To Invent a Catastrophe

With everything going on in the Arab World lately and with news coming from every direction and traveling around with the speed of light, the Palestinian Cause somehow seemed to take a back seat in the media scene, but during the past few days two tragedies brought Palestine back to the front row, at least in the social media scene. The first tragedy was of course the murder of 27 year-old Palestinian activist Mustafa Al-Tamimi by Israeli soldiers using an American-made tear gas canister. The whole thing was caught on tape in a graphic video that shocked the world. Honoring Mustafa, a trend was started on Twitter under the hashtag #IsraelKills  where Twitter users shared some of the atrocities perpetrated by the Zionist entity against Palestinians and Arabs, lest we forget.

The other tragedy that put Palestine back in the limelight is of a less bloody nature. Actually that tragedy was proving yet again that human stupidity knows no limits – no limits we can invent, that is. American Potential Republican Presidential candidate and crackpot theorist Newt Gignrich, in one of his moments of glory apparently, solved the biggest issue in the Middle East, as he pronounced Palestinians as “invented people”, not even humanoids, no! Figments of imagination, one big collective imagination.

Be that as it may, I’m guessing Mr. Gingrich either skipped one too many history classes or attended one too many, depending on one kind of history they were teaching in his school. I mean, never mind that the Canaanites, who were Arabs and a Semites for that matter, lived in Jerusalem since 4000 B.C, which is many centuries before the Jews came to the city, way more than they like to admit. That might be ancient history, I understand if he dropped the ball there, but what do we do with all massacres, displaced people, refugee camps and all the eye-witness testimonies we have heard for years from our grandmothers?  Well, never mind that too. In fact this is quite the breakthrough, best thing since hypnotism. You see, by this logic I can think of a couple of things that could also be invented, and just because you say it’s invented then it must be. Say, for example: Cancer, the stock market,  Nuclear reactors (except the one in Iraq of course, that’s real), Africa and the sun. Yes, they are all in your head! Not sure what that would achieve though but someone must be happy to see Africa disappear off the map and the sun, well, that’s just to see what could happen.

I have to admit though, what really gets under my skin is that it’s coming from a pro-Zionist. Kind of pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think? I mean, what haven’t Zionists invented? Talking about inventing a people while they invented a race. Yes, you know how they claim that the Jews belong to a pure race and how they consider Judaism an identity more than a religion, even if someone defected and converted to another religion they still consider the Jewish, there’s no way out! But if they were really a pure race, which descends from the Children of Israel, where did all these Chinese, African and East European Jews came from? And then, living up to their innovative skills they decided to create  a land for this invented people, then they took it a step further to convince Jews in all corners of the world to leave their respective countries and come scrambling to Palestine (before they renamed it and created a new ugly flag for it) and this gave birth to the concept of the Promised Land. Of course, what’s better than inventing a set of beliefs to make lure people in? They even went on to say that whoever dies and is not buried in the Promised Land, their soul will just roam the world desperately until the end of days. So you see it’s like: Look who’s talking! We’re not the ones digging tunnels looking for an invented relic! But this only goes to prove Gingrich’s point: You can actually invent a people, he just got the wrong people.

So, this brings me back to Mustafa. I guess by now you all saw the graphic images with his face all covered in blood. You might also have seen pictures of him with his family and imagined how they must have felt when they saw their own son killed with such brutality. Correct me if I was wrong but I don’t know too many imaginary characters that bleed when gas canisters blow in their faces and who actually can feel the pain and bitterness of having a child killed. This, Mr. Gingrich, is something you can’t invent, although for a moment there I wished it was all invented, for then no one has to go through this pain, and Mustafa would still be alive, not only Mustafa but dozens of people since 1948 and before. If that was true then I wouldn’t have to live with the tormenting thought that my family once owned a land near  Jerusalem that I might live and die without seeing it, and that my father’s stories about that magical place he grew up in are all the product of an exceptionally fertile imagination. That would mean that there would be no refugees, no homes demolished, no children buried under rubble, it all would be fine and so perfectly ordinary.

So believe me, Mr. Gingrich or whatever your name is, we would love to believe that we are invented; we just can’t, because we exist, and our catastrophe is real, and we’re reminded of it every day, and we insist on existing, because it might be easy for your friends to invent a people, but it’s hard, really hard, to dream another one  away.

Jordanian/Palestenian, Tomāto/Tomäto

The other day I didn’t have my laptop because of a long and irrelevant story, so I needed to use my brother’s computer to do something, and while I did that, almost as a force of habit, I checked my twitter account, and while I did that, I opened another window to check my facebook account. So, when I opened facebook I found that my brother was already logged in. Now its been a long time since I checked his profile page but I knew that he had the Palestinian flag as a profile picture, that how I saw it in the thumbnail, but when I looked at the actual profile picture it turned out to be the Jordanian flag! The seven pointed star was cropped out in the thumbnail picutre. Honestly, I can’t remember what thought crossed my mind first, whether it was funny or a nice metaphor…

Qana aftermath, Video


I thought I wouldn’t have anything to say, all what I saw on TV left me speechless… corpses being pulled out from under mounds of rubble,and that little girl, she looked as if she was a sleep… she looked so peaceful, even with all that dust on her face, and that girl who said that she lost her whole family, except her cousin, father and brother… I wondered how she was able to sustain herself, stand there and talk about it. I kept wondering till she burst out crying, now that will scar! That will definitly scar!
Then they moved on to that family in a hospital, who lost their daughter, Zainab, and were hiding the news of her death from her brother, who could sense that in their chocked voices as they spoke to him…
And that Condoleezza Rice finally found the “adequate circumistances” she was talkign about for the cease fire… Now why didn’t you say that u were waiting for such a massacre to encourage a cease fire!
You know it’s really harsh to see the pictures of people murdered in Qana then see Condoleezza Rice sitting with Israeli officials, laughing around a table with all kinds of refereshments and accommodations… Then here them blaming Hizbullah and saying that they are “sorry” for what happened  in Qana! Olmert would even be rather insolent by blaming the victims of Qana for what happened to them! Believe it or npt, he said they should’ve evacuated the houses so that Israel would strike them! Yeah Olmert, blame it on the dead! They don’t speak… No, we are the dead, not them! Because we are the ones who can talk, and as long as we don’t speak or act, we are dead!
You try to think of of those kids, their dreams, their stolen laughters, the joy in their hearts that was replaced with terror in the last minutes of their lives…For a moment I think that all that would be a curse over the murderers, forever… and nothing of that, not a tear, not a drop of blood would go in vain…
I thing the best thing to say now is:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
(ولا تحسبَنّ الذين قتلوا في سبيل الله أمواتاً بل أحياءٌ عند ربهم يرزقون )

(ولا تحسبنّ الله غافلاً عمّا يعمل الظالمون)

 Originally posted on Monday, July 31, 2006 on