“Three Parts to a Hug” (Short-Film Review)

The following review may contain spoilers. Regardless, I encourage my readers to watch the film and hug their loved ones. 😉 

Who knew there were different meanings to hugs? Writer/Director, Alvaro D. Ruiz sure did. In his short film released in 2012 entitled, La Trilogia del Abrazo (Three Parts to a Hug), Ruiz demonstrates through vivid emotion, levels of adoration that can only be summed up by an embrace.

The three parts to a hug, which I will further explain in detail shortly, are as follows:

1.”Un abrazo no un beso.” (A Hug, Not a Kiss) 2. Un abrazo casi un beso.” (A Hug, almost a Kiss)  3. Un abrazo como un beso.(A Hug, as a Kiss)

The first hug shows a man knocking on the door that opens up to a young lady who is nothing short of bemused and agitated to see him as she makes it clear in her first words to him that she has repeatedly told the gentleman to leave her alone. When the camera pans to the gentleman waiting by the door, no words are able to be uttered and the ones that are spoken are stammered. A closer look upon the man shows the affliction in his eyes that can only be understood by men who have been in his shoes once or twice before; heartbroken individuals that have knocked on the doors of their former lovers that attempt to spill their heart out, only to realize that doing so would be effortless and find themselves standing dumbfounded in front of someone who just wants you to leave.

Finally before the gentleman leaves, the woman opens the door one last time to offer a sympathetic hug before she closes the door again, for good. She holds him tightly, wrapping both arms around him, while he stands there, visibly still in shock; perhaps at the thought that as soon as she lets go, it will be the last hug he will ever receive from her ever again. One can make the assumption that to make the moment last, the man would try to go for a kiss, but because this was a break up that was in dire need of ending, such an attempt would be fruitless. When the two former lovers finally go their separate ways, the woman is viewed wiping her face, leaving a streak of blood across her cheek while the man is staring at the steering wheel of his car with blood all over his shirt. Here, the imagery captured by Ruiz is just exquisite; the relationship finally being over, takes a toll on one another in different ways for the man, his heart has been ripped out (in this case, physically and emotionally) and the woman, although glad the message has finally reached the man, she can’t help but live with the possible guilt of hurting him (and thus, has blood on her hands).

The second part of the film, “A Hug, almost a Kiss) is a definite palate cleanser i.e., a much happier tone to put the audience in a good mood after the tears they’ve shed for the first one. Like the first part, a door is knocked but a man is the one opening the door to a woman holding what subsequently turns out to be his dog. This dog had gone missing for quite some time and finally was returned to his owner and much to the owner’s surprise, he found a potential new romance. The dialogue exchange between the two characters in this scene is extremely well performed because the chemistry demonstrated by both actors give off these pheromones that would make the viewers think the actors were an item in real life. The embrace between these two only attest such assumptions; the eyes closed, both arms nestled tightly against one another as though they didn’t even know they were meant for each other and now that they did, what would be the purpose in letting go? Such a beautiful hug would deserved of a kiss but because that would be awkward, they are forced to let go and leave one another. Not before the woman calls the owner to let the man know, she’ll “see [him] around.” So all is not lost in the end and there will definitely be another chance for that hug to potentially turn into a kiss.

The third and final part of the film has a mixed tone; melancholy but alleviating. A man is seen staring at himself in the mirror of a dressing room and like the first two parts, a door is knocked. He opens it to find a woman who is dressed in a short, but tight dress. The conversation between the two is a bit hard to follow because it seems as though the man has done something to betray her although it is not specified. The man seems to display emotions of remorse for whatever it was that he has done to her and the woman, although still perhaps feeling a hint of anger towards him, manages to find it in her heart to forgive him and request a hug. This hug is almost identical to the second hug in that strong feelings are being displayed in the hug but like the first hug, this is going to be the final hug between the two and because both parties are participating in the embrace, it’s as though they are feeling reluctant in their relationship ending, even though they both know it’s the right thing to do. As it soon turns out, the man is in his car and is on the phone with another woman (unseen audience but believed to be his wife) moreover, is not the woman he embraced in the scene and tells her he is coming home.

This film although only 10 minutes long, tells a lot about the importance of an embrace. Most people would not consider a hug to be that important as they are deemed with the same commodity as a handshake. Ruiz tackles this successfully by showing that emotions, raw emotions, expressed by a hug, say the words we’d like to say to one another. And by being able to utilize emotions so well, to the point where the viewer forgets they are watching a film, is what makes his work so artistic. Words such as, “Please don’t go”, “Please don’t let go”, and “Let me go” are only as good as they can be, but the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. And in this case, the hug is most deafening.

-Mr. Writer

Written at 7:56 P.M. on March 17, 2017 

 

Career & Hobbies

I write this entry now after so much delay. For the longest, I was worried about what to write because I often try to write anything I can in an academic tone as well as doing more research to include footnotes and whatnot. I recently remembered that I started this blog to write “personal thoughts.” I guess I got caught up in my academic career as an undergraduate student/ historian-in-the-making that I forgot what it was like to just write whatever came to my mind.

A lot has changed since I entered the power house (UH) and the changes are, I’d like to believe, positive; which I’ll elaborate on more later. In the meantime, let me proceed with my initial objective. Lately, the future career I am aspiring has caused me to worry. There’s a lot of PhD’s that don’t end up getting their desired jobs. I’m not a PhD, nor am I remotely close, but I always worry because I have constantly been advised by others to sway away from being a Historian to avoid such an issue.

That was until I received a number of support by my professors as well as friends who are PhD’s that are serving as my inspiration to keep on going and follow my passion. I say passion because I believe that there really is nothing else I can picture myself doing except writing and researching History. My love for studying history, according to some, borders on obsessive and as a result, I believe that I’ve fully understood my desire to be a Historian as opposed to simply being a History Buff.

I don’t know what the future has in store for me; all I know is I want to do something with writing and research for History. The future is unwritten and therefore, I shouldn’t be afraid of what MIGHT happen. I write this entry then, as a source of inspiration and motivation to my readers and close followers of this blog, that there should be nothing wrong with doing what makes you happy. For me, I enjoy engaging in conversations about History, the things I’ve researched, studied, what other people have studied. There’s something fascinating to me about certain events of the past; why have certain things happened? What made them so bad? Were precautions taken to improve conditions or lessen the number of casualties in wars or revolutions?

I could go on and on, but I’d probably bore the reader so I digress. Maybe it’s the utilitarian in me, but I feel like there are people who grow up to do the jobs they eventually abhor and regret not following their passion. Simultaneously, I see that there are people who work hard to achieve their goals, but something happens where they just stop, replay the events in their life, try to figure out what went wrong and start over. I constantly have that fear that the latter will happen to me, but then I get reminded by so many people like my professors and even a wonderful poem by a motivational speaker I still speak with occasionally to pursue my passion.

Again, I have no idea what the future has in store for me. A lot of the events that happened in my life, even recently, I never expected to happen. That being said, I am enjoying the ride towards the future. I just hope this road leads to the path I hope it will be. Either way, it’ll be the path I’m meant to be on in the end.

-Mr. Writer

Written on the 27th of March, 2017 at 12:05 A.M. 

 

 

Connecting Historical Dots: The Legacy of the Japanese Internment Camps & Muslim American Discrimination Today (Event Review)

For my History of Houston class I am taking this semester, I am required to go to 2 events (of my choosing) and write a summary report of the event. I chose to go to an event at the Asia Society of Texas Center where they would discuss the legacy of the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II in comparison to Muslim American Discrimination today. In attending this event, I had already prior knowledge of the Japanese Internment camps as I had once taken a class on Chinese as well as Japanese History; for those that are unaware, I wrote a paper also on the atomic bomb during World War II for that class and the paper enabled me access to my second research conference. That being said, I was able to recall the things I learned from my Japanese History class, as well as my own personal research from those days, but until learning of this event, I didn’t think to relate these events to what is happening to Muslim Americans today. I recommend everyone to learn more about this as well as meet a Muslim and hopefully lose any misconceptions you may have about Muslims. I invite you to start with me.

The following essay is being written in my own tone, not my persona’s. 

Prior to going inside the building of the Asia Society of Texas Center, I saw what appeared to be a relatively small crowd of people a few feet away holding signs and a few American flags. After I parked my car, my friend and I made our way to the building and got a better look at the crowd and I was correct in what I thought it was, a protest. A protest against what, however? Telling the true story of one of the most horrific events in U.S. History and comparing that with Muslim discrimination today?  Yes. Because according to the protesters: it was preposterous to view Muslims as victims of discrimination due to the numerous terrorist attacks around the globe caused by Muslims and Radical Islamic Terrorism. Moreover, it was a chance for these protesters to also express their disdain to why the United States should allow Syrian Refugees to enter the country; also I would be remiss to not bring up how at one particular moment, the gentleman operating the megaphone made it a point mention that they were not attempting to be racist by having this protest. Suffice it to say, I had heard enough.

