Sunday, December 13, 2009
By Khalil Nakhleh – Ramallah
"I remember it was one Sunday afternoon, sometime around one or two o'clock, when my father barged running into the house shouting "we have to leave, we have to leave". His face was all red; his eyes shined with piercing outrage, uncertainty and incredulity.
I remember it was Sunday because my mother was fixing our special Sunday lunch that included meat –the only day in the week where we had a little bit of meat. Sundays were the only days in the week where the butchers would butcher fresh goat meat. I remember my mother had prepared a big kettle of “tabeekh” (stew of beans, tomato sauce and a bit of meat) with rice on the side. My village was mostly Christian with some Druze. We were a farming community relying, primarily, on olives and oil, without much cash.
“What do you mean we have to leave? Leave to where and how?” my mother screamed with agony. “I don’t know to where and how”, my father screamed back: “El-Yahood (the Jews) are already at the gate to our compound with armored cars and machine-guns posted on the gate posts, and are ordering us to leave.” My father was helpless and impotent and could do nothing to protect our family from being kicked out by force.....
I have been hovering around the notion and desire to document this episode in my personal life, and in the collective life of my people, for some time now. I have been reluctant and fearful to embark on it for all the pain that oozes from it, and for the deep reflection and introspection that I have to undertake about the colossal evil that was done to us; about the lack of justice regarding our case where our entire indigenous society and structure were destroyed; and the recurrent and persistent incapacity and impotence of our proclaimed “leadership”, after 62 years, to rectify it. Numerous painful experiences, both personal and collective, about the Nakba ethnic cleansing have been narrated, documented, published, filmed, archived, etc. This is another one of those experiences. It is immaterial how different or similar this experience is; it is imperative, however, to document this record of serious and colossal evil that was perpetrated, with malice and pre-determination, against my people by the colonial Zionist enterprise. “I have no illusion that it will take more than this book”, Ilan Pappe wrote, “to reverse a reality that demonises a people who have been colonized, expelled and occupied, and glorifies the very people who colonized, expelled and occupied them.” (p. 181). These personal childhood memories are recorded in the ardent hope and determination that a day will come when the necessary just and moral rectification will take place, and it will!"