Sunday, March 09, 2008

European Guilt

Let’s talk about Israel. Israel is a land given to Jews by Europeans. This gift is a result of many years of persecution against Jews, and to say that Europe was not guilty of being anti-Semitic for a very long time would be a complete fallacy. Yes, Europe was guilty of and felt guilty for mistreating Jews and persecuting them for so long. To add salt to an already open and burning wound the Jews were persecuted by Hitler. The Nazi German regime persecuted Jews like no other, but to say that Germany alone persecuted Jews would be a great falsification. Nazi Germany only represented the extremity of persecution already suffered by Jews in Europe. Those persecutions, stove-piped, would not at all have offended other Europeans. However one thing must come to mind when thinking of the guilt that entailed after the extreme persecution of Jews at the hands of Hitler; that Hitler was aggressive against other Europeans.

Yes, that was the turning point and wake up call to Europeans. They were being annihilated and invaded by Germany and they were dubbed inferior to Germans. They felt a tiny tinge of the discrimination and/or persecution that they have been inflicting on Jews. It is only then when they felt that they were in the same boat and realized the horrors of what they had been doing to the Jews.

That is not to say that this guilt wasn’t lingering earlier on, it is evident that ever since the Balfour promise that there was some sort of obligation. However real guilt, the guilt that an entire continent felt was not fully mature till they experienced how horrible it was to be a victim of tyrant racists.

In Germany’s persecution of Jews, Europeans found themselves on the same side as Jews and were able to walk in their shoes for a while. The great sense of European guilt started to build as Hitler became an epitome of racism and persecution. They found that they had to fight against what he stood for and in a sense found out that they had to fight against… what they themselves had been doing for centuries. When they realized that their past itself was their own enemy, embodied in the shape of Hitler and fascism, a great sense of self awareness was born and along with it the guilt and horror of what their extremity might look like.

Perhaps this was the reason that a European and American endorsed Israel emerged. It seemed very appropriate to give back to this persecuted nation something after all the years of tyranny they have endured. However there is one little thing that might be wrong about all this, that in order to ease their guilt, the Europeans have persecuted Palestinians in effect. The real problem is that Europeans are still guilty about Jews and this makes them truly oblivious to the effect Israel has had on Palestinians. The Arabs have now become, in general, the new Jews, only without the current sympathy old Jews are shrouded with. They are looked down upon and persecuted and the great Europeans are making the same mistake over and over again.

Israel has become the biggest bully in the world, and this is not an overstatement. No other country has defied the UN so bluntly. Israel continues to persecute Palestinians systemically, despite being the one nation of all the people in the world that should understand what this means. The world stands by and lets this be.
Why does the world let this be? Is it their guilt towards Jews? Is it disinterest? I don’t have a clear cut answer. Maybe someday there will be another awakening for the world to realize what’s being done to Palestinians.

Do we need another Hitler to put Westerners and Arabs in the same boat so as to realize the shameful ways in which we treat each other? Do we need another wake up call to recognize that the world is falling into the same mistakes relentlessly?

In their discrimination against Arabs Europeans are building up a new guilt that may not take complete form within this lifetime, but they’re setting their children up for a fall. At the rate they’re heading towards a more humanitarian outlook at the other, they will soon realize that they are guilty of failing to practice what they preach. Today their hands are against their ears when it comes to the violations of Israel, but history sometimes, just some times, screams the facts much later on. As ironically as the Arabs have become the new Jews, Israel has become as discriminatory as their oppressors. The dead are screaming from beneath the earth for those living to take heed to what has happened to them.


Anonymous said...

wow, very well said

Wael Eskandar said...

Thanks anonymous.