Saturday, December 26, 2009
and Ramzy Baroud
Prior to the establishment of Israel, Palestine had been multi-religious and multi-cultural. Christians, Muslims and Jews, Armenians, Greek Orthodox, to name a few, all had a place there; and all lived in relative harmony. Other nations fought wars and waged epic struggles to attain the kind of coexistence that was already a reality in Palestine.But while the world strives toward the noble truths that we are all created equal, Israel legislates the notion of a Chosen People with exclusive rights and privilege for Jews. Where countries have worked to integrate their citizens to create the richness of diversity, Israel is working in reverse, employing racist policies to "Judaize" the land whereby property and resources are confiscated from Christians and Muslims for the exclusive use of Jews. Where there is consensus that certain human rights are inalienable, Palestinians have lived subject to the whims of soldiers at checkpoints; of airplanes and helicopters raining death onto them with impunity; of curfews and restrictions and denials; and of violent armed settlers who fancy themselves disciples of God.
Living under Israeli occupation, in refugee camps or in exile, we Palestinians have endured having everything callously taken from us – our homes, our heritage, our history, our families, livelihoods, freedom, farms, olive groves, water, security, and freedom. In the 1990s, we supported the Oslo Accords two-state solution even though it would have returned to us only 22% of our historic homeland. But Israel repeatedly squandered our generosity, confiscating more Palestinian land to increase illegal Jewish-only colonies and Jewish-only roads. What remains to us now is less than 14% of Historic Palestine, all of it as isolated Bantustans, shrinking ghettos, walls, fences, checkpoints with surly soldiers,and the perpetual encroachment of expanding illegal Israeli colonies.
While the Palestine Authority has led us into a shrinking land mass, less water, more restrictions, ominous walls and merciless slaughter, notable individuals and popular movements have mobilized for Palestine as once happened for South Africa. Moral authorities like former President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Laureates Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson have condemned Israeli Apartheid. Organizations supporting the Divestment and Boycott Campaign against Israel include religious institutions such as the Presbyterian Church, The World Council of Churches, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Anglican Church, the Federation of European Jews for a Just Peace, among many others. It includes civil and professional organizations such as the National Lawyers Guild, the Irish Municipal, Public and Civil Trade Union in Ireland, as well as labor unions in Canada, Britain, and other nations. An academic boycott of Israel has spread throughout the UK and other parts of Europe and taken root in US universities across the country. The International Solidarity Movement has seen thousands of individuals come to the Occupied Territories to protect Palestinians from the violence of settlers during the olive harvest; to protect children on their daring daily journeys to school; and to bear witness to the inhumanity of military occupation. The Free Gaza movement has transported by boat hundreds of people willing to risk their lives to bring greatly needed supplies to the besieged people of Gaza. This Christmas, internationals will march to the Egypt/Gaza border to break this siege. These are but a few examples of growing popular support for the Palestinian struggle.
When compared with the accomplishments of these grassroots movements, the futility of "negotiations" becomes painfully apparent. It is clear that we cannot look to our leaders (elected or imposed) to achieve justice. Just as only the masses could bring South Africa’s Apartheid to its knees, it will be the masses who will also bring Israel’s Apartheid crashing. The continued expansion of international action demanding the implementation of Palestinian basic human rights is inevitable.
The notion of religious-ethnocentric entitlement and exclusivity for one people at the expense of another has been rejected the world over. Palestinians reject it and we assert that we are human beings worthy of the same human rights accorded to the rest of humanity; that we are worthy of our homes and farms, our heritage, our churches and mosques, and our history; and that we should not be expected to negotiate with our oppressors for such basic dignities. The two-state solution was and remains an instrument to circumvent the basic human rights of Palestinians in order to accommodate Israel’s desire to be Jewish. Polls show that Palestinians refuse to be the enemies of our Jewish brothers and sisters anywhere, just as we refuse to be oppressed by them.
It is time for our shared land to be the inclusive and diverse country it had been. It is time for leaders to follow the people’s determined movement toward a single democratic state, with liberty and justice for all, regardless of religion.
Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury, 2010); and Ramzy Baroud is the author of My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, 2009).
Monday, October 26, 2009
In this richly detailed, beautiful and resonant novel examining the Palestinian and Jewish conflicts from the mid-20th century to 2002, (originally published as The Scar of David in 2006, and now republished after a new edit), Abulhawa gives the terrible conflict a human face. The tale opens with Amal staring down the barrel of a soldier's gun—and moves backward to present the history that preceded that moment. In 1941 Palestine, Amal's grandparents are living on an olive farm in the village of Ein Hod. Their oldest son, Hasan, is best friends with a refugee Jewish boy, Ari Perlstein as WWII rages elsewhere. But in May 1948, the Jewish state of Israel is proclaimed, and Ein Hod, founded in 1189 C.E., “was cleared of its Palestinian children...” and the residents moved to Jenin refugee camp, where Amal is born. Through her eyes we experience the indignities and sufferings of the Palestinian refugees and also friendship and love. Abulhawa makes a great effort to empathize with all sides and tells an affecting and important story that succeeds as both literature and social commentary. (Feb.)
Sunday, February 1, 2009
(The Scar of David)
Preço: R$ 39,00
Formato: 14 x 21 cm
“De tempo em tempos uma obra literária transforma o modo como as pessoas pensam.” Library Journal
Com o surgimento do Estado de Israel em 1948, a família palestina de Dalia e Hasan, que vive ao ritmo da colheita da azeitona na terra dos seus antepassados, Ein Hod, vê seu destino mudar. O pequeno povoado torna-se importante peça do percurso sionista para estabelecer e expandir o recém-formado Estado. Durante a expulsão dos palestinos, o filho mais novo do casal, Ismael, marcado por uma cicatriz no rosto, é raptado pelo oficial israelense Moshe e entregue como presente a sua esposa Jolanta, que sonhava ser mãe.
Dali em diante, o menino passa a se chamar David, e é educado segundo os preceitos da religião judaica, ignorando suas origens e desprezando os árabes, enquanto os membros de sua família biológica são expulsos das terras e deslocados para um campo de refugiados em Jenin, administrado pela ONU. É lá que nasce Amal, caçula de Dalia e Hasan e narradora deste conto de um mundo dividido. Seu nome significa esperança, algo que Dalia perdeu depois de anos de guerra e opressão, esperando retornar à amada Palestina de seus ancestrais. Pelos olhos de Amal, os leitores conhecem a rotina de gerações de refugiados e as humilhações impostas aos palestinos pelo exército israelense. Testemunham também histórias de amor que ultrapassam as barreiras das batalhas e do ódio, nascimentos de crianças e jovens desenvolvendo uma apreciação pela poesia e os estudos. Aguardando um hipotético retorno à terra natal, Yousef e Amal, os filhos sobreviventes da família dizimada, terão de amadurecer e dar sentido a suas vidas.
Enquanto isso, Moshe, angustiado pelo remorso, ainda ouve os gritos da mãe da criança que seqüestrou. Sua inquietação é multiplicada pelo sonho de um lugar seguro para o povo judeu estar mergulhado em sangue. Dalia, sufocada pela demência, recebe a notícia de que o marido foi dado como morto após a guerra. Seu filho mais velho, Yousef, é constantemente espancado e torturado.
Vinte anos depois de seu rapto, o jovem David seguirá para o front durante a Guerra dos Seis Anos, onde se defrontará com o irmão Yousef, feroz combatente da causa palestina, que o reconhece por sua cicatriz. É o início de uma guerra fratricida entre o irmão mais velho, vencido pelo ódio, e Ismael-David, que se tornou inimigo do próprio povo, e de uma longa jornada em busca da verdadeira identidade de um homem partido ao meio.
Resta à narradora, Amal, que parte para os Estados Unidos para viver o “sonho americano”, preservar a memória da Palestina e dos entes próximos. Passado entre 1941 e 2002, A CICATRIZ DE DAVID é um romance pungente, que tenta entender uma das mais intricadas questões geopolíticas da humanidade.
