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Dr Shaaban: Time for Arabs to Take Back the Narrative, Write Their Own History

By Dr Bouthaina Shaaban

With the changes and transformations that swept through our Arab region after the events of the so-called “Arab Spring” (that turned out to be an “Arab Hell”), which resulted in the beginning of the first stage of open public normalisation between the rulers of Saudi Arabia (and the Gulf countries) and the Zionist entity, and the cooperation and coordination between them against the Arab rights and interests. This serious event deserves careful examination, and we need to stop and reflect on the steps that must be taken so that we don’t discover, half a century from now, that we did not make the right decision and have not even taken one step on the path that might lead us to the desired goal.

Anyone who understands our ancient and contemporary history recognises that as Arabs we have not managed even one meaningful reassessment of what has happened to us over the years, and we have not recognised the real causes of the crises, setbacks and calamities that we have witnessed. Many of those involved in these events refused to put down in writing their observations, because their testimony might prove that everything the previous generations had learned in official history books was actually false. But today we have reached a stage where we can no longer continue this approach, because today’s battle is indeed a battle for existence, not only for the Palestinians, but for the people of the Arab Nation from the Ocean to the Gulf.

The fact that the acceleration of Gulf normalisation with the Zionist enemy is a remarkable and serious fact, and its repercussions on the Arab-Israeli conflict should not be underestimated; on the contrary, we must prepare to face such ramifications. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf today own more than 80% of the Arab media, and their rulers, with their vast oil riches, are willing to spend generously to destroy the Arab confrontation countries, using terrorism to do so. Therefore, today the nation is facing a serious challenge, Saudi and Gulf money is being used to confuse minds of youth about the facts of the historical conflict with the Zionist enemy, and to distort the notions of Arab rights and interests. We should not continue with the approach which has been adopted over the past decades; we must, however, take the time and effort to study this phenomenon. We must not underestimate its importance and its negative effects, in order not to spread a false sense of reassurance and disregard about what is unfolding today. This is why the real Arab discourse must return to the root of the issue because the phenomenon of terrorism and its aftermath in all of our Arab countries from Iraq to Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen are rooted in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the occupation of Palestine and the weakness of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. What are we going to do? We are the believers in our cause, our Arabism, the Arabism of Palestine and Jerusalem; how will we confront this new and dangerous tyranny of Saudi and Gulf capitulation to Israel?

There is no doubt that the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on its land and its adherence to its rights constitutes the cornerstone of resisting this despicable colonial occupation, but this besieged people cannot be left with its very limited resources in the face of a Gulf-financed military machine supported by global and Gulf media. New paths to wage this struggle should benefit from the lessons learned by the resistance movements to colonial settlement, especially in Algeria and South Africa. In South Africa, the resistance, revolutionaries and liberals worked to form provincial movements all over the world worked to isolate the apartheid regime. Today I see that the Palestinian issue has reached this important crossroads. It is imperative that organisations, unions and Arab parties unite to put in place a working mechanism that will make the boycott of the Zionist enemy a permanent goal in every regional or international activity. In order to do this, it is necessary to form working teams with Palestinian leaders and Arab and international cadres, whose main objective is to raise awareness of the Palestinian issue and to shed light on the crimes of the occupation, and to compare between the Palestinians, the indigenous people of this land, with what happened to the native peoples of America and Australia who suffered from wars of genocide that led to the destruction of their culture, their way of life and their social and spiritual systems. Let us recognise that the difference between us and our enemies is that we have the right to this land. However, they were able to spread their propaganda across the world, using many diplomatic, media and financial means. While we, even though we have right on our side, have failed to employ the proper mechanisms in order to advance our cause.

There is no doubt that the Argentine football team’s withdrawal from a friendly match in Jerusalem is an important event, so important that Netanyahu had to speak with the Argentine president twice to have the game, not only for the importance of the game itself, but also its symbolic importance, and the fear that it would set a precedent to boycott the Zionist entity in various areas. The other side of this event should not be limited to thanks and praise but to draw the lesson that the diligent and serious work of boycotting this entity and showing its crimes in the eyes of the world may be an effective method at this stage of the struggle.

We must create a new history using methods that were used by our enemies in order to strengthen the resistance against their settlement projects, combing both the struggle of our people and proper scientific methods in order to inflict a massive defeat against our enemies on the regional and international scenes.

Author Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban is a Syrian political writer and currently serves as a chief political and media adviser to the President of the Syrian Arab Republic.

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

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