The Arab Voice – June 2021

Arab writers from the Middle East and beyond, opine on issues ranging from making the case that Jewish sovereignty was never in the Middle East but in Russia, to whether Iraqis will boycott their upcoming election in October and the frightening fate of Syrian refuges in Denmark.

The First State of the Jews: Why is it a hidden fact?

By Fakhri Hashem Sayed Rajab

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, June 12

Have you heard of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia? Probably not. That’s because the State of Israel has a vested interest in hiding the fact that this republic exists.

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast, located in southeastern Russia, is the motherland of the Jews. Until this very day, a large portion of the local population is Jewish. Unfortunately, this fact has been obscured, in cooperation with the State of Israel, so that the Zionist dream of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine would continue to exist.

An artist impression of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to the court of King Solomon in Jerusalem in about 950 BC, long before there was ever a Russia.

Unlike what Zionists like to claim, Palestine was never the homeland of the Jewish people. The Jews could have easily established their homeland in their allocated autonomous region, where they wouldn’t harm anyone or rely on the continuous support of Uncle Sam.

For the record, this independent republic has an area of over 40,000 square kilometers. That is, it is close to the size of Switzerland. It also has an extremely low population density. Therefore, it could have served as an ideal homeland for the Jews. Instead of usurping Palestinian lands, Zionists could have built their nation at a place already allocated to them.

But this fact has been obscured so that the world would stand by Israel’s side as it steals Palestinian lands.

Another important question: Why did Zionists prevent the secession of this republic from Russia? How come the Jewish Autonomous Oblast didn’t seek independence, just like other territories such as Chechnya?

I think the answer is clear: No one wanted attention diverted away from Palestine. The Zionists wanted to keep their options hidden so that the territorial occupation of Palestine could continue to take place to this very day. 

Fakhri Hashem Sayed Rajab

Will Iraqis Boycott the next Election?

By Ali Hussein

Al-Mada, Iraq, June 11

The 2021 Iraqi parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in October. Will the scenario we witnessed in the previous elections of 2018 be repeated? Will Iraqis boycott the election en masse?

Some might ask: Why not encourage the practice of democracy that takes place in most countries of the developed world? Why not vote?

An Iraqi student, holding a flag, flashes the victory sign during anti-government protests in the Shiite city of Najaf, in central Iraq, Jan. 28, 2020. – HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP via Getty Images

Gentlemen, I, like all Iraqis, dream of real change, but what our politicians are practicing cannot be described as “democracy.” Our political system is not much different from a tragicomedy that is playing over and over in front of our eyes, on repeat. As soon as the elections are over, the exact same people will appear on our television screens, delivering the exact same speeches, ripe with the exact same buzzwords. “We came to save you” will be the gist of their remarks.

But what the people of Iraq are desperate for are political leaders who possess the qualities of integrity, honesty and magnanimity; not people who seek to enhance their own power, protect their own interests, and abuse their political immunity to evade corruption.

The foul odor of cronyism fills the hallways of our state institutions. From there, it spreads into the streets of our provinces, towns and cities, where local leaders fight over political titles, social prestige and power.

An Iraqi man updates his voter ID registration at an Independent High Electoral Commission center in Baghdad, Iraq January 20, 2021. Reuters

During the previous elections, about half of eligible voters in Iraq chose not to vote. They were tired of begging for their most basic rights.

I don’t know what the election results will look like. I also don’t know what turnout rates will actually be. But I do know that the people of Iraq are fed up. They cannot bear to suffer the same corrupt and inept leadership they’ve been dealing with for the past three years. 

Ali Hussein

Fear and Anxiety Among Denmark’s Syrian Refugees

By Dominic Sujil

Al-Ittihad, UAE, June 12

Getting through an entire night of sleep has always been a difficult task for Syrian refugee Sabriya, but now sleep has become almost impossible. The possibility that the Danish government will send her back to Syria is extremely unsettling.

If her attempt to appeal the revocation of her residency permit fails, Sabriya will have to choose between “voluntarily” returning to the country from which she fled or moving into a deportation center until further notice.

It doesn’t matter that the Syrian regime killed Sabriya’s husband and bombed her family’s home. It also doesn’t matter that she has no one to return to in Syria, and that all of her family members have been separated from each other. The Danish authorities have determined that it is currently “safe” for Syrian asylum-seekers to be repatriated.

Demonstrators in Copenhagen at a protest to stop the expulsion of Syrian refugees, on 21 April, 2021. The sign on the right reads, “Syrians are not your political game”. (B-Joe Johansen/TNH)

Indeed, Danish authorities have revoked more and more residency permits granted to refugees in recent years. Policy experts said the government’s decision reflects a long-standing effort to make Denmark less attractive to asylum-seekers. There are fears that foreigners could become a burden on the Danish social welfare system and harm social cohesion.

Experts on Syria, including a large majority of those consulted by the Danish authorities, rejected the notion that Damascus and its surrounding areas are considered safe in any way. More than a decade into the Syrian civil war, over a million Syrian lives have been lost. Lisa Blankenberg, senior adviser at Amnesty International, noted that if Syrians returned to government-controlled areas, they would be subject to interrogations, torture and potentially death.

So far, 400 cases of Syrians, including minors, have been rejected by the Danish immigration authorities. Rejecting cases does not result in immediate expulsion, for the simple legal reason that Syrians cannot be forcibly returned as long as diplomatic relations between Copenhagen and Damascus are severed.

 – Dominic Sujil

*Translated by Asaf Zilberfarb

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

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