“Wadha Abu Amr, 62, said her family were refugees from Beersheba who fled in 1948 during the war over Israel’s founding. ‘I’m afraid that this is another 1948,’ she said. ‘God forbid. We were driven out in 1948 and we are being driven out again now.’” (from The Age, July 22, 2014, reporter, Anne Barnard from Gaza City)
From State of Siege by Mahmoud Darwish (translated from the Arabic by Munir Akash and Daniel abdal-hayy Moore, 2010):
“Standing or sitting, perpetually, eternally,
We have just one goal: to be!
Beyond that, we disagree about everything—
We disagree on the design of the national flag
(my people, you’d be wise to choose the modest donkey for its symbol!)
We disagree about the words of the new anthem
(you’d be wise to choose the marriage song of the mourning dove!)
We disagree about the role of women
(you’d be wise to choose a woman to preside
Over all security arrangements!).
We disagree on percentages, what’s private, what’s public,
But we agree on one thing: to be.
Beyond that, everyone should be free to choose
Whatever goal he or she desires.”
Litany of Failed Vision
How does not recognizing the sadness of another exiled people make Israel safe?
How does not recognizing the displacement of another people make Israel safe?
How does not allowing the use of the word Nakbor make Israel safe?
How does not allowing the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish to be taught in schools make Israel safe?
How does the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinian children and the brutal deaths of hundreds make Israel safe?
How does refusing Palestinian cancer patients the treatment they need make Israeli safe?
How does refusing Palestinian college students permission to travel for their educations make Israel safe?
How does the accumulated anger of 60 years of Occupation make Israel safe?
How does relying on American money for military might instead of Israeli empathetic diplomacy make Israel safe?
How do the illegal settlements make Israel safe?
How does the deaths of thousands of Palestinian olive trees make Israel safe?
How does having a generation of Israeli children who think hating Arabs is an Israeli social value make Israel safe?
How does Israel’s self vision as a country like no other, as a people like no other, make Israel safe?
How does cultivating its own form of nationalistic extremism make Israel safe?
How does only grieving for its own make Israel safe?
How does language like, “every few years, we go in and mow the grass,” referring to Gaza and the deaths of its people, make Israel safe?
How does making life almost un livable for so many make Israel safe?
How does letting itself be seen as the “villa in the jungle” make Israel safe?
How does allowing rivers of hatred to flow in the streets make Israel safe?
How does total control over an imprisoned people make Israel safe, make it unlike all the other regimes who grew strong on the erased worlds of unwanted others? Grew strong until others came to their senses.
How does trying to break the spirit of a proud people make Israel feel safe?
What stories will it tell the future of what a once almost erased people did in the world when it had its safety?
“All you who stay up late, aren’t you sick of watching
The glitter in our salt,
The glowing roses in our wounds?
Hasn’t this gone on long enough?”
Mahmoud Darwish, from State of Siege, (2010)