by Mansor Puteh. (In conjunction with the photo exhibition - Nakba - Dispossession –Pengusiran.
(This paper was written for the exhibition on Al-Nakbah’ held at the Islamic Museum in 2002 – a filmmaker’s view on the matter. The politicians being who they are have failed humanity with the Muslim leaders looking elsewhere at their personal comfort.
Yes, occasionally they show some interests but it is just for show and nothing else.
And there are also some well-meaning politicians and former Muslim and non-Muslim leaders who had tried to do something but they could only come up with more seminars and forums, which did not create any response as more Palestinian land are grabbed and more Palestinians are killed.
No important and interesting film has been made on this problem, either from the point of view of the Palestinians or
I am posting it in few parts because of its length and in the original version.)
I was not yet born when the Palestinians first started to be displaced from their homeland in 1948. In fact, even during the month of October in 1967, i.e. during the heights of the October War or the Six-Day War that the Israelis called the Yom Kippur War, I was not even aware of what was going on. Even the local English and Malay newspapers and news bulletin on television and radio were referring to the Palestinians soldiers as 'Palestinian terrorists'. Only much later in the early 1980s did the local media start to change their attitude towards the Palestinians who were later described more aptly as `Palestinian freedom-fighters'.
This goes to show how much we had been influenced by the Western media that we simply could not digest what had indeed happen in the
Middle East, vis-à-vis Palestinian Problem and who were the antagonists and protagonists. I can now understand why this was so.
LESSONS FROM THE HISTORY OF MALACCA.
I was born and raised in Malacca, a state which is like no other in
or elsewhere. The Portuguese came to Malacca and liked the place so much that they decided to stay for one hundred and thirty years from 1511. The Dutch took over from them and stayed for as long. After them came the British who dominated Malacca as well as the whole of Malaysia Malaya and they stayed for more than one hundred and seventy years. In the end all of them left Malacca and we were back to where we once belonged, while they were branded as former colonialists, a term that means savage people.
Hopefully, the Israelis will learn from the history of Malacca so that they will know that any land that is taken away by force will one day be retuned, even if it had to take more than 400 years as what Malacca had experienced. 'The same with the Muslim republics in the former
Soviet Union that finally attained their independence after seventy years under Communist rule.
What baffles me, therefore with regard to the Palestinian Problem is that everybody seems to think that it just started yesterday. Nobody seems to remember that the problem in its present shape and form is actually fifty-four years old' It is really that long! (It is older than most of us here.
I can believe why many leaders in other Muslim countries could not focus on how to find ways to solve this problem when it first happened in 1948, as they were in the midst of their own quest for independence. The leaders of this country, too, had to struggle with the British colonialists and had to shuttle back and forth to
to plead with them to allow it’s to let our independence or `Merdeka'. London
The same was true with
Indonesia and many other Muslim or Arab countries and those in Africa. In fact all the countries in toe Muslim World and Third World were grappling with their national problems with their former colonial masters that they did not have time for the problems the Palestinians were haring, then.
The Israelis were smart in that they launched their campaign to wrest Palestinian land immediately after the Second World War ended, when facilities, institutions and systems in most countries in the West and
Asia had collapsed, and its leadership was in total disarray. All the countries were in the midst of rebuilding their destroyed countries. And cultural, social and political influences came from only two sources, i.e. Hollywood films and their electronic and print media.
Because of that the Israelis decided to quickly wrest control of these media so that they could use them for their own purposes when initially they were independent entities. And in many
Hollywood films, the Arabs were seen as romantic heroes such as those acted by Rudolf Valentino who even wore the `khafiyeh'.
Later, the Arabs became the crooks in many a
Hollywood film. This was their first line of attack, i.e. to control the two most important media, cinema and press before they went oil the offensive and seized mote Palestinian territory and displaced its inhabitants.
And because of that the Israelis could introduce their Zionist policies without being opposed. Even as thousands and thousands of Palestinians were evicted by force from their ancestral land and their properties destroyed, nobody batted an eyelid. These Palestinians had to suffer quietly and perish in the hands of the Israelis, until the problem became too big and obvious so much so that ironically it blinded many Muslim leaders. It was also during the heights of the Vietnam War that had distracted
and the rest of the world. America
By then the position of the
in Palestinian land had become so entrenched that they could now bare their fangs. Soon afterwards, with collusion from Israel America they began to develop their nuclear program that further made their presence in the Middle East safe from any physical harm by the few Arab countries who were bent on developing their nuclear arsenal. Even the nuclear facilities in could be destroyed in fifteen minutes by Israeli jets without any Arab leader doing anything except to file a complaint that nobody else cared. It looks to me like those countries who had managed to build their nuclear weapons first can get to keep them, while those who are still trying to do so must be eliminated, so future wars that have to be conducted are always one-sided. Iraq
They only want Muslim countries to fight them with empty slogans and by issuing useless memoranda and the throwing of stones.
It was ironic in that the Israelis, who were persecuted by the Germans in the Holocaust that resulted in the death of six million of them in the gas chambers, could repeat the atrocities and torture the Palestinians in like fashion and style, if not worse. This must be their way of venting their anger at the Germans. But sadly those who had to suffer in the hands of the Israelis were not Germans but Palestinians who became their easy prey because they were not aggressive in nature and accommodative and whose hands had been tied.
DUNIYAH-KOLA TO QUENCH THE THIRST OF MUSLIMS.
I am now trying to find partners and investors who are interested to collaborate with me to introduce a new brand of cola or that it can marketed in all the Muslim countries, called, 'Duniyah-kola'. I am confident if such a cola is available in the market all Muslims will stop consuming the American colas.
This is a multi-billion dollar market that we have surrendered to the Americans, which we must take back.
And we must also take back the cinema, television and radio that we have surrendered to the Americans so that we will use these media for the propagation of our ideals and values. We have failed to use all the natural and human resources that we have been blessed with by god. Ironically, we have used them as vehicles for the promotion of Western cultural, social, economic and political influences in our own world.
There are many Malays and other Arabs, especially who are willing to spend hundreds of millions of ringgit to set up television and radio stations just to turn them into centers for the promotion of Western cultural influences. No wonder many young Muslims have become American or Jewish worshippers'.
MUSLIM-OWNED MEDIA AS A TOOL.
Many Muslim leaders and other individuals have complained that the Western media are biased. What 1 am aghast is why has the Muslim organizations or other well-meaning individuals not done something about it? Surely, if the problem is with the Western media, we can check it by creating a new system of media that favor us. What the Aljazeera has been doing since it’s remarkable, yet it is just one individual and one company who are doing this.
It is therefore, high time that we ignore the Western media and concentrate on the formation of our own media that we can use to the fullest so that the beauty of [slam and heroics of many Muslims can be profiled.
Muslims, especially our leaders must learn how to stop complaining about the excesses of the Western media or
Hollywood films, etc. We must learn how to be able to understand why they existed in the first place. And after that w, must take actions to overcome them by introducing new systems, institutions and structures that will work in our favor.
We must realize fast that the war with the West and
Israel is not held just in the deserts of , but on other fronts, commercial, cultural. social. cinema, television and radio and economic too. If we are not able to do so, we can never encounter the West and solve the Palestinian Problem even if we are given fifty more years. Palestine
Ultimately, what ever happens in
Palestine and for that matter, are simply manifestations of Muslim disunity. It is the disunity of the Muslim Ummah that had resulted in such problems to appear. Therefore our leader; will be wiser if they not only look at these problems purely from the political point-of-view but the others that I have mentioned earlier as well. Afghanistan