Today in the Netherlands the highways are half empty and children’s buses go decorated with orange flags. The Dutch are soccer patriots, they just take the day off to watch today’s game. Normally, and in quite a healthy manner the Dutch tend to display and pledge their unity every once in four years staking their pride and glory on the national team. Just a week ago, though, the PVV won 24 seats in Parliament. This may tell you something about the lethal combination of an election year and a World Cup year…
We at United Civilians for Peace, a Dutch coalition of non-profit organizations dedicated to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on respect for human rights and international law have our orange colored minds and hearts set on the people in Gaza still under the merciless Israeli occupation. Our campaign OpenGaza.nu is an attempt to provide answers to the burning question: what are the most effective strategic actions to lift the Gaza blockade? At the launching of our campaign we had a chance to meet through skype video connection two young and beautiful women from Gaza, who reminded us all that the blockade can be broken almost at any given moment by anyone, by people on-line. They told us a bit about their daily life, planned family weddings, school exams, and here we were for 22 minutes (till a power failure cut out our connection) with them in Gaza, breaking the blockade. Anyone can do it, Oranje fans, South Africans under the spell of international attention to the World Cup games as well those handful of people around the world who have no interest in soccer whatsoever…
Communicating with Gazans is a strategic and effective way to show solidarity with people under an awful, brutal isolation, to elevate a permanent condition of being shut out and deprived of basically everything. At the same time, it’s not enough to just talk. We cannot afford to stop demanding action from policymakers in Europe, in Africa, everywhere around the world, to use the momentum created in the aftermath of the flotilla tragedy to bring about change, real change for a change.
All forms of pressure from below should be now focused on consistent and massive call for ending the status quo of the Israeli occupation, culminating into a critical mass of public opinion strong enough to bring about an Antonio Gramsci-like shift from a war of positions to a war-of-movement. That is the threshold we are at now, the threshold of a war-of-movement. In a war-of-position type of social conflict you get to hear about the categories and volume of humanitarian aid negotiated with Israel or about its concessions to demands for “easing” restrictions. In a war-of-movement type of social conflict the hegemonic and internationally backed occupation paradigm that enables Israel’s blockade to continue enters a crisis of legitimacy. That is what happened with the flotilla, and that is why a shift of historical proportions is now on the horizon. Watered down diplomatic moves to “ease the blockade” are simply unacceptable. They drag us back from the threshold of historical change to the disaster of the status quo. Its easy to be skeptical of the chance for change, to find already, merely a week after the attack many signs for a maddening return to the status quo after so much “outrage” has been uttered. Words have to be translated into actions, moral outrage into accountability, ad-hoc crisis management into long-term conflict resolution.
Any click of the mouse is potentially a pulse and a push forward closer to the threshold. So, here’s Gaza, just click it open! go to www.opengaza.nu to join in action.
United Civilians for Please