“in Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows, And carried the soul in my palm, for an Arab Palestine.”

Schneller Refugee Camp, 1970, Jordan

The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is a struggle against exclusionary ethnonationalism imposed on this region by imperialism. Palestinian nationalism has always been heavily influenced by pan-Arabism, itself an inclusive panethnicity not anchored in genetics but in a common culture & history shared by those for whom Arabic is a primary language. The racialization of Arabism by Zionists is part of a phenomenon of imperialists who have done everything they can to demonize & impede pan-Arabism & regional unity in order to exercise hegemonic control over this region.

Pan Arabism was expounded most prominently by non-Muslim minorities in the Arab world looking for a unifying and inclusive ideology, contrary to the Salafism propped up by the Anglo-American empire, which is meant to divide and exclude. It is not a nationalist ideology, it is based on supranational ideals: Arab as a panethnicity, including Arabised Arabs, not just blood tribes. Pan Arabism is inherently against any subscription to blood-based notions of ethnicity, an Arab is whoever identifies as an Arab and speaks the Arabic language, and is inclusive of all religions, cultures, and civilizations.

Pan Arabism of the variety to be respected is inherently not exclusionary, whereas ethnic identitarianism it’s proxy opponents such as the Zionist state practice is. Respecting and encouraging unity while recognizing communal diversity is the closest way to emulate how our ancestors lived their lives in our land.

The genetic essentialism behind European conceptions of nationalism cannot & should not be applied to this region.

Arabism permeates a lot of the most inspiring cultural & political output of those committed to the Palestinian struggle for liberation, the imprisoned Palestinian feels a kind of liberation in remembering their connection to a wider Arab world. In Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish’s poem, Prison Cell, he invokes the light of the moon having originated in the nights of Baghdad when his jailer asks him the origin of the nights light. In the jailers wine, the vineyards of Algiers. “I wish I were a bread seller in Algeria so that I could sing with the revolutionaries.” It is of course rooted in class solidarity with the Arab masses, not with imperial Gulf vassals. Good night waters of the Nile, orchards of Damascus, moon over Baghdad, vineyards of Algeria, prisons of Palestine full of freedom.

It was from the outset designed to be inclusive & unifying, not sectarian. It was the Palestinian Christian journalist and founder of the Yaffa-based newspaper “Falastin,” Yusuf al-Isa, who said in 1920 regarding Zionism, “Palestine is Arab — its Muslims are Arab — its Christians are Arab — & its Jewish citizens are Arab too. Palestine will never be quiet if it separated from Syria & made a national home for Zionism.”

It was also designed to be inclusive of all the different civilizational streams that have characterized the history of the region. In his landmark poem, In Damascus, Mahmoud Darwish invokes cuneiform in his tribute to the city which is the heart of the Arab world.

It is not based on blood-based ethnonationalism, but in a shared history, culture & language, at the same time, without effacing what makes each sub-group within it unique. In response to criticism of Arabism by Egyptian writer Taha Hussein, a prominent espouser of Pharaonism, the Syrian intellectual Sati’ al-Husri wrote that Arab unity did not require Egyptians to surrender their Egyptianness but to add to their Egyptian feeling a general Arabist one. He further denied Taha Hussein’s statement on the lineage of modern Egyptians being derived from ancient Egyptians, declaring that all scientific tests indicated that there are “no nations on the face of the planet that are pure-blooded.” The narrowly defined ethnonationalism fostered by European imperialists threatens the region with constant strife & division.

Dear Diaspora Dwellers, if you can’t bring yourself to use “Arab world” for whatever reason, you can use SWANA, (southwest Asia & North Africa) but realize that the only reason this is talked about as a unitary region is that is it united by the prevalence of Arabic speakers throughout it. There is actually another reason it is spoken of as a unitary region with a wider geographical spread that could include Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, the prevalence of Muslims throughout it, in which case it is also known as the Islamic world (but that it is also even larger).

