Tag Archives: AMIA

The Poetry of Hizbullah.

To say that my question “Is this book pro-Hezbullah?” wasn’t well received on Tuesday night at SOAS is an understatement.

I was at the book launch of The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication written by Lina Khatib, Dina Matar and Atef Alshaer.

After I had asked my question Dina Matar said “I knew you were going to ask that” and Lina Khatib waved the book at me and said “Why don’t you read it?”

The book explains how Hizbullah has been successful in staying relevant since its 1982 inception by adapting itself to changing situations and communicating these adaptations through various means such as poetry and social media.

Hizbullah are poets? Who knew.

One can imagine: “To kill a Jew, or not to kill a Jew. That is the question.”

So, according to the authors, Hizbullah’s 1980s narrative was one of “victimisation” to attract Lebanon’s marginalised Shia Muslims.

During the 1990s it was one of “resistance” against Israel and connection with “Palestine”.

From 2000 onwards it was focused on “defence” after Israel had left south Lebanon with Hizbullah disseminating the narrative that the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon from Israel.

Now Hizbullah is back to a “victimisation” theme after being implicated in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and also due to its fighting alongside Bashar Assad in Syria.

Dina Matar said that although Hasan Nasrallah has lost some credibility because of Syria he is still popular, and people in the Arab world listen out for his speeches.

She said there’s a sense that Nasrallah is “just like us, he’s approachable, he speaks the language of the people, he’s funny, he jokes and he’s humble in appearance”.

If this is true then it is a sad indictment on the Arab world that with Hasan Nasrallah complicit in the deaths of over 200,000 innocent Syrians he is still thought so highly of.

I wasn’t trying to be controversial when I asked whether this is a pro-Hizbullah book. I was concerned by this comment by Lina Khatib at the beginning of her presentation on the book to the large student audience:

“Books on Hizbullah seek to frame Hizbullah as a terrorist movement. This is primordial. We have evidence to the contrary. But this is the dominant discourse in America.”

Khatib lives in America. One might forgive Americans for thinking such a thing with the murder of 241 of their fellow citizens by Hizbullah in Beirut in 1983.

And what about the 200,000 dead in Syria and Hizbullah’s attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aeries in 1992 (29 dead) and on the AMIA builing in Buenos Aeries in 1994 (85 dead), the Burghas Airport bombing in Bulgaria in 2012 (6 dead) and Hasan Nasrallah, true to his word of going after Jews worldwide, is now targeting Jews in Peru.

This book is worth reading (if you can stomach the 30 page chapter on Hizbullah poetry) but only with a view to finding out how a modern day Nazi group, totally funded by Iran, portraying itself as a positive force continues to hold a beautiful country like Lebanon to ransom while bringing death and destruction both to Lebanon’s citizens and to Syria all with the final objective of destroying Israel and the Jewish people that live there.

If Egypt falls to the Brotherhood, Hamas could “go overseas”.

Hamas

Hamas

It needs no overstating that what happens next in Egypt is of crucial importance to not only Israel but the world.

It is obviously not right for the Egyptians to live under the yoke of oppression and poverty but as a people they need to draw lessons from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 so as to not go from one extreme to another.

In the rush for deserved freedom they could end up worse off.

In the 1979 Revolution Ayatollah Khomene’i was the figurehead behind which liberals, communists and religious Muslims coalesced to force out the Shah.

But once the Shah was ousted that coalition was soon quashed in a bloody Islamist coup, which led to the installation of extreme religious rule and a worse civil liberties situation than under the Shah.

Egypt is at a similar stage. The banned Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot, has not been actively calling its supporters on to the streets but their presence is casting a dark shadow over proceedings and they will make their play for power when the time is right.

If Egypt ends up like Iran then all bets are off. The Israel-Egypt peace treaty will be under serious threat and for the first time in 38 years the prospect of war between Israel and an Arab country will be rekindled.

Then there’s Hamas. The “siege” of Gaza by Egypt has been far more brutal than anything Israel has imposed.

But an Islamist Egyptian government, whether democratically elected or imposed by force, would allow Hamas freedom of movement through Egypt which would increase its access to Israel and the rest of the world.

An Israeli woman was murdered after the Gaza-Egypt border was breached by frustrated Gazans in February 2008 when a suicide bomber from Gaza crossed into Israel from Egypt.

Israel needs to complete the security wall that will run the length of its long border with Egypt as soon as possible.

Some argue that, unlike Al Qaida, Hamas’ terrorism is purely limited to attacks on Israel. But lack of international activity by Hamas could well be purely down to lack of opportunity due to it being hemmed in Gaza and cracked down on in the West Bank.

Hamas could take heart from just how successful the PLO was in bombing its way to the negotiating table.

Although the PLO attacked civilians in Israel 181 times between 1967 and 1979 between that same period there were at least 201 PLO attacks on aircraft and other civilians outside Israel, which, all told, involved attacks on the property and civilians of some 40 countries (Israel and Palestine – Assault on the Nations of Law, Julius Stone).

With freedom to operate freely through Egypt Al Qaida style international bomb attacks by Hamas could make Western nations pressurise Israel even more. Countries attacked might threaten to withdraw support for Israel if Israeli doesn’t acquiesce in making concessions that could compromise its own security.

In the same vein Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq after the Madrid bombings.

Hezbollah, which claims to be protecting Lebanon from Israeli aggression, “went overseas”. In 1992 it killed 29 people when it blew up the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and in 1994 87 died when it blew up the Jewish Community centre located in the AMIA building in the same city.

Although international warrants were issued for arrests of the perpetrators they are now safely ensconced in Iran. Hezbollah has denied involvement just as it is denying involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

Hamas is an acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement”. “Palestine” does not feature in its name and it has never claimed any pretence that its terrorist operations were restricted to what it considers “Palestine”.

Unlike the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) at least Hamas is honest in that respect.