The following article, by Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat, the international coordinator of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, was published first in Arabic at Quds News on 28 October 2018.
Comrade Georges Abdallah is a rare revolutionary figure amid the conditions of our time. I would almost say that he belongs to history and not to our present era, that of Bin Salman, Mahmoud Abbas and Sisi, the era of surrender and the time of normalization, which has become a “national choice” for the defeated classes, the merchants of sectarianism and reaction, the kings, sultans and tyrants of our stage.
This enemy stands at the opposite point from the prisoner, Georges Abdallah. He recognizes clearly the serious, catastrophic state of the Arab world today, especially in this imperialist, colonial era. He asks us wholeheartedly and with conviction: Who wants his freedom? Even from among the Arabs? No, the genie must stay in the bottle and not emerge into the world or see the light and the people. If you approach him, you may catch the disease of revolution, the madness of rejection and adherence to rebellion and resistance. That is why Condoleeza Rice, more than once, and then Hillary Clinton, expressed their shared and common goal: Georges Abdallah should be kept away from his hometown of Qubaiyat, from Ain el-Helweh, from Birzeit, Tangier, Aswan, and all of the Arabs. Instead, he must remain there, locked up in the remote prison of Lannemezan!
Lebanon’s successive governments have pretended for 35 years that they do not see Georges Abdallah. This official silence constitutes an active complicity in the process of arrest and imprisonment, a blatant and open reality that is difficult to hide. If Georges Abdallah were a dealer of arms and drugs like Samir Geagea, he could become a great leader in his country. Georges’s return to his homeland frightens the princes of oil and war and exposes the entire sectarian system that has brought us only death, ruin and racism.
He has learned well the lessons of history. The Arab people who were colonized by the Ottoman Empire found themselves 500 years later under Western colonialism. In confronting the Zionist movement, they have a great, just cause called Palestine. Freedom, liberation and the exercise of the right to self-determination, from the ocean to the Gulf, begins and ends in Palestine.
Georges believes more than ever that Arab liberation can only renew itself in a revolutionary manner if our leftist and popular currents leave behind “traditional” and reactionary mechanisms and approaches. This is because Georges belongs to Palestine first, and Palestine does not belong to a sect, religion or race. Palestine’s people are half under occupation and the other half in exile. Palestine is the cause of the oppressed Arab classes who have been deprived of everything, including awareness of their own fundamental rights and their central cause.
Every time Georges Abdallah stands before French “justice” and is asked for remorse, for repentance (if he wants to return home), Georges says: I am an Arab, Palestine is my cause, and I do not regret this. To be Arab is, for Georges, a choice to be human or nothing, to be revolutionary, not reactionary. It does not mean formalism, sectarianism or narrow, awkward exclusivity.
And from the very first moment, from the first weapon, Georges Abdallah realized that he no longer is responsible solely for himself, that his decision is not solely his own, that he represents hundreds of millions of oppressed people. Every Arab struggler imprisoned by the Zionists, the Arab reactionaries or the French and other imperialists is no difference. Freedom, like Palestine, is the cause of all; it is a land that cannot be divided. He refuses compromises, ending all of his letters with an indelible statement, like a tattoo: Comrades, it is a shame to retreat. We will be victorious together, and only together.