, 2016.

[5] “The US military project for the world”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 22 August 2017.

[6] It is obvious that the wars of Bush Jr. and Obama were never intended to expand the Empire. First of all because by definition, democracy can only come from the People, not imposed by bombs. And then because the United States was already a plutocracy.

[7] The ex-president of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, is on the other hand, one of the architects of global financialisation. It is Volcker who took legal action on behalf of the UNO against the people and entities who had helped Iraq to bypass the UN embargo (the « oil for food » affair). Volcker is one of the principal personalities of the Pilgrim’s Society, the trans-Atlantic club presided by Queen Elizabeth II. As such, he became the main economic advisor to President Barack Obama, and organised part of his cabinet.

[8] “The new British Foreign Policy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 4 July 2016.

[9] Replacing the European Common Market, which was originally a system for cooperation between states, the European Union, as defined by the Treaty of Maastricht, is a supranational

[10] “Two separate worlds”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 8 November 2016.

Jewish Politics in America – A Post Political View

November 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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I was invited to join the Unz Review, here is a link to my first contribution:

http://www.unz.com/

“The two contradictory Jewish ideologies (Identitarianism and Israelism) are each well- ensconced within the two rival ideologies that are tearing America apart. The red Republican counties want America to be Israel Again. The large metropolitan areas near America’s coasts have adopted the twelve tribes of Israel model – a loose Identitarian coalition threatened by Samaritans, Canaanites, Amalekites or as Hillary Clinton calls them the ‘basket of deplorables.’

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In 1994 I enrolled in a postgraduate course in philosophy at a British University. On my first day at the University I had to complete a few routine administrative duties such as registering my name with the philosophy department and meeting my supervisors. I was also told that I had to join the student union. Being a subservient type, I walked over to the Student Union hall where I soon realized that the task was slightly more complicated than I had expected. There were a plethora of student unions to choose from: The Black Student Union, The Asian Student Association, The Socialist Students, The Gay Student Society and more. Confused, I asked for assistance. They asked where I was from. When I told them “Israel,” I was told that the “Jewish Student Union” was my home.

It was then, at the Student Union Hall, that I first encountered the identity split between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. It would take some time before I was able to define this binary tension in philosophical or post political terms and before I understood the Jewish dilemma in terms of Nationalist/Identitarian dialectics. Two decades later, the political battle now going on in America is basically an extension of that internal Jewish debate.

Back in 1994 I didn’t see any reason to join the Jewish Student Union. I had never identified ‘as a Jew’ and Judaism meant little to me. Israel was my place of birth. My ‘identity’ as I then saw it was geographically oriented. Fortunately, I managed to complete my postgraduate course without becoming a ‘union member.’ But my thoughts about that morning at the student union hall have evolved into a few controversial books and hundreds of papers on ID politics and the current Identitarian dystopia.

In 2011 I wrote The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. The premise of the book was that if Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’ then we have to dissect the meaning of the J-Word. We have to grasp how Judaism (the religion), Jews (the people) and Jewishness (the spirit, ideology and culture) relate to each other and how these terms influence Israeli politics and the activities of the Jewish Lobby around the world. Instead of studying ‘Zionism,’ an archaic term that is not relevant to most Israelis, my book focused on Jewish identifications. I did not address the problematic question of ‘who and what Jews are,’ I tried instead to find out what those who call themselves Jews identify with.

While this question is certainly germane to an understanding of Israel and the Middle East conflict, it is also crucial to an understanding of the current American dystopia. Instead of asking ‘who Americans are’ let us explore what Americans identify with.

In the post-political era, America is divided into two camps, let’s call them Americans and Identitarians. Americans see themselves primarily as American patriots. They often subscribe to a nationalist populist ideology and, like the Israelis, identify with a piece of geography. On the other hand, Identitarians are primarily liberals and progressives. They identify themselves in biological and sociological terms, and they see themselves first as LGBTQ, Latino, Black, Jewish, feminist etc. Their bond with the American nationalist ethos is at most secondary and often non-existent.

