Many U.S. commentators have tried to “sanitize” the foreign-policy impact of Egypt’s still-ongoing revolution, by claiming that Egypt’s current democrats have no foreign policy goals (unlike all those “uncivilized” Egyptians in the past who had dreams of Arab nationalism and such.)
As’ad Abu Khalil points to this video from Tahrir Square’s million-person gathering in Cairo yesterday, where the slogan repeated over and over was “To Jerusalem we’re going, to be martyrs in our millions”.
Honestly, why not? The Israeli government keeps on talking about how Jerusalem is so “open” to believers of all faiths. So why shouldn’t a million or two Egyptians– Muslims and Christians– simply organize a convoy and drive there to worship at their holy sites?
From the logistical point of view, getting to Rafah/Gaza is the hard part: Four-five hours of driving. Once you get to Rafah, it’s about 30 minutes to drive the length of Gaza and then only about 50 minutes to Jerusalem. Hey, they could take with them some of those many Gaza Palestinians who have never in their life had the chance to leave the long-besieged Gaza Strip, let alone to visit and pray in their national capital in Occupied East Jerusalem.
Oh, you say the Israelis would block this convoy? Where, and using what what means, I wonder? (Maybe that’s what the “martyrs in our millions” refers to.)
On the other hand, 40 years of a completely U.S.-dominated “diplomacy” have done not one thing to bring Palestinian Muslims and Christians the ability to worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem. Indeed, since the conclusion of the Oslo Accord in 1993, the freedom of Palestinian Christians and Muslims to worship in Jerusalem has become far more restricted than it was beforehand.
And U.S. “diplomacy” has brought a whole Calvary of other disasters to Palestine’s Christians and Muslims, too. Including the metastatic growth of those that settler-colonial project that Amb. Susan Rice protected with her veto yesterday.
An American friend has described the chants in Tahrir yesterday as “bellicose”. What is bellicose about saying you’re going to pray at your holy sites in Jerusalem, and you’re prepared a die as a martyr if necessary to get there?
Don’t western Christians have a long history of understanding and respecting the concept of martyrdom, that is, being prepared to die for what you believe in? (As 365 of Egypt’s pro-democracy activists already have.)