I was lucky enough to get a front row seat to the actual event meeting and saw Dr. Abbie Grubb, a scholar on Japanese History (especially involving Japanese Interment in World War II), discuss how the United States demonstrated fear and panic against a people from a particular race because they were at war with them and felt they were spies for the Japanese army and in order to be safe, lock them up in camps. In turn, Mustafa Tameez, a leading political player for the city of Houston, would tie that history together with today’s panic and distrust of Muslims in the United States and how the travel ban issued by our president has become more reactive than proactive. Moreover, Tameez brought up the false statistics of Muslim Americans potentially being radicalized and involved in groups such as ISIS because there are 10,000 members in ISIS and over a billion Muslims in the world; therefore, the United States should essentially calm down.

The talk was not only interesting, but what was most intriguing was the ability for some individuals to be so quick to jump to conclusions without recognizing the consequences that can emerge from acting too impulsive. By learning our history, we should be able to acknowledge how previous leaders handled situations and the backlash that emerged should most definitely not be repeated; and by learning, in general, about other cultures and other nations, we can see that the differences among ourselves and other individuals to be scarce. Rather than fearing for our lives and impulsively looking for a quick fix to solve our problems, we should face them head on. And then watch and learn as our issue becomes gradually smaller and even more so, a misunderstanding.

-Ahmed H. Sharma 

Written on the 27th of February, 2017

 

The Question of Hypocrisy: British Involvement in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Dedicated to all the people in and from Palestine; things will get better, inshAllah. Also I dedicate this essay to the scholars of Middle Eastern Studies like my professor, Abdel Razzaq Takriti, who have and continue to work tirelessly to put the pieces of history together, with the hopes of bringing about a better tomorrow. Your work is not going unnoticed and I strive to be in a position such as yours, very soon.

For more information on Palestine, please visit this website:  http://learnpalestine.politics.ox.ac.uk/

The following essay is a research paper I submitted for a class I took this semester entitled: Palestine and the Making of the ArabIsraeli Conflict. I really enjoyed this class and the research I did in writing this essay while extensive, was enticing in every way. Though the words I write are controversial as they are condemning the ignored actions of certain nations and people have taken to colonize another group of people, the words unabashedly had to be said and with that, I believe in the work I’ve produced and my empirical vigor will undoubtedly enable me in my scholarly endeavors.

 

It can be argued that it is human nature to seek approval from others and even attempt to make everyone happy although inarguably, it is impossible to do so. In the simplest of reasons, the impracticality is because one cannot make someone else happy without taking away someone else’s happiness.[1] In 1917, Lord Arthur James Balfour attempts to do just that with the Balfour Declaration, promising British assistance in establishing a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, after a series of discussions and debates, in order to appease the interests of the Zionists. In doing so however, Balfour has established the first of what will become many strands, that together make up a metaphorical spider web of neglected pleas of the present Arab population. Therefore, the intent of this essay is to contend that the British, alongside the Zionists, sought to strategically and purposefully, exploit the Arab Natives of Palestine in order to produce the Jewish State of Israel, despite Balfour professing in his Declaration to not infringe upon the rights of the Native Arab Population. This is proven largely in part due to the incessant neglect of Arab concerns, vagueness in promises made to address Arab concerns, and unheeded cautions by non-Arab notables to bandage broken promises.

As soon as the Balfour Declaration was passed, along with the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, the land was divided amongst the French and British, as agreed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Naturally, there was opposition from the Arab natives (Christian and Muslim) but most significantly, there was pressure from the at the time, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson who was reluctant with the idea of European nations being in control of a non-European population. To reiterate, the feeling amongst the native Arabs was mutual as described in the King Crane Commission that:

 

with the best possible intentions, it may be doubted whether the Jews could possibly seem to either Christians or [Muslims] proper guardians of the holy places, or custodians of the Holy Land as a whole. The reason is this: The places which are most sacred to Christians-those having to do with Jesus-and which are also sacred to [Muslims], are not only not sacred to Jews, but abhorrent to them. It is simply impossible, under those circumstances, for [Muslims] and Christians to feel satisfied to have these places in Jewish hands, or under the custody of Jews. [2]

 

Still, the British Government and members of the Peace Conference (members of the Triple Alliance after WWI) remained unmoved by this concern from the Arabs, and the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews, was to remain implemented. Despite the urging in the document to the notables forewarning that “The Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that the anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria is intense and not lightly to be flouted. No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms.”[3]

 

In order to fully grasp the gravity of the situation and why these concerns of the Arabs are treated as trivial, one must go back into the depths of history and see how it all started. During the Ottoman Empire, which at the time surrounded Palestine and what would later be known as the State of Israel, possessed a religiously diverse population; albeit despite an immense Muslim population, historians agree that citizens lived in relative harmony. Due to “the majority of the culture of Christians and Jews was like that of Muslims: determined not just by religious affiliation, but by geographical and social location.”[4] Meaning, that the idea of what dogma was practiced was irrelevant; especially if the social status of the individual was considered prosperous. However, this was not the case for Jews in Europe, where anti-Semitism was rampant and Jews, as Theodor Herzl described:

 

Wherever [the Jews] live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted…The forms of persecutions vary according to the countries and social circles in which they occur. In Russia, imposts are levied on Jewish Villages; in Rumania, a few persons are put to death; in Algeria, there are travelling agitators; In Germany, they get a good beating occasionally; in Austria, anti-Semites exercise terrorism over all public life; in Paris, the Jews are shut out of the so-called best social circles and excluded from clubs.[5]

 

Therefore, a solution was needed and quickly; the solution being, a safe-haven for the Jewish people. And the location of this sanctuary, was to be Palestine, a land they believed, from biblical times was owned by the Jews, and therefore, the time came for them to return and reclaim what rightfully belonged to them.

 

However, in doing so, the position of the Jewish question of Palestine [was] at the opening of the new era in which practical efforts took the place of dreams and theological disputations and the province hitherto monopolized by divines and philosophers was invaded by statesmen and other men of affairs.”[6] This was mainly due to the attitude Herzl developed towards the native Arab population, which was a “thoroughly repugnant image of Palestine, describing its towns and villages as no better than animal quarters.”[7]

 

It would be irremissible however, to not mention that Herzl was subsequently willing to be flexible in regards to the location of the Jewish state. Although, Palestine was the first choice, Herzl knew that the only way the Jewish people would be successful in acquiring a state of their own would require help from one of the major European powers. Therefore, as Herzl stated, “should the Powers declare themselves willing to admit our sovereignty over a neutral piece of land, then the Society will enter into negotiations for the possession of this land. Here two territories come under consideration, Palestine and Argentine.”[8]

One could make the assumption that Herzl, in his eagerness for European support, was willing to compromise with whatever that was handed to him. For instance, “in 1902, seeking the Al-Arish area in the Sinai Peninsula because it was adjacent to Palestine and could serve as an opening for future demands for expanded migration to the area. Joseph Chamberlain then British Colonial secretary, replied by suggesting land in British-Controlled East Africa, now part of Kenya. Though initially hostile to this idea, Herzl later saw it as granting a temporary haven that might give the Zionists leverage in their demands for Palestine.” [9] However, the idea of anything save Palestine was out of the question to other Zionists and for even the suggestion of this by Herzl, led other Zionists to suspect Herzl of being willing to abandon Zionism.  

