Age Islam Edit Bureau
the Qatari Slogan That Backfired
By Fares Bin Hezam
for a Rethink
By Tariq A. Al-Maeena
of Qatar Will Continue Till It Stops Backing Terrorism
By Mustafa Al Zarooni
Washington Investigating Qatar
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Arab World’s Coming Challenges
By Tarek Osman
Holding Qatar Accountable Obstruct Other Battles?
By Mashari Althaydi
Wonder of Imperial Feminism
By Susan Abulhawa
By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Fares bin Hezam
14 June 2017
The slogan “leave” has been very popular
during the phase of the so-called Arab Spring. It’s the right term to address
when raising questions about the party which coined it. We all know the
repercussions of that phase as it did not take several years for the harmful
and painful consequences to unfold in the Arab world.
I recall this specifically bitter word
(leave) out of the several slogans which emerged in the beginning of 2011 and
which voiced the people’s enthusiasm and fueled popular voices. These
developments were not limited to the small country of Tunisia, as the situation
escalated and protests erupted in an Arab country which has a major political
and historic weight.
Perhaps it was not expected that its
streets will be led by this momentum and by that useless approach to create a
real “Arab revolution” – that is if we consider that it was in fact a virtuous
revolution. The fire of the Arab Spring thus reached Egypt. Those who joined
this “revolution” or seized it later began to sabotage Egypt and disrupt the
Egypt is the homeland and origin of Muslim
Brotherhood leaders who found a friendly environment for all their expansive
ambitions in a “rich Gulf state.” The latter has for years worked on providing
the Muslim Brotherhood with solid references and it also facilitated its
movement and helped it achieve its goals of which the major one was destroying
the home of the leaders of “Arabism Egypt.”
I will not talk about the Muslim
Brotherhood but about this Arab Spring’s end results. The Arab Spring has been
imposed on the Arab and global political memory considering the unprecedented
support it received to immortalize the brutality of what happened and what is
still happening in Arab countries.
We can anticipate this end result and
there’s currently a confrontation against those who sowed this destruction in
countries like Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Palestine. The source and origin
of everything which the so-called “Arab Spring” produced has begun to emerge,
and it is Doha. Qatar is today incapable of defending or justifying the sources
of destruction in these countries. Its arrogance has even led it to target
countries which share the same fate with it and which share solid religious and
cultural ties with it.
The “General Father” led the path towards
his empire via the coup on his late father Khalifa II in 1995. He founded the
theories of the new “guide,” and the so-called “Arab Spring” constituted a
fertile ground to spread the plans that aim to disrupt the strong ties among
some blocs. The common fate between Egypt – which is the depth of Arab
resilience – and Gulf countries was a direct target for the “new” Doha.
Back then, Qatar hid behind developmental
plans which included foreign investments, modern infrastructure projects and
massive financial capabilities. It exploited them to strengthen its presence in
the international arena. However, its hidden agenda was to rip Arab unity apart
according to the plan set by the “General Father” and the schemes he’s prepared
for his son afterwards.
Let’s go back to the simplest slogan during
these protests which is “leave.” This was a frank term used to voice the
people’s rejection of their presidents. We heard it in Libya and Tunisia.
However to Doha, “leave” echoed all over the world.
When protests first began in Tahrir Square
in Cairo, official and non-official Qatari media outlets, both public and
hidden, worked to expand these protests against Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
However, they did not do so to support the Egyptian people as they’ve given up
on them during their darkest moment after they brought the Muslim Brotherhood
They insulted, humiliated and defamed all
leaders from Egypt’s modern history and their slogan did not exceed the word
It’s been a difficult war which has been
secretly led by Doha to strengthen the collapse of the Egyptian state and to
infiltrate the Saudi unity and weaken it. The scene comes to a halt today. It
entirely collapses in front of the “general’s ambition” particularly in Doha
which is usurped by these failed practices. Everything collapses in front of
Reprimand and anger which are concerned
over Doha seem to be echoing “leave,” as this is in the interest of Qatar and
its continuity. Leave, Tamim. Leave with your father, the general, and take
with you his history which we will not miss at all.
Tariq A. Al-Maeena
June 14, 2017
If the Israeli government was harbouring
the notion that the Arab World was warming up to them and willing to accept
them as partners with the existing status quo, then they better go back to
their cabinet for a rethink. In spite of what covert dealings the Israelis may
conduct with some Arab figures, or the rare favourable opinion pieces they may
read by ignorant Arab commentators, reality on the ground is that they are not
trusted or liked in the Arab world which refuses to accept them, given their
atrocities in occupied Palestinian lands.