I cannot abide by people denigrating Arabism, anyone who claims to be supportive of George Habash & the PFLP who rants against pan-Arabism is a hypocrite or poseur. By denigrating Pan-Arabism, you are denigrating the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine & Leila Khaled. Umm Kalthoum & Fayrouz. Ghassan Kanafani, Naji al-Ali, Archbishop Hanna Atallah, the Syrian Baath Party, President Bashar al Assad, Hezbollah & Sayyed Nasrallah, all of whom speak and act for the interests of the Arab ummah. It doesn’t matter how you justify it, it makes you an agent of imperialist hegemony over the masses of the Arab world, which includes many non-ethnic Arabs too. They are just like Zionists: “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people” “there is no such thing as an Arab ummah,” all the easier to kill us & steal our land. Even Arabs have fallen for it.

Claiming ancient civilizational history in this region as the exclusive possession of one narrowly defined ethnic group is Zionism.

Claiming Arabs are not indigenous to states they inhabit where Arabic is an official language, or that they are colonists or usurpers, is Zionism.

Claiming Arabs or Arabism are inherently threatening or violent or backward or oppressive is Zionism (its also, like the other claims listed above, imperialist propaganda designed to facilitate the ongoing US war on this region & all its people, & in which Zionism is but one tool).

The Resistance Axis fighting US imperialism & its proxies draws upon two main ideologies to unify the masses: Arabism & Islamism. Both are articulated to be as inclusionary as possible, one emphasizing cultural kinship, the other religious kinship. When Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah uses “nation” in the regional sense, he is sometimes referring to the Arab world & sometimes to the Islamic world (& sometimes both).

Attempts to undermine the validity or appeal of either in favor of some nebulously defined “West Asianism” is pie in the sky philosophizing. Without these supranational ideologies, each state in the Arab & Islamic world will be confined to narrow, self-interested nationalism, liable to devolve into reactionary forms, unconcerned with their neighbors & the wider struggle for liberation from US hegemony.

The Resistance Axis is deeply aware of this, exhorting all in the region not to facilitate yet another catastrophe. The foremost proponent of Arabism in the world today is the Syrian Arab Republic, whose government is fighting a US/NATO aggression that attempted to destroy Syrian & Arab unity using sectarianism. This does not exclude solidarity from & with others emphasizing other unifying ideologies.

Those committed to smearing the Arabism & Islamism of the Resistance Axis, ignoring that they defended the masses of all sects & ethnicities, are doing empire’s work for them.

Zaki al-Arsuzi, a Syrian philosopher and sociologist, wrote extensively on Arab brotherhood, creed, and unity.

His landmark book, the Arab world (al-Ummah al Arabiyya) sought to define the Arabic term “ummah.” “the words “ummah” and “umm (mother),” he wrote, “are derived from a common verbal noun “amm (to resort to, to go to).” The “umm” is a sensory image of the “ummah” in the family of these words. In the Arab intuition, as the children are brought up by and directed towards their “umm,” whom they see as the source of their lives, so is the “ummah” the source of brotherhood (ukhữwah) in society and the foremost goal and the object of love and affection which the ikhwän seek (…).

“The symmetry between ummah and umm indicates that the ummah is a subject which integrates its members on the basis of the compassionate relationship as does the mother (umm) in the family.

“The Arab ummah, which is the source of all Semitic peoples, that is the world itself, has never disappeared since the appearance of the human being on the stage of history.” When Azursi affirms that all Semitic people originate from the Arabs, he regards the Arabs as the eldest sons in the human family. This indicates that the Arab ummah is not only oriented towards unity, but both the definitions of the “Ummah al-Arabiyya” & “Ummah al-Islamiyya” are inclusive of both non-Muslim and non-Arab populations in the Arab and Islamic worlds. And therein lies a key distinction between conceptions of nationalism in the Arab & Muslim world & that espoused by empire’s Zionist proxy. While non-Jews are grudgingly permitted to be citizens of “Israel”, the nation (Hebrew “am”) is defined as for Jews only. Interesting how Zionists define their state as belonging solely to “the Jewish nation” but love to wave “Arab Israelis” in your face when they are arguing in defense of the fascism that is Zionism.

to those who fell martyrs for the sake of the land of sad oranges, and to those who are yet to fall.