A Haunting Image

Today, watching the news. A report about children deaths in Gaza. A family lost 4 children while playing on the beach. Another family lost 3 children while playing on the roof of their house.

Could this be a nightmare?

And then there was that image.

People huddled around a hospital bed on which another child was receiving medical treatment, or perhaps was being announced dead. By the bedside stood a man holding a little girl, couldn’t be more than 2 or 3 years old, her face was smeared with blood, dotted with wounds. Her expression drooped with cluelessness. Her head swayed back and forth, her eyes were closing as if she couldn’t stay awake any longer. Was it pain or was it exhaustion? Or was she too exhausted from the pain?

Cut to the next scene. More dead children.

Perhaps she went to sleep. Perhaps she didn’t.

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Who to Tell, How to Tell

I don’t know which is harder: following the news on Gaza or following the news on the news on Gaza. It wouldn’t take a keen observer to notice that the coverage by the Western media to the aggression on Gaza has been biased in favor of the aggressors and, as we have seen through the recent infamous blunder by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, it wasn’t very subtle in that regard. Sawyer mentioned rockets “showering” over Israel and misrepresented Palestinian victims as “Israeli family trying to salvage what they can”, her voice dropping to sympathetic tone. And I couldn’t help but wonder, would she have been so sympathetic had she realized she was actually talking about a Palestinian family, not an Israeli one?

But Mrs. Sawyer’s empathy is the least of our concerns. The more important question is: amid all this flow of misinformation and misrepresentation, how can you tell people, especially those who are not well-initiated about the conflict and its historical context, who the real victims are?

It’s very easy to show a footage of rockets falling over Tel Aviv with scared soldiers taking shelter and write a headline at the bottom of the screen about terrorist attacks on “Israel” who’s trying desperately to defend itself. It’s even easier when you add 3 kidnapped soldiers to the equation. Yet, there’s a whole different backstory for that scenario.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the 3 Israeli soldiers who disappeared and assumed held captive by Palestinians, but did you know there are currently over 5 thousand Palestinians detainees in Israeli jails, 200 of them are age 18 or less? Not only that, 1400 of them suffer from various illnesses due to the poor conditions of imprisonment, mistreatment and malnutrition. And, if you’re still dwelling on the word “kidnapped”, then here’s a little something to put things in perspective: There are 185 administrative detainees in Israeli jails; administrative detention being the term invented by the Zionist entity to arrest people and hold them captive on no charges, sort of a legally justified abduction.

Hence, it should be clear by now that any kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is used as leverage to pressure the Zionist authorities into releasing Palestinian prisoners, some of whom have been detained for over 20 years.

Another important thing to be noted is that the so-called state of Israel really doesn’t need an excuse to kill, bomb or destroy, as this is how they founded their state in the first place, by mass-murdering Palestinians, kicking them out of their homes and ransacking their towns and villages. Since 1948, Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces, entire families were wiped out, not to mention those who were killed before 1948 both by Zionist gangs and the collusive British forces to pave the way for the foundation of the Zionist state, in the same sense Native Americans were wiped out to make way for “the civilized people” to take over their land. thousands of homes were destroyed and razed to the ground, Palestinian lands were confiscated, Hundreds of thousands were displaced and others taken captive to suffer unspeakable atrocities in Israeli jails. Be that as it may, it should be obvious that any act done by Palestinians against Israel, or the illegal Zionist entity built on stolen land, is an act of resistance.

So get your facts right. Change the channel. Read. Log into social media, hear from those who are under fire as we speak, they can tell you what you need to know, not what the powers-that-be want you to.

 

قاطع… أو لا تقاطع

وأتمنَّـى أن تتفهَّموا موقفي من الرقص الشرقي، الذي أُعاديــه، فقط لضرورة المعارضة، ذلك أن البنت الجزائرية “مُعارضة خلقة”، تأتي إلى الوجود “حاملة السلّم بالعرض”، ولا تنزل من بطن أُمها إلاَّ بعد “أُمّ المعـــارك”، وبعد أن تكون قد “بطحـت” أُمها، وتشاجرت مع القابلة، وهدَّدت الدكاترة في أوَّل صرخة لها، بنسف المستشفى إنْ هم لم يصدروا بيانـاً يُندِّد بالإمبريالية، ويُعلن مقاطعة حليب نيدو الذي تنتهي مكاسب الشركة الأم “نستله” المنتجة له ولنسكافيه في الخزينة الإسرائيلية.”00

