PEP COLUMN: The shame of our abstention
By abstaining from the recent United Nations (UN) vote to confer “non-member observer status” upon Palestine, the Government of Barbados brought great shame to all of the people!
It boggles the mind that the political leaders of a nation and people that – historically – suffered a fate so similar to that of the Palestinian people could not find it within themselves to demonstrate a practical empathy with the Palestinians by joining with the vast majority of the international community and voting in favour of allowing Palestine to get a foot through the UN door!
A multitude of 138 nations voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution to elevate Palestine to “observer status”, while a mere nine nations, led by the United States and Israel, voted against. But for some strange reason, Barbados found it necessary to break ranks with CARICOM in voting for the resolution, by taking the unprincipled and seemingly cowardly route of abstention.
The Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) would like to remind Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean, and indeed all the members of the Cabinet, that they are the descendants of a black African people who – over a period of 300 years – suffered the most horrendous forms of racist oppression and colonial imposition.
We would also like to point out to them that if we scour the entire world today, we would be hard-pressed to find a nation and people whose current condition so closely approximates the racist colonial condition of our own Barbadian ancestors, as the nation and people of Palestine.
Simply put, the Palestinians have been the hapless victims of two of the most powerful, oppressive and violent forces of the modern world – Zionism (or Jewish Fascism) and European imperialism.
Over the past 100 years, the Zionist Jews of Europe and North America, acting in cahoots with the political and economic elites of Britain and the United States, have imposed the most horrific type of genocidal settler colonialism upon the Muslim and Christian Arabic people of Palestine.
The Zionists, with the complicity of the British and Americans, acquired their Jewish state – Israel – in 1948. Ever since then, there have been five major wars fought – all of them with the ultimate aim of further expelling the Palestinian Arabs and expanding the Zionist state. Literally hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their land and forced to seek refuge in deplorable refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.
In recent years, the Israeli punishment of the Palestinian populations of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been so extreme that it has evoked the sympathy of right-thinking people all over the world.
If Barbados found it impossible to muster the courage to do something as simple and principled as a gesture of solidarity and goodwill towards the Palestinian people, how are they going to be able to undertake the truly difficult international task of extricating Barbados and the Caribbean from the tentacles of neo-colonialism and building a truly independent and sovereign Caribbean nation and civilization?
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party.