Unthinkable just two years ago, all of a sudden the historically-spineless Arabs found some steel in their veins - and they were lining up to visit Gaza and show solidarity with the Palestinians who were under the umpteenth bombardment from the Israelis.
The roll-call was impressive: the Emir of Qatar (wonder of wonders; the al Thanis are perhaps the second most Western-inclined Arab potentates after the Saudis); Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi, Tunisia's Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalam and, unsurprisingly, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, a product of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al Muslimun) government in Cairo. It so happens Hamas is also Ikhwan.
The latest Israeli aggression against the blockaded Palestinians of Gaza was triggered Wednesday last week, by Israel as usual, when the Israelis killed Hamas's military commander, Ahmed Al-Jabari, in a drone-like air strike on his car (one wonders why they should ride in cars, obvious targets).
Israel then proceeded to shell the coastal enclave of Gaza from land, air and sea. And when Hamas retaliated with rocket attacks on nearby Israeli settlements, and even up into Tel Aviv, the whole so-called 'international community' was calling on the underdog names, in order, of course, to hang it. But finally, the Arabs seem to have found their voice, and are visiting Gaza, thanks to the Arab Spring.
More than 160 Palestinians were killed by Israel, and only five Israelis suffered the same fate (but that five is as a million, for they are Ahrasan nasi ala hayatin, according to their Creator Himself).
A ceasefire has been brokered by Egypt. Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal (who heads Hamas from exile in Damascus, Syria), held a defiant news conference in Cairo, saying that the Israelis had "achieved a great deal" in terms of damage in Gaza, but that they had failed in their objective to destroy "the underlying structure of the resistance." Meshaal continued to say that "The pressure should now be redirected towards Israel. It is immoral to keep pressuring the Palestinians simply because the Americans and the international community are failing in the face of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu."
Echoing Meshaal, the Times of Israel newspaper quoted Hamas' Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as saying "The idea of attacking Gaza is gone and, with the help of God, will never return. The strength of the Palestinians was the basis for the latest victory, and now it's a sign of pride to the whole world." Haniyeh added that "We did not raise a white flag [in surrender]. Israel screamed with pain from what the resistance did to it. I thank everyone who provided us with arms and money, especially Iran," Times of Israel quotes him as saying.
With each passing day of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, with each additional death of a child or mother, Muslims all over the world are becoming angrier. Now, more than ever before, Israel is stoking the flames to test the waters, to see if the decidedly weak second-term Obama will be any different from the lacklustre first-term Obama. The mere fact that Hamas dictated part of the ceasefire agreement, which Israel had to accept, indicates that already, whatever the outcome of this phase of the conflict, Faith has been Triumphant. Incidentally, The Faith Triumphant is the title of Chapter Eleven in one of the most important books of the Islamic Movement, Ma'alim fit Tariq (Milestones), written by the Movement's leading intellectual and Martyr, Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966).
In Milestones, Qutb wrote: "Allah says, 'Do not be dejected or grieve. You shall be the uppermost if you are Believers' (3:139). The first thought which comes to mind on reading this verse is that it relates to the form of Jihad which is actual fighting; but the spirit of this message and its application with its manifold implications, is greater and wider than this particular aspect. Indeed it describes that eternal state of mind which ought to inspire the believer's consciousness. It describes a triumphant state which should remain fixed in the Believer's heart in the face of everything, every condition, every standard and every person; the superiority of the Faith.
"It means to be above all the powers of the earth which have deviated from the way of the Faith, above all the values of the earth not derived from the source of faith, above all the customs of the earth not coloured with the colouring of the faith, above all the laws of the earth not sanctioned by the Faith, and above all traditions not originating in the Faith. It means to feel superior to others when weak, few and poor, as well as when strong, many and rich. It means the sense of supremacy which does not give in before any rebellious force.
"Steadfastness and strength on the battlefield are but one expression among many of the triumphant spirit which is included in this statement of Almighty God. The superiority through faith is not a mere single act of will nor a passing euphoria or a momentary passion, but is a sense of superiority based on permanent Truth centred in the very nature of existence." So wrote Sayyid Qutb, the ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood. May Allah have mercy on his soul.
Let us now end today's treatise with the following story on Challenge, the type the Palestinians are facing: "The Japanese love fresh fish. However, the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther
. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the catch. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.
"To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish.
So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.
Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem?
"To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. Because they are challenged, they kick and protest and ultimately arrive fresh. Or martyred."
Allah has put a tiny shark (Israel) in the Arab tank. Only some fish called Hamas and Hezbollah are kicking. The others are frozen stiff. RIP.
After all, L. Ron Hubbard had once written: "Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment." May Allah help the Palestinians. And may our Ashura fast of today be accepted and rewarded, amin.