This was aptly demonstrated in a reality TV
show that is broadcast during Iftar time and beamed across the Arab world. The
plot goes as follows: A TV actor disguised as a salesman at a clothing stall is
busy showing the latest line of clothing to unsuspecting customers. He then
offers an alternative which he claims is cheaper and better. It is Israeli
Customer after customer in cities across
Arab countries walk away, some stunned, others angry and yet others in total
rejection of his offer. Some admonish him for having the gall to offer such a
vile suggestion in the face of existing Israeli policies. Not just in one city
in one country, but in many. And in just about every instance, they walked away
without a backward glance leaving the salesman actor looking bemused.
Israel should be made aware that the masses
among the Arab world do not view them as ‘friends’ nor like them for that
matter irrespective of what signals they think they’ve been getting. Members of
the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), a band of thugs in uniform have been
systematically targeting and killing innocent Palestinians, and more
specifically women and children in recent years and sanctioned and protected by
the state of Israel. This is state sanctioned terrorism. This is not something
I’m spewing out at the top of my head. There are scores of documented incidents
by independent witnesses to the effect.
Israelis have been burning, bulldozing and
razing Palestinian homes and rendering their occupants homeless and helpless.
Today, apartheid and Israel are being mentioned in the same breath. They defy
every UN sanction directed at them brazenly, and the world watches. They evict
lawful owners and tenants off their property and turn them into illegal
settlements for European and American Zionist imports. They have built walls on
illegal property and parcelled off huge portions of what is Palestine towards
their own personal ‘Zionist Dream.’ And they have been doing this unchallenged
Between the unprovoked partition of
Palestine in 1947 until Jan. 1, 1949, Zionist militant forces employing
terrorist means destroyed or depopulated 531 Palestinian towns and villages,
driving two-thirds of the indigenous population into exile. Many Palestinians
fled for their lives in the wake of terror gangs of Zionist invaders, leaving
behind all their earthly possessions. The unlucky ones never made it past their
front doors as Zionist militants would strike in the middle of the night and
slaughter all the occupants inside.
As I write, hundreds of Palestinian
children languish in Israeli prisons some as young as seven years old. The
Apartheid Wall continues to snake its way through Palestinian territory,
annexing ever more land and prohibiting Palestinians’ freedom of movement. The
siege on Gaza will soon render that area uninhabitable and more than 50
discriminatory laws in Israel deprive Palestinian citizens of Israel of their
rights. Israeli occupation policies are choking Palestinians. Such actions do
not augur well for gaining warmth or respect. And they expect the Arab world to
be friendly and accepting?
Settlers from other lands brought to Israel
have been targeting helpless Palestinian civilians and in particular, the old
or the very young, with impunity. They shoot at them, they harass them and rob
and steal their property in broad daylight without any censure from the
authorities. Such acts do not warrant us cozying up to them in any form.
If the Israelis genuinely want to be
treated as partners and not adversaries, they should begin by recognizing the
rights of Palestinians to their own lands and adopt the terms offered in the
Arab Peace Plan proposed back in 2002 by the late King Abdullah of Saudi
Arabia. Only then will the Arab world begin to believe that the Israelis
genuinely want peace.
But until that time, Israel should not
expect us to be their friends or even have the slightest notion that we are
warming up to them in any form. In their current form, they are an anathema in
Mustafa Al Zarooni
June 14, 2017
Doha does not have many options on its
table after the latest actions by Arab countries
Differences between countries are normal,
but what is troubling is that these differences keep rearing their head quite
often when it comes to Qatar over its destabilising role in the region. The
bigger danger is when they are played out openly because Doha does not believe
it must solve problems at the regional level.
In this see-saw relationship, Qatar doesn't
seem to care about the security aspect as it sups with dangerous friends like Hamas,
Hezbollah, Taleban and the Muslim Brotherhood while providing support to groups
like Al Nusra to wage war. This country is a bundle of contradictions, and it
is only getting weirder by the day.
What's even more bizarre is Doha's alliance
with Iran even as it supports groups like Al Nusra and the Syrian National
Coalition that is fighting to topple President Bashar Al Assad of Syria. Assad
is also an ally of Iran. Doha's ensemble of alliances is nothing but a cruel
joke as it tries to fool the world with its conflicting policies that are at
odds with the policies of the GCC.