Some Jewish notables such as essayist, Ahad Ha’am believed that in theory, the establishment of a Jewish state worked but was impractical as a result of many conflicting factors such as: “In the West it is the problem of the Jews, in the East the problem of Judaism. The one weighs on the individual, the other on the nation. The one is felt by Jews who have had a European education, the other by Jews whose education has been Jewish.”[10] Meaning that there was a strong disconnect amongst the people of Judaism and that their beliefs and ethics were on completely different wavelengths.  Ha’am argues, that Zionists were:

so spiritually far removed from Judaism, and have no true conception of its ­­­­­­nature and its value. Such men, however loyal to their State and devoted to its interests, will necessarily regard those interests as bound up with the foreign culture which they themselves have imbibed and they will endeavor, by moral persuasion or even by force, to implant that culture in the Jewish State, so that in the end the Jewish State will be a State of Germans or Frenchmen of the Jewish race.[11]

Future scholars such as Muhammad Ali Khalidi, will attest to this and ask the paradoxical question: “Why did Herzl, while explicitly disavowing utopianism, write of a utopia advocating ideas at variance with his own ideological principles, especially when the society described does not seem distinctively Jewish?”[12]

Unsurprisingly, the Muslim inhabitants were not pleased with the idea of Zionists taking the land they felt belonged to them. “As might be expected, the same thing is true of the resident Christians. Interestingly enough, the Palestinian Jews are also as much opposed…”[13] Not only were the citizens that were predominantly Muslim feeling even more hostility towards the foreigners but were also feeling a strong disdain for the Jewish population in particular; a group of people they once gave the Dhimmi status (a protected status for non-Muslims). Ottomans also were trying their best to prevent any sort of growing nationalism similar to the Balkans. Moreover, Ottoman Policy towards the Zionists remained consistent: “Jewish Immigrants will be able to settle as scattered groups throughout the Ottoman Empire, excluding Palestine. They must submit to the laws of the empire and become Ottoman subjects.”[14] But this policy was not effectively carried out, as “Jewish immigrants entered the area as tourists or pilgrims; but once there, would acquire the protection of foreign consuls since European powers were eager to protect their own rights.”[15]

Nevertheless, immigration as well as native’s concern for its advancement, escalated. Some ways Arab-Natives addressed these concerns were newspapers that were published to essentially inform others of how negative consequences would result from establishing a Homeland in Palestine. Among these published newspapers) were al-Karmil in 1908 (whose editors were also Greek Orthodox Christians and Filastin (Palestine) founded in 1911. The intentions of these articles were not to inspire animosity towards the Jewish people but rather to seek empathy with the Arab-Inhabitants and this proved successful even on an international scale. Even “Rashid Rida, a Muslim reformer born in the Beirut vilayet but living in Cairo, published an article in 1902 in his journal al-Manar, stating that in his belief, “[Zionists] sought national sovereignty, not simply a haven from persecution.”[16]

All this was happening during a crucial point in time, the first World War. There were rising uncertainties of the turnout for Britain during World War I and with the Ottoman Empire just so happening to be on the side of the Central Powers, “call[ing] into question the future of their own empire, which meant the future of Palestine as well”[17], essentially placed both nations in a quagmire. For Zionists, this was the perfect opportunity to appeal to the British of their concerns. Chaim Weizmann, in particular was at making exceptional strides in persuading the British by establishing conversations with the right people at the most convenient time:

Weizmann had two long sessions with Dorothy [Rothschild] in lieu of meeting with her husband…[and] wrote to [Weizmann] less than two weeks later: ‘I have spoken to Mr. Charles Rothschild, not in any sort of way officially, but in the course of conversation he thoroughly approved of the idea [a Jewish Palestine] and in fact thought it would be the only possible future.’ Charles was…the younger brother of Walter Lionel Rothschild, who would become the Lord Rothschild to whom the Balfour Declaration would be addressed.[18]

The British were reluctant at first, but Weizmann’s connections, along with presentiment that the Russians were going to withdraw from the war, and perhaps even one’s assumption that Britain as a superpower, caused them to make whatever deals with anyone they felt would be behoove them in the end. Realistically, the British were aware they would have to do their best to make sure they could make good on the promises they delivered. In this case however, the British made sure their fingers crossed behind their backs, remained concealed when shaking hands with the Arabs. Unaware of the British’s plan to deceive them, Arabs had begun a revolt against their Ottoman Government, in hopes of acquiring an “[independent] Arab nation…and grasp the reins of their administration… and whereas they have found and felt that it [was] in the interest of the Government of Great Britain to support them and aid them in the attainment of their firm and lawful intentions.”[19]

Letters were sent back and forth between Sharif Husayn and Sir Henry McMahon attempting to show congruity between the British and the Arabs however, statements from McMahon such as: “We take note of your remarks concerning the vilayet of Baghdad a and will take the question into careful consideration when the enemy has been defeated and the time for peaceful settlement arrives”, transparently shows the British metaphorically dragging their feet when asked to address Arab concerns. Suspicion grew subsequently but the Arabs remained oblivious to any double-crossing because McMahon, in his clever wording, maintained to the rebels: “rest assured that Great Britain has no intention of concluding any peace in terms of which the freedom of the Arab peoples from German and Turkish domination does not form an essential condition.”[20] Unbeknownst to Husayn however, McMahon has told others,

I do not for one minute go to the length of imagining what the present negotiations will go far to shape the future form of Arabia…What we have to arrive at now is to tempt the Arab peoples into the right path, detach them from the enemy and bring them over to our side.[21]

 

Ultimately, the Balfour Declaration was published in 1917. In its writing, the Balfour Declaration made sure to include that “Palestine [as] a national homeland for the Jewish people…clearly understood that nothing [would] be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”[22] However, careful reading of the Palestinian Mandate seems to contradict this notion of clemency. Instead, what is seen is undeniably, paternalistic colonialism. This sentiment was shared among most who viewed the Arabs; that even though the treatment of the Arabs were “indeed paternalistic, but paternalism seems to be necessary in dealing with backward countries”[23]. And as a result the British had to take control and make sure that the implementation of a Jewish Homeland ran smoothly. For example, article 16 of the Mandate states that: “The Mandatory shall be responsible for exercising such supervision over religious or eleemosynary bodies of all faiths in Palestine as may be required for the maintenance of public order and good government.”[24]

Unlike the Syrian or Iraqi mandate, which established a state and recognition of political rights of the people living within the boundaries of the state and once they reach the appropriate level of civilization (as determined by the mandate) then Syria would be ruled by Syrians, and Iraq would be ruled by Iraqis.[25] Although most people were well aware that “the Caliph, or head of the [Muslim] world, [had] a strong influence with [Muslims] in all countries. Formerly If the [Muslim] world [was] to be kept contented it appear[ed] necessary that there should be a Caliph whose authority is widely accepted.”[26]

The British mandate of Palestine, on the other hand, had only one party that was meant to be recognized, the Jewish Agency. The main pursuit of this agency was to implement and fulfill the obligations as stated in the Balfour Declaration by the British Government and install a Jewish homeland. Therefore, they could not recognize a politically local state (like Iraq or Syria) out of fear that the local population would reject power of the national homeland. In other words, any form of representative government, would undermine any British objectives as written in the Balfour Declaration.[27]

It is inarguable then, to say that British felt no reason to bring Palestine to independence as there was not going to be a British exit anytime soon. The crux was, to put it in simple words, stay until the job was done. “Of all this group of advocates of the restoration of the Jews to Palestine with British assistance, the most important was Colonel George Gawler, who had been governor of South Australia and…devoted the greater part of his activity to the Jewish cause.”[28] Gawler is important to note because “He proposed the gradual colonization of Palestine by Jews, small experimental colonies being established in the first instance. It was, however, essential to his scheme that Britain should undertake the protection of the colonies.”[29]

Subsequently, this caused some disorder for the British. During this early period, where Palestine was under military rule, the British military finally gained some insight of the wrong they had done to the Arabs. “In the case of Palestine these sympathies [of the British troops] are rather obviously with the Arabs, who have hitherto appeared to the disinterested observer to have been the victims of an unjust policy, forced upon them by the British Government.”[30] Simultaneously, there were many British doubts of the Balfour Declaration. Even “the British press, initially favorable to the Jewish national home policy, had by the early 1920s become increasingly skeptical if not hostile, and a movement opposed to the Balfour Declaration was gaining ground within parliament”[31]   Some considerable issues were raised; most of them essentially feeling a sense of remorse and pondering why a policy that could possibly result in retribution, should be implemented.

 

Looking back on the issue, this should not arouse a feeling of bewilderment. The threat of retaliation from the Arabs had been forewarned by many, yet resented. Pro-Zionists and British officials such as Herbert Samuel, believed “what we have got to face is the fact that as long as we persist in our Zionist policy we have got to maintain all our present forces in Palestine to enforce a policy hateful to the great majority”[32] With that, one can repudiate any statement that displays a feeling of remorse felt by the British; in that the British were well aware of what they were doing and even meant to colonize Palestine.

However, Britain is not the only one to be condemned; Zionists such as Jabotinsky, were well aware that “there was no misunderstanding…Zionists want…the one thing that Arabs do not want…[that] the Jews would gradually become the majority…and the future of the Arab minority would depend on the goodwill of the Jews…so there is no ‘misunderstanding’.”[33] Again, one mustn’t ignore that a number of Jews were critical of Zionism. For these Jewish people, they had worked relentlessly to assimilate in the country they lived in and the rise of Zionism would become problematic as to how loyal a Jewish citizen was to their nation. It is for that reason why Zionists must be allocated in their own category as “it stands today in its preliminary propaganda is not without considerable danger to the security and happiness of the Jews throughout the world.”[34]

Unapologetically, “Zionism’s responsibility for the Palestinian exodus and diaspora is an integral part of the genesis of the State of Israel. In their heart of hearts, most Israelis know this, which at least in part accounts for their pervasive sense of insecurity.”[35] Without a doubt, there has been an incessant struggle for Jews and perhaps the trials of the Arabs being overlooked has, and always shall be the norm; on the other hand,

fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.[36]

By retaining a fait accompli approach to the whole issue on Palestine, it only corroborates the idea of duplicity and hypocrisy, that Arabs were indeed exploited. And because the British were well aware of the consequences that were to come about, they purposefully allowed the Zionists to essentially, “get away with it.” Winston Churchill has compared the issue of Palestine to a dog in a manger claiming that, “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time.”[37] For the sake of argument, one can compromise that even if the dog who has always lain in the manger, can deal with not ultimately being given back what it once called its home. Yet. if nothing has been done to shelter the dog, there is no “final right.”

