What if resistance in the face of ongoing genocide in Gaza were the ultimate decolonial struggle of the “Global South”, now a vital counterweight to declining Western domination?
Neither more nor less than an anti-colonial struggle
Despite the relentless efforts of Western media propaganda since October 7 to confuse oppressor and oppressed, as has historically been the case on the Palestinian question, the truth has finally got the upper hand. The unspeakable atrocities and injustices suffered by the Palestinian people this last month, and especially over the past 75 years, have been exposed and recalled through social media among others, but also – once again – the flagrant hypocrisy of Western-style “human rights”. The world watches in dismay, wondering in the name of which humanity certain ruling elites can come to “unconditionally” support the mass crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians.
An essential point evidenced by the current war, even for a public opinion that is relatively new to the subject, is that this “conflict”, deliberately described by the Western media as a complex and confused situation, is none other than a relationship between a colonizer and the colonized; the Palestinian people being in an anti-colonial struggle for their freedom and their most fundamental rights. Let’s not forget that these rights are flouted every day by the occupying Israeli authorities, in violation of international law, both in Gaza and in the West Bank, where Hamas, presented by the same media as responsible for the misfortune befalling the Palestinians, does not govern.
The elements intrinsic to the colonial system, namely exploitation, plunder and violence, are to be found in this reality. In this case, a system imposing an apartheid regime, carrying out a project of ethnic cleansing and waging a veritable media war in an attempt to propagate misleading narratives and erroneous readings of history.
Let’s stress, however, that media ploys to have people hate the oppressed and love the oppressors, as in a famous Malcolm X quote, are clearly having trouble working this time. This is reflected in the “Not in my name” movement of Jews, including Holocaust survivors and their descendants, refusing any association with the Zionist political project and the ongoing massacre, or the political declarations – admittedly very rare in the West – of some leaders, notably Irish and Australian, who have led an exemplary principled defense of Palestinian rights. But also, the ordinary citizen who is speaking out, in all conscience, through huge mobilizations in the streets, universities or on social networks, to condemn the complicity of their leaders, to call for the siege on Gaza to be lifted, and above all to demand an immediate ceasefire.
Western-style violence and selective humanity
Some geopolitical analyses speak of the possibility of a regional conflict with disastrous consequences. Are we again facing a large-scale conflict where everyone stands to lose, on the back of Western economic and political interests?
Against this backdrop, we might ask ourselves one question when analyzing, even from a distance, Western interventionism over the last two decades, whether by France in West Africa, or the wars waged by NATO in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria, to name but a few: how many more wars must be fought and lost by these powers in the name of so-called “Western values”? How many once-prosperous countries have to be wiped out, to then come and describe these interventions as “mistakes“? And above all, what is the West fighting against? One thing is certain: it has always fought for access to resources for it to establish its economic and political hegemony, systematically resorting to violence in doing so. From the genocide of the first peoples of America, to the barbaric wars waged in Europe as recently as the last century, and on to the ruthless wars of colonization and proxy wars.
To the violence must be added another common trait of leading Western governments, namely the selective humanity which they have blatantly displayed on this occasion, earning themselves a thunder of criticism from various observers and decision-makers, especially from the South, which is united in denouncing the “double standards”. Indeed, the same top leaders, media and international organizations who condemned the war in Ukraine with all their might, preferred to remain silent, take very timid positions on the tragedy in Gaza, or worse, renew their support for war crimes. This asymmetry is felt at every level, since in France, pro-Palestinian demonstrations continue to be repressed with heavy fines and sanctions. Not to mention the hypocrisy of aid or promises of aid from these same powers, when what the Palestinians need first and foremost is an immediate halt to the bombardments.
In the face of such inconsistencies, it is significant that indignation has also been expressed within the very institutions of Western power, translating into resignations of senior officials at the United Nations and even the US Department of State.
The violence and selective humanity inherent in the Western system are nothing but evidence of a civilizational failure, heralding an end to Western hegemony, or a “de-Westernization” of the world, a notion that has come up frequently in recent years.
Decolonization and alternatives
We are witnessing a new wind of emancipation in West Africa, the expansion of BRICS, the war in Ukraine, progressive de-dollarization and China’s predominant role in the global economy, among other geopolitical factors that are upsetting global balances and confirming the refusal of Western hegemony. In the current dynamic of change and the new world order taking shape, it seems as if the neoliberal West is isolating itself in its greed and practices of yesteryear.
Beyond geopolitical factors, it is essential, from a cultural point of view, to move towards a decolonization of the imaginaries and of all aspects of life to make room for what other cultures have to offer this world since it is now clear that the culture of competition, consumerism and domination that has accompanied the rise of Western capitalism and imperialism leads inevitably to the dead end of wars and ecological disaster.
It’s time to listen to the younger generation’s profound aspirations for social and environmental justice. It’s also high time that ancestral wisdom that contrasts with Western individualism – such as the African philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am because we are” – was given a place in our education system, in our ways of living and living together, and on the international stage, in response to the need for cultural pluralism.
To get back to the Palestinian issue, which will remain on the table until justice is done, isn’t it natural, given the unprecedented scale of human suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people over the last weeks, that all those who have one day experienced the torments of colonization and neo-colonization express their solidarity with Palestine in its long anti-colonial resistance – real politik considerations aside? As we have seen, several emerging countries have already done this in Latin America, in Africa, north and south of the Sahara.
It is not naive to continue to believe in emancipation and dignity for all the peoples of the world. Much-needed change can come quickly if the “Global South”, in its heterogeneity, decides to put aside its differences, stand together and build an alternative. The current crisis in Palestine is undoubtedly an opportunity to channel the “rage” of the Arab world, the indignation of the countries of the South and their diasporas, and of all supporters of justice and peace, to assert themselves more strongly on the international scene, promote alternative cultures and ways of being, and become genuine stakeholders in a new multipolar world.