The intrigue for world dominance by kings, warlords, statesmen and presidents will continue to embellish reasons to hold on to the seats of power. Power by its nature is intoxicating and sought after but, few know how to handle it. It is a tool designed in such a way that it weaponises words, whips up beliefs, heightens emotions, quells uprisings, begins feuds, unites nations, destroys centuries of work, kills millions, inspires hope but, most of all it remains elusive because; ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Our eyes are open to the world’s issues but, our minds are shut to discern between being powerful, powerless or being powerfully enslaved.
The UAE and USA Deal on the future of Palestine is a real cause for concern because it leaves Occupied Palestine with no hope of sovereignty and therefore, it remains under the yoke of an Apartheid state. Our eyes are wide open to the oppression but, our minds are shut to the greater geo-political play. The geo-politics of the region is to ensure that there is no right to self-determination.
The world as we know it is more where laws are broken to seize power in the drive to get the masses observing the law.
The thrust of treaties, assurances, pacts, resolutions, armistices, plebiscites and deals over the centuries have either rendered nations helpless or made nations states more resilient against the threat of occupation or diminished sovereignty. In the main the emphasis here is to illustrate how the latest UAE Israel Pact will not lend support to the strive for independence by the people of Occupied Palestine. Our minds are so shut on the reality of how the pacts Israel signed with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 has actually given Israel greater power to continue its occupation and expansion of it illegal settlements in Occupied Palestine. The world sees this with open eyes but, the minds are shut because justice is pursued in the Hague’s International Court for African leaders in the main.
The imperative is to understand how conquerors behave in conquest and how history has judged them and would continue to do so. Lets us illustrate with a few examples and conclude the article on how history is judging the current state of affairs in Occupied Palestine with the involvement of the USA and other role players. While we inspect historical facts you need to establish a standpoint too and nurture it, so that it becomes grounded with conviction otherwise, you will be more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life than a blade of grass in the Serengeti during the migration of the wildebeest. Trampled on, eaten and spat out and eventually dung is the plight of the blade of grass. Having no significant greatness of being is a sad reality therefore, do not be the blade of grass be the Serengeti.
The conquest of Mecca in 8 AH (629 AD) by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) bears testimony of forgiveness reigning supreme and the conqueror living unparalleled in the hearts of the people as a mercy to all mankind. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) entered Mecca with an army of 10 000 soldiers and said “I speak to you in the same words as Yūsuf spoke to his brothers. This day there is no reproof against you; Go your way, for you are free.” The aftermath of the conquest was peace because justice was meted out on the platter of mercy. There were ten people who were ordered to be killed because of their horrendous acts of apostasy and heinous crimes. However, all of them were not killed for example, Ikrimah ibn Abi- Jhal lived and joined the ranks of the Muslims. Ibn Ishaq biography of Nabi Muhammad (s), THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD records Fadala b.al-Mulawwih al-Laythi commemorating the conquest of Mecca as follows:
Had you seen Muhammad and his troops the day the idols were smashed when he entered, you would have seen God’s light become manifest and darkness covering the face of idolatry.Guillaume.A. THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD. A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat of Rasul Allah. 1955. Oxford University Press, page 552
The consequence of the conquest led to the reversion of thousands of people to Islam and the prestige of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (s) mission grew in stature because it was manifest that human life was protected and justice was the preamble to any treaty served with mercy too. This is unparalleled in history in terms of a conqueror not vanquishing the enemy or diminishing them with treaties or resolutions. There were treason cases that had to be dealt with and history is testimony that it cannot be tolerated therefore, in comparison to preceding conquerors and those to follow it still stands as one era of greater peace.
The peace that ensued in 17AH/638CE when Umar (ra) the second Caliph is again an unparalleled era in history. The synopsis of the assurance that Umar (ra) is known as “Mu’ahada Aelia” or Pact of Aelia, because it was declared in Elijah, or Aelia, the ancient name of Jerusalem, in the year 15 Hijriyya / 636 AD.
The texts of document as follows:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، هَذَا مَا أَعْطَى عَبْـدُ اللهِ أَمِيرُ الْمُؤمِنِينَ عُمَر، أَهْلَ إِيلِيَا مِنَ الْأَمَـانِ، أَعْطَـاهُمْ أَمَـانـاً لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَلِكَنَائِسِهِمْ وَلِصُلْبَانِهِمْ وَمُقِيمِهَا وَبَرِيئِهَا وَسَائِرِ مِلَّتِهَا، إِنَّهَا لَا تُسْكَنُ كَنَائِسُهُمْ وَلَا تُهْدَمُ وَلَا يَنْتَقَصُ مِنْهَا وَلَا مِنْ حَدِّهَا وَلَا مِنْ حِيَّزِهَا وَلَا مِنْ صلْبَانِهِمْ، وَلَا شَيْء مِنْ أمْوَالِهم، وَلَا يُكْـرهُـون عَلى دِينِهم، ولَا يُضَارُّ أَحدٌ مِنهم،…. شَهِـدَ عَلى ذلـك خَالِـدُ بن الـوليد، وعمرو بن العـاص، وعبد الرحمن بن عوف، ومعاوية بن أبي سفيان. كتب وحضر سنه خمس عشرة .
