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Palestine: Frustration With The “Swagger” Of Politics

Last week the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would not stand for re-election in January, due to his frustration at the US failure to stop Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. However, some commentators believe he is trying to call Israel’s bluff. In this post we hear the opinion of one blogger who is also extremely frustrated – with Palestinian politics.

At the group blog Al Thawrah (“The Revolution”), Me writes:

لما ستي كانت تشوف واحد فينا بيعمل اشي سيء وكانت تحس إنو هذا العمل ممكن يكون مؤشر لنمط حياة مشابه، كانت تحكي المثل المشهور “أول الرقص حنجلة”. يعني إنو الواحد ببلش شوي شوي يعمل هاي الإشياء بعجين الموضوع بتطور معه وبصير هذا نمط سائد في تصرفاته في المستقبل.
When my grandmother used to see one of us doing something bad, and felt that this action could be an indication of a lifestyle of the same, she would say the well-known proverb, “The dance begins with a swagger.” That means that if someone slowly begins doing such things, the matter will start to develop and dominate his behaviour in the future.
وأنا طول عمري بحكي، إنو نظامنا السياسي في فلسطين لسا في مرحلة التأسيس. يعني الحنجلة إللي بنحنجلها هلأ في المستقبل راح تكون النمط السائد في الحياة السياسية، إذا عمره صار عندنا دولتنا. يعني لما الأجهزة الأمنية بتستعمل القوة في تفريق المظاهرات، هذا معناه إنه في المستقبل راح يكون هذا نمط مستخدم في تفريق المظاهرات، ولما الأجهزة الأمنية لازم توافق على تعيينات الموظفين، هذا مؤشر إنه المعارض السياسي ممكن ما يحصله إنو يحصل على وظيفة حكومية.
All my life I have said that our political system in Palestine is still in its establishment phase. It means that the “swagger” we are doing now will in the future be the prevailing pattern in our political life, if we ever get our own state. When the security apparatuses use force to break up demonstrations, it means that in the future this way will be used to break up demonstrations, and when the security apparatuses have to agree to the appointment of staff, this indicates that political opponents might not get appointed to government jobs.
أنا اليوم بدي أحكي عن حنجلة جديدة. قبل شي سنتين، عباس حكى إنو ما بفكر يرشح حالو للرئاسة مرة تانية. واليوم طلعت في الأخبار إشاعات إنو هو مصر على كلامه. وطبعاً بدأت “النخبة” السياسية في هالبلد تحتج وتعبر عن تأييدها للرئيس كإنو اللي خلقو ما خلق غيره. مبارح (شكلها الإشاعات إلها فترة ماشية) طلعتلنا جماعة ببيان تأييد أشبه بالمبايعة للخلفاء، طبعا ما في في البيان أي محتوى سوى “خلفك يا قائد المسيرة والشرعية.. نحو القدس والثوابت الوطنية” وتحت هالكلمتين يمكن ميتين توقيع من أشخاص ومؤسسات إشي بنعرفه وإشي عمرنا ما سمعنا فيه.
Today I want to talk about a new “swagger”. Maybe two years ago, Abbas said that he would not think of putting himself forward for the presidency a second time. Today on the news there were rumours that he was sticking to what he had said. And of course the political “elite” in this country are protesting and expressing their support for the president as if He who created him had created no one else. Yesterday (it seems that the rumours will continue for a while) a statement of support came out that was just like a pledge of allegiance by followers. Of course there was no content in the statement apart from “We are behind you, leader of the rally and of legitimacy…onwards to Jerusalem and national stability”. Under these few words were maybe two hundred signatures of people and organisations, some of which we know, others we have never heard of.
واليوم طلع عبد غبه بحكي : الرئيس هو المرشح الوحيد لفتح ولكل فصائل العمل الوطني. كإنه ما في غيره في البلد. وطبعاً عبد غبه، هذا الناطق باسم التنفيذية، ما بمثل عشرة ولا خمس تعشر واحد في كل فلسطين، بس ما شا الله بيحكي زي كإنو بطل شعبي وأسطوري ممثل لجميع أطياف الشعب.