-Ahmed H. Sharma

Originally Written on the 27th of November, 2016

 

Bibliography:

 

British Mandate of Palestine. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 1922. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 22 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Palestine_Mandate.html&gt;.

 

Churchill, Winston. “”Dog in Manger” Quote.” A-Z Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016. <http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1448775I%20do%20not%20agree%20that%20the%20dog%20in%20a%20manger%20has%20the%20final%20right%20to%20the%20manger%20even%20though%20he%20may%20have%20lain%20there%20for%20a%20very%20long%20time.%20I%20do%20not%20admit%20that%20right.%20I%20do%20not%20admit%20for%20instance,%20that%20a%20great%20wrong%20has%20been%20done%20to%20the%20Red%20Indians%20of%20America%20or%20the%20black%20people%20of%20Australia.&gt;.

 

Ha’am, Ahad. “The Jewish State and Jewish Problem” N.d. MS, Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/haam2.html&gt;.

 

Herzl, Theodor. “The Jewish State” 1896. MS. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/herzl2.html&gt;.

 

Huneidi, Sahar. “Was Balfour Policy Reversible? The Colonial Office and Palestine, 1921-23.” Journal of Palestine Studies 27.2 (1998): 23-41. JSTOR. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

 

Huntington, Ellsworth. “The Future of Palestine.” Geographical Review 7.1 (1919): 24-35. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Husayn, Sharif, and Henry McMahon. “The Hussein-McMahon Correspondence.” Letter. N.d. The Hussein-McMahon Correspondence (July 1915-August 1916) | Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library, n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/hussmac1.html&gt;.

Hyamson, Albert M. “British Projects for Restoration of the Jews to Palestine.” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society NO. 26 (1918): 127-64. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Jabotisnky, Vladimir Ze’ev. “The Iron Wall” 1923. MS. “The Iron Wall” | Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 25 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/ironwall.html&gt;.

 

Khalidi, Muhammad Ali. “Utopian Zionism or Zionist Proselytism? A Reading of Herzl’s Altneuland.” Journal of Palestine Studies 30.4 (2001): 55-67. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Khalidi, Walid. “Plan Dalet: Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine.” Journal of Palestine Studies 18.1 (1988): 4-33. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

 

King, Henry Churchill, and Charles R. Crane. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 1919. The King-Crane Report – World War I Document Archive. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 20 Nov. 2016. <https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_King-Crane_Report&gt;.

 

Letters from General Congreve and Air Vice Marshal Salmond, through A. M.  Trenchard, “Situation in Palestine,” 28 June 1921, PRO CO 733/17. (Source originally found in Sahar Huneidi’s Notes)

 

Mill, John Stuart. “Ch. 2 What Utilitarianism Is.” On Liberty, Utilitarianism, and Other Essays. Ed. Tom Griffith. N.p.: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2016. 374-94. Print.

 

Palestine for the Palestinians?” Advocate of Peace through Justice 84.7 (1922): 245-46. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Pappe, Ilan. History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. JSTOR, June 2012. Web. Sept. 2016.

 

Said, Edward W. Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures. New York: Pantheon, 1994. 74. Print.

 

Schneer, Jonathan. The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.

 

Smith, Charles D. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: St. Martin’s, 1988. Print.

 

Takriti, Abdel Razzaq. “Palestine Mandate.” University of Houston. 18 Oct. 2016. Lecture.

 

Takriti, Abdel Razzaq. “Palestinian Mandate Pt. 2.” University of Houston. 25 Oct. 2016. Lecture.

 

Wolf, Lucien. “The Zionist Peril.” The Jewish Quarterly Review 17.1 (1904): 1. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

[1]Mill’s Utilitarianism and Other Essays

[2] King Crane Commission (JVL)

[3] King Crane Commission (JVL)

[4] Pappe, History of Modern Palestine

[5] Theodore Herzl, Der Judenstaat (JVL)

[6] Albert M. Hyamson, British Projects for Restoration

[7] Mohammed Khalidi, Utopian Zionism

[8] Theodore Herzl

[9] Charles Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

[10]Ahad Ha’am Jewish Question (JVL)

[11] Ha’am

[12] Muhammad Khalidi

[13] Future of Palestine

[14] Ottoman Document (Source: Charles Smith)

[15] Charles Smith

[16] Charles Smith

[17] Charles Smith

[18] Jonathan Schneer, Balfour Declaration

[19] Husayn – McMahon Correspondence (JVL)

[20] Husayn – McMahon Correspondence (JVL)

[21] Charles Smith

[22] Balfour Declaration (JVL)

[23] Ellsworth Huntington, Future of Palestine

[24] British Mandate of Palestine (JVL)

[25] Abdel Takriti Palestinian Mandate (Notes)

[26] Ellsworth Huntington

[27] Abdel Takriti, Palestinian Mandate Pt. 2 (Notes)

[28] Albert M. Hyamson

[29] Albert M. Hyamson

[30] Huneidi, Reversal of the Balfour Declaration

[31] Huneidi

[32] Herbert Samuel (Find Source)

[33] Jabotinsky’s The Iron Wall (JVL)

[34]  Lucien Wolf, Zionist Peril

[35] Walid Khalidi, Plan Dalet

[36] Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual

[37] Winston Churchill, Response to Peel Commission

 

It can be argued that it is human nature to seek approval from others and even attempt to make everyone happy although inarguably, it is impossible to do so. In the simplest of reasons, the impracticality is because one cannot make someone else happy without taking away someone else’s happiness.[1] In 1917, Lord Arthur James Balfour attempts to do just that with the Balfour Declaration, promising British assistance in establishing a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, after a series of discussions and debates, in order to appease the interests of the Zionists. In doing so however, Balfour has established the first of what will become many strands, that together make up a metaphorical spider web of neglected pleas of the present Arab population. Therefore, the intent of this essay is to contend that the British, alongside the Zionists, sought to strategically and purposefully, exploit the Arab Natives of Palestine in order to produce the Jewish State of Israel, despite Balfour professing in his Declaration to not infringe upon the rights of the Native Arab Population. This is proven largely in part due to the incessant neglect of Arab concerns, vagueness in promises made to address Arab concerns, and unheeded cautions by non-Arab notables to bandage broken promises.

As soon as the Balfour Declaration was passed, along with the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, the land was divided amongst the French and British, as agreed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Naturally, there was opposition from the Arab natives (Christian and Muslim) but most significantly, there was pressure from the at the time, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson who was reluctant with the idea of European nations being in control of a non-European population. To reiterate, the feeling amongst the native Arabs was mutual as described in the King Crane Commission that:

 

with the best possible intentions, it may be doubted whether the Jews could possibly seem to either Christians or [Muslims] proper guardians of the holy places, or custodians of the Holy Land as a whole. The reason is this: The places which are most sacred to Christians-those having to do with Jesus-and which are also sacred to [Muslims], are not only not sacred to Jews, but abhorrent to them. It is simply impossible, under those circumstances, for [Muslims] and Christians to feel satisfied to have these places in Jewish hands, or under the custody of Jews. [2]

 

Still, the British Government and members of the Peace Conference (members of the Triple Alliance after WWI) remained unmoved by this concern from the Arabs, and the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews, was to remain implemented. Despite the urging in the document to the notables forewarning that “The Peace Conference should not shut its eyes to the fact that the anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria is intense and not lightly to be flouted. No British officer, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms.”[3]

 

In order to fully grasp the gravity of the situation and why these concerns of the Arabs are treated as trivial, one must go back into the depths of history and see how it all started. During the Ottoman Empire, which at the time surrounded Palestine and what would later be known as the State of Israel, possessed a religiously diverse population; albeit despite an immense Muslim population, historians agree that citizens lived in relative harmony. Due to “the majority of the culture of Christians and Jews was like that of Muslims: determined not just by religious affiliation, but by geographical and social location.”[4] Meaning, that the idea of what dogma was practiced was irrelevant; especially if the social status of the individual was considered prosperous. However, this was not the case for Jews in Europe, where anti-Semitism was rampant and Jews, as Theodor Herzl described:

 

Wherever [the Jews] live in perceptible numbers, they are more or less persecuted…The forms of persecutions vary according to the countries and social circles in which they occur. In Russia, imposts are levied on Jewish Villages; in Rumania, a few persons are put to death; in Algeria, there are travelling agitators; In Germany, they get a good beating occasionally; in Austria, anti-Semites exercise terrorism over all public life; in Paris, the Jews are shut out of the so-called best social circles and excluded from clubs.[5]

 

Therefore, a solution was needed and quickly; the solution being, a safe-haven for the Jewish people. And the location of this sanctuary, was to be Palestine, a land they believed, from biblical times was owned by the Jews, and therefore, the time came for them to return and reclaim what rightfully belonged to them.

