A Massacre Is Not A Massacre
Anger rose in Turkey as the funerals of nine
activists killed in Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla began and
up to 20,000 people took to the streets to protest their deaths. From Electronic
Intafada, a look at the grievous history behind their rage.
I don't write poems but, in
any case, poems are not poems.
Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine;
I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians;
They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic
And when naive old me saw freedom fighters they patiently showed me that
they were not freedom fighters, and that resistance was not resistance.
And when, stupidly, I noticed arrogance, oppression and humiliation they
benevolently enlightened me so I can see that arrogance was not
arrogance, oppression was not oppression, and humiliation was not
I saw misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
But they told me that they were experts in misery, racism, inhumanity
and concentration camps and I have to take their word for it: this was
not misery, racism, inhumanity and a concentration camp.
Over the years they've taught me so many things: invasion was not
invasion, occupation was not occupation, colonialism was not colonialism
and apartheid was not apartheid.
So you'll excuse me if I am not surprised to learn today that there were
more things that I thought were evident that are not: peace activists
are not peace activists, piracy is not piracy, the massacre of unarmed
people is not the massacre of unarmed people.
I have such a limited brain and my ignorance is unlimited.
And they're so fucking intelligent. Really.
Ghassan Hage is professor of anthropology and social theory at the
University of Melbourne.