Mansur’s reply to Abu-Khalil – More pictures

I have managed to put some more pictures on my flickr site, both of the touristy variety (Jbeil, Bcharre, Mount Lebanon) and a number of views inside the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.

Also in this post: a brief summary of Iskandar Mansur’s reply to Abu-Khalil and my reaction to that.
Quote: ‘But the point which neither Mansur nor some of the commenters to the posting both on As’ad’s and my own blog seem to get, is that As’ad is speaking to the Palestinian people and not to their leaders, whom he actually accuses of being bribed and of betraying their people. The piece doesn’t make any sense (comes across as naive even), if you don’t take this essential distinction into account. As’ad doesn’t apologize to Arafat or the PLO in its heyday, much less to Abu Mazen and the current manifestation of Fatah in the occupied territories, he apologizes to the Palestinian men, women and children who experience the actual suffering while their leaders are happily conferring with their enemies’ leaders.’

Read the full piece:

Iskandar Mansur, a Lebanese writer living in the US, replied today in al-Akhbar to As’ad’s opinion piece, pointing out a few obvious replies to his polemic piece. First, even if they are obviously the victims in the larger picture, the local Palestinian history within the narrow Lebanese context is hardly that of ‘innocent bystanders’: the PLO, when they were expelled from Jordan in the Black September war and first moved their organisation’s HQ to Lebanon in 1970/71, didn’t exactly behave as respectful guests and managed to alienate a big portion of the Shiite population in the south, orginally sympathetic to their struggle, by arrogant behaviour and rule by the gun; Arafat ruled West Beirut like a dictator until 1982, had people killed and publications censored galore; the Palestinian presence and the policies of the PLO were major factors in the outbreak of the civil war in 1975 and the Palestinians are equally guilty of massacres among the Lebanese population during that period. Lastly, he states that it is a bit easy to absolve the Palestinian inhabitants of Nahr al-Bared of all the guilt in the implantation of the Fatah al-Islam gang in their camp: they must have noticed the presence of Syrian, Yemeni, Algerian and Saudi accents, the inflood of weapons and armaments etc, his argument goes, so why didn’t the Fatah or other Palestinian militias fight or expel them? Which in itself is probably again a simplistic representation of the actual situation, whereby these well-armed thugs were obviously aided from the outside (cf. my interview with Munir al-Maqdah in an earlier posting) – after all, it is the responsibility of the LAF to guard the entrances and perimeters of the camps – and the gang may simply have been too powerful for the Fatah militias to take them on, or they may even – if the Symour Hersh theory is correct – have been prevented (or bribed) from doing so by Lebanese groups. Besides, there are ‘native’ Palestinian islamist groups galore sprouting among the impoverished and desperate youths in the camps, who may have sided with F al-Islam against the Fatah militia – at least until they saw the result of their actions on the Nahr al-Bared camp in the past 3 months. Fatah has reportedly expelled scores of Saudi jihadis from Ain al-Hilweh (where the Fatah militia is strongest) since the outbreak of the fighting on 20th May and the incidents with Jund ash-Sham in that camp – but significantly, they have had to fight and win over Jund ash-Sham before they were in a position to do so. I think many people are eagerly waiting in any case to find out who financed, armed and ‘parachuted’ Fatah al-Islam into the tightly guarded (by the LAF) refugee camps – if that is actually going to be revealed at some point.

But the point which neither Mansur nor some of the commenters to the posting both on As’ad’s and my own blog seem to get, is that As’ad is speaking to the Palestinian people and not to their leaders, whom he actually accuses of being bribed and of betraying their people. The piece doesn’t make any sense (comes across as naive even), if you don’t take this essential distinction into account. As’ad doesn’t apologize to Arafat or the PLO in its heyday, much less to Abu Mazen and the current manifestation of Fatah in the occupied territories, he apologizes to the Palestinian men, women and children who experience the actual suffering while their leaders are happily conferring with their enemies’ leaders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s