2008 Orwell Prize for the Palestinian Narrative of Nakba


Letter to Editor Guardian: 2008 Orwell Prize for

the Palestinian Narrative of Nakba



Zahir Ebrahim



May 03, 2008*

(* Expanded June 02, 2008, the original brief letter was not printed by the UK Guardian)



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Letter to Editor

Originally submitted: May 03, 2008.

Revised submission: June 02, 2008.

Making a fool of Palestinian intellectualism – Their “political art” of narrating the Nakba has become more important than the Nakba!

In reference to the 2008 Orwell prize for Mr. Raja Shehadeh's poignant book “Palestinian Walks” (Guardian, April 25, 2008, BBC), it would be an understatement to suggest that the heavens too must surely howl in pain at the Orwellian irony. Those who first sanction the Nakba of an innocent peoples (the Balfour Declaration), and continually aid and abet in its on-going construction of new daily victims of blood and tears now lingering into its 60th abominable year (the premeditated 'Iron Wall' conquest of Eretz Yisrael), are also the greatest 'benefactors' of the victims who humbly endeavor to narrate the life of their Nakba in their own blood and tears.

The narrative is being judged more important than the actual grotesque events being narrated, and which are so contemporaneously unfolding right before the world's silently bespectating eyes even as the Orwell prize is granted in its true spirit! The elements of Nakba need to be read in a book to be appreciated; and worse, applauded for the sophistication of its depiction; akin to the Russian Tsarina shedding a fancifully dabbed tear in the opera and offering a standing ovation on the performance depicting the plight of the poor coachman, who in real life, is only as far away from her cognition as the outside front of her coach she rides daily to and from the opera!

There appears to be much satisfaction among the Palestinian people at one of their own winning this political prize – perhaps because some feel that it draws attention to their miserable plight. But perhaps some prizes and accolades are meant to be turned down by a dignified self-respecting peoples perceptively seeing through the honey-coated abortion pills devilishly manufactured to continue inducing “the birth pangs of a new Middle East”? The Palestinians suffer surely not because of want of knowledge of their cataclysmic sufferings by the silently spectating world! Intellectual co-option is most assuredly the biggest weakness of the Palestinian struggle for survival on their own lands. This co-option is not by its ordinary peoples who merely pay for it in spades, bullets to the head of their children, and in daily suffocation and humiliation at check-points, but by its own educated ruling elite who do indeed struggle genuinely in their cause, but the enemy is far superior and has continually overwhelmed and outclassed them. This 2008 Orwell Prize is just another 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for the Palestinians!

Therefore, unlike most of the applauding world, I hesitate to offer my humble congratulations to Mr. Raja Shehadeh and the long suffering Palestinian peoples – if that's indeed the right sentiment to offer here. Perhaps the prize is more appropriately labeled than first meets the eye – for the situation is even more tortuous than just Kafkaesque. Some English Lord, Sir, and Dame in the manors born must surely be chuckling nigh at the fatal faits accomplis being handed the natives while its depiction by the beleaguered natives is applauded as “political art”. The best Orwellian conquest indeed that the unfortunate victims make an “art” of telling their own misery and celebrate in the prize that is handed them with these words of the chair of the prize, Professor Jean Seaton: “One way of measuring the quality of your freedom is just to take a walk,”. Hear Mr. Raja Shehadeh's BBC Radio 4 interview of April 25, 2008, at http://tinyurl.com/6h4myu!

In order re-situate the grotesque reality of the full context of this Orwellian “quality of your freedom” in this otherwise 'Alice in Wonderland' – where the focus by the Masters of Discourse has cleverly been to attempt to shift attention away from the unfolding monumental genocide, to the “political art” of its depiction – one may read: Someone's Holiday, Another's Nakba, Our Shame! at http://tinyurl.com/5432u4. The fact that the entire reportage of this Orwellian prize in the newsmedia, including in the UK Guardian, failed to condemn the actual ongoing Nakba, should be an eye opener for the Palestinian intellectual.

And especially, the timing of this prize with the birthday-bash in Israel, and the visit of the American President, George W. Bush, to pay homage to the king-makers in Zion without even mentioning the Nakba, never mind condemning its perpetrators who were hosting him, should be a wake-up call to the Palestinian ruling elite who rush to coddle their own victimizers by continually appealing to them for justice, cutting co-opted “peace” deals, and eagerly accepting laudatory awards for playing along instead of relying on their own selves to do something strategically efficacious besides narrate and lament to get their lands back.

One may read about the devilish intellectual sophistication which fuels their abhorrent Nakba that the Palestinian ruling elite apparently don't seem to fathom, in Project Humanbeingsfirst's report of May 15, 2008: Celebrating Israel's 60th Birthday in the 60th year of the Nakba at http://tinyurl.com/563nxv.

A dignified and immensely courageous peoples like the Palestinian – ones whose likes is yet to be witnessed in the annals of modern history that they hold their heads up high and boldly resist for 60 years despite an unparalleled cataclysm of modernity, a “mystery whose parallel may only be the one of Sinai when something was revealed”must demand of their pathetic ruling elite that the Orwell prize be returned with a “no thank you”.

Zahir Ebrahim

A non-Palestinian

Project Humanbeingsfirst.org

United States of America.




The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by six publishers and can be read on the web at http://PrisonersoftheCave.org. He may be reached at http://Humanbeingsfirst.org.

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2008 Orwell Prize for the Palestinian Narrative of Nakba


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