Dr Niko Leka (NSW) writes to media re Palestinian demand for inclusion, equality and justice 12Jun11 June 12, 2011

“Let them say or do what they will.  Ours is a  demand for inclusion, while theirs is for exclusion.  Ours is for the  diverse, multi-religious society that Palestine had always been.  Theirs  is for a Jewish-only country…Ours is for justice.  Theirs is  for power.”

I read these words by Susan Abulhawa last night. They instantly reminded me of the words I head only the night before.  I heard a woman speak who had only just come back from Gaza. She said that while she was there she saw women in  traditional Muslim dress, as well as many others in Western clothes, and no-one made any comment about either.

I thought to myself, “that’s very different from Australia”.

A few years ago, I dressed up in Arab dress at the Abu-Ghraib protest at the Newcastle foreshore. I was amazed at just how many racist insults that earned in an hour.

Australia’s role in a coalition that only served to briefly exercise military power, broadens the relevance of Abulhawa’s words.

Perhaps growing up with permanent traumatic stress spurrs  Palestinians to see ‘power’ as the desperate façade that it is.

Susan Abulhawa concludes that power is nothing compared to equality. “Equality” she writes, is a form of law that emerges when “we have restored  our belief in ourselves. “

Isn’t it a pity, that recognizing equality should demand so much suffering first?

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