Now, consider its ties with Hamas, Israel
and Hezbollah - all bitter enemies - and you will understand why this nexus of
terror, violence and occupation is taking Qatar south. Israel and Hamas hate
each other; Hezbollah is on Hamas's side; Hezbollah has even fought two wars
with Israel. Qatar is stuck in the middle, not knowing that it needs to
extricate itself from the mess it is in with GCC help or on its own.
Let's now come to Qatar's media brand Al
Jazeera. The international arm of the network disseminates news all over the
world keeping Qatari interests in mind. It does Doha's bidding in the name of
free speech while sowing unrest wherever it operates. A spirit of activism drives
its no-holds-barred coverage that has got it into trouble with governments all
over the world.
The domestic version of Al Jazeera,
however, is subdued and is a far cry from the international version. There are
no proclamations of free speech and independent thinking in its coverage of
local affairs. There are no trade unions and political freedom at home but
that's okay as long as Doha has money to fund political activism and violent
movements and report on them through its media channel while throwing all
ethics to the winds.
Qatar's neighbours have been patient all
these years as the country continued its role as a terror backer. After all,
Qatar is part of the Gulf and has family links to countries in the region. The
deep-rooted relations between the Al Thanis, the rulers of Qatar, and the Al
Saud dynasty of Saudi Arabia, are strong. They share the same Islamic school of
thought of Imam Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab, who has a grand mosque named after
him in Doha.
Religion, language, customs, traditions and
kinship make the Gulf countries and the GCC one family. These bonds cannot be
dissolved easily. Qatar, however, used these strong ties to create trouble in
other Gulf states. It believed it could do as it pleased because traditional
ties would keep them secure. No one would act against it.
But the massive boycott by Saudi Arabia,
UAE, Bahrain and Egypt last week came as a rude shock to Qatar. It thought it
could get away with a rap on the knuckles like before which would include the
recall of Gulf ambassadors from Doha. A media war would be as far as it would
go. The envoys would soon return to Doha and it would be business as usual
while the country continues its role as a disrupter of peace in the region.
Other GCC countries know Qatar's tricks
well. This is a neighbour with whom we have a (family) relationship. They are
our cousins and we know how they operate. Doha does not have many options on
its table after the latest actions by Arab countries. It can buy support from
opportunistic regimes a short while but the harsh reality will dawn on it soon.
Iran has, meanwhile, supplied Qatar with
foodstuff at double the market rate. Turkey is also making hay because it knows
Qatar has the money. Doha must understand that Iran and Turkey are fair-weather
friends who are only interested in geopolitical supremacy. They do not want
anything from Qatar but are by its side to siphon off money and exploit the
country's natural resources.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain are not
talking military action or regime change. They have only boycotted Qatar. What
would happen if they take stronger action against their neighbour?
This boycott will continue until Qatar
relents and cuts off ties with extremists and those peddling hard-line thought.
It must drive out people who are listed as terrorists and who live in the
country. Finally, it must stop inciting riots in the region and hold media its
back from messing with the region's security.
15 June 2017
The ongoing row between Qatar and a bloc
including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt is largely based on
allegations of Doha’s backing of terror groups and rabble-rousers. The
Saudi-led bloc issued a blacklist naming Qatari suspects and organizations
engaged in terror operations. Doha rejects the accusations, claiming the list
is controversial, politicized and reflects inter-state disputes.
However, blacklisted Qatari parties are not
just barred by the bloc, but are designated by official US institutions such as
the Department of the Treasury. The blacklist is becoming international rather
than exclusive to Arab states. Qatar is being urged to extradite all those on
the blacklist residing on its territory.
But instead of discussing the names, a
Qatari Foreign Ministry official took a hawkish position, claiming that the
diplomatic crisis targets Doha’s reputation, and that the states joining the
boycott have imposed self-proclaimed custody over Qatar. In order for the truth
not to be lost amid the bloc’s claims and Qatar’s denials, the latter can
involve the Americans, given that they are its friend and have information
about the blacklist.
The matter concerns the international
community, not just the Saudis, Egyptians, Emiratis and Bahrainis. So it is an
opportunity to cooperate and be transparent. All countries involved must lay
out their cards on the table and accept cooperation instead of exchanging
accusations. They must accept an investigation and try those who are
blacklisted. Doha’s problem is that those blacklisted — including Saudis,
Kuwaitis and others — are linked to it.
