Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

Biden’ your time, Joe?

file photo: u.s. president biden attends a dinner hosted by the human rights campaign at the washington convention center in washington
FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden


America’s main reelection candidates are two ageing men with no one apparently able to differentitate between them. Rumours augur Michelle Obama as a future Democrat possibility, and a year is political eternity.

Biden’s often denigrated age equals a career of knowing the system, who does what well, and his track record at home so far, all prove capability. Not everyone ages the same way, chronological age differs from that gifted by individual metabolism. Biden’s mind and body seem to be withstanding a tough work schedule at home and abroad.

His bond with Ireland is worn with pride. So, as an Irishwoman of his age, I have questions for the man. Ireland fought against an occupying power that settled strangers on lands the Irish had lived on for many generations but who were evicted and driven from it to make way for incoming outsiders. The Irish suffered hunger, disease and death brought on by such unjust treatment.

The rising up of the oppressed Irish for freedom was a natural consequence of repressed anger, enforced obedience, weariness at normal rights curtailment to a point of aggravated frustration at always having to acquiesce to a controlling force stronger than them.

How, knowing the history of Eire and Palestine, Mr. Biden, do the Palestinians differ from the Irish, or the Ukrainians? The USA, Europe and the UK rushed to prevent the occupation of Ukraine by Russia just as they sped to tell Israel it had the right to defend itself, knowing that translated into ‘Do what you like.’ Which Israel did to an unbelievable degree, allowed free reign.

Ireland’s President Higgins spoke out against the misery and death inflicted on Gaza and was criticised for stepping beyond his constitutional role. Higgens, your generation, witnessed how America (with its great voting percentage of Irish origin), with the blessing of Bill Clinton, helped the Northern Irish factions (none beyond atrocity) to stop killing each other.

Western immediacy favoured Ukraine, decades of disinterested delay obstructed a Palestinian own state. The UK were first aid givers to Ukrainians. Sunak and Starmer gave Israel a green light to cause full scale war on Palestinian innocents. Ironic considering the Brits once called the Israelis ‘terrorists’.

In 1987, a US Department of State Human Rights report recognised Israel as an occupying power in territories taken. It also mentioned the Genevea Convention ‘concerning the protection of civilian populations under military occupation.’ Like so many written declarations by official bodies, as with Cyprus, occupied by a NATO member, merely ink on paper.

In January ’88 American citizen Karen White gave witness to how Israeli soldiers viciously beat and threatened Palestinian youngsters at gun point. The Western world always only appeals for restraint knowing Israel fears no consequences for breaking international rules, no strong Western reactions as per Russia ever follow. A well-travelled man said to me, ‘Some in the West see Israeli soldiers as sexy warriors and Palestinians as grubby Arabs.’

Who knows better than US veterans, and British soldiers who served in Ireland or Cyprus, that guerilla wars are unwinnable, levelling buildings with bombs, shooting innocents on purpose or as collateral damage will never defeat a furtive enemy, they regroup. Writer Megan Nolan in The Irish Times called absurd ‘a grossly inappropriate action’ at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The cancelling of a ceremony to celebrate Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s novel Minor Detail ‘due to the war in Israel’. The woman isn’t pro Hamas, Nolan wrote, she doesn’t write to inflame, so why?

Mr. President you are failing the everyday Palestinian people now as did past presidents, prime ministers and the EU. The horse has long bolted with Palestinian hopes. Will the Herculean task of cleaning a stable of decades of misrule and misappropriation by your favoured nation begin and words become just, fair action? Will you act for a genuine two-state solution, or just go with the flow like the rest, and let more innocents on both sides die unnecessarily.

Experience should equal knowledge, foresight and vision not useless, inactive hindsight speeches and wasted ink. The dead can’t be brought back on paper.

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