 

However, in doing so, the position of the Jewish question of Palestine [was] at the opening of the new era in which practical efforts took the place of dreams and theological disputations and the province hitherto monopolized by divines and philosophers was invaded by statesmen and other men of affairs.”[6] This was mainly due to the attitude Herzl developed towards the native Arab population, which was a “thoroughly repugnant image of Palestine, describing its towns and villages as no better than animal quarters.”[7]

 

It would be irremissible however, to not mention that Herzl was subsequently willing to be flexible in regards to the location of the Jewish state. Although, Palestine was the first choice, Herzl knew that the only way the Jewish people would be successful in acquiring a state of their own would require help from one of the major European powers. Therefore, as Herzl stated, “should the Powers declare themselves willing to admit our sovereignty over a neutral piece of land, then the Society will enter into negotiations for the possession of this land. Here two territories come under consideration, Palestine and Argentine.”[8]

One could make the assumption that Herzl, in his eagerness for European support, was willing to compromise with whatever that was handed to him. For instance, “in 1902, seeking the Al-Arish area in the Sinai Peninsula because it was adjacent to Palestine and could serve as an opening for future demands for expanded migration to the area. Joseph Chamberlain then British Colonial secretary, replied by suggesting land in British-Controlled East Africa, now part of Kenya. Though initially hostile to this idea, Herzl later saw it as granting a temporary haven that might give the Zionists leverage in their demands for Palestine.” [9] However, the idea of anything save Palestine was out of the question to other Zionists and for even the suggestion of this by Herzl, led other Zionists to suspect Herzl of being willing to abandon Zionism.  

Some Jewish notables such as essayist, Ahad Ha’am believed that in theory, the establishment of a Jewish state worked but was impractical as a result of many conflicting factors such as: “In the West it is the problem of the Jews, in the East the problem of Judaism. The one weighs on the individual, the other on the nation. The one is felt by Jews who have had a European education, the other by Jews whose education has been Jewish.”[10] Meaning that there was a strong disconnect amongst the people of Judaism and that their beliefs and ethics were on completely different wavelengths.  Ha’am argues, that Zionists were:

so spiritually far removed from Judaism, and have no true conception of its ­­­­­­nature and its value. Such men, however loyal to their State and devoted to its interests, will necessarily regard those interests as bound up with the foreign culture which they themselves have imbibed and they will endeavor, by moral persuasion or even by force, to implant that culture in the Jewish State, so that in the end the Jewish State will be a State of Germans or Frenchmen of the Jewish race.[11]

Future scholars such as Muhammad Ali Khalidi, will attest to this and ask the paradoxical question: “Why did Herzl, while explicitly disavowing utopianism, write of a utopia advocating ideas at variance with his own ideological principles, especially when the society described does not seem distinctively Jewish?”[12]

Unsurprisingly, the Muslim inhabitants were not pleased with the idea of Zionists taking the land they felt belonged to them. “As might be expected, the same thing is true of the resident Christians. Interestingly enough, the Palestinian Jews are also as much opposed…”[13] Not only were the citizens that were predominantly Muslim feeling even more hostility towards the foreigners but were also feeling a strong disdain for the Jewish population in particular; a group of people they once gave the Dhimmi status (a protected status for non-Muslims). Ottomans also were trying their best to prevent any sort of growing nationalism similar to the Balkans. Moreover, Ottoman Policy towards the Zionists remained consistent: “Jewish Immigrants will be able to settle as scattered groups throughout the Ottoman Empire, excluding Palestine. They must submit to the laws of the empire and become Ottoman subjects.”[14] But this policy was not effectively carried out, as “Jewish immigrants entered the area as tourists or pilgrims; but once there, would acquire the protection of foreign consuls since European powers were eager to protect their own rights.”[15]

Nevertheless, immigration as well as native’s concern for its advancement, escalated. Some ways Arab-Natives addressed these concerns were newspapers that were published to essentially inform others of how negative consequences would result from establishing a Homeland in Palestine. Among these published newspapers) were al-Karmil in 1908 (whose editors were also Greek Orthodox Christians and Filastin (Palestine) founded in 1911. The intentions of these articles were not to inspire animosity towards the Jewish people but rather to seek empathy with the Arab-Inhabitants and this proved successful even on an international scale. Even “Rashid Rida, a Muslim reformer born in the Beirut vilayet but living in Cairo, published an article in 1902 in his journal al-Manar, stating that in his belief, “[Zionists] sought national sovereignty, not simply a haven from persecution.”[16]

All this was happening during a crucial point in time, the first World War. There were rising uncertainties of the turnout for Britain during World War I and with the Ottoman Empire just so happening to be on the side of the Central Powers, “call[ing] into question the future of their own empire, which meant the future of Palestine as well”[17], essentially placed both nations in a quagmire. For Zionists, this was the perfect opportunity to appeal to the British of their concerns. Chaim Weizmann, in particular was at making exceptional strides in persuading the British by establishing conversations with the right people at the most convenient time:

Weizmann had two long sessions with Dorothy [Rothschild] in lieu of meeting with her husband…[and] wrote to [Weizmann] less than two weeks later: ‘I have spoken to Mr. Charles Rothschild, not in any sort of way officially, but in the course of conversation he thoroughly approved of the idea [a Jewish Palestine] and in fact thought it would be the only possible future.’ Charles was…the younger brother of Walter Lionel Rothschild, who would become the Lord Rothschild to whom the Balfour Declaration would be addressed.[18]

The British were reluctant at first, but Weizmann’s connections, along with presentiment that the Russians were going to withdraw from the war, and perhaps even one’s assumption that Britain as a superpower, caused them to make whatever deals with anyone they felt would be behoove them in the end. Realistically, the British were aware they would have to do their best to make sure they could make good on the promises they delivered. In this case however, the British made sure their fingers crossed behind their backs, remained concealed when shaking hands with the Arabs. Unaware of the British’s plan to deceive them, Arabs had begun a revolt against their Ottoman Government, in hopes of acquiring an “[independent] Arab nation…and grasp the reins of their administration… and whereas they have found and felt that it [was] in the interest of the Government of Great Britain to support them and aid them in the attainment of their firm and lawful intentions.”[19]

Letters were sent back and forth between Sharif Husayn and Sir Henry McMahon attempting to show congruity between the British and the Arabs however, statements from McMahon such as: “We take note of your remarks concerning the vilayet of Baghdad a and will take the question into careful consideration when the enemy has been defeated and the time for peaceful settlement arrives”, transparently shows the British metaphorically dragging their feet when asked to address Arab concerns. Suspicion grew subsequently but the Arabs remained oblivious to any double-crossing because McMahon, in his clever wording, maintained to the rebels: “rest assured that Great Britain has no intention of concluding any peace in terms of which the freedom of the Arab peoples from German and Turkish domination does not form an essential condition.”[20] Unbeknownst to Husayn however, McMahon has told others,

I do not for one minute go to the length of imagining what the present negotiations will go far to shape the future form of Arabia…What we have to arrive at now is to tempt the Arab peoples into the right path, detach them from the enemy and bring them over to our side.[21]

 

Ultimately, the Balfour Declaration was published in 1917. In its writing, the Balfour Declaration made sure to include that “Palestine [as] a national homeland for the Jewish people…clearly understood that nothing [would] be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”[22] However, careful reading of the Palestinian Mandate seems to contradict this notion of clemency. Instead, what is seen is undeniably, paternalistic colonialism. This sentiment was shared among most who viewed the Arabs; that even though the treatment of the Arabs were “indeed paternalistic, but paternalism seems to be necessary in dealing with backward countries”[23]. And as a result the British had to take control and make sure that the implementation of a Jewish Homeland ran smoothly. For example, article 16 of the Mandate states that: “The Mandatory shall be responsible for exercising such supervision over religious or eleemosynary bodies of all faiths in Palestine as may be required for the maintenance of public order and good government.”[24]

Unlike the Syrian or Iraqi mandate, which established a state and recognition of political rights of the people living within the boundaries of the state and once they reach the appropriate level of civilization (as determined by the mandate) then Syria would be ruled by Syrians, and Iraq would be ruled by Iraqis.[25] Although most people were well aware that “the Caliph, or head of the [Muslim] world, [had] a strong influence with [Muslims] in all countries. Formerly If the [Muslim] world [was] to be kept contented it appear[ed] necessary that there should be a Caliph whose authority is widely accepted.”[26]