Even though Qataris are blacklisted, Doha
refuses to try them. This strengthens suspicions. Worse, most on the list are
still active in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and other conflict zones where
terrorist groups operate. The same goes for institutions and associations that
are considered bogus charities. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have
made these institutions’ names public.
“The list included the names of charity
organizations that have a long history in humanitarian work. Some of them have
a consultative status at the UN,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry official said. So
why does Qatar not silence its rivals by allowing an international
investigation into these institutions or shutting them down? Our brothers in
Qatar, for their own sake and interest, must heed this advice.
Doha has befriended terrorist groups since
the mid-1990s. First it publicized Al-Qaeda videos and propaganda in
Afghanistan, then Qatar’s activity expanded into areas where there are
revolutions, funding armed groups such as Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar Al-Sham.
Counterterrorism ranks first on the world’s
priority list. The international community will pursue any country that
supports these groups. It will not be long before Doha finds itself caught in
the clamps of countries bigger than Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.
Fifty years after the Six-Day War, which
marked the beginning of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and the West
Bank, the Middle East remains a region in seemingly perpetual crisis. So it is
no surprise that, when addressing the region, politicians, diplomats, and the
donor and humanitarian community typically focus on the here and now. Yet, if
we are ever to break the modern Middle East’s cycle of crises, we must not lose
sight of the future. And, already, four trends are brewing a new set of
problems for the coming decade.
The first trend affects the Levant. The
post-Ottoman order that emerged a century ago — an order based on secular Arab
nationalism — has already crumbled. The two states that gave weight to this
system, Iraq and Syria, have lost their central authority, and will remain
politically fragmented and socially polarized for at least a generation.
In Lebanon, sectarianism remains the
defining characteristic of politics. Jordan has reached its refugee-saturation
point, and continued inflows are placing limited resources under ever-greater
pressure. As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is no new initiative
or circumstance on the political horizon that could break the deadlock.
The Middle East is certain to face the
continued movement of large numbers of people, first to the region’s calmer
areas and, in many cases, beyond — primarily to Europe. The region is also
likely to face intensifying contests over national identities as well, and
perhaps even the redrawing of borders — processes that will trigger further
The second major trend affects North
Africa. The region’s most populous states — Algeria, Egypt and Morocco — will
maintain the social and political orders that have become entrenched over the
last six decades of their post-colonial history. The ruling structures in these
countries enjoy broad popular consent, as well as support from influential
institutions, such as labor and farmers’ unions. They also have effective
levers of coercion that serve as backstops for relative stability.
But none of this guarantees smooth sailing
for these governments. On the contrary, they are poised to confront a massive
youth bulge, with more than 100 million people under the age of 30 entering the
domestic job market in North Africa between now and 2025. And the vast majority
of these young people, products of failed educational systems, will be wholly
unqualified for most jobs offering a chance of social mobility.
The sectors best equipped to absorb these
young Arabs are tourism, construction, and agriculture. But a flourishing
tourism sector is not in the cards — not least because of the resurgence of
militant Islamism, which will leave North Africa exposed to the risk of terror
attacks for years to come.
Moreover, a declining share of the European
food market and diminished investments in real estate undermine the capacity of
agriculture and construction to absorb young workers. The likely consequences
of North Africa’s youth bulge are thus renewed social unrest and potentially
sizable migration flows to Europe.
The Gulf used to provide a regional safety
valve. For more than a half-century, Gulf countries absorbed millions of
workers, primarily from their Arab neighbors’ lower middle classes. The Gulf
was also the main source of investment capital, not to mention tens of billions
of dollars in remittances, to the rest of the region. And many Arab countries
viewed it as the lender of last resort.
But — and herein lies the third key trend —
the Gulf economies are now undergoing an upgrade, ascending various industrial
value chains. This reduces their dependence on low-skill foreign workers. In
the coming years, the Gulf countries can be expected to import fewer workers
from the rest of the Arab world, and to export less capital to it.
The fourth trend affects the entire Arab
world, as well as Iran and Turkey: The social role of religion is becoming
increasingly contested. The wars and crises of the last six years have reversed
much of the progress that political Islam had made in the decade before the
so-called Arab Spring uprisings erupted in 2011. With radicalism becoming
increasingly entrenched, on the one hand, and young Muslims putting forward
enlightened understandings of their religion, on the other, a battle for the
soul of Islam is raging.
