By Jafar M. Ramini

In a recent comment on these very pages I said that my next contribution was being put on hold because I was concentrating my energies and thoughts on making the peace flotilla and flytilla a success. The other reason was that I was invited to participate in The Palestine Solidarity Campaign Conference in London with guest speakers like my dear friend and compatriot, Dr Karma Nabulsi, Dr Nabil Sha’ath of the PA and Dr Emmanuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador in London.

Both events had different endings and different implications and now I can feel that I am able to make an observation and comment on both.

1). The flotilla and the flytilla.
Most of you, I am sure, who have been following the tragedy that unfolded during the last two weeks will have noted that Israeli intransigence, arrogance, influence and ambitions have no limits. They managed, through back-door arm-twisting and bribery to recruit the dishonorable services of the Greek Government to stop the flotilla towards Gaza.
On July 6th, I wrote on the United Progressives website:
‘I wonder who received the thirty pieces of silver? Now we know. I am both saddened and appalled at Greece. A long, proud and honorable history is sullied by dishonorable men.’

As if that was not enough, Israel has black-mailed the international community into stopping more than 350 peace activists from flying from various airports around the world to the aid of the besieged Palestinians in Gaza.

Rejoice, Western democracy and civilization. You are now occupied. When you wake from your slumber and dispel your state of apathy maybe you will realize that you too are a target of the Zionist movement. Then and only then you may have sympathies with our plight.

The flotilla and flytilla were not, in my opinion, a failure. On the contrary, they have magnified for the eyes of the world the lies and the myths that the Zionist, Apartheid state of Israel has been spreading far and wide. That they are the victims in all this. Now everyone can see and read the message from the Zionist, racist Israelis: ‘We own the world, we command the world and nothing, but nothing you do will stop us.’

2). The Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
This is a British movement that has been trying very hard, in every walk of life, to bring awareness of our plight to the fore. Its members are a very varied group of humane and fair-minded people, Jews, Christians and Muslims who are opposed to what Israel inflicts on us and what they get away with in the international arena. A worthy cause and a worthy movement that has my full support and my continued, active participation. The speeches were the normal, courteous affairs but the one I am sure you will find most interesting to hear about was the speech of Dr Nabil Sha’ath.

So as not to make a long-winded appraisal, I shall précis it.
They are going ahead to the UN in September to declare the birth of a new Palestinian state. Furthermore, though the PA has no legitimacy in law and Mr. Abbas has no mandate to rule, they are going ahead anyway and we the Palestinian people have been shoved aside and ignored yet again. In my article, ‘A Passport To Shame’ I alluded to this and the questions I posted in this regard are as relevant today as they were then.

There comes a time in any nation’s life where very hard and pertinent questions have to be raised and have to be answered. And the question that is glaringly obvious at this very precarious moment of our existence is ‘where are we heading?’

Which brings me straight to the point of this article. You can’t stay dormant, you can’t stay on the sidelines, you have got to engage. They are deciding our future without our consent. They are deciding the shape and the size of a future Palestine without a consultation with the Palestinian people. They are ignoring the fundamental rights of any Palestinian on earth to his or her birthplace and that of his or her ancestors. Unless and until we engage they will do what they are not mandated to do and we will be lumbered with yet another huge problem for future Palestinian generations to grapple with.

There has been no more pressing time than this time to start a referendum amongst ALL Palestinians ALL over the world. Yes, I have been pushing for this for a few months now and I know there have been a few interesting and useful comments. But no action. We need to activate. We need to have a referendum. We need to reach a consensus amongst ourselves, the Palestinians, as to how and by whom we are to be governed and what shape and how viable is that a state we are aiming for.

If I may, let me post here a few obvious points for discussion and debate and I will leave it to the technical/legal minded Palestinians to insert in a questionnaire, viz a viz a referendum.

The options are obvious:
1) A state of war with Israel that will culminate either in a victory for us, wiping Israel off the face of the earth or a defeat by us and the enhancing of the Zionist Apartheid state of Israel as the sole custodian of the landmass of Palestine and beyond.
2) A one secular democratic inclusive state of Palestine which encompasses Jews, Christians and Muslims with equal rights and obligations.
3) Two democratic, secular, independent states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in secure, agreed upon boundaries with adherence to the many UN and Security Council resolutions that guarantee the rights of all dispossessed and dispersed Palestinians and those who live in the current illegal, illegitimate state of Israel.

Which one do you, as a Palestinian, in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Israel proper, in the refugee camps around the Arab world and in the Diaspora, which one do you want?

Which kind of government and who do you choose, as a Palestinian, to represent you? The players, at the moment, are all sullied, discredited and illegitimate.

We must have a plebiscite to decide who governs us and how. I have said it once and I will say it again. I am just one individual with a laptop and a torrent of thoughts and an incalculable amount of passion for my people and country. I need your help.

I need the help of technically/computer savvy Palestinians. I need linguistic Palestinians who can translate this and all my earlier articles into Arabic to reach a wider audience in the Arab world. I need charitable, philanthropist Palestinians to put their hands in their pockets to make this vital referendum a reality. Why is it that a Zionist fund-raising event in New York, Washington, Miami, Toronto, Paris, London, Sydney or wherever can raise hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance, support and strengthen our occupiers and yet we are incapable of doing the same?

Rise up, Palestinians. Wise up Palestinians. Every moment we lose is another chunk of our land gobbled up by the racist, Apartheid Israeli state. There has never been a more pressing time for action in our history than now.
I believe any people without roots will wander the world aimlessly, in ever decreasing circles never finding a home.

Do we have to wait 2000 years too?

Jafar M. Ramini
Salam Wa Laisa Estislam
Peace Not Capitulation

( / 05.08.2011)

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