The European tribes of the human race has a lot to answer for on the deplorable state of the planet. From conquest of land, rapacious looting of national artifacts and plunder of natural resources, genocide slavery settler-colonialism to full-blown colonization through assimilation practiced by the French speaking clans of France and Belgium predominantly in West and Central Africa and pockets in the Caribbean and Polynesia until the middle of the 20th century when the liberation movements demanded independence.
Their British cousins were nor less avaricious but British colonialism was more subtle in style with the twin mechanisms of control being ‘indirect rule’ and ‘divide and conquer’. A sprinkle of british civil servants with the Governor General as the representative of crown controlled the destiny of more half of the world’s population at the height of the british empire! Indirect rule was falsely touted as a system that respected the traditional institutions of governance. Indeed, the native chieftains were used to collect taxes and control the local population.
The divide and conquer approach of British colonial rule reached its apotheosis in the senseless and bloody partition of India. The British Raj considered the crown jewels of the empire had a rich heritage of religious harmony with a diversity of faiths unparallel anywhere in the ancient world. On the eve of independence in 1947 out of the blue muslim Indians were portrayed as a minority in need of protection from the Hindu majority. This case or cause was led by a Bombay lawyer named Muhammed Ali Jinnah, an anglophile to boot and a muslim in name only. Seventy-five years on India and Pakistan which was further partitioned in 1971 to create the Republic of Bangladesh the two have remained bitter enemies and both have nuclear weapons.
A similar balkanization was made in the Middle East following the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate at the end of the Great war 1914-18. Germany was also dispossessed of all its colonial territories in east and southern Africa. In addition, onerous terms and conditions were imposed on Germany for plunging the tribe into four years of war. The British and the French led the partitioning of the lands of the Arab tribes into kingdoms and emirates. As a result of this carving out of territories from the deserts, Arabia and Africa new kings and princes were foisted on a largely nomadic people. The status quo was concretized by the discovery of vast oil reserves in the desert sands. What Europeans called black gold.
Before this new world order designed and chaperoned by the Europeans could take firm shape, Hitler tossed away the Treaty of Versailles and started annexing land of neighboring countries and blaming the Jews for all the ills of German society. First Hitler expropriated the Jews of Germany of their enormous wealth; then the Jews of the conquered states. Thereafter, a final plan for the extermination of the European Jews was devised leading to the death of more six million souls in concentration camps and gas chambers-mass murder on an industrial scale.
The second great European war was settled by their descendants who had fled the hardships of the feudal systems and religious persecution of old Europe to the new world of the Americas. The United States of America dropped the nuclear bombs on two cities in Japan Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II a bold declaration to the world that the USA is now the dominant power in global affairs. The same European-Americans who wiped out the native population, took their land and used enslaved Africans to build the new empire. Yes the same European-Americans who see other hyphenated Americans as second-class citizens and had put Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II. Now offer full throated support to the Apartheid State of Israel.
After the horrendous treatment the European Jews received from nazi Germany and throughout their long history since the time of the pharaohs they deserve their own homeland. No one can argue with that, but it cannot be at the expense of another tribe with legitimate and historical claims to the same land. Uganda under colonial rule was considered as a good spot for the Jewish homeland but the Zionists and the powerful American Jewish lobby insisted that Jerusalem is the forever capital of the Jewish people even after two thousand seasons their rights to return to the ‘promised land’ remain inviolate? So, in 1948 the British under the trusteeship mandate oversaw the creation of the state of Israel, a Jewish State where Jews from anywhere in the world have automatic citizenship.
The consequences of the Europeanisation of the world are plain for all to see in the last five hundred years or so. Racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, genocide, eugenics, homophobia, alcohol, guns, pandemics, plastic climate crises, and inequality and these were invented by the European tribes and were introduced alongside useful inventions into the blood stream of humanity and the life support systems of the planet with devastating consequences.
Therefore, the unprecedented surprise attack by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, killing some 700 people, should serve as a reminder of the untenability of the situation in the occupied and blockaded Palestinian territories and the dangers that non-state actors such as Hamas pose to Israel, no matter how strong their military and intelligence agencies are.
Tensions have been flaring in the West Bank for months, but nobody expected such a coordinated, low-tech yet lethal incursion from Gaza. The West Bank has seen violence on a daily basis in recent months. Before Saturday’s attack, some 200 Palestinians and 30 Israelis were killed this year alone. The Benjamin Netanyahu government largely ignored the violence, and went ahead with his other policy preferences, including the overhaul of the judiciary. The Israeli military described the situation in Gaza as “stable instability”, noting that the situation, though volatile, was under control.
And then came the Hamas attack, reminiscent of the 1973 Yom Kippur war when Egypt and Syria shook Israel. Hamas, a radical militant organisation that carried out suicide attacks in the 1990s and early 2000s, showed no distinction between civilians and soldiers, dealing the bloodiest blow to Israel in recent history.
The attack raises moral and logical questions. Hamas’s indiscriminate violence against Israeli civilians is repugnant and is not going to help the Palestinian cause in any way. On the contrary, it will put more Palestinian lives at risk as Israel, equally disregarding civilian casualties, is pounding the besieged enclave. But at the same time, Palestinian territories, under the yoke of the longest occupation in modern history, have been a fuming volcano. There is no peace process.
Israel has continued to build settlements in the West Bank, raising security barriers and checkpoints, limiting Palestinian movements, and never hesitating to use force or collective punishment to keep organised Palestinians under check. This status quo has only turned Palestinians more radical and Hamas even stronger. Israel has now declared war. But past attacks — ground invasions and air strikes — have done little to weaken Hamas.
The Middle East has also witnessed geopolitical realignments in recent years — from the Israel- Arab reconciliation to the Iran-Saudi détente. But these changes have conveniently sidestepped the occupation of Palestine, the Middle East’s original sin, letting the status quo prevail. But the status quo cannot prevail without consequences. If Israel and other regional and international players want lasting peace and stability in the region, their focus must turn to finding a solution to the question of Palestine. The military operations without addressing the core issue would only be cosmetic interventions.