The British mandate of Palestine, on the other hand, had only one party that was meant to be recognized, the Jewish Agency. The main pursuit of this agency was to implement and fulfill the obligations as stated in the Balfour Declaration by the British Government and install a Jewish homeland. Therefore, they could not recognize a politically local state (like Iraq or Syria) out of fear that the local population would reject power of the national homeland. In other words, any form of representative government, would undermine any British objectives as written in the Balfour Declaration.[27]

It is inarguable then, to say that British felt no reason to bring Palestine to independence as there was not going to be a British exit anytime soon. The crux was, to put it in simple words, stay until the job was done. “Of all this group of advocates of the restoration of the Jews to Palestine with British assistance, the most important was Colonel George Gawler, who had been governor of South Australia and…devoted the greater part of his activity to the Jewish cause.”[28] Gawler is important to note because “He proposed the gradual colonization of Palestine by Jews, small experimental colonies being established in the first instance. It was, however, essential to his scheme that Britain should undertake the protection of the colonies.”[29]

Subsequently, this caused some disorder for the British. During this early period, where Palestine was under military rule, the British military finally gained some insight of the wrong they had done to the Arabs. “In the case of Palestine these sympathies [of the British troops] are rather obviously with the Arabs, who have hitherto appeared to the disinterested observer to have been the victims of an unjust policy, forced upon them by the British Government.”[30] Simultaneously, there were many British doubts of the Balfour Declaration. Even “the British press, initially favorable to the Jewish national home policy, had by the early 1920s become increasingly skeptical if not hostile, and a movement opposed to the Balfour Declaration was gaining ground within parliament”[31]   Some considerable issues were raised; most of them essentially feeling a sense of remorse and pondering why a policy that could possibly result in retribution, should be implemented.

 

Looking back on the issue, this should not arouse a feeling of bewilderment. The threat of retaliation from the Arabs had been forewarned by many, yet resented. Pro-Zionists and British officials such as Herbert Samuel, believed “what we have got to face is the fact that as long as we persist in our Zionist policy we have got to maintain all our present forces in Palestine to enforce a policy hateful to the great majority”[32] With that, one can repudiate any statement that displays a feeling of remorse felt by the British; in that the British were well aware of what they were doing and even meant to colonize Palestine.

However, Britain is not the only one to be condemned; Zionists such as Jabotinsky, were well aware that “there was no misunderstanding…Zionists want…the one thing that Arabs do not want…[that] the Jews would gradually become the majority…and the future of the Arab minority would depend on the goodwill of the Jews…so there is no ‘misunderstanding’.”[33] Again, one mustn’t ignore that a number of Jews were critical of Zionism. For these Jewish people, they had worked relentlessly to assimilate in the country they lived in and the rise of Zionism would become problematic as to how loyal a Jewish citizen was to their nation. It is for that reason why Zionists must be allocated in their own category as “it stands today in its preliminary propaganda is not without considerable danger to the security and happiness of the Jews throughout the world.”[34]

Unapologetically, “Zionism’s responsibility for the Palestinian exodus and diaspora is an integral part of the genesis of the State of Israel. In their heart of hearts, most Israelis know this, which at least in part accounts for their pervasive sense of insecurity.”[35] Without a doubt, there has been an incessant struggle for Jews and perhaps the trials of the Arabs being overlooked has, and always shall be the norm; on the other hand,

fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.[36]

By retaining a fait accompli approach to the whole issue on Palestine, it only corroborates the idea of duplicity and hypocrisy, that Arabs were indeed exploited. And because the British were well aware of the consequences that were to come about, they purposefully allowed the Zionists to essentially, “get away with it.” Winston Churchill has compared the issue of Palestine to a dog in a manger claiming that, “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time.”[37] For the sake of argument, one can compromise that even if the dog who has always lain in the manger, can deal with not ultimately being given back what it once called its home. Yet. if nothing has been done to shelter the dog, there is no “final right.”

 

 

 

Bibliography:

 

British Mandate of Palestine. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 1922. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 22 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Palestine_Mandate.html&gt;.

 

Churchill, Winston. “”Dog in Manger” Quote.” A-Z Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016. <http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1448775I%20do%20not%20agree%20that%20the%20dog%20in%20a%20manger%20has%20the%20final%20right%20to%20the%20manger%20even%20though%20he%20may%20have%20lain%20there%20for%20a%20very%20long%20time.%20I%20do%20not%20admit%20that%20right.%20I%20do%20not%20admit%20for%20instance,%20that%20a%20great%20wrong%20has%20been%20done%20to%20the%20Red%20Indians%20of%20America%20or%20the%20black%20people%20of%20Australia.&gt;.

 

Ha’am, Ahad. “The Jewish State and Jewish Problem” N.d. MS, Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/haam2.html&gt;.

 

Herzl, Theodor. “The Jewish State” 1896. MS. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/herzl2.html&gt;.

 

Huneidi, Sahar. “Was Balfour Policy Reversible? The Colonial Office and Palestine, 1921-23.” Journal of Palestine Studies 27.2 (1998): 23-41. JSTOR. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

 

Huntington, Ellsworth. “The Future of Palestine.” Geographical Review 7.1 (1919): 24-35. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Husayn, Sharif, and Henry McMahon. “The Hussein-McMahon Correspondence.” Letter. N.d. The Hussein-McMahon Correspondence (July 1915-August 1916) | Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library, n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/hussmac1.html&gt;.

Hyamson, Albert M. “British Projects for Restoration of the Jews to Palestine.” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society NO. 26 (1918): 127-64. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Jabotisnky, Vladimir Ze’ev. “The Iron Wall” 1923. MS. “The Iron Wall” | Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 25 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/ironwall.html&gt;.

 

Khalidi, Muhammad Ali. “Utopian Zionism or Zionist Proselytism? A Reading of Herzl’s Altneuland.” Journal of Palestine Studies 30.4 (2001): 55-67. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Khalidi, Walid. “Plan Dalet: Master Plan for the Conquest of Palestine.” Journal of Palestine Studies 18.1 (1988): 4-33. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.

 

King, Henry Churchill, and Charles R. Crane. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 1919. The King-Crane Report – World War I Document Archive. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 20 Nov. 2016. <https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_King-Crane_Report&gt;.

 

Letters from General Congreve and Air Vice Marshal Salmond, through A. M.  Trenchard, “Situation in Palestine,” 28 June 1921, PRO CO 733/17. (Source originally found in Sahar Huneidi’s Notes)

 

Mill, John Stuart. “Ch. 2 What Utilitarianism Is.” On Liberty, Utilitarianism, and Other Essays. Ed. Tom Griffith. N.p.: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature, 2016. 374-94. Print.

 

Palestine for the Palestinians?” Advocate of Peace through Justice 84.7 (1922): 245-46. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

 

Pappe, Ilan. History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. JSTOR, June 2012. Web. Sept. 2016.

 

Said, Edward W. Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures. New York: Pantheon, 1994. 74. Print.

 

Schneer, Jonathan. The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.

 

Smith, Charles D. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: St. Martin’s, 1988. Print.

 

Takriti, Abdel Razzaq. “Palestine Mandate.” University of Houston. 18 Oct. 2016. Lecture.

 

Takriti, Abdel Razzaq. “Palestinian Mandate Pt. 2.” University of Houston. 25 Oct. 2016. Lecture.

 

Wolf, Lucien. “The Zionist Peril.” The Jewish Quarterly Review 17.1 (1904): 1. JSTOR [JSTOR]. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.

[1]Mill’s Utilitarianism and Other Essays

[2] King Crane Commission (JVL)

[3] King Crane Commission (JVL)

[4] Pappe, History of Modern Palestine

[5] Theodore Herzl, Der Judenstaat (JVL)

[6] Albert M. Hyamson, British Projects for Restoration

[7] Mohammed Khalidi, Utopian Zionism

[8] Theodore Herzl

[9] Charles Smith, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

[10]Ahad Ha’am Jewish Question (JVL)

[11] Ha’am

[12] Muhammad Khalidi

[13] Future of Palestine

[14] Ottoman Document (Source: Charles Smith)

[15] Charles Smith

[16] Charles Smith

[17] Charles Smith

[18] Jonathan Schneer, Balfour Declaration

[19] Husayn – McMahon Correspondence (JVL)

[20] Husayn – McMahon Correspondence (JVL)

[21] Charles Smith

[22] Balfour Declaration (JVL)

[23] Ellsworth Huntington, Future of Palestine

[24] British Mandate of Palestine (JVL)

[25] Abdel Takriti Palestinian Mandate (Notes)

[26] Ellsworth Huntington

[27] Abdel Takriti, Palestinian Mandate Pt. 2 (Notes)

[28] Albert M. Hyamson

[29] Albert M. Hyamson

[30] Huneidi, Reversal of the Balfour Declaration

[31] Huneidi

[32] Herbert Samuel (Find Source)

[33] Jabotinsky’s The Iron Wall (JVL)

[34]  Lucien Wolf, Zionist Peril

[35] Walid Khalidi, Plan Dalet

[36] Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual

[37] Winston Churchill, Response to Peel Commission

Nature at Rest: From a Philosophical/Aesthetic Perspective

This essay is from a photo I took while at the University of Houston in mid-October, 2016 

NOTE: I have revised and edited this essay; I encourage my readers to read that one instead.