The problems implied by these four trends
will be impossible for leaders, inside or outside the Arab world, to address
all at once, especially at a time of rising populism and nativism across the
West. But action can and should be taken. The key is to focus on socioeconomic
issues, rather than geopolitics.
The West must not succumb to illusions
about redrawing borders or shaping new countries; such efforts will yield only
disaster. One highly promising option would be to create a full-on Marshall
Plan for the Arab world. But, in this era of austerity, many Western countries
lack the resources, much less public support, for such an effort — most of the
Arab world today could not make the most of it in any case.
What leaders — both within and outside the
region — can do is pursue large-scale and intelligent investments in primary
and secondary education, small and medium-size businesses (which form the
backbone of Arab economies), and renewable energy sources (which could underpin
the upgrading of regional value chains).
Pursuing this agenda will not stem the
dissolution of the modern Arab state in the Levant. It will not generate
workable social contracts in North Africa. And it certainly will not reconcile
the sacred with the secular. But, by attempting to address young people’s
socioeconomic frustrations, it can mitigate many of the longer-term
consequences of these trends.
Some people have been asking “What’s the
point of punishing Qatar or Qatar’s policies to be specific when we (who is
we?) are fighting the nation’s battle (against whom?) now?”
According to the propaganda of the Muslim
Brotherhood and the Sururists, who are a Salafised branch of the Brotherhood,
the nation’s battle, which is the only battle, is against the Safavid invasion.
They are referring to the Khomeini republic and its networks, and Qatar is a
partner in this battle.
According to some leftists and westerners
who sympathize with Qatar, the world’s battle is against ISIS and it is only
against ISIS as all other battles are silly. Qatar contributes to this war by
providing its bases and funds.
During the German foreign minister’s press
conference with his Qatari counterpart few days ago, he commented on the recent
Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian, Bahraini and other countries’ fury against Doha and
said that everyone must remember that our only battle is against ISIS.
Let’s put aside this deceiving propaganda
by the Brotherhood and the Sururists regarding confronting Iran, which is being
obstructed now due to this anger from Qatar as they claim.
Let us go beyond this “selfishness” or say
“naivety,” if you don’t want to say “spitefulness” in the German minister’s
statements, and play along with these arguments.
Who said Doha’s policies have been against
the interests of the Khomeini republic for the past 20 years? Who said Doha was
honestly working with determination and good intentions against the terrorist
al-Qaeda network and its ungrateful branch ISIS?
There’s clear financial, media and
political evidence pointing to strange relations between al-Qaeda figureheads
and Doha. Osama bin Laden had commended Al-Jazeera television channel. A number
of the channel’s journalists, such as Tayseer Allouni and Sami al-Hajj, have
been detained over terrorist charges and links to al-Qaeda.
Relations between Iran and its networks,
such as the Houthi network, are well-known and can be clearly seen. I recommend
reading Fahd al-Sharfi’s article “Qatar’s story in Saada mountains”, which has
been published in this daily. Sharfi is a Yemeni journalist from Saada and his article
provides insights to these relations.
Badreddine al-Houthi, the father of
Abdulmalik and Hussein, thanked Hamad bin Khalifa in a famous speech in
February 2010 and also thanked “the lions of Islam in Iran” for their support
of the Houthis!
In 2008 during the fifth Houthi war, Yemeni
tribal leader Mohammed bin Naji al-Shayef accused “Iran of standing behind the
Qatari mediation” between the Yemeni government and the Houthis and confirmed
that “Qatar was only a messenger sent by Iran.”
This is the real problem. It is not about a
siege or ignoring the real issue, which people like Mr. Erdogan cannot see
clearly. In short, in order for the “real” confrontation to succeed against
Sunni and Shiite networks of chaos and terrorism, some Arab and Islamic countries
and other countries decided to tell Doha: Enough in enough.
It’s time for real work.
When I was a little girl, like many women
of my generation who grew up watching American television shows (even if they
were dubbed in Arabic), I used to twirl and twirl, trying to attain super
powers like Wonder Woman. I would twitch my nose to magically transform my
surroundings, like Samantha from Bewitched.
These female characters were exceptions
among the docile housewives, the efficient secretaries, and damsels in distress
that pervaded the popular media of my time. Wonder Woman and Samantha had the
power to change their lives, even if that power had to remain hidden, forever a
I am sure I knew that those characters
weren't real, that their powers were mere fantasy for the sake of
entertainment. But that did not stop me from believing that maybe, just maybe,
I might also have power lurking somewhere in me. It didn't matter that twirling
only made me dizzy and twitching my nose failed to magically complete my
chores. I kept trying.
