Yes, the Arab Spring has revealed just how confused we are over the Palestinian cause. The Spring, and all the other seasons we are going through since Tunisia’s Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire, made our slogans on Arabism and nationalism void of any real meaning.
When the average Palestinian today is talked about in our societies, it’s mostly with negative rhetoric. More negative than connotations attached to the average Israeli in the past 60 years.
This is clearly seen in the whirlwinds that do not stop in Egypt and other Arab countries. And so, feelings contradictory to what was once publicly said are exposed.
Instead of limiting talk about a political party like Hamas or Fatah, the rhetoric that attacks Palestinians as a category is currently being generalized.
Arab revolutions marginalized Palestinian news, so Palestine was no longer a priority for media outlets.Diana Moukalled
This Palestinian issue was specifically tested in Egypt. The result was the exposure of horrifying feelings capable of inciting hatred in media and in protests. Lebanon has previously witnessed this situation when the Palestinians became a major player in local politics. Both the Lebanese and the Palestinians in Lebanon paid a huge price as a result.
Arab revolutions marginalized Palestinian news, so Palestine was no longer a priority for media outlets. It became apparent that a Palestinian’s daily life, dignity and religion worries our societies more than what our minds were mobilized towards. And it appeared that the Palestinian tragedy is used within this context of marginalizing the real news. A political desire that pushes towards marginalizing this reality appeared particularly by regimes threatened with revolutions.
At the beginning of the era of Arab revolutions, TV channels attempting to maintain complete coverage of Palestinian news emerged. But the mission miserably failed even among the Palestinians. Most parties and regimes which strengthen their tyranny by exploiting the Palestinian cause attempted to resume doing so, but their efforts failed miserably too.
A new phase
Today, there’s news on Palestine. U.S. Secretary of State Jon Kerry announced resuming Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
It’s a new phase that calls for effort in order to once again shed light on the Palestinian plight, but without the racism and lies linked to it, how can Palestinians seek to present their news and make it a priority for the media and political concern?
It’s clear that rehabilitating the national context of the Palestinian cause and presenting it ahead of regional ones are means of reformulating the Palestinian plight and therefore making the latter among the first concerns of the Arab public opinion that has become occupied with concerns vital to it. Our discussion is not to restore Palestinian news and ignore others but it is to benefit from the past experience.
The first Palestinian intifada was just a local one in which Arab and regional factors’ influence was weak. This intifada resulted in making it a point that it’s the Palestinians’ right to have a state. It also resulted in making Palestinian news among the priority of world news. Rehabilitating the national context of the Palestinians’ tragedy will be the spring there.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 23, 2013.
Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.