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is the assurance of safety (Aman) which the servant of God, Umar, the servant of the believers, has given to the inhabitants of Elijah. He has given them assurance of security/protection for the right to life, property rights, church buildings, their crosses, the weak and free people and all sects. Their churches will not be occupied, may not be destroyed by Muslims. There are nothing reduced from what is in the church or taken from its land; not their crosses, not their property, the inhabitants are not forced to convert and none of them can be harmed..”.
The signatory to this pact was witnessed by Khalid ibn al-Walid, Amr ibn ‘Ash, Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Auf, Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufyan and was set in 15 Hijriyya. (Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa al -Muluk, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1997, vol. II, p. 449).
Peace was the mainstay of the assurance then but, today we see a difference in how defeated nations are underpinned into perpetual slavery through a systemic strategy of creating dependency and identity crises. However, nation states that saw the reality began a resistance.They rose from the ashes and began to soar to enviable independence. Their history of survival is written in their resistance to treaties that were aimed at keeping them dependent, marginalised and weak.
The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 brought an end to WW1 and it underpinned Germany to Article 231 which became known as the War Guilt Clause demanded that Germany pay 132 billion gold marks which is roughly equivalent to US$442 billion today in war reparations to the allies. This left Germany discontent but not powerless. Later appeasements and treaties changed the game plan because the victors had conflicting goals. The Treaty of Versailles had its effect and today it still agonises the geo-political sphere in that region but plays out today differently because it was embellished in the cauldron of the Cold War.
The geo-political sphere at the time saw to decline of the Ottoman Empire and the Treaty of Sèvres designed in 1920 had the sole objective of mincing the Ottoman Empire and abolishing Turkish sovereignty. However, it actually ignited Turkish nationalism and gave birth to fervent hostilities. The Treaty of Sèvres led to the Turkish War of Independence that established the Republic of Turkey. With eyes wide open and minds alive the Turks saved the day from annihilation and today, Turkey has resurged into a global player. However, in later years we saw the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the development of Muslim nation states which gave us this impotency we suffer as an ummah.
We suffer because there is a consistent battle for the hearts and minds of the Muslims by the West which has divided us further. Our minds are shut to the onslaught on Islam therefore, we cannot have a united stand on the issue of Palestine as one striking example. Cheryl Benard in her report titled Civil Democratic Islam makes a detailed study of Islam and draws on strategies that the USA must use to reshape Islam in such a way that they will be happy with. This strategy is beyond treaties, pacts and assurances rather, it is an open call to remould Islam by changing hearts and minds. In the battles for the hearts and minds of Muslims millions of dollars have been spent and billions more because, Islam is the only ideology that is outliving all other ‘isms’ and which provides a solution to the global socio-political and economic mess we in. By forging Islam into a democracy like structure of a secular system, many fundamental beliefs will have to be waylaid leading to an adulterated version of Islam that would be weak. Like how Christianity lost its significance and became a private matter of belief, the same is expected of Islam when distilled into a western democratic system. Here is where are our eyes are wide open to the reality but, our minds are shut because we don’t have the unity to act.
I am not qualified to render a religious discourse on Islamic jurisprudence and how an Islamic state can work. All I am doing is opening my mind to how brainwashed we all have become. It is frustrating to read how people who have not practiced Islam and declared faith have decided on how Muslims should believe, behave, act and think. Therefore, when we look at the reconstruction of Palestine we are being told that this is how it should be when it was never like that. In light of the consistent resistance to the occupation, the use of brutal force becomes the norm to liquidate a people from their homeland. Here is where the assurance of Umar (ra) strikes home because it shows that he understood the dangers of genocide, forced removals and human right violations.
As I stood at the Mosque of Umar in the Old City it became so clear that Umar’s (ra) assurance was real and carries the hallmark of a man who understood peace. The assurance is brief and it speaks the depth of a man’s wisdom for the greater good of humanity. Today, we have the United Nations with halls full of resolutions but no foothold of action.
Our eyes must not be fooled by the glaze of media dazzle and euphoric celebrations rather, it must be sharp to see the stark reality. The reality that will endure once you turn your gaze to something else. The UAE and USA deal on Occupied Palestine is what it is – a deal. It is like a huge poker game played. Each player is only privy to his own cards and bets on what he believes the other has or does not have whilst the owner of the pack of cards is not in the game at all. The player’s eyes are open to the reality but his mind is shut to a plan he does not see. His presence is all that is required for the right image.
The image we have of Occupied Palestine and the image leaders of the region have is vastly different. We cannot have these two opposing images and strive for an impossible two state solution when the deals and treaties that are signed carry different meanings and nuances too. The UAE & USA Deal in essence is the suspension of annexation plans by Israel of the West Bank. For how long will this suspension last? Perhaps until another 100 balloons goes by. It is, in opinion a futile exercise and will not hold water like the hundreds of other deals, accords, solutions and resolutions. With our eyes open and our minds alert, we can most definitely discern what the future can look like. The Deal is written with a sand tipped pen on turbulent waters – nothing to show except the unrelenting tumultuous waves of resistance. It is our duty henceforth to read more, have informed opinion and be able to test our views so that we don’t fall into the trap of self destruction and annihilation. The pen is mightier than the sword but, an alert mind has an eternal ring to it. Open your eyes!