When Hussein rode his Arabian horse to Karbala more than 1400 years ago, he knew the risks involved getting beheaded by nascent Muslims, but he did not know that his death would be incorporated into a pseudo-Arab martyrdom formula. What would Hussein, the prophet's grandson, think today if he heard Hassan Nasrallah, who chose life in a hole over decapitation, likening Gaza to Karbala?
There is no doubt in any Shia mind that Hassan Nasrallah is having a field day with what Israel is doing in Gaza. Appearing on TV recently to condemn Israel, Egypt and his own lack of candor, he presented us with the same old two choices: surrender or resistance.
It’s Karbala all over again indeed, but not because Palestinians are dying, but because Nasrallah’s Karbala-propelled franchise is producing even more tragic results in Palestine than it did in Lebanon in 2006. Not only are Hamas' attacks against Israel predictably weak and strategically stupid, their people have not been able to savor the purity of Iranian money. Instead, they were made to live under siege, starving, unemployed, and slowly dying—at least until the bombs start falling. Hizbullah in Lebanon at least feeds its martyrs.
All that should come as no surprise. Hamas failed to follow the path of Karbala (how can they even understand it?), and instead tried to jump to the conclusion of someone else’s adventure. Today, they are nowhere near liberating Palestine. But they’re very much in the same hole Nasrallah put his people in when he decided to stretch and franchise his resistance brand.
So Nasrallah lashes out at the evil Sunni regimes. This is all, he claimed, part of the plot to kill off the resistance in the region. Whether it’s bombardment of Gaza, or the Lebanese government trying to instill rule of law on its own territory, it’s all part of the same Arab-Israeli evil plot to shut down McNasrallah.
The hole that Hamas dug for itself and the people it hijacked may be getting deeper, but don’t count on this region’s inhabitants to lift the Palestinians out of this wretched existence, or see through Nasrallah’s rhetoric. Anger, most of it of course justified, is leading and blinding the way. The tragic images from Gaza will provoke a lot of protests against the perpetrators of these war crimes. But will they provoke some soul searching, and re-examination of how best to get out of this vicious cycle? Is it through rockets, or a different kind of resistance?