Ending oppression, says Antony Loewenstein — author of After Zionism — begins with ideas. Discussing ideas within a totalitarian state, he notes, may be fraught with difficulties, but as in apartheid South Africa and the segregationist United States, ideas about equality are what led to a chance for freedom.
Ideas about equality — where no culture is allowed to assume dominance or superiority — are so dangerous to privileges, though, that one cannot find an historical example where they were willingly relinquished. That is most certainly true in Palestine, as it was in Capetown and Mississippi.
In Guatemala, where descendants of the Mayan empire attempt to preserve their ideas through discussions on community radio, the descendants of the conquistadors are attempting to criminalize Maya radio. Where indigenous peoples access to printing and Internet are severely restricted, ideas have to travel by word of mouth, thus making radio a threat to the status quo.
When my kin in Northern Ireland marched for equal rights in housing, employment and voting in the 1960s, the idea of equality was deemed such a threat to the United Kingdom that the result was Bloody Sunday. Today, after much bloodshed and suffering, the realized idea of equality is now the foundation for the idea of Irish unity.
Whether we’re talking about the Civil Rights Movement in Derry, Selma, Capetown or Jerusalem, it is the idea that equality is the only path to peace. Imperialists, racists and Zionists may be brutally reluctant to accept that idea, but in time they will have to surrender to that reality.
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