Ordinarily when one thinks of squirrels, they often picture a little furry animal that runs up and down trees or away from people that get too close. Or perhaps more morbidly, dead furry little animals on the highway. Strangely, I was leaving the University of Houston campus early October of last year and stumbled across this one squirrel that, literally, stopped me in my tracks. Seeing squirrels on campus is not unusual; students must see at least two or three as they walk to their classes. What was fascinating about this squirrel though, was that it was just lying down, not doing anything. Unlike most squirrels we see on campus or even off campus, it wasn’t eating anything, running, nor was it dead (despite its appearance).

I looked at it for more than I’d like to admit and did my best to make sure I didn’t disturb it. God forbid, I make a sudden move and the squirrel notices I’d been staring and it runs off; then it’s not a story. Who would believe me that I saw a squirrel, of its own volition, lying down? Graciously though, I managed to get a photo of the little guy and when I went home, the photo resonated with me for a while but only humorously.

Thoughts were running through my head of pure satire, “what is this squirrel tired from? He doesn’t have midterms and little to no money in his checking account.” “Wonder what he’s thinking about.” “He looks so depressed, he probably found his squirrel girlfriend taking acorns from another man and is gradually contemplating suicide.”

Now when I examine the photo, it of course, still makes me laugh. But moreover, it makes me ponder at the fact that for this one brief moment, nature was at rest. Often when we watch nature documentaries or something, it’s rare that we see an animal that is not doing anything. I mean, I’m used to seeing a dog or my own cat asleep but the idea of any other animal just resting, was eerie. I’m fully aware that they are capable of sleeping, I don’t want to come off as naïve or something. It’s just that one never usually sees an animal at rest unless they’re at the zoo and that’s because animals there are trapped and miserable. But here, out in the open fields and fake green grass on the University of Houston campus, nature needs a break.

Because it was one of those “you don’t see that every day” one of moments, it seemed beautiful in a very strange way. The idea of a squirrel at rest, to me, shared the same manifestation like that of a sad clown. Of course we are aware that just because the person dressed as a clown, who is meant to symbolize fun and excitement, is a human being underneath all the makeup and puffy clothing; capable of emotions such as sadness, anger, confusion. But it’s because we people don’t often see it, and therefore, don’t consider it. And when we do encounter something like this, it’s understandably, awe-inspiring and in a very outlandish sort of way, aesthetic.

-Mr. Writer

Originally written on the 18th of January, 2016

The Weeknd for Weeks (“Starboy” Album Review)

So I’m perhaps late to say how amazing the music of The Weeknd AKA Abel Tesfaye is, but that is not going to stop me from writing this entry. Especially since his newest album, Starboy, was released into the world exactly 1 week ago.  I chose to wait exactly 1 week before writing a review about this album because I didn’t want to be too hasty with my judgement so for exactly 1 week straight, I listened to this album to see how I felt about it. But before I go into my critique of the album, I’d like to essentially fanboy over this musician that I’m honored to say, is the songbird of MY generation.

I first heard the song, Can’t Feel My Face, on the radio last year and I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me. Then I heard In The Night, again on the radio, and unlike the first one, this one I fell in love with instantly. The lyrics, the beat of the music, his voice at the end when he sing/screams “she” while the chorus plays in the background, oh! It’s magical.

However, it wasn’t until October, that when I heard the song, Starboy on the radio that I finally started looking into more of his songs. And what I discovered, changed my life forever.Don’t even get me started on The Hills, I could go on and on about how perfect that song is at capturing the moment almost every man has ever been in at one point in their life.  I literally could not stop listening to The Weeknd’s music. There’s a phrase among people my age where they say “[blank] for days” to mean something in a great abundance. That would be the perfect way to describe my musical mood for The Weeknd, however what started as days, soon turned into weeks.

I just couldn’t get enough of this guy’s music. And like most artists’ music that I become obsessed with, I tried to dig deep into this artist’s profile. I still don’t know much about him except that it’s safe to say, he’s a troubled soul (which would explain much of his music) and thus, explains why he’s such an amazing artist. His voice alone, which everyone agrees sounds like Michael Jackson’s voice, is just the cherry on top of this amazing sundae that is his musical style. It’s like he’s essentially the uncut version of Michael Jackson and Prince (may they rest in peace).

The fact that his mix-tapes alone, with songs like Lonely Star and Wicked Games posess so much raw emotion and talent; and he was only 21 at the time, make it that his claim to fame is long overdue. And also should inspire other people at a young age to work hard and they can achieve greatness, but of course, you also have to have a special talent. Let’s not rule that out. Nevertheless, his mainstream success with his 2015 album, Beauty Behind The Madness made him known all over the world and still at a young age, 24. I’d love to go into detail of the songs he’s released prior to Starboy but I feel like I’ve gone on more of a tangent than I initially planned.

I was really excited for this album to come out and when it finally did. I feel like I may have gotten my hopes up a little too high. There were a number of tracks that I just couldn’t get into and some that had to grow on me before I appreciated them.

Because I’m still a fan of The Weeknd and because he knows way more about music than I do, not to mention, he’s still fairly new to the whole “fame” scene so a lot of pressure is being put on the guy. Therefore, I’m not going to rip into his gizzards like most critics or condemn his ability to make excellent music. Most of these are feelings I would normally soliloquize but because I’ve got nothing else better to do… yeah… So anyways, it’s clear that The Weeknd was trying to go in a new direction with this album and experiment (probably) with different styles of music, some which worked, and others in my opinion, would have been better if he didn’t attempt it. I still encourage everyone to check out this album and who knows? Maybe you’ll disagree with me but one thing that is inarguable, is that The Weeknd is an incredibly talented musician. He brings actual emotion and soul that most of the music being played on the radio, has been needing badly.

1. ) “Starboy” My goodness! What a gem! The fact that this song features Daft Punk, is just the beginning reason as to why this song is so great. Especially considering that the song seems so trivial when you think about it, but with the chorus being so catchy, along with Abel’s comical use of certain lyrics like “main bitch outta your league too…Side bitch outta your league too”, you can’t help but want to listen to it over and over again. Of course, there is a significant meaning to this song. In that Abel has realized how famous he has become and in the music video, where The Weeknd “kills his former-self”, destroys his trophies and burns his house down, shows the deep feeling of insecurity that comes from achieving fame in that nothing is and will ever be good enough.

2.) “Party Monster” The way my girlfriend described this song, was it made her want to drink a Sprite.And now when listening to this song, all I can picture is The Weeknd singing this song to a girl he’s wooing at the club with the sharp green glow of a Sprite bottle on the table in the background.

3.) “False Alarm” This song should never have been made a single. That’s probably the meanest thing I will say about the song. Another critic said something way worse about the song. I mean some people may appreciate the song but I just don’t deem it Mp3 Worthy (not something you’d want to listen to over and over again).

4.) “Reminder” This is one of the songs that grew on me. After careful consideration, I would say that this song is like the sequel to the song “Tell Your Friends”.It’s got a good rhythmic beat to it and is a great song to drive to. He makes a point to mention the irony of how he won an award on Nickelodeon for his song, Can’t Feel My Face, a song about cocaine. I’m condemning Nickelodeon for not being able to read between the lines and parents for allowing their kids to listen to that song. It’s a good song! I’m just saying, what’s the point in putting a “Parental Advisory” sticker on albums if they’re not going to be taken into consideration.

5.) “Rockin'” A very Funky/Techno and peppered with Boogie kind of a beat. Couldn’t really get into this one, to be honest.

6.) “Secrets” is my personal favorite. It seems like the different route that The Weeknd was trying to take when compiling his new album finally hit a success (in my opinion) with this song. He’s definitely trying something new but it works and is very jumpy and you can’t help but want to dance to it. Even if you can’t dance at all! (like me)

7.) “True Colors” Yeah, I couldn’t really get into this one.

8.) “Stargirl (Interlude) (feat. Lana Del Ray)” Lana Del Ray ruined this song. It sounded like she was whining/screaming in this song. I don’t particularly care for female singers so I am most likely being biased but I had to really push myself to listen to this song from start to finish.

