The Quds News Agency, Tehran (photo), Iran, ran a story including an interview with Denis Rancourt. The story is linked HERE. The interview part of the report is reproduced below.
"The Canadian scientist believes that as a solid method to resolve the Palestinian issue, countries of good will must recognize Palestine as a state and establish embassies in Gaza. In this regard, he suggests dispatch of a flotilla to establish an embassy in Gaza."
-- Quds News Agency, July 3, 2010.
Qudsna: We know your academic ordeal which took place against any standards of freedom of expression. We’d like to know what has motivated you in championing the Palestinian issue and objecting the Israeli racism and oppression even at the cost of your convenience.
Denis Rancourt: After living the lies of professional indoctrination and of academic elite incorporation for too long, I felt I had harmed myself enough and decided to start living in truth, or at least on the truth side of the street. I decided to make as few compromises as possible in trying to live up to the standards of authentic inquiry into real and important matters. These matters were related to the concerns of my students from around the world, to concerns of members of my community in Ottawa, and to my own oppression and servitude within the institution. In hindsight I can say that my motivation was liberation and that my struggle was and is a personal rebellion against the insanity of the university as violator of young persons and producer of service intellectuals.
Qudsna: According to one of your latest articles, the “the right to exist” is an absurd posturing by Israel which must be ridiculed because “No country has a recognized God-given or otherwise right to exist” and “The right of return is a human right.” The argument might provide the ground for the idea of staging a referendum over the Palestinian issue in which the original population of historic Palestine, whatever their religion, might be allowed to vote. What do you think?
DR: I agree that all important decisions should be made by democratic means rather than by officials concerned about their power more than anything else. However, the referendum that you suggest sounds exceedingly difficult to organize and just as difficult to have recognized by influential world bodies. Instead of such a referendum in which one only expresses one's opinion to referendum organizers, a more participatory process may be better in which individuals in their communities affirm their desires for Palestine and their right of return with actions. For example, a small group of returning Palestinians who organize to physically return and who do it publicly and with ties to local and global community support could have more impact than any poll or referendum or election. We see this with the aid flotilla movement. There can be many such ideas for action. The actions must arise from those being denied their rights and must involve "fighting one's own oppression". Fighting one's own oppression is the strongest source of motivation and leads to liberation.
Qudsna: Reports say American people are increasingly grow sensitive about the Palestinian issue and the oppression of Israel. How do you see the extent of anti-Israeli inclination in your community?
DR: There is a shift in Canada and the US, a developing movement that opposes the Israel lobby and its illegitimate and disproportionate influence on our governments and on our corporate media. This is seen in the academic world where more and more critics of the Israel lobby and of Israel are pushing forward, in the corporate media where the reporting is less completely skewed, in the student movements where Students Against Israeli Apartheid and Israeli Apartheid Week have made great strides, in the labour movements where progressive resolutions to support Palestine are adopted, in civil liberties activism, in coalescing social justice activism movements, in the art world such as film making, and in legal battles where the Israel lobby's bogus "anti-Semitism" attacks are being challenged.
On my own campus, the president of the University of Ottawa (Allan Rock, a former federal Minister and former Canadian ambassador to the UN) has been trained partly by my public exposure via my UofOWatch blog and by strong criticisms from civil society to change his behaviour from bold attacks against Palestinian rights efforts towards silence on these matters.
I think Canadians and US citizens are more and more against the aggressive policies of Israel and reject more and more the overt and aggressive stance of the Israel lobby. We are winning the public opinion battle against Zionism and this will help to keep our Israel-lobby-serving and military-economy-serving governments in check, to some degree.
Qudsna: What must the world do to prevent Israel from such cruelties?
DR: Countries of good will (in which citizens would somehow gain actual democratic power) could recognize Palestine as a state and establish embassies in Gaza. Which country will be the first to do this? A flotilla to establish an embassy! I think countries, like individuals, must do bold acts to fight their oppressions. We need an array of bold and diversified actions by individuals, organizations, and countries, to fight against militarism and against both physical and economic occupations. These actions will coalesce into a stronger cultural and societal rejection of domination and oppression. An important element in all these actions is to expose the oppression and the crimes as much and as loudly as possible. Oppressors need to build and preserve a false image of legitimacy in order to continue oppressing and occupying - we must continually deconstruct that false image.
Qudsna: Do you consider the UN as an effective body in harnessing the cruel Israeli regime?
DR: Shamefully, Canada now joins the US and Israel in voting against Palestinian rights resolutions at the UN. The Canadian ambassador to the UN responsible for that change was Allan Rock, the now president of the University of Ottawa who fired me for my politics. As a Canadian, personally, I find the UN to be ineffective in opposing US domination and militarism. I also see US militarism, expansionism, interventionism, and economic predation as a major problem in the world, a problem that the UN cannot solve.
Qudsna: How do you think about the Hamas entity and what they call ‘resistance’ against Israel? Is their idea working?
DR: Hamas is a legitimate political representation and expression of Palestinians. Israel, the US, and Canada's vilification and criminalization of the Hamas political entity is disgusting and hypocritical. I know little about Hamas' work on the ground but from what I see from Canada Hamas is a mostly responsible and very dedicated resistance movement that is doing a remarkable job against tremendous odds and in the most difficult circumstances. Palestinians need Hamas. The world needs Hamas. The alternative is oblivion or complete servitude.
Hamas is the best placed as the completely occupied and targeted entity representing Palestinians in Gaza to judge its own methods and tactics in trying to survive Israel's persistent attempts to occupy, dominate, and exterminate. As an outsider I can see that Israel and the US are the aggressors, that is obvious, but I am not in a position to dictate tactics in such an asymmetric conflict with such tremendous losses on the Palestinian side. The US claims that dropping atomic bombs on two civilian cities was justified against a weakened and capitulating Japan yet it freaks out in horror at a few suicide bombs (when was the last one?) that may actually deter the aggressor and draw much needed world scrutiny on the Israeli extermination of Palestinians. The hypocrisy is gargantuan.
Qudsna: How your colleagues in general think about Hamas?
DR: Most of my colleagues would be too uncomfortable to say such clearly positive things about Hamas, even those that say positive things about Che Guevara. But this is changing, as I explained above.
Hamas is practicing self-defense. It is the US and Israel that must justify their aggressions and criminality. This is obvious but it will only be understood via the struggles against our oppressions that must occur. As we liberate ourselves we see more clearly than ever before, through our own eyes.
Qudsna: How do you see the role of Islamic Republic of Iran in the Palestinian issue?
DR: As the only major power in the Middle East that has not been corrupted and bought out by the US, I hope that Iran can provide the resistance with as much help as possible - to stem the horrendous crimes that are under way. I fear for the Iranian people because the US and Israel want the destruction of Iran in order to accelerate their expansionism and domination in the region. I hope that there will be popular revolutions in several other Middle Eastern countries, as there are in Latin American countries, to force governing elites to work for and with their citizens. I hope that there will be such popular or cultural revolutions in Canada and the US to make Canada and the US into democratic entities, instead of the plutocracies that they now are. I admire, for example, what has happened recently in Iceland regarding taking back democracy and I hope that this model can be applied to Canada? I believe that truly democratic states do not live from war.
Qudsna: How do you forecast the future of Palestine?
DR: I forecast that the future of Palestine will be the future of the world.
Qudsna: Any further comment about Palestine as a ‘country’?
DR: How did Israel become such a racists and despicable state? How did its citizens allow this to occur? This is not natural for a state constrained by the necessity to be sustainable - it must be partly the result of a continuous large influx of military "aid".
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