* من مقالة لأحلام مستغانمي

استوقفني السطر الأخير. رجعت بالذاكرة لبدايات الألفية وانتفاضة الأقصى وانتشار دعوات مقاطعة المنتجات والشركات الداعمة لإسرائيل. ولعلها كانت نعمة مزدوجة، فمن يدري كم من الدهون والكيلوغرامات تم اختصارها من حياتي بالامتناع عن شراء “كيت كات تشانكي” و”تويكس” و”مارس” وغيرها من أصناف “الهباب” الذي كان مدرجاً على قوائم المقاطعة.0

لكن كما هو الحال في أي قضية عربية مهما بلغت درجة ثوريتها على مقياس الوطنية والانتماء، بدأ الحماس الأولي يضمحل شيئاً فشيئاً ليتلاشى وتصبح المقاطعة ترفاً وطنياً ومثاليات عديمة المعنى تنحصر في بعض الحالمين والحزبيين من أقصى اليمين أو أقصى اليسار. أما في المنتصف حيث وقفت متذبذبة معظم حياتي، عاد الناس يرتادون المطاعم الأمريكية ويتهافتون لشراء المنتجات ناسين أو متناسين أو منكرين أحياناً حقيقة أن جزءاً من أرباحها وضرائبها يصب في الترسانة الإسرائيلية على شكل سلاح وذخائر. وأصبحنا نسمع تبريرات جادة أحياناً وساخرة أحياناً أخرى حول جدوى المقاطعة ومدى تأثير امتناعك عن شراء حبة كيت كانت على أرباح شركة نستله والاقتصاد الإسرائيلي.0

في البداية، أو بالأحرى في سنوات الحماسة والاندفاع والأحلام التي تبدو أقرب من حبل الوريد كنت أرد بأنه لو بدأ كل شخص بنفسه فسيكون للأمر تأثير، ولو امتنع كل من يتذرع بتلك الحجج – وما أكثرهم- عن شراء هذه البضائع لكان لهم تأثير حتماً، مسألة حسابية بسيطة.0

لكنني غيرت رأيي.0

أنا حين أمتنع عن شراء “نسكافيه 3 في 1” أو غسول الوجه من “جونسون أند جونسون” أعرف تماماً أن ذلك لا يؤثر في أرباح تلك الشركات أكثر مما ستؤثر حصاة في المحيط الأطلسي. الأمر لا يشكل فرقاً بالنسبة إليهم، لكنه بالتأكيد يشكل فرقاً بالنسبة إلي. إنها محاولة بائسة للإبقاء على بعض من احترام النفس، حصن الدفاع الأخير أمام الشعور بالعجز الكامل والشامل عن فعل أي شيء. ربما لا يمكنني فعل شيء يذكر لنصرة فلسطين، لكنني على الأقل أحاول ألا أفعل شيئاً لدعم إسرائيل، مهما كان عديم الأهمية. هي محاولة لتفادي الاستسلام التام في قولك: “أي تأثير سيكون لي إن قاطعت أو لم أقاطع؟”. موقف أخير رافض للاعتراف بأنني أصبحت إنسانة بلا تأثير.0

أتكون هذه مشكلتنا الحقيقية؟ اقتناعنا بأننا مسيرون. قطعان من البشر تتحكم بها الدول الكبرى والأنظمة الرأسمالية ، لا حول لنا ولا قوة سوى الانصياع لهم متحللين تماماً من أي وهم قد يهيئ لنا – لا قدّر الله- أنّ لنا قولاً في ما يحدث من حولنا.0

لهذا قاطع، أو لا تقاطع، سر مع القطيع أو تمرد عليه، لا تبرر ولا تعطي أعذاراً لأحد، فالأمر يعنيك أنت في النهاية.0

Liberation Day

It’s a motto that has been preached world wide over the years: What the mind can visualize, the mind can realize.

I’ve come across this video this morning and I asked myself: why haven’t anyone thought of this before?

Maybe we won’t live to see this day, but we sure can imagine being there, and for a passing moment get a glimpse of how it will feel like. Will, not would, will. I sure felt a sting of hope seeing the sing being changed from “City of David” to “Silwan”, my father’s birth place and home for many a childhood story.

