Palestinian Intellect Prevails Despite Decades of Exodus and Coercion
Many reasons should have caused the Palestinian population to diminish, vanish, and blend into inseparable mixtures of cultures and identities, many years after their exodus. Yet they somehow managed to survive and live on. How and why? Weren't the Israeli massacres bloody enough to kill them off? It is the noble idea, backed by reason and logic that made the long wait shorter and forced the distance to shrink between Diaspora and the homeland.
Noble ideas have a long life. They thrive with time, and then they become a means of survival for those who have very little means. In fact, ancient and modern history were shaped mainly by ideas that possess the power of reason which force us to bow, to listen and to accept their logic with little argument.
Israel has indeed always been aware of that mysterious power within the Palestinian account of the story, a side of the coin that neither CNN nor the New York Times sincerely explores.
Throughout the years, since its establishment on the ruins of Palestinian towns and villages, Israel has aimed at destroying the Palestinian version of the truth. But its mission was no easy task, since most Palestinians were banished to every corner of the world seeking refuge and hoping for return. It is as if the Israeli scheme meant to eliminate those who are most likely to eloquently and skillfully uncover and diminish the Israeli myth. Those of course were the intellectuals who possess the power to awaken people's consciousness and minds to Israel's fabrications.
Between July of 1972 and July of 1973 over a dozen Palestinian intellectuals were murdered by exploding letters or car bombs in many world capitals. These catastrophes sent the warning that anyone who dared to contest Israel's reading of history would collide with the same destiny as these Palestinian intellectuals.
Yet many dared to tell the story as it happened. They told about their occupied cities and destroyed villages. The spoke in the name of murdered Palestinian children. They cried in poetry, prose and all forms of literature. But they were assassinated, blackmailed and mostly sent to Israeli prisons. To Israel's surprise, prison walls were a place for inspiration, rather than death.
Starting in the early 1950's, only a few years after the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and flourishing in the late 60s and early 70s (following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza), new forms of literature were born, gained popularity and were translated to many languages. In this way, the world would read and comprehend the Palestinian tragedy. It was then that the "the literature of prison" and "the literature of resistance" were born.
By understanding the simple yet convincing reason behind the Palestinians' right to their homeland, Israel's fear of the Palestinians' reading of history become more and more understandable. Otherwise, it would make little sense of why a few lines of Palestinian poetry almost toppled the Israeli government in early March.
At first it appeared bizarre, absurd and even funny when Israeli television channels showed the angry Israeli parliament members who resorted to bantering and name calling, and urged the voting down of the government over a few lines of poetry written by Palestinian National poet Mahmoud Darwish. The story however is neither funny nor amusing. The Israeli outrage and panic, is without a doubt, a sign of the deficiency in their Zionist ideology, fragility of their moral stand and foremost the fear of the truth, which they have hardly sought.
Yossi Sarid, the Israeli Minster of education assumed that diversity in Israeli schools might be beneficial for students. Sarid had no idea however that he would be fighting a battle worse that Israel's lost battles in South Lebanon. The man was defamed, insulted and treated like a traitor by fellow parliament members. Even the Prime Minster himself sided with the protesters, claiming that the time is not yet ripe for a few lines of Palestinian poetry to be used as recommended reading in Israeli schools.
Well, maybe Israelis largely dislike the Palestinian writing style in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or even children's melodies. The recent crisis sparked by the Darwish poem however, had little or nothing to do with that. But at any rate, it was indeed understandable. As much as it would appear simply ridiculous for an attorney to use a witness in court who would indict his client, it would be ridiculous for Israelis to allow Palestinians to tell a side of the story that could reveal the inhumanity and corruption of the Jewish state.
With little means, Palestinians have courageously fought, and many continue to fight. While the Intifada challenged the legitimacy of the occupation, with its troops of children, only possessing weapons of stones and small Palestinian flags, it defeated that suppression. Now Israeli ideology faces the weapons of Palestinian prose and literature, and again, it will eventually be defeated. How amazing and pathetic, for a country to withstand many wars and revolutions, only to crumble under a few verses of poetry.
Topics: Occupation, Palestine