May 15, 2009

al Nakba

Sixty-one years ago today, Israel declared its statehood, and celebrates it. The Palestinian people do not celebrate. They remember al Nakba, the catastrophe.

Watch this short video from the American Friends Service Committee, "Israel Palestine: A Land in Fragments." It's a little over two minutes long. The Quakers--the American Friends--have no interest other than peace and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Their little video sums up the terrible spatial irony of the present situation. It bends over backwards to keep itself as neutral as possible at the start, but by the end the depiction of the facts on the ground tell their tale. Sixty one years of control over territory originally allocated by the UN to the Palestinian people have diminished the land so significantly that a "contiguous" territory for the Palestinian people looks now to be an impossibility. See it for yourself in the short film. The last forty-one years have done the most damage. Israel continues its strategy and tactics of creating "facts on the ground" and eating further into the land which is not theirs to eat.

Follow the links on the page to Resources on Fragmentation of the West Bank. If you feel adventurous, read the words of Palestinians telling their own stories about 1948. These people are not terrorists, not "savages," not "cockroaches," not "people who only understand violence," as some of the more partisan defenders of the Israeli position would like to have Americans believe. These are people like you and I who have been victims of a catastrophe and its ongoing aftermath.

And yet, despite the maps and the visuals and the accumulation of voices that peacefully protest for peace, the blindness to injustice continues, a deafness, deep and tinny and implacable continues, and the Israeli government continues to demolish and expand and refine this matrix of control, oppresssion, and occupation.

"Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, Who have eyes but do not see; Who have ears but do not hear." (Jeremiah, 5:21)

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