Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hani Almadhoun Keeps the Victim Train Rolling

You know what we haven't heard about in a while? Gaza. And how poor it is. And how much life there sucks. And why it's all Israel's fault. Thank goodness we have Hani Almadhoun on the Huffington Post to keep that victim perception going. His recent op ed is entitled Medieval Times Are Alive and Well in Gaza, which unfortunately is not a reference to how the views of the people there are similar to medieval people in terms of women's rights, gay rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but rather how there's no fuel. Let's take a quick look shall we?

Almadhoun begins by listing off some of the things members of his family do since there's no gas. Here's an example:
"I called my older brother Mazin the other day, but he was not at home. I learned that due to the power shortage in our town, he has been spending more time at his workplace. They have a generator, and thus he can utilize actual electric light bulbs there. Most people do not have this luxury. Power supplies have been eliminated. Candles and other antiquated light sources are used widely."
Stories like this make up the majority of the essay. One is that his sister hasn't had a shower in two days! Gasp! Horror! Much worse than thousands dead in Syria!

But in Almadhoun's defense, he does take some shots at Hamas in between playing the victim:
"No power, no fuel, and little water: darkness is everywhere, the public is deeply distrustful, and the only people making a living are those who walk around town flaunting big guns often accompanied by a huge entourage. Which also reminds us of Lords, Dukes and courts' jesters."
Wow, how brave of him! That is exemplary, to risk arrest and torture criticizing Hamas!
"This is why my sister-in-law and her husband are coming to visit us here in the States this month. They are fleeing the siege, the lack of power and water, and the abundance of weapons to be with us for three weeks. We are really thrilled about their visit, but because life is so hard in Gaza right now -- and many other places too -- I want to take them somewhere that will make them feel better about life in Gaza. "
Oh wait, it's not brave at all, he lives in the United States, not Gaza. I guess that explains why he can only tell stories from Gaza second hand. Note also that his sister-in-law is able to leave Gaza, quite a "siegebreaker" that one.

Almadhoun continues on with his now-tortured medieval metaphor and concludes with this:
"Joking aside, this senseless suffering induced by the Israeli siege and political gridlock in both Palestine and Israel is completely preventable. The people of Gaza set free. There is no reason why three little children -conceived after a difficult in vitro procedure -- should have to burn alive in Gaza when their bed sheet catches fire from the light of the candle left by their mother to ward off their fear of the dark."
So Almadhoun is willing to criticize Hamas, but only about how they have guns and power. He doesn't do the right thing and tell the truth, which is that it is entirely Hamas' fault. Hamas refuses shipments of both cooking gas and diesel fuel from Israel. This crisis and the suffering of the Gazans that stems from it is completely the fault of Hamas, but Almadhoun chickens out and blames it on "the Israeli siege" and "political gridlock on both sides."

What could have been a great, introspective piece that asks Palestinians what they have gotten themselves into with the election of Hamas was instead just another boring, dishonest whinefest that maintains the myths of Palestinians as victims and Israel as evil oppressor.

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