From The Frying Pan To The Ceasefire (And Back Again)

Alessandra Sanguinetti, “Portrait of Modern Palestinian Childhood,” 2004. (Via)

The Middle East won’t know peace until the carbon crusaders are kicked out for good. Until the aircraft carrier called Israel is sunk and the satraps of Saudi and Egypt represent the people. Palestine is just the epicenter of the broader catastrophe that is American occupation overall. The same colonialism that just carried over from the British in an unbroken atrocity I call White Empire. Palestine won’t be free until we all are (and vice versa). This is obviously going to take a while, and there will be blood.

The ceasefire that the brave mujahideen of Hamas won — on their own terms — is just a brief respite in the ongoing genocide of their people. From the ceasefire to the frying pan, it’s still genocide, just at a different temperature. Hamas is committed to freeing all of the hostages and all of Palestine, which is what needs to be done. Decolonization cannot proceed by half-measures, it is a cancer that needs to be completely cut out. Otherwise the Israelis will keep ‘mowing the lawn’, as they call it when they regularly murder Palestinians, especially children.

Despite releasing hundreds of hostages, many of them children, Israel keeps kidnapping more. Even though Hamas treated its hostages well, Israel routinely sexually abuses, tortures, and murders the people it kidnapped. They recently beat a young captive to death for simply asking if there was a ceasefire. As a Palestinian woman on Al Jazeera said, “They receive their prisoners back unscathed and dignified, whereas ours return bearing broken limbs and evident marks of maltreatment and abuse. So, who exactly are the terrorists in this situation?” Israel. The answer is Israel.

Despite the ostensible ceasefire, Israel is still killing every day, all across occupied Palestine and even into neighboring states like Lebanon and Syria. There is simply no living with this state, they are death incarnate. It’s not that Israel commits war crimes, Israel is a war crime. Israel cannot exist without constant violence, therefore it should not exist it all. Hamas needs to free everyone and also the whole country of Palestine which will, as mentioned, take a long time and more than a lot of blood. As Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashal said:

Nations are not easily liberated. The Russians sacrificed 30 million people in World War II in order to liberate it from Hitler’s attack. The Vietnamese sacrificed 3.5 million people until they defeated the Americans. Afghanistan sacrificed millions of martyrs to defeat the USSR and then the US. The Algerian people sacrificed six million martyrs over 130 years. The Palestinian people are just like any other nation. No nation is liberated without sacrifices.

The task ahead of the liberation forces of Palestine and their allies in Lebanon, Yemen, and Iran is monumental. Israel would collapse in a week without external support, but it has that support, doesn’t it? All the old genociders are lined up behind the young blood Israel, which means support from America, its European vassals, and their satraps in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, etc. While the Empire is provable unable to win against actual militaries (Russia), they are still able to slaughter civilians en masse, which is what they’re doing in Palestine. As they did in Yemen, Afghanistan, and so on. The War on Terror was a misnomer. It was the War of Terror. The Americans and Europeans are the ‘terrorists’, if you can just imagine that poor, colored people feel fear also.

Palestine in not in for a fair fight, because Empire follows no rules of war (the ‘rules-based order’ is precisely the denial of international law). Palestine is vastly outgunned against Israel, and Israel has America and the whole White Empire behind them. This is not a fight anyone would pick, but Palestinians were simply born into it. And this army of orphans are fighting with great bravery and notable success, somehow. As the Al-Qassam Brigade’s Abu Obeida said, “We are fighting an unequal war, but it will be studied in the world and will be immortalized in history.” Inshallah. I’m pretty sure God wills it (Empire is certainly falling) but do God act now? That’s the question.

For the rest of the world this is a largely academic question, but for Palestinians it is existential. Israel has a gun to their children’s heads, and is actively pulling the trigger. Again, Palestine didn’t choose war, it came to them, in an unending Nakba (catastrophe). The only difference between the slaughter of the past 50 days and the past 75 years has been the pace not the slaughter. That is default. Palestine’s choice is resist or die, whatever the odds. As Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said: “Does the world expect us to offer ourselves up as polite, willing and well-mannered sacrifices, who are murdered without raising a single objection? This is not possible. No, we have decided to defend our people with whatever strength we have been given.”

