How do you express in words the voice of a people who are fighting for their right to survive? Let me start with a simple poem:
I found myself enveloped in darkness, suffocated and confused
A voice from within says — you don’t belong here
So I dig
I hear booms and bangs and someone raging
Behave or Else!
And I stop.
The voice from within says
You don’t belong here - dig
So I dig
I hear booms and bangs and people raging
Force and death will make you understand!
So I stop
The voice from within says
Fool, what difference will it make if you are buried alive or buried dead?
You don’t belong here — dig!
And I dig.
As I watch the news and read headlines of the Mideast conflict, I struggle with feelings of pain and anger at the reality behind the propaganda rhetoric in the press. Israel claims this is a campaign for self-defense and that Hezbollah and Hamas started it. The masses in the Arab street believe the abduction of soldiers was just a pretext for an already-planned attack against Lebanon and Gaza.
In a flippant analysis, President Bush says that Syria’s Assad can just stop it by calling Hezbollah. Yet, he encourages Israel to keep going with the campaign.
The propaganda machine is working overnight to promote the conspiracy theory that people in Lebanon are just being manipulated to fight by Iran and Syria. Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations and must be dismantled.
Destroying Hamas and Hezbollah is a fruitless exercise — as long as the conditions that spawned them exist — Arabs will form new groups and re-emerge with a new resistance strategy to fight Israeli aggression and occupation.
Everyone is stooping to the childish argument of reasoning: “He started it.”
True, Hezbollah started it and captured two soldiers in combat and in uniform.
However, Arik Diamant, an IDF soldier, writes in an article “Look who’s been kidnapped!”:
“Over the 40 years of occupation we have kidnapped thousands of people, exactly like Gilad Shalit was captured: threatened by a gun, beaten mercilessly, with no judge or jury, or witnesses, and without providing the family with any information about the captive. When the Palestinians do this, we call it ‘terror.’ When we do it, we work overtime to whitewash the atrocity.”
People are resisting Israel not out of hatred for Jews. The resistance is because Israel was built on massacres, ruins, graves and ethnic cleansing of Arabs. It was built by terrorists and war criminals, whom Israelis freely choose as prime ministers, without facing starvation and sanctions like Palestinians did when they elected Hamas.
To the world, Israel left Gaza. To the Palestinians, Israel still occupies Gaza but from outside, turning Gaza into an open-air prison.
Israel claims it is seeking peace. Yet, behind that PR image, Israel is engaged in Arab home demolitions, torture, imprisonment of Arabs without charge or trial, land grabbing and illegal Jewish-only settlements connected to Israel with Jewish-only bypass roads slicing Arab land into Bantustans.
We hear Israel condemning terrorism, but Palestinians see them openly revere, celebrate and reward Israeli terrorists. An example: Some Israelis with Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, are commemorating the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, the headquarters of British rule, that killed 92 people. And when was Ariel Sharon asked to renounce violence and terror that he inflicted on Arabs? The butcher of Beirut was called a “man of peace” by Bush.
To see beyond the false image that Israel portrays on the world stage, please read the eyewitness accounts and articles on www.electronicintifada.net.
The world community must recognize that Israel’s right to exist cannot come through massacres, force and humiliation of Arabs. It cannot come through the carpet-bombing of civilians into submission. Israel must earn its way for legitimacy and make amends for the history of terror and violence in the region, the numerous massacres and war crimes upon which it was built.
Two solutions are ahead. One is follow UN resolutions 446, 452, 465 and 471 — the return of land captured in war. The other is to follow the path the whites did in South Africa: dismantling the apartheid infrastructure and recognizing Arabs as a people with rights to their land, life, liberty and dignity where both Jews and Arabs are treated with the same human dignity before the law.
Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian American freelance writer. She is currently working to promote Restorative Justice projects in the Palestinian and Muslim community.