In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful.
In need of sharing and clear up some confusion or frustration, i would humbly share my point of view, my observation and note taking about the talk from Dr Norman G Finkelstein, entitled Israel-Palestine, Root of Conflict, Prospects for Peace, recently held in Birmingham Uni.
During my usrah sitting, I was asked by my fellow usrahmates whether the speaker is a muslim or not but i didnt know either. Late that night, i searched for his profile in google, looked through his website and biography and nothing much i could find about his religion backgroud, compare to his academic background. But one obvious thing can be seen is, Dr Norman has dedicated his life to fight for human right, particularly for Palestinian. I was fascinated by his determination and enthusiasm, which should be instilled in each Muslim’s heart, as our duty on earth is to spread PEACE and justice for mankind.
Dr Norman started the talk by evoking our awareness of current voting. Almost every representative in every organisation (such as the UN, ICG, Amnesty, Arab League, Hamas) is against the illegal, injustice to the Palestinian people, but only the US and Israel stubbornly refuse to agree and to abid to the international law which promote peacefull settlement for Palestinian. So that’s one part of the talk. The Root of Conflict.
The other part of the talk should be The Prospects for Peace, but Dr Norman calmly said that he would like to propose it in term of Gandhi’s solutions. I’m not backing him up, but I think there are underlying reasons why he choose Gandhi and Gandhi’s solution to deliver his message. First of all, it should be because of religion sensitivity. If he quote from Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. or Prophet Jesus a.s., this will create bias to the Jewish and the other non-believers audience. Eventhough Gandhi himself is a Hindu, there wont be much reaction about his religion background, since the Hindu is not directly involve in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Another reason that I can think is because Gandhi had gone through more or less the same political conflict during India liberation from British, then faced Muslim’s request of having seperate country, now known as Pakistan. I don’t know very deep about that history, but I have some picture about it from the Gandhi movie, and reading about the formation of Pakistan, and the formation of Jamaat Islami in Pakistan itself, and reading and attending lectures on Sayid Abu al Ala Maududi’s books (let us be muslim, towards understanding islam and shahadatul haq). I dont really know what Gandhi had done to solve the matter, was he the saviour or not. But i could see the relation between Israel-Palestine conflict and India-Pakistan-years-ago conflict. Therefore, i sat there listening to the talk attentively waiting to hear some heavy draft of resolutions for Palestine.
But to my surprise, Dr Norman didnt make it as complicated as India-Pakistan resolution, he rather just pointed out four rules from Gandhi’s philosophy.
1) Dont use violence if possible. The oppressor should be forced/melted to acknowledge the suffer. Whenever you can achieve something by violence, if you can achieve the same result by non violence with less blood shed, use non-violence.
2) However, people have the right to use violence in order to gain self respect due to current legal standard of moral condition. When people cant find ways to practice non violence anymore, it is not just having the right, but it is also a DUTY to hit back and defense uncowardly, bravely and with dignity.
3) Another thing is about non-coperation which wont help things to be better. There must be coperation, consideration and engagement with each other.
4) It must be innocent in the means of fighting, and innocent in the goal. Every fight should be legitimate, not just based on pitty from others. [errr i think nowadays its very hard to make the truth remains legitimate and approved by court. isnt it?]
Whilst these are solutions for the Israel-Palestine, Dr Norman went further by putting emphasise on the DUTY for THE REST OF us, to inform the public and to win the public opinion. Eventhough it is very difficult to change international public opinion, and it means that the Palestinian have to suffer for few more generations, and few more decades, we must hold on to the truth and keep informing and increasing everyone’s awareness. Win doesnt mean to defeat anybody, but to give room to everyone so that everyone should gain.
Dr Norman concluded his talk by convincing the audience to keep the ideology of against injustice, against home demolishing and against land occupational, no matter what religion we are in.
That was a very good ‘human right campaign’ i must say. On top of that, i would like to call Muslims out there to be concerned about Palestine and to be involved in this long long fight, as a proof of our believe (iman) in Allah and in Hereafter (akhirat), and in the brotherhood of Muslim ummah.
“None of you truly believe until you want for your brother what you want for yourself.” [hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Taqwa is here and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in disrespect. All things of a Muslim are sacred for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honour.” [Hadith reported by Muslim]
Let us help the Palestinian to gain their right, their respect as what they deserve to get, not just for the sake of human right, but because our Prophet s.a.w. has taught us to do so. [double the reason, double the determination insyaAllah]