Libel

These days 113 years ago, On July 12 1906, the Supreme Court of the French Republic announced the total acquittals of Colonel Picquart and Captain Dreyfus. The following day, on July 13, 1906, the lower house of the French Republic, Chambre des députés, ordered the immediate return of the two to active military service, and their promotion to the ranks they would have bear, had they never been thrown out of the army. Colonel Picquart was promoted to the rank of General, and Captain Dreyfus to Major. In the end, after eleven years, France finally brought the affair to an end, albeit slowly and belatedly.

How Israel will treat Mahmud Katusa, if they ever find the criminal who raped the seven-year-old girl from Modi’in Illit? Presumably he will never be officially acquitted, and self proclaimed God’s emissaries will continue to threaten his life and lives of the people of his village and harm their property, and the occupation soldiers will continue to visit his home and the homes of his neighbors in the wee hours of the night. That’s how it is when you are a stateless subject living under an apartheid regime. Anyone can abuse you, every soldier can shoot you, and any criminal can incriminate you.

Libel is not created out of nowhere. Every juicy libel has a kernel of truth. A French officer who betrayed his country and gave away secret documents to the Germans, or a little girl who was raped. There is no dispute that secret documents were given to the Germans, just as there is no dispute that a little girl was raped. What makes the event a libel is the incrimination of an innocent person because he was a Jew, or because he is a Palestinian, and not because there is proof of their guilt. There is none. Nada. To prove their guilt it is necessary to fabricate. So was in the case of Dreyfus, and so is in the case of Katusa.

There is no similarity between Alfred Dreyfus and Mahmud Katusa, despite the similarity between the two affairs bearing their names. For example, Dreyfus was a French citizen, while Katusa is a stateless subject living under a brutal apartheid regime. Dreyfus served as an officer in the French army, while Katusa served as a janitor in a school where his own children have no chance of attending. Dreyfus was incriminated by the traitor Ferdinand Esterhazy, who rode the wave of xenophobia and Antisemitism, and Katusa was incriminated by a rapist who was riding the wave of dehumanization of the Palestinian subjects in the occupied territories. There is no similarity between the two leading characters of these affairs, yet both affairs bear the stamp of a Libel.

Libel is not created out of nowhere. Behind every libel hides someone who seeks to maximize profits: a traitor or a rapist who tries to deceive the long arm of the law; A newspaper that seeks to expand the circulation of its readers; An organization that seeks to prevent the exposure of its bareness ; A political party seeking publicity and supporters or a government that seeks to tame its constituents. With the criminal aside, at least two of those played a major role in the Dreyfus affair: a newspaper and an organization. In Katusa’s case, all four of them take part.

There is no similarity between Alfred Dreyfus and Mahmud Katusa, and despite the resemblance between the two affairs bearing their names, the chance of the Katusa affair to end in the same way as the Dreyfus affair ended is zero to nonexistent. As a stateless subject, the only reason he was released from prison was because the bareness of the organization that locked him there in the first place had been exposed. And in the times of fast communication means and social media networks, the echo of the affair and the threat that lays in its publication to expand beyond the borders of the apartheid state, led to the release of Katusa. If the apartheid state is unable to carry out a thorough investigation and reach the root of the truth, then outside bodies will do so. And this the apartheid state can not afford.


Photo: Deir Qadis village council

Meanwhile, Jewish thugs and outlaws, gangs and militias, operating under the apartheid regime umbrella, continue to threaten Mahmoud Katusa and his village and to demand his head. I do not know how the Katusa affair will end, but I do know how the Dreyfus affair ended: When Alfred Dreyfus returned to the military and was promoted to the rank of Major and was honored as a member of the Legion of Honor (Légion d’honneur), on July 20 1906, an order was made at the École Militaire in Paris, the same place where his rank had been revoked eleven years earlier. When the ceremony ended, the officers called out, “Long live Dreyfus!”, but he replied, “No, gentlemen, no, I beg of you, long live France!”

During WWI, Dreyfus served as a commander of an Artillery Regiment, and by the end of the was was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He died on 12 July, 1935 and was burried in the Montparnasse Cemetery (Cimetière du Montparnasse) in Paris.

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