Elder of Ziyon maakte een wat cynisch overkomende poster over het Palestijnse lidmaatschap van de UNESCO, met de tekst: “now that Palestine has joined UNESCO, the entire world can celebrate Palestinian culture” met een afbeelding van een bus die zojuist is opgeblazen. EoZ ging na kritiek hierop uitgebreid in op de vraag of dit een accurate beschrijving is van de Palestijnse cultuur. In die uitleg kan ik mij grotendeels vinden, maar op de poster komt het toch wat karikaturaal over. Alsof dat de enige ‘cultuur’ is die Palestijnen kennen. EoZ bedoelt cultuur echter in de bredere zin van normen, waarden en gebruiken van een samenleving en de verheerlijking van het martelarenschap is inderdaad iets dat in de hele cultuur zit, van educatie tot muziek en sport: overal worden ‘martelaren’, vaak terroristen moet bloedige aanslagen op hun geweten, als rolmodellen voorgesteld, als helden van de samenleving. Dat Palestina is toegelaten tot een VN orgaan dat op het gebied van educatie en cultuur verbroedering tussen landen en volken voorstaat, is dan ook cynischer dan de poster van EoZ.
This is a followup to my previous post discussing whether it is accurate to describe Palestinian Arab support for terrorism as an example of its culture.
In 2008, Palestine Media Watch gave lots of evidence that the (secular) Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency would routinely use the word "martyrs" in its English language articles describing the death of terrorists.
In response, Ma'an said, "in the Palestinian cultural/religious tradition, the martyrdom aspect is significantly different from the Judeo-Christian understanding. Those who die as martyrs may be defending their wives or their property, not necessarily engaging in the Western notion of a holy crusade. The PMW interpretation, while undoubtedly held by some religious individuals, is not necessarily the general interpretation of these terms."
So Ma'an is saying that it is merely following the Palestinian Arab cultural (not religious) tradition when referring to people killed by Israelis as "martyrs" in Arabic. But if they died directly because of a terror act, does this Palestinian Arab cultural tradition still allow them to be called "martyrs"?
Let's look at a Ma'an article to find out.
On January 18, an Al Qassam Martyr's Brigades member killed while he was engaged in a "jihad mission." Not defending his family, not minding his own business, but engaged in a purely offensive mission, and he appears to have accidentally killed himself while performing his jihad.
And Ma'an in Arabic called him a "martyr" both in the headline and in the article.
If you believe Ma'an, when Palestinian Arabs glorify terrorist acts, it is cultural.
But you don't even have to go that far to see how Palestinian Arab culture glorifies terrorism. All you have to do is look at the songs and dances at the annual Palestinian Cultural Festival!
In 2010, a dance troupe held rifles and danced to the idea of dying, using lyrics like
He who offers his blood doesn't care if his blood flows upon the ground.
As the weapon of the revolution is in my hand, so my presence will be forced [upon Israel].
My weapon has emerged.
My weapon has emerged
And in attendance was the PA Minister of - you guessed it - Culture. The dance was shown multiple times on Palestinian Arab TV.
And in September of this year, at another edition of this cultural festival, singers sang:
He sacrificed his life for the land.
They wrapped him in white cloth with a flower.
He shouted and said: "How sweet is Martyrdom."
Meeting his Lord was his choice.
He adorned his land with the purest blood.
Tears for him are [tears of] joy. [His] mother makes sounds of joy.
[The Martyr] a groom and his wedding - Martyrdom and heroism.
Oh hero, rest in peace, do not worry.
So for anyone who thought my first poster was offensive - here are two more: