Ukraine’s Quest for Peace: Lessons from Palestinians

Let’s imagine the following story. A country is occupied, its people are systematically oppressed. The occupying state encourages the installation of settlers on their land. The struggle for the emancipation of these oppressed people receives insufficient support from progressive forces outside the country and is ignored by the major states of the world. Reactionary forces seize the cause of national liberation and recruit from the population who suffer injustice on a daily basis. They are increasingly resorting to terrorist action. They are brutally repressed and radicalized to the point of giving birth to an ultra-reactionary far-right organization.

At some point, the international balance of power begins to shift: the emerging ultra-reactionary imperialist forces assert themselves, while the bourgeois democracies find themselves increasingly weakened and discredited, and lose their hegemonic position, notably due to internal political crises. The emerging imperialists provide their interested support to this organization which claims to represent the national emancipation movement, but which has become the bearer of an ideology of hatred. Under the impetus of external actors and under the weight of internal oppression which has only grown from year to year, the organization monopolizing the national cause is intensifying its acts of violence against the civilian population of the nation which oppresses it: hostage-taking, rape, murder. In the history of Ukraine, we experienced something very similar to this scenario: when the Ukrainian Insurgent Army under the aegis of the OUN(b), our own Hamas, massacred entire villages of Poles in Volhynia during the Second World War. [1]
Read our interview with the author of this column, Hanna Perekhoda: “The cities of Donbass were incubators of loyalty to the Russian and then Soviet imperial project. »

I am deliberately making a simplified description, because I am trying to see the structures which make it possible not to “exoticize” Palestine but to make it potentially comparable to other situations of colonial oppression and legitimate resistance nevertheless carried out by organizations ultra-reactionary far-right. Of course, this is not to say that Hamas and the OUN are the same thing, but I think the comparison can help us understand the systemic dynamics underlying conflicts like this.

Today, remaining silent on apartheid and systemic violence against Palestinians and siding with the Netanyahu regime, which wants to wipe out two million people in Gaza, is unacceptable. Just as it is unacceptable to justify the killing of civilians by Hamas or to claim that Hamas currently represents the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom. Hamas and Netanyahu are not only two reactionary forces, they openly declare that the opposing civilian population is a legitimate military target.

We betrayed them

In such a situation, the only reasonable thing would be to support what remains of the Palestinian emancipation movement, which is capable of fighting without falling into the delirium of indiscriminate hatred. And to also support Israelis who actively oppose their colonialist regime and support the Palestinian right to self-determination. But where are they, on both sides, after more than half a century of endless horror? They still exist, but the fact that they are so weak and powerless in the face of the mise en abyme of violence is also our fault. We have not done enough to support and strengthen them in the face of obscurantist forces. We betrayed them, thinking that expressing our solidarity is enough to help them resist oppression. No, that’s not enough.

And if we continue like this, if our political activism continues to be limited to posting flags on social networks, we will have a second Palestine with its Hamas, which will take more than 30 million inhabitants hostage, in the middle of Europe. Yes, this is likely to happen if, in the name of “peace,” we betray the Ukrainians and allow their country to be partitioned. The worst part is that this is exactly the kind of scenario that some left-wing activists would prefer. If Ukraine had been occupied, it would be so much more comfortable for them to express solidarity with Ukrainians.

Unlike Hamas, Azov is not (yet?) in power in Ukraine and is not massacring entire families of Russian civilians who are already moving to occupied Ukrainian cities. Ukraine is still defending its democratic project and there are still many forces fighting against the occupier, while defending the project of an anti-authoritarian, secular, open, social and just Ukraine. But it seems that, for some, this is not enough to support the struggle of a people who agree to receive American weapons. However, supporting Hamas armed by the Iranians has never been a problem for a certain “Western left”.

Read “Dear Western Left, we are not asking you to like NATO…” & Being left-wing in Ukraine in times of war

I am shocked by the reaction of many left-wing activists. People celebrate what is happening as if it were “an opening” to something good, to the liberation and emancipation of the oppressed. For me, what is happening is a failure of humanity and even more so of those who identify with the forces of the left. What is happening today is a recognition of the powerlessness of all progressive forces, which have not done enough to support the cause of the oppressed. Neither in Palestine, nor in Iran, nor in Syria, nor elsewhere. Waving Palestinian flags was cool for the good conscience of anti-mainstream activists, but it was not enough. Real Palestinians were still alone in the face of the horror of occupation.

We must realize this and recognize our failure as quickly as possible. We need to stop fooling ourselves and finally start thinking seriously about what we can CONCRETELY do today to oppose the fascism that is spreading like a virus, and to REALLY help those who are fighting for their emancipation, before they do not fall into the insurmountable cycle of despair and hatred.

This article is originally published on


UAE's Reliance on Retired U.S. Troops and Its Impact on Foreign Policy Previous post UAE’s Reliance on Retired U.S. Troops and Its Impact on Foreign Policy
Next post RN’s Commitment to Truth on Anti-Semitism Accusations