the arab street is dead

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    Ayoon wa Azan (The Arab Street is Dead)

    Jihad Al KhazenÊÊÊÊÊAl-HayatÊÊÊÊÊ2004/12/27

    The Arab Street is dead.

    It has departed but was not dearly.

    It is gone, passed away, extinct, defunct.

    This Street went after everyone that violated authority in the fifties and sixties.

    It raised the banner of every lost or failed cause (I saw demonstrators in Beirut carrying the slogan "Korea will be united").

    It supported the dictatorship at home.

    It made alliances with dictatorships in peoples' countries.

    It was run by the authority's remote control.

    It called for freedom but did not stand up for it when it was slaughtered right before its eyes.

    We heard much talk but saw no action; the beginning of the Street demonstrated against its end, and let the foreigner mess with the fate of the entire Street.

    When it failed on all levels, when it failed the test of civilization, modernity, and civil liberties, it accused everyone except itself.

    It ruined its world and the world around it then sleptÉ a "Rip van Winkle" deep sleepÉ or it is dead.

    It did not protest over the Sabra and Chatila massacres, some did take part in the massacres; however, the Israelis protested.

    It did not demonstrate after the developments in Darfur, it left it to the Europeans to object.

    It did not demonstrate after the Qana massacre, but left it to the advocates of peace in Israel and elsewhere to cry out in protest.

    It did not champion Ahmad Al Durra at the start of the second Intifada.

    It did not cry out for Iman Al Hams when she met her end.

    In the midst of all this, it did not champion the handicapped Sheikh Ahmad Yassin when he was killed.

    One million American, a million Britons, and other millions demonstrated against the war on Iraq.

    The Arab Street still slept. How would it move when it is dead?

    Some of it acted, but to back a dictator that oppressed his own people.

    The tyrant is gone and the people were oppressed once more, still, the Arab Street did not react.

    Every Friday we hear that students would come out from a university or mosque.

    Every Saturday we hear that the authority contained them at the door.

    Some universityÉ some mosqueÉ

    Some future for the youth; to choose between backward learning, religious fundamentalism, or drugs.

    With such options, sleep, or death, is peaceful.

    There is a crime, or crimes, committed in Palestine and Iraq on a daily basis.

    There is a Street that is unaware that it is the victim of the next crime.

    The Arab Street did not react to the massacres in the camps.

    It did not react to the killing of hundreds of children in the Gaza Strip.

    It did not react to show support to the Iraqi resistance against the occupation.

    It did not react when criminal terrorism spread and killed innocent Iraqis, using the resistance as a pretext.

    How could it react when it is dead?

    I took its pulse and felt none.

    I put a mirror under its nose and mouth and there was no moisture to indicate that there is breath.

    If the Street saw itself in the mirror, it would break it or commit suicide.

    It committed patriotic and humane suicide without realizing it.

    Now that it is dead, the enemy is not intimidated by it, and is planning our future as it pleases.

    We, on the other hand, from the miserable Ocean to the sleepy Gulf, are having fun with a song or its female singer.

    Despite this, there is still someone to stand up for us.

    Four, or forty mothers in Israel, B'Tselem, Human Rights Watch in Israel, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American media, the BBC (radio and television), Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)É

    These are the acting Arab Street.

    They stand up for us without us calling them to. We call on our own Arab Street but do not find it. As such, we hope that it may rest in undeserved peace.

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