At this point, it has become obvious that a ‘two-state solution’ is about as good a solution as ‘separate but equal’ within apartheid America. You can’t have nuclear armed Israel over here and a Bantustan’d (scattered) Palestine wherever they allow it. Israel regular bombs, kidnaps, and assassinates not just the native population but its neighbors. If accountability means anything, that counts them out. If anybody requires regime change in the Middle East, it’s the ethnostate of Israel, which actually has illegal WMD (nukes) and has threatened to use them. Israel cannot be lived with and, indeed, it cannot sustain itself without constant death. It simply has to go. Israel has to be destroyed and replaced with a democratic Palestine, with equal rights for all. Two states with apartheid in one corner and periodic bombing of everyone else is not a solution, it’s a lie to allow the fascist one-state of Israel to grow and fester. Israel can no more exist than Rhodesia or apartheid South Africa. That much is obvious now. What is less obvious is how.

Hamas and Hezbollah routinely rout the Israel Occupation Force (IOF) in open battle, but those cowards rarely stand and fight at all. Israel hides behind western bombs and stand-off weapons, attacking hospitals and children. As long as they have air and diplomatic cover from the Empire, they’ll continue their genocidal destruction. While the liberation forces are methodically destroying the Israeli military and Yemen is blockading its shipping in the Red Sea, Israel is still able to kill tens of thousands (mostly children), and spread famine and disease (on purpose). Whatever battles the resistance is winning, it’s not fast enough.

While the ‘terrorists’ methodically engage in battle, Israel is methodically conducting genocide. Israel is quite openly trying to kill everyone in Gaza, ethnically cleanse it, and then move onto the West Bank and even Lebanon. This is all openly stated by Israelis and openly done. The only comfort is that they can’t — as Joe Biden’s re-election slogan goes — ‘finish the job’. But this is cold comfort to the innocents that die, lose limbs, starve, and live with grief and trauma that will never leave their bodies. The average age of people killed in Israeli’s attack on Gaza is around five. That is nearly a million years of human life, just lost. Empire will collapse in our lifetimes, but far too many lives will be snuffed out first.

What this means is that the historical conditions for rebellion are finally catching up with the immediate imperative among Palestinians. The truth is that the White Empire has already fallen and future historians will date the collapse to September 11, 2001. Like Rome ‘falling’, however, it’s almost imperceptible when you’re in the middle of it. As Eleanor Janega writes about the ‘fall’ of Rome in 476, “If you asked a Roman on the street what they thought about the fall, they probably wouldn’t understand.”

When I say the Empire has already fallen, just look. Today, the United States is already poorer than China (in purchasing power and basic quality of life, not to mention life expectancy). Their financial empire collapsed in 2008 and is literally a paper tiger made of printed money now. Their military has already been humiliated in Afghanistan and now, via proxy, in Ukraine, it’s a paper tiger on fire. The two pillars of Empire have already fallen down. As Stephen Howe writes in his Very Short Introduction to Empire (via me), “Empires always involve a mixture of direct and indirect rule. The central power has ultimate sovereignty, and exercises some direct control, especially over military force and money-raising powers, in all parts of its domain.” By these measures, America has already sanctioned and invaded its way into a corner and it — the last heir of White Empire — is already a dead Empire walking. It can still kill children but not men, and this fact is widely known now.

The United States which invaded the Middle East in 2001 is very different from the United States of today. At that point, people believed in their power and propaganda and they were able to do whatever they wanted. Now people don’t, and they actually can’t. Ukraine has shown that they can’t win against peer militaries (Russia) and Afghanistan has shown that they can’t win against impoverished insurgents. Iran is much stronger than Iraq was, and even Hezbollah would fuck them up. Drone and cheaper technology has evened the playing field for insurgents, and America can’t even raise a proper army anymore. Its population is too obese, too mentally ill, on too many drugs, and simply unwilling. American can fight to the last Ukrainian, but they can’t fight for themselves, and at some point they’ll run out of proxy pawns. Which is all Israel is. Israel is a Sepoy army parked near the gas station, guaranteed to be loyal.