I am in my late 40s now and the world has
changed a lot since my youth when print, radio, and television mostly taught
women how to be obedient and pleasing wives, good mothers, and efficient
housekeepers. Naturally, I was excited when I learned that Hollywood was
producing a big-budget feature film about Wonder Woman, finally, after multiple
iterations of Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and other male superhero films. Even
better, the film was directed by a woman.
Then came the shock and betrayal.
Wonder Woman, it turns out (at least in
this Hollywood version) is an avowed Zionist and cheerleader of war crimes. Gal
Gadot, the actor in the lead role, was an active soldier in the military when
Israel invaded and carpet-bombed Southern Lebanon in 2006.
In 2014, Gadot sent a message of support for
Israeli soldiers as they were slaughtering more than 2,100 human beings
imprisoned in a seaside enclave with no place to hide or escape. They bombed
whole neighbourhoods, burying families in the rubble of their demolished homes.
For 52 days, they rained death from sky, land, and sea on to defenseless
civilians in the most densely populated place on earth.
Those who were not killed were either
maimed, wounded or traumatised in one way or another. The bombing didn't stop
until what little remained of Gaza's infrastructure from the previous assault
was crippled again, including hospitals, electricity, water treatment
facilities, agriculture, businesses, roads, schools, and fishing boats.
Israel has one of the world's deadliest
militaries, with the most advanced and technological machines of death, and
they used their might over and over against the principally unarmed and
besieged indigenous population which had no way to defend itself. What Israel
has done to Palestine, and Gaza in particular, is unconscionable. It rises to
the worst forms of oppression and injustice and it is decades old now.
Yet, precious few opinion pieces have tried
to examine what it means to cast a Zionist in the role of an iconic feminist
character. Mainstream media reactions have been mostly laudatory. What
criticism there is has mostly focused on the incongruity of casting a corseted
beauty to reflect an image of female power. Where Gadot's ideological
underpinning was mentioned, it tended to be in the context of trying to quell
public outrage when it was revealed she is a Zionist.
The defence is familiar: Israel is fighting
terrorists. They are defending themselves, merely trying to maintain their
enlightened Jewishness in the midst of a barbaric non-Jewish region. This is
much the same narrative that apartheid South Africa gave when it imprisoned
Nelson Mandela, when it mowed down schoolchildren in Soweto, or when it
massacred protesters in Sharpeville. They, too, were defending themselves
against the natives who did not appreciate being oppressed.
What if Hollywood made this film in the
1980s and cast a militant apartheid supporter for the role of Wonder Woman?
Would the US media focus on her acting talent and beauty instead of the fact
that she openly and proudly asserts her right, as a white woman, to subjugate
the natives of her country?
What is even more bewildering is that Gadot
is being touted as a feminist (per her own claim) and, remarkably, as a woman
of colour. Queen Latifah fits that bill and would have made an excellent Wonder
Woman, but I digress.
Gal Gadot's family came to Palestine as
colonisers and conquerors. Like most Zionists, her parents changed their name
from Greenstein to "indigenise" themselves, but that does not change
who they are. Gadot's position of privilege in life is predicated on the
despair, displacement, robbery, and destruction of the indigenous society where
she lives. For that, she offers neither shame nor apology, but rather, pride.
Discussions of feminism around this film
have sidelined this crucial fact about her. They've omitted the actor's
cheering of wanton killing, which took the lives of 547 children in less than
two months. Instead, the focus is on her impossible physical proportions. This
is just another way that the destruction of our society is normalised.
But make no mistake. Zionism cannot
reconcile with feminism, and such antiquated imperial feminism belongs to
another era, when feminists fought for the right to vote, but only for white
In the words of Jaime Omar Yassin,
"Feminism cannot be Zionist, just as it cannot be neo-Nazi - feminism that
doesn't have an understanding of how it intersects with racial and ethnic
oppression is simply a diversification of white supremacy."
I have not seen the film, nor do I intend
to. But millions of girls have or will, including little Palestinian girls,
like the younger version of myself. They will see feminine power epitomised in
a superhero who holds disdain, disregard, and contempt for Palestinian lives.
It is a painful thing to contemplate. And I can only thank Lebanon and Tunisia
- and individuals around the world - for boycotting the film.