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For Palestine’s Sake - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In the Arab world, can we discuss any topic without mentioning Palestine? Though it is an odd question it is a perfectly legitimate one. It seems that raising important and complex issues such as education, health, public services, the judicial system, infrastructure and fighting corruption always comes to a dead end because of “the Palestinian cause excuse,” and because the battle must always comes “first,” as well other slogans that have been raised for a long time that aim to suspend any practical or positive action towards ultra-sensitive issues.

Under the Palestine umbrella, and with the calls for liberation and struggle, anything goes. Corruption has spread dramatically in all circles and in most fields. Educational backwardness has become a [distinguishing] attribute and a widespread phenomenon, not an exception. The deteriorating and deplorable infrastructure has become the butt of the joke and the source of mockery. Domination, despotism and the erosion of freedoms have become a way of life. The lack of an effective judicial system to guarantee people’s rights has turned into a painful reality in which people live without any real hope of changing it. Without exception, everything is being “postponed” because there is a more important battle that has now turned into a battle of tilting at windmills and because of this, despotism and tyranny have been further consolidated.

Forget about changing priorities! For that you would be labelled a traitor or regarded as one who seeks to divide the nation; a nation with a deteriorating education system, a broken judiciary and one with no agricultural or industrial potential and no sewage or electricity networks, etc. A nation with such “achievements” under its belt cannot by any means liberate Palestine. Most importantly, the correlation between deterioration and liberating Palestine is one that cannot be denied.

Yes, improving the education system, the judiciary and infrastructure will lead to “spontaneously” liberating Palestine. Yes, it’s that simple. If you liberate yourself, you will liberate your land. Liberating oneself is the guarantee to living a dignified life. This is a God-given right to all human beings however humans have deprived themselves of dignity through injustice, ignorance and despotism. Crying and wailing in the name of Palestine has turned into a permanent state of mourning instead of aiming towards the “final” target with a continuous series of numerous, small victories and achievements within the country and within one’s self. Though it is such a long journey, it is one of utmost importance.

Everybody praises Salahuddin al Ayoubi’s glorious victory of liberating Jerusalem, but they tend to forget Nouruddin Zinki, who preceded Salahuddin as a ruler and who handed over Jerusalem to him after dismissing corrupt rulers and judges, unifying and reforming the army, and achieving real unity from Egypt to Syria, not the fake unity that was accomplished under late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. All these accomplishments enabled Salahuddin to achieve the great victory. Crying and wailing for Palestine will not help the situation before we accomplish the things we need to accomplish and that is the priority, nothing else.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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