This division in America between ‘nationalism’ and ‘identitarianism’ is similar to the dichotomy I observed at the student union hall in 1994. In fact, Israel has become a prime model for American nationalists. Similarly, it is Jewish progressive ideology that inspires Identitarians globally and in America in particular. It is the pervasiveness of Jewish ideologies within both nationalist and Identitarian discourses that sustains the dominance of Jewish and Israeli political institutions in American politics.

The Israeli Lobby’s hegemony over American foreign policy and its force in advocating policies that favor Israel has been widely recognized. Numerous studies on the topic have been published, such as: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Prof John Mearsheimer and Prof Stephen Walt), The Power of Israel in The United State (Professor James Petras). Alison Weir’s website, If Americans Knew routinely presents a devastating chronicle of Israeli intervention in American politics. The Washington Report on the Middle East Affairs has been producing outstanding work as well. The crucial question is, why have Americans let this happen?

My study of Jewish ID politics suggests that America isn’t just influenced by one Jewish lobby or another. The entire American political-cultural-spiritual spectrum has been transformed into a internal Jewish exchange. Most American do not see the true nature of the battle they participate in and, for the obvious reasons, their media and their academics do not help. It is more convenient to keep Americans in the dark.

America is rapidly moving towards a civil war. The divide isn’t only ideological or political. The split is geographical, spiritual, educational and demographical. In a Voxarticle titled, “The Midterm Elections Revealed that America is in a Cold Civil War,” Zack Beauchamp writes, “This is a country fundamentally split in two, with no real room for compromise.” Of the midterm election Beauchamp reports that “American politics is polarized not on the basis of class or even ideology, but on identity… One side open to mass immigration and changes to the country’s traditional racial hierarchy, the other is deeply hostile to it.” He correctly observes that “Republicans and Democrats see themselves as part of cultural groups that are fundamentally distinct: They consume different media and attend different churches; live in distinct kinds of places and rarely interact with people who disagree with them.”

Despite this American schism, Israel and its Lobby are somehow able to influence both sides, managing to finding pathways to the secluded corridors of both parties. Although Democrats and Republicans can no longer talk to each other, it seems that both are happy to talk to Israel and the Lobby. And it is at AIPAC’s annual conference that these political foes compete in their eagerness to appease a foreign state. This anomaly in American politics demands attention.

As a former Israeli, I had not observed the effects of the Israel/ Jewish Diaspora dilemma until I had my experience at the Student Union Hall in Britain. Israel was born with the Zionist desire to eradicate the identity of Jews as cosmopolitans. Zionism promised to bond the Jew with the soil, with a territory, with borders. Thus, it is consistent with the Zionist paradigm that Israel is notorious for its appalling treatment of asylum seekers, immigrants and, of course, the indigenous people of the land. Israel has surrounded itself with separation walls. Israel deployed hundreds of snipers in its fight to stop the March of Return – a ‘caravan’ of Palestinian refugees who were marching towards its border. Israel has been putting into daily practice that which Trump has promised to deliver. For a Trump supporter, Israel’s politics is a wet dream. Maybe Trump should consider tweaking his motto in 2020 into ‘Let’s make America Israel.’ This would encompass building separation walls, bullying America’s neighbors, the potential to cleanseAmerica of the ‘enemy within,’ and so on. It is not surprising that in 2016 Trump beat Clinton in an Israeli absentee exit poll. The Israelis do love Trump. To them, he is a vindication of their hawkish ideological path. Although during the election Trump was castigated as a vile anti-Semite and a Hitler figure by the Jewish progressive press, once elected, Fox News was quick to point out that Trump was actually the ‘First Jewish President.’

We can see that Israel, Trump and his voters have a lot in common. They want militant anti immigration policies , they love ‘walls,’ they hate Muslims and they believe in borders. When alt right icon Richard Spencer described himself on Israeli TV as “a White Zionist” he was actually telling the truth. Israel puts into practice the ideas that Spencer and Trump can so far only entertain. But the parallels between Israel and the Trump administration’s Republican voters is just one side of the story.

In my recent book, Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, I point out that while the old, good Left tried to unite us by insisting that it was not important whether one was Black, a Woman, a Muslim, a Jew or Gay; in the class war, we were all united against capitalism. It was the new Left that taught us to speak ‘as a’: as a Jew, as a Gay, as a Black and so on. Instead of being one people united in the struggle for justice and equality, within the post political realm we are pulled into endless identity battles.

