Saturday, April 26, 2008
by Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, April 26, 2008
"......Israel is about to celebrate sixty years of human rights violations against the region, Palestinians and destruction of their ever diminishing lands, revelling, in effect on graves, ancient bulldozed groves and over half a century of decimation of dreams, homes, heritage. The travesty of the theocracy's founding on the above untruth, its betrayal, from the State's inception, is encapsulated in the story of one child, caught in the early displacement of nearly three quarter of a million souls from the land of their birth. A forced flight and fragmentation of families, friends, communities, unceasing over six grinding decades.
The child was six years old in 1948. One night, that year, Israeli soldiers came to his home in al-Barweh. The family “...fled through a forest, bullets winging overhead and reached Lebanon, where they stayed for more than a year, living on meagre United Nations hand outs”. Finally, the child was led by his uncle, back across the border to the village of Deir al-Asad, in Galilee. They could not return to al-Barweh, for it had been obliterated by Israeli soldiers.
"All that had happened", he recounted in 1969, "was that the refugee had exchanged his old address for a new one. I had been a refugee in Lebanon and now I was a refugee in my own country."
Further, the first Israeli census deemed any Palestinian not accounted for as “an infiltrator” and “therefore not entitled to an identity card”. The child had been in Lebanon during the census and was, thus, illegal in his own country. His family and the Headmaster of his primary school used to hide him when police or officials appeared. Eventually, officials were told that he had been with the nomadic Bedouin during the census, thus finally obtaining an identity card, legalising him in the land of his birth......
The boy was Mahmud Darwish, probably the world's best known Palestinian poet, recipient of the 1969 Lotus Prize and 1983 Lenin Peace Prize. Palestine's plight is reflected in the gentle, insightful screams of his haunting words, each poem a requiem to a land, history and people, raped by initial edicts from Whitehall and a world that has turned its face away from a “beloved country”, dismembered, piece by piece. To compare the lush richness of Palestine from the 1948 map and that of now, is to compare the vibrancy of beauty, become force-starved and mutilated, yet still fighting for precious life and future.
The contrast of Darwish's poignant lines with the obscene language of those who have risen to the highest political offices in Israel, is stark: “We go to a country not of our flesh. The chestnut trees are not of our bones .... “We go to a country that does not hang a special sun over us ...”
Another poem begins: “We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere ...”
Another: “The earth is closing in on us, pushing us through the last passage .... “We saw the faces of those who'll throw our children Out of the windows of this last space ...”
And his near unbearable: “Give birth to me again that I may know in which land I will die, In which land I will come to life again ...”
The lexicon, from which the leaders of Israel have pronounced over the years, must have come from the proverbial parallel universe. Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, opined of the Palestinians, as five hundred villages were being destroyed in sort of national house warming ceremony, unfettered violence raging: “The old will die off and the young will forget.”......."