United States

The Nakba generation

This year, it will sixty years since the Nakba, the catastrophe of expulsion of Palestinians from historic Palestine. Generations have been born, have grown up, and have died in refugee camps, but the international community still continues to ignore the political rights of the Palestinian refugees. What makes it sad for me as a refugee — one who was born and grew up in a refugee camp, and struggling not to die in a refugee camp — is that the Nakba generation is dying. Ziad Abbas writes. 

Direct action from Birmingham to Gaza

Last week, the US celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the official end to segregation and racial discrimination in this country. As we celebrate certain historic advances, we mustn’t forget that these policies are far from over in this country, and that as we struggle against one injustice we are perpetuating another system of discrimination and segregation on the other side of the world in occupied Palestine. Anna Baltzer reflects on Dr. King’s legacy and the Palestinian struggle. 

Power of the people

Today, more than any other day in my life, I am proud to be Palestinian. Let me explain. Nation-states mean little to me. They represent artificial boundaries, legal restrictions, “No Entry” signs, and collective brainwashing into the “uniqueness” of cultures that only humans acknowledge. What fish has ever stopped swimming as it approached that most invisible “water line” separating one country from another? Nada Elia writes from the US

Down goes the wall

Last night I received a text message from my dear friend Fida: “It’s coming down — it’s coming down!” she declared ecstatically. “Laila! The Palestinians destroyed [the] Rafah wall, all of it. All of it not part of it! Your sister, Fida.” More texts followed, as I received periodical updates on the situation in Rafah, where it was 3am. “Two hours ago people were praising God everywhere. The metal wall was cut and destroyed. So was the cement one. It is great, Laila, it is great,” she declared. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US 

The legacy of Sabra and Shatila: Amnesia and impunity

On 17 September 1982, journalist Robert Fisk registered the unfiltered rawness of witnessing the murdered victims of Sabra and Shatila up close: “Massacres are difficult to forget when you’ve seen the corpses.” On the final morning of the mass execution, stumbling upon the bodies of unarmed civilians, the French poet, playwright and novelist Jean Genet wrote: “A photograph has two dimensions, so does a television screen; neither can be walked through.” Maryam Monalisa Gharavi recalls her attempt to “walk through” Shatila camp and Sabra 25 years later. 

Top Israeli rabbis advocate genocide

Yesterday I wrote a piece entitled “Israel’s House of Horrors” about the openly murderous statements of Israeli cabinet ministers. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I read a news article on the website of The Jerusalem Post that Israel’s former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu – one of the most senior theocrats in the Jewish State “ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.” EI’s Ali Abunimah comments. 

Israel's house of horrors

Reading an account of an Israeli cabinet meeting in Ha’aretz is like a trip through a House of Horrors. Here is a choice excerpt: “Ministers Meir Sheetrit and Rafi Eitan proposed Wednesday that Israel produce its own version of the Qassam rocket to be fired at targets inside the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire on its southern communities.” EI’s Ali Abunimah asks: Which other government could openly hold such discussions to such overwhelming silence from the so-called “international community”? 

The geography of dissent: New Orleans and Palestine

“I’m still in New Orleans. It’s so much like Palestine it’s eerie. It’s a different kind of devastation than right after the storm. Some of the worst wreckage has been cleaned up — there are no longer throngs of people camping out on the I-10 Causeway or waterlogged bodies lining the streets. Now it’s the emptiness that is most striking. Some parts of the city are like a ghost town.” Writing from New Orleans, EI contributor Lora Gordan finds parallels between the struggle for justice in New Orleans and that in Palestine. 

Childhood Interrupted, Again

On Friday, December 8, six gunshots pierced the afternoon calm and six children started screaming. The cousins had been playing together with their usual gusto on the third-story veranda of their home in Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank. A bullet tore through the slender body of one of them, a thirteen-year-old boy named Miras Al-Azzah. Several more bullets hit the stone house, and splinters of debris sliced into the bodies of the other children: Athal (10) and Rowaid (8), Miras’s younger sister and brother, and Maysan (12), Zaid (7), and Ansam (3). 

Searching for the truth under the rubble

The first time I met someone who was not from New Orleans who understood why I wanted to return after the city was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina was when I met Rim from Beirut. I was at a writer’s residency, offered to me in the aftermath of last year’s disaster, when I was discussing with one of the people who ran it my difficulty, both logistically and psychologically, in getting to the place. The logistical part was clear, but I did not understand why it was that I had a very difficult time leaving the city to come to that clean, safe place. “It makes no sense,” I remember saying. A woman nearby overheard us and said “It does to me.”