Mariam Barghouti writes: When Syrians were chanting “revolution, revolution, Syria! Revolution of dignity and freedom” in the streets of Damascus in 2011, they undoubtedly expected suppression from the regime of Bashar al-Assad. What they probably did not foresee, however, is complacency from the international community, including from Palestinians.
But, that is what they received. The Syrian conflict has uncovered disturbing shortcomings and contradictions among those who fight in the name of Palestine.
When Palestinians are being assaulted by Israeli forces, we often cry out “Where are the Arabs! Where are you, oh Arabs?” Yet, now that it is our turn to extend solidarity, we have become as faceless as our revered Handala.
Renowned Palestinian writer and thinker Ghassan Kanafani once wrote, “[i]f we were failing in defending the cause; then we ought to change the fighters and not the cause.” By failing to stand with our Arab brethren fighting in Syria, we have betrayed Palestine and tainted the principles that gave birth to the Palestinian cause, namely dignity and justice.
As we enter the Syrian civil war’s fifth year, I say to my fellow Palestinians: it is time – albeit very late – to stand in solidarity with the Syrian people. [Continue reading…]