Seemingly, this Identitarian revolution has been inspired by a few Jewish ideological and philosophical schools including, most importantly, the Frankfurt School. Truth must be said, when it comes to ID politics, Diaspora Jewish ideologists are often slightly more advanced than others, not because Jews are more clever than anyone else but simply because Jews have engaged in identity politics far longer than anyone else. While Gay identity politics is about four decades old and Feminism is maybe a century old, Jewish identity politics started in Babylon two and a half millennia ago. In fact, Judaism can be realised as an exilic Identitarian project. It deliberately and carefully sustains Jewish cultural, spiritual and physical segregation. Although Jews often drop their religion and dispose of God, many cling to Jewishness. For one reason or another, Jews often choose to operate within Jews- only political cells such as Jewish Voice for PeaceJewish Voice for Labour and so on. These Jewish bodies tend to preach inclusiveness while practicing exclusivity.

So it is hardly surprising that Jewish Identitarian philosophy and Jewish Identitarian success provides the model that inspires most, if not all, Identitarian politics within the New Left milieu in general and the current Democratic Party in particular. This isn’t the place to discuss at length or in depth the reasons behind Jewish identitarian success, however, it should be mentioned that while most Identitarians are taught to celebrate victimhood, to blame others for their misfortune, Jewish Identitarianism has a subtle dynamic balance between victimhood and entitlement.

Naturally, Jewish ideologists are at the helm of the Identitarian revolution. Maybe more well known is the fact that a chief funder of that revolution is financier George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Soros may genuinely believe in the Identitarian future: It is cosmopolitan, it is global, it defies borders and states but far more significantly, it also serves to divert attention from Wall Street and capitalist crimes: as long as Identitarians fight each other, no one bothers to fight Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and corporate tyranny. Soros didn’t invent this strategy, it has long been called ‘divide and conquer.’

The abovesheds light on the depth of influence of Jewish politics in America. While Israel is an exemplar of contemporary Republican goals, Democrats are emulating Jewish Diaspora identitarianism. The two contradictory Jewish ideologies are each well- ensconced within the two rival ideologies that are tearing America apart. The red Republican counties want America to be Israel Again. Thelarge metropolitan areas near America’s coasts have adopted the twelve tribes of Israel model – a loose Identitarian coalition threatened by Samaritans, Canaanites, Amalekites or as Hillary Clinton calls them the ‘basket of deplorables.’

The story of Jewish political strength in America doesn’t end there. A New York Jew can easily metamorphosize from an hard-core Identitarian into rabid Zionist settler and vice versa, but such a manoeuvre is not available to ordinary Americans. White nationalist Richard Spencer can not make the political shift that would turn him into a progressive or a liberal just as it is unlikely that a NY transsexual icon would find it possible to become a ‘redneck.’ While Jewish political identity is inherently elastic and can morph endlessly, the American political divide is fairly rigid. Jewish ideologists frequently change positions and camps, they shift from left to right, from Clinton to Trump (Dershowitz), they support immigration in their host counties yet oppose it in their own Jewish State, they are against rigid borders and even states in general, yet support the two state solution in Palestine (Chomsky). Gentiles are less flexible. They are expected to be coherent and consistent.

It was this manoeuvrability that made PM Netanyahu’s 2015 speech in front of a joint session of Congress a ‘success,’ although it might well have been considered a humiliation for any American with an ounce of patriotic pride. As we wellknow, Bibi can communicate easily with both Republicans and Democrats just as he cansimultaneously befriend Trump and Putin. He deploys snipers at the Gaza border with orders to kill while considerately peppering his statements with LGBTQ human rights advocacy. Not many Americans have dared to address this topic, but I believe that there are some who, by now, can see the situation clearly.

It was the Israeli in me who saw the disparity between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’ at the Student Union Hall because I was raised as an Israeli patriot. I was trained to love and even die for the soil I mistakenly believed to be mine. As an Israeli, I was also trained to think tribal but speak universal, and I learned how to whine as a victim yet exercise oppression. But at a certain point in my life, around my thirties, I started to find all of it too exhausting. I wanted to simplify things. I demoted myself into an ordinary human being.

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