Today, May 15th, 2012 commemorates the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Youm al -Nakba or “Day of Catastrophe”
Under the yoke of our mornings, the sun crumbles
and in the darkness of our steps, our panting breath is on fire
these incomplete homelands, in which we we appear to be
nothing more than prisoners of war
On May 14th, 1948 following the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly the state of Israel was founded. The next day, May 15th, 1948 neighboring Arab states invaded in support of the thousands of Palestinian families that Israel began displacing.
During the 1948 War, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled and hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed.The vast majority of Palestinian refugees, both those outside the 1949 armistice lines at the war’s conclusion and those internally displaced, were barred by the newly declared state of Israel from returning to their homes or reclaiming their property.
These refugees and their descendants number several million people today dispersed between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab States, Europe and the United States … with at least another quarter million displaced within Israel.
We did not weep when we were leaving —
for we had neither time nor tears, and there was no farewell.
We did not know at the moment of parting that it was a parting,
so where would our weeping come from?
We did not stay awake all night (and did not doze) the night of out leaving.
That night we had neither night nor light, and no moon rose.
That night we lost our star, our lamp misled us;
We did not receive our share of sleeplessness —
so where would our wakefulness have come from?
-Taha Mohammad Ali
These sons and daughters of the Palestinian diaspora maintain that they have the right to return to their homeland and reclaim the land and homes of their ancestors. The land that their forefathers have cultivated since the dawn of time.
With loud voices we will return to Palestine, so that the villagers will feel that I am alive.
And if I am martyred before my return, I will sing this same song from my grave.
For those of you who would support Israel — I ask you: Do you value your freedom? What if that freedom was suddenly snatched from you?
Many Americans and Christians who do recognize the injustice being carried out by Israel feel hesitant or constrained from speaking out against the rouge state for two reasons– the first being that they feel the Jewish people were owed a state because of their history of suffering… and the second being that they feel a responsibility for having caused that suffering. Indeed I too sympathize with victims of the Holocaust, I too cried when I read the accounts of Jews being herded up, tortured and killed by the Nazis. But how does this justify them committing the same crimes against another? Verily, the oppressed has become the oppressor. Sure, the Palestinians are not being thrown in chambers and gassed, but they might as well be — the intention of ethnic cleansing is the same no matter how it is carried out or in whose name it is done. The Jewish Holocaust lasted 7 years … Israel’s rape of Palestine has gone on for 65 years and counting … So what will the Palestinians be owed in retribution when their holocaust is over ?
Since May 1948 Israel has exiled the Palestinian community, seized their land and assets, destroyed homes, razed farms, uprooted generations old groves of olive trees, prevented them from working or traveling freely and each year detain thousands of men and women — most without formal charges– and often these prisoners are forced to suffer grave humiliation at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Perhaps you remember the story of Eden Aberjil — the Israeli soldier who posted pictures of herself smiling and posing with blindfolded and bound Palestinian prisoners on Facebook — then again perhaps, more than likely you do not. That is the sad truth about the media in America, it allows us to live in a cloud of fantasy and oblivion. Ignorance is bliss and apparently we truly love this…
It is also worth mentioning that more than 200 Palestinian detainees have died in Israeli prisons since 1967 due to extreme torture and medical neglect in addition to those who were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers while in custody.
Anas Ibn Malik narrated,
The Messenger of God said: “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed one.” People asked the Messenger, “It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but why should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Messenger replied, “By preventing him from oppressing others.”
We are all Palestinian. We will stand united. We will return. We will never forget.
Let it be known that time is really just two days — a day in your favor … and a day against. If it is your day, do not squander it. And if the day is against you, just remain patient.
-Ali Ibn Abi Talib
O God, you are our only refuge in this troubled world and verily you are with the oppressed. Let their tears become swords against the oppressors, for You are the only Giver of Victory ! Help us to remain strong and steadfast, in your name alone we pray. Amen.