America openly calls Israel its ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ in the region, but that reputation has already been sunk. Any illusions about Israel intelligence drowned in the Al Aqsa Flood. Any illusion around their military might was obliterated in Gaza, where they blew up a bunch of hospitals and completely missed Hamas. The whole world saw Israeli tanks getting lit up by men in track bottoms while the IOF killed child after child. This was not a military force. It was just a bunch of cowards. In the same way, Israeli propaganda and the western media that carried it were discredited by their obvious lying and genocidal incitement. Israeli lies were just stupid and the media contortions — after crying wolf about the much more honorable Russian Army— were obvious. Times have moved on and all these people looked both evil and stupid, which is the opposite of intimidating. Israel depended on deterring threats with its rep, but that rep is toast now. In that regard, Hamas has already won.

These historical processes, however, tell us nothing about what will transpire this bloody year, or the bloody years to come. Empire can still kill millions in a final paroxysm of violence and, indeed, it seems to be avidly pursuing this outcome. It’s not just Palestine, the visibly dying President of a visibly dying Empire has provoked conflict with Russia, and is provoking China and Iran constantly. The chickenhawk ghouls of the Democratic Party are doing everything they can to start World War III, and with Trump coming in, it could get started out of sheer idiocy. The US political system is all one war crime family and — no matter who their delusional voters anoint — there will be war. Americans often talk about electing the lesser evil, and that’s correct. America is evil, full stop. It will fall at some point (all Empire do), but the question is when, and upon whom. Obviously the Palestinians first (not to mention the forgotten people in Congo, and Haiti, and Peru, and Pakistan, and even Sri Lanka). While history sucks to be in the middle of, it’s even worse to be buried under, as so many of us are.

Palestinians are just a poor people, caught in the middle of this industrial death machine, trying to just get their land back. That’s all. They’re not trying to be special heroes, but that’s what history has thrust upon them. Thus the orphans Israel made in past pogroms become the freedom fighters of now. They end up in the vanguard of the fight against White Empire not out of any special knowledge of the imperial mind but of intimate knowledge of the imperial boot. For many reasons, including religious (the coming defilement of the Al Aqsa Mosque), Hamas has chosen this time for battle and they have been prepared. Israel and America are rushing in, in a blind rage, but this is both A) not a good look and B) not good looking out. The ‘barbarians’ bust out the gates of Gaza and they’re not stopping. I don’t know if they’ll win now, but Empire will lose eventually. That much is certain.

Israel has wasted over two Hiroshima’s worth of munitions killing mostly children and not degrading Hamas. America has wasted what was left of its reputation and propaganda powers. While a wounded animal is still dangerous, it still dies, eventually. This is America’s fate, inexorably, and thus Israel’s, eventually, and some day — though not soon enough — the whole wretched White Empire will fall. Just in time for the meek to inherit the ashes, as the climate collapses around us. It will be a Pyrrhic victory, literally, but it has still been Palestine’s dharma to light the spark, and ours to carry the flame until the whole wretched edifice burns.

For all colonized people, for all decent people, this is our jihad. Jihad not as a ‘scary’ Arabic word, but as a real word with real meaning. Jihad is what we call aragalaya in Sinhala, a righteous struggle. Jihad “primarily refers to the human struggle to promote what is right and to prevent what is wrong,” which is precisely what is happening in Palestine. Which is what should inspire us generally in the world. God knows they’re putting up enough martyrs. The least we can do is put up a fight. The world is going from the frying pan to the fire, and going back again is not a solution. Forget debating how we’re cooked, our children should not be devoured by Empire at all. This is something worth fighting for, and for the brave mujahideen actually doing it, godspeed and mashallah.