So, until the Divine Promise is fulfilled, this shall be a good teaser.

No reason not to dream.

Untouchable

There’s a certain heartache when you’re standing at the shore, with the mountains of Palestine in full view, knowing they are forbidden for you of all people to touch.

There’s a certain confusion, a mix of anger and sickness that takes over you when you try to make a call and suddenly a strange  automated response in Hebrew goes on with what seems like utter gibberish to your ears. You just wish the man on the phone could hear you so you can tell him that you’re still in Jordanian territory, regardless of what your mobile network thinks, the same mobile network that moments ago welcomed you to “Israel” with a message few minutes ago, then welcomed you back to Jordan few minutes later.

There’s a certain urge to set sail, cross that lake void of life to reach that other shore, without permission from anyone, just to make sure it is still there as a tangible reality, a land like any land in a away, yet different from them all in every other way…

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كأنها قلب انتزع من جسد

من امبارح وأنا عندي مشاعر مختلطة تجاه الاعتراف بفلسطين كدولة

من جهة مش قادرة أفرح، لأني عارفة إنه الاعتراف بدولة فلسطين على شكلها الحالي يعني الاستسلام لبقاء إسرائيل، يعني التنازل عن حق العودة وعن الأراضي المحتلة بالـ48. ويعني دولة ضمن احتلال، ويعني أشياء تانية حقيرة كتير. بمعنى آخر دولة نص كم

ومن جهة تانية ما بقدر إلا أنبسط إلأني شايفة نناس في فلسطين فرحانين، لأنه ممكن هاد الإشي يحسن حياة الناس هناك ولو شوي، ، ولأنهم حصلوا على شيء إسرائيل صارلها سنين بتحاول تمنعهم منه، وحصلوا عليه رغم معارضة إسرائيل وأمريكا

على كل حال مشاعري مش رح تفرق، اللي بطلعلهم يفتوا بهالموضوع هم الناس اللي عاشوا تحت الاحتلال وقاوموه وشوافوا ويلاته

مع ذلك لما شفت هاي الصورة حسيت إنها بتختصر كل شيء، وما قدرت إلا أكون سوداوية، لأنه اللي شفته ما كان دولة، اللي شفته في الصورة قلب منزوع من جسد

pal

من ذاكرته

خ“هاد الجو بذكرني بأجواء الحرب، بالزبط هيك كان الجو وقت حرب السبعة وستين

بس احنا ما كنا في بيتنا، الله يرحمها أم عرفات عاشور قد ما كانت تحبنا حكتلنا ما بتضلوا هون، احنا بيتنا كان بيت مستقل وعمار قديم، أخدتنا على بيتها كان عندهم عمارة أربع طوابق بنا جديد وقعدنا في الطابق التحتاني. الله يرحمها كانت تحبنا كتير، بس أقول جاي عبالي هريسة مانشوفها إلا راحت وعملتلي هريسة وجابتها. حتى لما جينا هون دورت علينا ولقتنا وإجت زارتنا، بتذكر كنت بقدم توجيهي وقتها، وشفتها وسلمت عليها

فقعدنا في بيتهم وحطينا فرشات على الشبابيك كلها، وكان قدام البيت معسكر للجيش الأردني فكانوا الإسرائيليين نازلين قصف. كل الفرشات انحرقت من الرصاص والضرب

وكان معنا محمد أمين الله يرحمه، ما بنساه، كان ابن صفي، صار بده يطلع يروح يشوف بيتهم، كانوا ساكنين في سلوان التحتا، واحنا نقوله يا ابن الحلال اقعد بلاش تطلع بس ما رد. بعد ما طلع بشوي سمعنا صوت ضرب رصاص.

