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Brazil: Tears and Cheers for Middle East Prisoner Swap

Brazilian of Arab descent or bloggers interested in all things Middle Eastern talk about the Israel-Lebanon Prisoner Exchange. Considering that Brazil is the country that arguably holds the largest Arab population outside the Middle East, there are very passionate points of views both for and against the deal, and as much tears as cheers:

Groove is in the Rahal [pt], in a post called “I feel so sorry”, felt the need to express his feelings towards the Arab people:

Difícil falar sobre os conflitos no Oriente Médio. Por mais que eu estude, nunca é suficiente. Mas sei o necessário para dizer que sinto muito pelo sofrimento do povo palestino, libanês, árabes em geral.
Para quem me conhece e sabe da minha descendência e forte ligação com a história das arábias, pode achar tendenciosa a minha posição. Não culpo o povo israelense, que também sofre com conflitos sequenciais, mas a tendência aqui parte de um princípio básico: a corda sempre arrebenta do lado mais fraco. Sim, árabes são poderosos, mas nesse caso estão em desvantagem.
Infelizmente o extremismo, o radicalismo xiita cai bem em um contexto assim…

It is hard to talk about the conflicts in the Middle East. Regardless how much I study, it is never enough. But I know what it is necessary to say that I feel very sorry for the suffering of the Palestinian, Lebanese, and Arab people in general.
For those who know me and know of my descent and strong links with the history of the Arabic world, you may think my position is biased. I do not blame the Israeli people, who also suffer from sequential conflicts, but the trend here derives from a basic principle: the chain is no stronger than its weakest link. Yes, Arabs are powerful, but in this case they are at a disadvantage.
Unfortunately, extremism, shi'ite radicalism serves well in such a context…

Brazilian living in Germany, Felix Dhimmi [pt] had hopes that at least one of the prisoners would be handed back alive and he was very disappointed to learn that only coffins arrived:

Honrar compromissos com inimigos sem honra é atitude válida quando ela conduz à paz, e a atitude do Hezbullah mostra uma intenção oposta à esta, a intenção é a de humilhar, pisar e alimentar o ego dos árabes tribalistas, insuflá-los com orgulho sem sentido, orgulho baseado em nenhuma realização senão a morte de inocentes, como os pequenos mortos pela ação da besta Kuntar e de seus cúmplices, um ato que deságua no objetivo final deste grupo que é a eliminação de Israel e seu povo, com criminosos assim as regras civilizadas não contam.

Honoring commitments to not honorable enemies is a valid attitude when it leads to peace, and the Hezbullah's attitude shows an intention opposed to this, its intention is to humiliate, despise and massage Arab tribes egos, inflate them with senseless pride, a pride based not achievements but on the death of innocents, such as the little ones dead by the action of Kuntar the beast and his accomplices, an act that leads to this this group's ultimate goal, which is the elimination of Israel and its people, with criminals like these the civilized rules are nothing.

Anwar Assi [pt] believes the release could not have happened on more symbolic date, exactly when the Lebanese people celebrate the second anniversary of victory over Israel in the 2006 war.

A libertação dos combatentes libaneses é sem dúvida nenhuma uma grande vitória da Resistência Islâmica, comandada pelo Hezbollah, que não poupou esforços para colocar fim a um dos piores dramas causados pela ocupação isralense do território libanês: a questão dos prisioneiros em cárceres judaicos. […] O Hezbollah já prometeu que não vai poupar esforços para colocar um fim a estas agressões. Quando o Hezbollah promete, cumpre. No caso dos prisioneiros, a promessa sincera de libertá-los foi cumprida.

The release of Lebanese fighters is without doubt a great victory of the Islamic Resistance, led by Hezbollah, which spared no effort to put an end to the worst tragedies caused by Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory: the issue of Jewish prisoners in jails. […] The Hezbollah has promised spared no efforts to put an end to these attacks. When Hezbollah makes a promise, it keeps it. In the case of the prisoners, the sincere promise to release them was met.

Pedro Dória [pt], who has been a national reference for his coverage of Middle East [pt] for a long time, questions the deal's goals, considering that “these kidnappings were the excuse for the war which put an end to the Lebanese government's morale”:

Perguntar não custa: de que adiantou botar o Líbano abaixo se, no fim, o governo de Israel terminaria por capitular perante o Hizbolá? […] Era melhor ter feito a negociação pela troca antes, quando soldados e vítimas libanesas da guerra estavam vivos e o governo libanês ainda tinha alguma força perante o Hizbolá. Guerra estúpida – coberta por este Weblog – para resultados piores ainda.

It doesn't hurt to ask: What was bringing Lebanon down worth in the end, if the government of Israel was to capitulate to Hezbollah? […] It was better to have negotiated the exchange before, when soldiers and Lebanese victims of war were alive and the Lebanese government still had some strength before the Hezbullah. A stupid war – covered by this Weblog – with even worse results.

To finish off, one of the many political cartoons by Brazilian artist Carlos Latuff, a supporter of Palestine and Lebanon against Israel.

The Arabic people have deep roots in the Brazilian cultural melting pot. It is estimated that 70,000 Arabic immigrants (notably Lebanese and Syrian but also from Jordan, Palestine, and Iraq) landed in Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, forming today's population of full or partial Arabic descent of about 10 million people. Arab Brazilians are considered the largest Arab population outside the Middle East, according to the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce.

2 comments

  • I didn’t realize Brazil had such a large arab population. Thank you Paula for the post!

  • You are very welcome Gilad – in fact we have very large populations of so many people – name it, and you find a lot of descends there among its 200 million population.

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