Since the anti-coup on June 28 last year, when president Zelaya’s self-coup was stopped, I have been told that there is a strong element of anti-Arab (as well as anti-Jew) sentiment among the rebels who support Zelaya (the rebels call themselves “resistencia”). Since both Arabs and Jews are Semitic peoples, they are thus anti-Semitic. However, for lack of enough evidence I have refrained from writing about it. Until now. Except for Radio Globo’s director’s statement on air that it was a pity that Hitler did not succeed in exterminating all Jews, of course.
However, today I came across a collection of graffiti from Tegucigalpa, and in several photos you see the attacks on Arabs.
The Arabs they are referring to are Palestinians. During the Ottoman Empire, Christian businessmen from (mostly) Bethlehem came to Honduras to engage in trade. Since they held a Turkish (Ottoman) passport they were called Turks, which was until recently still used as an insult in Honduras (the reverse insult is “Indio”, ‘Indian’). It seems, however, that they have understood that the Palestinians are not Turks but Arabs – at least to language. Strictly speaking the Arabs are the Bedouins of the desert, while Palestinians have a quite different genetic background, with more European ancestry, and occasionally they even have blue eyes (though not blonde hair).
Since these Palestinians came to Honduras they have – through hard work, using their skills as businessmen, and understanding the importance of a good education for their children – managed to become somewhat of an industrial upper class in Honduras. They have created the most successful business town in Central America: San Pedro Sula. There are also a few Jewish families, and in Honduras the Jews and Palestinians are like two branches of the same family.
I guess it is this success that breeds envy, just like the success of the Jews in Europe bred envy that politicians without a conscience exploited over there in the past century. This undercurrent of racism is potentially dangerous, and it has to be curbed by the leaders of any organization where it appears. When will Zelaya speak out against anti-Semitism? When will Chavez speak out against anti-Semitism?