Thursday, May 7, 2009

Occupation Mentality

I saw this cartoon and felt the need to re-post it. This is a depiction of the reality of the illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Land and culture, economy, ecology, and all parts of society. The Israeli government has been controlling occupying Palestine since the empire of the western states -- England, France, and the United States, carved up the middle east and made decisions on which white country would dominate which brown people. (yes, that is a very simplified version, but you can find out more at the blog Al-Falasteenyia or the Electronic Intifada.)

My point here is to create the analogy between the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel and the dynamics of an abusive person controlling the life of another person in an intimate relationship. Abusers (or the Israeli government) determine the conditions under which their partner (the Palestinians) will live or die. The role of an abuser is both controlled and methodical in punishment and yet erratic and inconsistent in the exercise in which rules to enforce .

For example, the system of bypass roads and military checkpoints in Palestine is a very detailed and complex matrix of points at which the Israeli military restricts the movement of Palestinians, though the individual soldiers at the checkpoints often have the power to determine which citizens can move through the gates, often arbitrarily forcing closures for hours or days or granting access to those who would quack like a duck or endure strip searches or wait for days. This has the effect of stranding or humiliating the Palestinians who are forced to negotiate this system of inhumanity. Many, many Palestinians have died or given birth at checkpoints because the military guards refused access.

An abuser may use a tactic of movement restriction against his partner by usurping the financial resources or keeping the car keys in his possession, only handing them over when she must take the children to school or go to work or to the grocery store. If she takes too long -- an arbitrary time he sets -- he may use emotional manipulation saying, "You're cheating on me! I know you are!" This leaves her in a predicament where her next moves, no matter the strategy, will most likely result in increased punishment.

She (the Palestinians) may go to any room in the house while he watches, but to pass through the gate he (the Israelis) keeps, she must jump through the hoops he sets.

The analogy could be expanded to look at the feminization of the Palestinian population through the lens of a masculinized foreign policy. More on that later

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