From the Insights of Abu Tayeb - A Hungry Revolution

The heatwave kept me away from the field. But my house is boiling too and the faucet's dry. I decided to go down to my friend Abu Salem and see how he's doing. I told you about Abu Salem a few times. He's very wise and teaches me a lot. Abu Salem is younger than me but he finished high school and I only went up to elementary. Fortunately, he was in a contemplating mood, so we sat in front of his fan. I asked him what he thought of Clinton and the stained dress. Oh, he said, "Corruption is everywhere, it just changes its face from country to country. Look at the Italian corruption. Its frightening because it's always connected to those families of the Mafia in Sicily and you can never know what they'll do, The American and British corruption is nicer because its romantic, like the romance of the president and his young assistant. The Israeli corruption, on the other hand is of the racist type, you know. Only the Jews benefit. And what about the Palestinian type? I asked. Palestinian what? he asked Well, Palestinian corruption, I answered. Everyone is talking about it! The Palestinian people have no corruption, said Abu Salem decisively. How's that? Where are the three hundred million dollars that disappeared from our budget? You know, the money our new friends from Europe gave us. Our revolution ate them! Revolution?

Yes, my dear friend. Our revolution is a hungry one. Always was. Why do you ask about the three hundred million and leave out the Sumud money that our brothers working in the oil countries sent us so that we could hold on here? That was a long, long time ago, I admit – you have to go back to the age of the glorious intifada and even before that. You've probably got forgotten how all that cash sank in the sea between Tunis and us. Our revolution was always losing millions of dollars here and there, that's why it's called "The revolution of the millions". Like the Algerian one! But that was called The Revolution of the Million Martyrs! I corrected him. One word less, one more, what does it matter, said Abu Salem. So we are famous because the leaders of our great revolution are millionaires. Don't look down on millions, he scolded me. While we were fighting here against the Israelis, our leaders out there were scratching their nails off for new wells of money. So, when the well of the Gulf dried up, they very cleverly found a new one in Europe and that's how we reached our historic deal with the Zionists. And that's how we'll finally reach our independent state! All those who don't like it can "go drink the water of Gaza," as our great president likes to say. Did any of them turn down money? Did any of them refuse to pose with our leader with the picture of the holy al Aqsa in holy Jerusalem behind them? Abu Salem paused to calm himself. Then he rolled his head from side to side, with a gentle smile that always makes me like him.

This is not corruption, my friend. This is building a state. When he made his new government the other day, our great president did not remove a single minister! Isn't that something! Doesn't that speak well for them? Instead he added ten more! Our state is growing! At this rate we'll all be ministers. We'll all get to pose with him beneath the picture of holy Jerusalem, and we'll all get the money from Europe, and if we all get it, that's democracy. You just have to have faith in our president. You know, he really thought about those appointments. For twelve whole months he gathered around him the wisest people he could - don't worry, Abu Tayyeb, your turn will come. For twelve whole months they broke their heads, and don't think they didn't read the Corruption Reports! No, they pored over them, looking for signs of wrongdoing! All they could find was a state in the making. Our president took those Reports so much to heart, and he was so encouraged by them, he recites them constantly. You can read them on his lips. This is not some illness or drug - no, he is tallying up the figures, my friend! He is constantly tallying, to make sure we get our share! There is no one like our great president. And look at the new appointments! These are not just yes-men! These are people who foolishly stood up and opposed him! What did he do? Did he throw them in prison, rob, torture and kill them, the way a lesser statesman would? Not at all. He brings them into his government! He lets them pose with him under the holy picture! When will our turn come, Abu Salem? I asked. Oh, it may take a generation. We must hold on, Abu Tayeb. Just then the fan sputtered and stopped. Lucky this isn't an airplane, said Abu Salem. Let's go over to Abu Fox. Maybe his is working. Maybe he's got water, I said. He didn't have water, but his fan was working, and on the wall was a picture of the holy picture. We sat on the edge of the crowd that was there for the fan and managed to catch some air, and we listened with delight to the wonderful talk about our great president.