9.) “Side-Walks (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” Okay I lied, this is probably the rudest thing I’m about to say about the album. My reaction to this song was ‘Oh, Kendrick Lamar is gonna be on here, how awesome! Two talented musicians on one song (moments later) wtf?! Is The Weeknd singing in auto-tune? Okay, maybe it’s temporary…it’s not?!’  The thing with auto-tune is that it’s meant for people that can’t sing so that it can help them sing better. Here’s the thing, The Weeknd CAN sing! Beautifully! So whoever’s idea it was to have The Weeknd sing in auto-tune needs to be slapped with both sides of the hand. (Unless it was The Weeknd who decided it, instead he just needs to have a firm talking to).

10.) “Six Feet Under” Another song that had to grow on me. It’s different from his usual songs about ‘poppin’ pills, fuckin’ bitches’ (“Tell Your Friends”) and is more about a powerful, hardworking woman who is willing to die before she lets her goals/dreams slip away.  The song is a job well done by Abel. Oh, and Future provides backing vocals towards the end which, is okay, I guess.

11.) “Love to Lay” At first listen, this song seemed to be in homage to the old 90’s boy bands like N’Sync and Backstreet Boys. Also, this song has a repeating chorus which can get pretty old, but I enjoy it. It’s not, arguably, the best song on the album, but is a much better job done than “Rockin'” and “True Colors”.

12.) “A Lonely Night” Reverting back to my earlier statement about how The Weeknd sounds a lot like Michael Jackson; this song sounds like “Smooth Criminal” meets “Billie Jean”. The end result, is a hit song with a smooth beat and killer vocals.

13.) “Attention” I couldn’t really get into this song. It’s a good song to listen to every now and again but again, not Mp3 worthy.

14.) “Ordinary Life” Another one of my personal favorites. Despite that this song also repeats the title of the song in the chorus, I allowed an exception for this one because the verses used in the song prior to the chorus were albeit graphic, well composed. Listening closely to the song’s opening verse is set to where Abel is driving in his car while simultaneously receiving oral sex from a girl and essentially if the car crashes, he’s aware that his after-life will not be promising and the chance for repentance is useless because the famous lifestyle of “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” will not allow him to.

15.) “Nothing Without You” a song that definitely had to grow on me. The song is okay at best. I was already getting annoyed by so many of the songs that had the chorus just being the names of the title of the songs just repeated over and over again. And this one was no different but thankfully, it had a good enough rhythm to keep me interested.

16.) “All I know (feat. Future)” Unlike “Ordinary Life” where the song title is the chorus being repeated over and over again, this one wasn’t successful. I also didn’t care for Future’s verse in the song. The song just wasn’t for me.

17.) “Die For You” For fans of The Weeknd that were expecting the album to be like Beauty Behind the Madness, this song is dedicated for them. It definitely sounds like something he wrote a long time ago and decided to save for a special time. I’m not too crazy about the song, personally but I won’t deny it’s ability to grow on you just like it did with me.

18.) “I Feel It Coming” Feat. Daft Punk the beat and the rythm of this song bears the same formulaic pattern as Pharell’s “Get Lucky” with (coincidentally) Daft Punk only this one has the entire title of the song repeated as the chorus which, again, was my main issue with the entire album. I was frankly dissappointed with this song because the duo had created such a gem with the song “Starboy” but, you win some you lose some.

All in all, I’m not going to grade this album because that’d be ridiculous. Who am I to say if the album sucked or not. Personally, I think the album was great but was not how I was expecting it to be. And when you ask me what I WAS expecting it to be, I would say more songs like “Starboy” but that would only appease me and his other fans who probably enjoyed every track of the album would be disappointed. I didn’t read a lot of the reviews on this album cause I wanted to have my own opinion but in a majority of music reviews in general, that I’ve read, Critics can be unbelievably cruel. I hope that The Weeknd won’t be discouraged if he reads this review  (which I strongly doubt he will) and I hope his fans will stay loyal to him, just as I will.

Look what you’ve done…I’m a motherf*ckin’ Starboy!

-Mr. Writer

Written on the 1st of December, 2016 at 12:15 P.M.

 

 

“Go %&*@ Yourself”

Dedicated to my nephew, Gabriel. Thank you for your patience. 

In the short years that I have been an adult in this life, I have noticed that it is not uncommon to see people you utterly dislike so much that you just wish that they would stop breathing. This is hyperbolic speaking of course, but it is still true, for all intents and purposes. There are just certain people (WE feel) that just don’t need to be alive or be around us because having them around would endanger our surroundings.

That is why there are certain phrases one would proclaim at, and let’s be civil here, an untouchable.I saw Louis C.K. in July of this year and one of the things he said was Suicide is an excellent way to get rid of all your problems. I mean, really think about it.

“How do I get out of paying my taxes?”

“Kill yourself.”

He even went on to say that’s why he hates Vampires cause all they do is complain because of how long they lived, it’s like “you know what? Go out in the sun then if your life is so shitty”. Even Bill Burr jokingly stated how when he thinks about suicide it’s mostly for outrageous things like when he promised his girlfriend he’d make a pie for Thanksgiving but was just saying it so he could finish watching his game or whatever. And when Thanksgiving finally came around the corner he was like, “OH SHIT, Now what do I do? I guess I could jump really high and hope my head hits the ceiling fan”.

Even saying the phrase, “Kill Yourself”, to someone presents the same kind of laughter and joy one gets by saying, “Go Fuck Yourself”.

“Hey, can I have a bite of your sandwich?”

“Umm, no. Kill yourself?”

I would be remiss however, if I were to not include the gravity of the nature that is Suicide. Of course, Suicide, is a big deal and not something to be toyed about. It is terrible for someone to take their own life without realizing that there is so much out there to live for and would be selfish if they didn’t consider the feelings of their loved ones.

My point is just the way we insult each other is fascinating. And by saying to someone, “Kill yourself” is indescribable. Just like whenever we shout at cars while we’re in traffic; we’re aware the other person cannot hear us, if they did we’d be frightened to death, but it still feels good to let it out.

Then there’s the counter-argument of how we shouldn’t say mean things to people because “if we don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”, by that logic then we’d all hold in our anger and slowly contemplate actually murdering people that upset us and anyone whose ever worked in customer service will attest to that.

Image result for meme okay, i'll just go fuck myself

Reverting back to my earlier statement of the phrase, “Kill Yourself”, I discovered this gem of a phrase from my 14 year old nephew and where he heard it from, I have no clue. Regardless, the phrase is hilarious because one expresses that you are an inconvenience in their life and it would be a lot better if you just went away. Permanently. Of course, they don’t mean that, just like when someone says, “Burn in Hell”, what we mean is that they hope that when you die, and go to hell you’ll suffer. It’s how we express ourselves. And that by itself, is fascinating. I wonder how these insults are coined. Certain words or phrases originate from places that we don’t truly understand and when we learn it, our outlook on the word may differ.

Perfect example: the word “Faggot.” It’s actual definition is a bundle of sticks (originated in Britain, with the spelling, “Fagot”) but is also a very derogatory word to describe a Homosexual individual. Another way to describe the flamboyancy of a Homosexual, is to call them “flaming” or “flamer”, so if one wanted to really insult someone that is gay/queer/transgender, they’d call them a “Flaming Faggot”; again, very offensive and should not be said. Going back to the definition, this bundle of sticks, from a very low grade wood, that would be tied up in old times (I’m not exactly sure of the year) and used to make a fire, where they’d burn homosexuals in the fire. Thus the term, “Flaming Faggot”, is born. Now that you know the story, and you hear someone say it, you can be extra angry and tell them to go kill themselves.

I tell this story not because it is interesting and depressing, but because we often say things we have scarce if any knowledge of what we say. It’s not until we actually open our minds and listen, that we actually learn things. And it’s the same thing with insults, we have to really be careful how we say certain things. My nephew can tell me to kill myself but I know he’s just teasing cause he’s a good kid. Just like how Frank Sinatra was able to get away with saying racial slurs to Sammy Davis Jr. cause they were excellent friends and if anyone else treated Sammy differently because of his race, he wouldn’t stand for it. And if I’m not mistaken, certain people in Boston or New England will say “Go Fuck Yourself’ and it’s the equivalent to “Yeah, whatever”.

It’s slang that really just interests me. We have come so far in the world with technology and everything, but no one has stopped to really appreciate how we have grown with the phrases we use to say something is cool, dope, fly, or fire. Nor has anyone pondered at how we’ve gone from, “Be quiet” to “Shut the fuck up”. Or most importantly from, “Drop dead!” to “Kill yourself!”

-Mr. Writer

Written on the 5th of November, 2016 at 4:15 P.M.