by Ken O’Keefe
Welcome to Orwell’s ‘1984’ ladies and gentlemen, where black is white, white is black, and the truth is nothing but a word. My 1984 reality is culminating with the United States and Israeli Governments treating me and/or charging me with being a “terrorist”. Americans worry not, you can sleep better at night knowing your “homeland” is being defended from the likes of me. And Israel, rest easy as well, it’s Ken O’Keefe and his Arab collaborators who are in the Mossad crosshairs.
All kidding aside, I am a family man, with a beautiful family, a loving wife and baby boy, a boy who will be the biggest victim if his father is no longer in his life.
How did I get here? Well, my life is an open book, and one chapter includes meeting with people who resist war and occupation, but the idea that I would be involved in violence beyond self-defense is absurd. The character witnesses who truly know me will come out in force if ever I am locked up for conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. The real reason why I have been named by Israel as ‘operative of the Hamas Terror organization’ is that I speak and defend the truth, and more importantly, I act on it. The truth is that Hamas and every other government, group or individual does what just about any of us would do if we were oppressed and violated in the ways that are inherent in war/occupation. We would resist.
I say to every red-blooded American, every European, every human, if someone came into your home, threatened your family, imprisons and even kills your family what would you do? I do not care if every westerner of any station is afraid to say it, it is part of my purpose in life to say it, I would fight. In fact I would kill before I would allow my family to be harmed. I would fight to the death.
I say to my American brothers and sisters in particular, can you not see that the Iraqis, the Afghanis and the Palestinians are people? They are mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. They love their family every bit as much as you. Imagine that you were in their shoes, would you be passive? Would you sit by and watch your wife and child being violated? Or would you fight?
I want every reader of this article to come on a journey with me. We are in our home, we are brothers, poor in terms of money but rich in our love of family, we love each other as brothers do. Our wives are in the kitchen preparing food for our children. We do our best, poor and impoverished, surrounded by war brought in the form of occupiers from half way around the world. The sound of rifle butts banging on the door shatters the semblance of peace. You, my brother go to the door quickly, but not quickly enough. The door slams open and the soldiers from another land come storming in.
With weapons pointed at our heads, they shout orders which we believe tell us to put our hands on our heads and get down on our knees. We are not sure, English is a language brought to us, not our mother tongue. Our wives come to the room frightened, begging the soldiers to calm down for the sake of the children in the other room. The soldiers respond by shouting at our wives and pushing my wife to the ground with their assault rifles. Our hearts are racing, our manhood is being crushed, and we wonder if we are men at all.
The shouting and the chaos increases. Next comes the sound of your baby girl, you hear her crying for her mother, you imagine the look of her, terrified. Thinking of your little baby girl, tears begin to fall from your face. You look to your wife; she is now on the ground bleeding from where the rifle butt slammed into her head. In the chaos you do not even know when this happened. The soldiers begin throwing all that we own everywhere, overturning furniture, throwing papers and family items to the ground and breaking dishes. They ransack while one demands to know our names. As soon as I say my name they grab me and take me into the next room, the room between you and our children. They begin to beat me, mercilessly. They are shouting at me, but you do not know what they are saying.
Now all the children are crying frantically, the soldiers keep yelling, and you catch the word “terrorist”. You realize that they are calling me, your brother who you have known your whole life, a “terrorist”. I plead with them to stop the beating, blood drenching every inch of my face, for the sake of the children, who are by now screaming, crying and begging for mom and dad, I beg. All you can think to do is nothing, you are paralyzed, and eventually the soldiers take me away… You will never hear from me again.
Your children are alive, for now, and your wife will survive, but she is scarred. Your sister-in-law is without her husband, you are without your brother, your parents are without their son and the children are without a father. You find out later that “someone” gave your brother’s name to the soldiers as a “terrorist”, probably while being tortured. And that is the end of that, someone who you do not know accuses the brother you know through and through, and lives are shattered.
And so you ponder, do I do nothing or do I resist?
This is a scenario of war/occupation, it is not extreme, it is inherent. Indeed we could include scenarios where woman, wives and daughters are raped in front of husbands and fathers. You think Americans do not do this, you are wrong. War makes everyone crazy; the question is to what degree? Insanity is inherent in war, the folly of chanting the “Support the troops!” slogan while sending them off to bullshit wars could not be more stark.
And so I ask, if you came from the lands we invade, would you fight? And if you did, would you see yourself as a “terrorist”? Or a man?
And if you did not fight, would you see yourself as noble? Or a coward?
I do not intend to pass judgment, but I would fight. I would fight because I know I would rot from the inside out if I did not. As far as I am concerned, I feel nothing but kinship, love and respect for my brothers and sisters who resist, I see myself in them.
It pains me deeply to know that we, western hypocrites and citizens of morally bankrupt states are the root of the problem. We are the terrorists, us. Our entire society should face charges for crimes against humanity for our use of DU, white phosphorous, cluster bombs, etc. We should pay massive reparations and beg forgiveness for the sake of a better future world. We claim to live in democracies, therefore we are responsible. Rather than face up to it, we remain delusional and insane, functionally insane, pretending as if we are “civilized”. We are barbaric, and not just Americans, Europeans as well. We do not have a monopoly on barbarity, but we have far more than our fair share.
When Gandhi was asked what he thought of western civilization he replied by saying, “I think it would be a good idea.”
I will not abandon my brothers and sisters who resist war and occupation. By being labeled a “terrorist” myself, I join you, falsely accused and persecuted, the Arabs, the Muslims, Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress, the Founding Fathers of America, the eco-warriors, the people of conscience past and present. And so be it, I am a terrorist in the eyes of the American and Canadian Government who puts me on their so-called “terror watch list”. I am a terrorist because Israel issues press releases stating I am a “operative of Hamas” on a mission to “form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization” in Gaza; in this world of Orwellian doublespeak I am honoured, truly honoured. The lies and depravity are oozing from you like puss from an infection of greed and power gone mad. In response I shall draw the proverbial line in the sand, those accusing and threatening me on the one side, those with me on the other side. And here is what ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ stand for;
1. Breaking of the blockade of Gaza and Palestine 100%.
2. Ending imperialism, occupation and war and thus the need for violent resistance.
3. Ending of all forms of terrorism, with immediate emphasis on the state sponsored terrorism that is conducted with our taxes and in our name.
4. Replacing the war tax system with a humanity tax system.
5. Replacing institutionalized indoctrination with genuine education.
6. Rendering corporate media propaganda completely impotent.
7. Replacing the colour of law with justice based law.
8. Embracing sustainable living and respect for nature in every way.
9. Absolute respect for human rights for all people, without exception.
10. The “Golden Rule”, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
11. The way of a world citizen whose ultimate allegiance is to his entire human family and to planet Earth.
There you have it, if I am to be a “terrorist” then that is the brand I endorse. And now, I’m looking for a ship and a flotilla to go to Gaza, and I look to do it pretty soon. Who would like to join me?
- Ken O’Keefe: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’
- Ken O’Keefe interview and the Aloha Palestine initiative
- Ken O’Keefe on BBC’s Hardtalk