Yesterday was yet another day in a long list of days that will forever live in infamy, or at least until the next major hot button issue arrives, due to another act of Israeli aggression toward any who would dare attempt to see the Palestinians as equal human beings. People are “outraged”, tired, and fed up with the Palestinian/Israeli “problem” yet in this quest for justice sincerity on every side seems to be lacking in many key areas. This is a commonly held belief in many circles and I don’t presume to be an expert on this issue. However, as an outside observer and critic of the religious community in which I belong, I have to in love and profound respect once again point out our hypocrisy.
The Palestinian people were suffering long before the raid on the flotilla and will most likely continue to suffer long after the momentary protests, speeches, and letters of condemnation. When the major media gets bored with this issue and move on to the next “issue” of the day likely to spike ratings and make for good television, how many Muslims and other humans of conscience, are still going to be focused on the plight of the Palestinians?
My criticism of Muslims lay solely in the belief that I believe many of our groups and organizations do too much talking and very little tangible action. The Palestinians are used as a rallying cry for every sort of cause, agenda, or ideology, yet somehow their suffering never ceases to dwindle even while these groups and organizations become even more prosperous or important in the process.
Then there is our shared faith which as far as I understand it, would condemn us all for even allowing a situation to exist like the one in Palestine. Somehow, we seem to have enough zeal and resources to take on rogue cartoonists, anti-Muslim laws, and commentators in the West, but in our own backyard, we can’t seem to do anything. The Palestinians lack the resources and dignity of any otherwise respectable people and yet their brothers and sisters in the region largely pay lip service to their plight. Well unless of course it helps them politically of course. Somehow Muslim governments can build skyscrapers, islands, and move toward “modernizing” their countries spending untold amounts of resources, but when it comes to coming together to build a Palestinian infrastructure, support definitive borders, nation-hood, and holding back Israeli aggression and double-speak, well we all know the true story. The ugly truth is that if Israel hadn’t shot themselves in the foot with a botched raid, we would still be talking non-stop about the BP oil spill. The Palestinians would still be in the same state they were last week.
We all know how this is going to play out long before the story get’s old. Israel will thumb it’s nose at the international community, Egypt as they are now will pretend to care to win over Arabs/Muslims in the interim, the US like the UN but slightly weaker will give lukewarm lip service condemnation toward Israel, which means nothing, and anyone who dares to see the activists as anything other than terrorists who support Hamas and seek to destroy Israel will be labeled anti-Semitic. In other words, more of the same.
It wouldn’t always come down to this if as a group Muslims were credible in the debate, but the reality is that we are not. This is due not only to our perceived but very real record of hypocrisy on human rights. We only seem to care, get outraged, and condemn actions when it’s politically expedient for our respective group, organization, etc. Instead of doing as our religion commands and calling out injustice in all it’s forms regardless of the source of oppression, we cherry pick around human suffering, only willing to deal with those issues that will keep our approval ratings high amongst our followers.
Unfortunately, for the hypocrites among us, in the eyes of our Rabb (Lord), we will have to answer for our actions and inaction’s. If we speak out against somethings and ignore others, when oppression is the same in both cases, we are more like the serpent with the forked tongue and are like the Shaitan who makes evil fair seeming. We have many proofs and lessons to be analyzed just from the atrocities committed in the past seven days all involving Muslims.
In one instance, it was Muslims doing the oppression and slaughter, in another it was the Jews. In one instance it was a Muslim state who’s policies helped support the crimes, in another it was a Jewish state. Who did we come out in force to speak out against? Yet, we wonder why we aren’t taken serious in the debate for human rights and human dignity. All around the “Muslim” world, Muslims are guilty of the oppression and slaughter of the inhabitants of those lands and the same zeal that will call fatwa’s on artists, bans on government trade, and international outrage and condemnation, is nowhere to be found when the criminal is a Muslim.
I am on the side of humanity and it’s cries of condemnation against the Israeli raid on the flotilla and I am on the side of humanity and it’s cries for justice for all the oppressed people on the planet regardless of the nationality, religion, or ethnicity of the oppressor.
As Muslims we have to be champions of justice regardless. If there are conditions to our mercy, compassion, and steadfast zeal for justice, then we are hypocrites and rightly deserve judgment from our God and the rest of society.
If we truly want to help the Palestinians we must match our words with tangible action. If we really seek the support of others concerning our brethren in Palestine, then we also need to support others in their time of need, even if Muslims are the perpetrators of the crimes.
Ultimately, we can continue to play games in the media concerning very real human suffering, but the greater test will not be how much noise we make, but how many lives we actually change for the better.