And today Abd Gabbo [Yasser Abd Rabbo] started saying, “The President is the only candidate for Fatah and for all the factions of the national project [in the PLO].” It's as if there is no one in the country but him. And of course Abd Rabbo, this spokesperson for the Executive Committee, does not represent even ten or fifteen people in the whole of Palestine, but – praise God – speaks as if he were a popular and legendary hero representing the whole spectrum of the people.
طبعاً ها الحركات ذكرتني بكتير مناظر مشابهة. مثلاً وإحنا صغار، وبنستنا برامج الأطفال على التلفزيون السوري، كنا دايماً نشوف يمكن 4-5 آلاف واحد من الطلائع وناس كبار قاعدين في المدرجات في ملعب، وبيرفعوا قبضاتهم في الهوا وبصيحوا “نفديك للأبد يا حافظ الأسد”. طبعاً حافظ مات، ولولا صورو إلي معبيا الشوارع والأماكن العامة في سورية ما حدا بيتذكروا، لإنو في واحد جديد لازم ينفدا.
Of course all this business reminded me of many other similar situations. For example, when we were young, and enjoyed the children's programmes on Syrian television, we always used to see maybe four to five thousand young and old people sitting in the stands of the stadium, lifting their fists in the air and crying, “We will sacrifice ourselves for you for ever, Hafez Al Assad!” Naturally Hafez died, and if there weren’t pictures of him filling the streets and public places in Syria no one would remember him, because there is a new person they have to now sacrifice themselves for.
طبعاً مشهد آخر ببلش بالكلمات “إني اتخذت قراراً وأرجو منكم جميعاً أن تعينوني عليه. لقد قررت أن أتنحى، ونهائياً، عن كافة المناصب الرسمية، وأعود إلى صفوف الجماهير”، المنظر اللي بلحقو ألوف من الجماهير، بتقوله “ما تسيبناش” طيب ما هو ترجاكم إنكم تساعدو على القرار، يعني فش غيره في البلد؟ فش ناس بتقدر تعمل أحسن منو؟ لازم الواحد يطلع من القصر الجمهوري في تابوت عشان تنبسطو؟
And of course another scene begins with the words, “I have made a decision and ask all of you to help me in it, I have decided to step down, and for good, from all official positions, and return to the ranks of the people” – a spectacle which thousands of people are following, saying “Don't leave us”. OK, but he is the one who begged you to support him in his decision. Does that mean there is no one but him in the country? No people who can do better than him? Must one only come out of the presidential palace in a coffin in order for [the people] to be happy?
ولا منظر كل النخبة السياسية في اليمن وهما بترجوا علي عبدالله صالح برشح حاله للانتخابات.
ولا تعديل ورا تعديل في الدستور التونسي عشان جلالته يضل رئيس.
ولا حكومة مش راضية تنولد بعد 6 أشهر من الانتخابات في لبنان عشان فش حد في إيده القرار.
يعني يا أخ عبد ربه، إحنا فش عنا غير هالشخص الوحيد إللي ممكن يكون رئيس؟ عالحساب شعب الجبارين؟ ولا لازم نحافظ على التقاليد العربية؟
أي ما تحلو عنا وتخلونا ناخذ قرارنا. إحنا كبرنا، وقرفناكم صراحة.
No sight of the whole political elite in Yemen begging Ali Abdullah Saleh to nominate himself in the elections.
No amendment behind an amendment to the Tunisian constitution so that His Majesty remains as president.
No government that is not happy to be born six months after the elections in Lebanon because no one has had the power to decide.
Brother Abd Rabbo, don’t we have anyone else amongst us who can be president? At the expense of the people of bravery? Or do we have to uphold Arab traditions?
Just leave us alone and allow us to take our decisions on our own. We have grown up, and are disgusted by you, honestly.

2 comments

  • […] di non correre per la seconda volta ma i suoi non ci stanno. Che succede in Palestina? Sempre su Global Voices. A breve un update con la versione […]

  • […] with this fiction for years, framing Abbas as an independent player when he was the exact opposite. Palestinian bloggers remain unimpressed with the kind of Palestinian leadership on […]

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