ستي إم أبوي وهي جاي شافت شب مرمي تحت زيتونة وبإيده ساعة جديدة، كانت جاييته هدية من الكويت، بس وصلت صارت تحكي في شب ميت تحت الزيتونة وبإيده ساعة جديدة، لمين هاد؟ إمه عرفت دغري وصارت تولول…

الله يرحمه، أصر يطلع، استحى يضل قاعد عشان كانوا كلهم نسوان”0

بتصرف *

3D Journey to Jerusalem, the Capital of Palestine

I’m not going to make any comment about this, as it speaks for itself, except for one where I quote a friend who has been to Palestine for the first time this year, she said:

“Ramallah is nice. Not the most beautiful city in the world, although when you’re in it you feel that it is. But Jerusalem is a different story. Jerusalem IS the most beautiful city in the world”

 

Video courtesy of عالم الإبداع

 

 

To Khader Adnan on his 63rd day of strike

As I’m writing these words, I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed I’m so helpless,  because anything I write or do will shrink and pale in comparison to what you have to deal with day in and day out. I’m ashamed that this is what I can do for you while you’re facing death for your freedom, for our collective freedom, for with that you’re giving out a loud and clear message: Freedom is more precious than life, so think again before you count yourself one of the living or the free.

And I know you don’t care whether you’ll live or die, because you know you will live on either way, and perhaps revive some hearts in the process. But I can’t stop wondering, how can any human being put up with what you’re putting up with? Is this what willpower is? I thought I knew but turns out I didn’t. This must be someone who believes in higher values, values that transcend life and death, someone with unshakeable faith in God and in that this life is but a journey to prove that we’re worthy of the real life, and that this life has no merit at all as to sacrifice our freedom and dignity for it.

You had nothing to lose so you decided to give up your one of your basic rights as a human being for a nobler and less observed right. With your empty stomach, you did what thousands couldn’t do with their money, influence, freedom or at least what looks like it and of course stuffed stomachs.

You gave us a reason to rethink what humanity, dignity, freedom really mean.

You’re a hero the like of which are not born every day.

And all we can offer you are our thoughts and prayers.

Live free, die well.

Sincerely…

بيتهم – Their Home

Some of the best times in my life are those one-on-one’s with my nieces.  As I’ve mentioned before, children could be a great source of knowledge, driving you to discover things about yourself, the world and teaching you a lesson or two, just like the lesson on courage I learned firsthand today when I took my niece to the theme park. Not being very courageous when it comes to theme park rides, I learned today how you can derive that courage from your children as I looked at her screaming happily as that ride went up and around in the air.

But from time to time, you have to be the one giving the lessons. And it’s not an easy task if you ask me especially when you’re standing face to face with that notorious “WHY?” and you really don’t know, or at least don’t know how to put it. And I was faced with something of the sort today when we came home and my niece went digging around for something to keep her busy.

Slightly below her eye-level she spotted a large, appealing book. It was “Palestine: The Exodus and the Odyssey” by  Tamam Al-Akhal and the late Ismail Shammout. It’s one of my favorite books, and it’s especially close to my heart that it’s signed by both of them,  on the same year Ismail passed away, and I’ve dedicated a part of this blog for this book few years ago.

So, Ghazal, my 4 year-old niece, grabbed the book thinking it’s a story and told me to read it to her.  We sat down with the large book on our laps, and as soon as we open it one of Ismail’s paintings came into view. It was “THE SPRING THAT WAS” and it showed Palestinian men and women in the fields, collecting oranges. Naturally, she asked me what the was and I told her those are Palestinians collecting oranges, and I reminded her or Handala which was a subject of a prior discussion.  As we flipped through the pages we were staring at another, less pleasant painting, “TO THE UNKONWN”, which showed Palestinians being driven out of their ancestral homes in Lydda at gunpoint.  Ghazal was confused, a look of dismay on her face. She asked me what that was about so I told her that this is where Palestinians were kicked out of their homes. As we turned the pages the horrifying scenes kept coming in. Ghazal was desperately trying to find any sign of these people returning to their home, or “Bait-hom” as shereferred to it. “That’s bait-hom”, she would point at a certain picture and say that hoping that I’d agree and tell her that they were back, but I couldn’t. She looked really concerned for them, asking why they looked so sad and beaten up, expressing her compassion with the word “Haraam” (poor things) repeatedly.

And then came the question I couldn’t answer, or maybe I was afraid to. She asked: “How will they go back to their homes?” I paused for a few moments, then said: “They have to kick the Israelis out and reclaim their homes”.

Then we reached a painting by Tamam Al-Akhal called “JAFFA- BRIDE OF THE SEA”. There were people swimming, others collecting oranges, people in boats, beautiful houses, among other things. Ghazal brightened up when she saw it and said with confidence that this was their home, they are back at last. I couldn’t burst her bubble; I told her it was true. They were back.

What else can you say?