Susan Abulhawa, filha de pais refugiados da Guerra dos Seis Dias, é uma escritora americana de origem palestina. Viveu em vários lugares do Oriente Médio antes de se estabelecer nos EUA, onde fez pós-graduação em ciências biológicas. Frustrada pelas notícias tendenciosas sobre a situação de seu povo, começou a escrever ensaios para jornais, como o New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer etc. Em 2002, ao testemunhar a barbárie que ocorreu em Jenin, resolveu contar a história do seu povo. Ao regressar da visita, fundou a Playgrounds for Palestine, para construir áreas de lazer para as crianças de territórios ocupados. Como escritora participou de duas antologias: Shattered Illusions e Searching Jenin.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Bureau Buitenland VPRO
Nieuws en achtergronden van de buitenlandredactie van Villa VPRO
Het litteken van David: roman over een Palestijnse familie
Susan Abulhawa’s ouders vluchtten uit Palestina toen Israel tijdens de zesdaagse oorlog van 1967 Egypte aanviel. Het Israelische leger bezette de Golanhoogte en de westelijke Jordaanoever. Een bezetting die tot op heden voortduurt. Na omzwervingen door het bezette Oost-Jeruzalem, Koeweit en Jordanië kwam de schrijfster in de Verenigde Staten terecht.
Omdat de Amerikaanse berichtgeving over het Palestijns-Israelisch conflict volgens Abulhawa te pro-Israelisch is, begon ze op internet essays en columns te publiceren. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi - stichter van het Palestijnse Initatief tot bevordering van Dialoog en Democratie, Palestijns parlementslid en voormalig vertrouweling van Yasser Arafat - las een paar essays van haar en moedigde Susan Abulhawa aan een roman over de Palestijnse geschiedenis te schrijven. “We hebben grote behoefte aan zulke vertellers” mailde Ashrawi haar.
Resultaat is ‘ Het litteken van David ‘ over twee broers, waarvan de een - gekidnapt - bij een Joods gezin opgroeit en de ander als Palestijn. De hoofdpersoon, en verteller van de familiegeschiedenis, is hun jongere zus Amaal. Het boek kreeg in 2007 de Best Book Award USA Book News. En afgelopen jaar verscheen het in vertaling bij uitgeverij De Geus.
Jacqueline Maris interviewt Susan Abulhawa over de situatie in Gaza, de toekomst van het Palestijnse volk en het belang van haar roman.
Bureau Buitenland (Villa VPRO) van maandag 12 januari 2009 van 15:30 tot 16:00 uur op radio.
Audio (vanaf een uur na uitzending): http://weblogs.vpro.nl/buitenland/2009/01/10/het-litteken-van-david-roman-over-een-palestijnse-familie/ (parts of this interview are in English)
Palestinians Will Never Forget
By susan abulhawa
How can anyone watching Gaza burn escape the bitter realization that history repeats itself? Many have compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid South Africa. But not in their cruelest hour did the Apartheid regime wreak such wanton murder and destruction. Let us stop mincing words. What is happening to Palestinians now whispers of Warsaw and Lodz.
Schools, universities, mosques, police stations, homes, water treatment plants, factories, and anything that supports civil society, including the only mental health clinic in Gaza, have been blown to rubble from planes that rain death from clear skies without any resistance, because Palestinians have no opposing air force. Nor do they have an army or navy. No mechanized armor or heavy weaponry. Thanks to Israel, they haven’t even had continuous electricity or fuel for the past two years. Or food and medicine. Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza has prevented the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, including the import of the most basic goods necessary for survival.
A recent study by the Red Cross showed that 46 percent of Gazan children suffer from anemia. Malnutrition affects 75 percent of Gaza’s population, half of whom are under the age of 17. There has been widespread deafness among children due to Israel’s intentional and frequent sonic booms from low overflights. An alarming number have stunted growth and serious mental disorders due lack of food. The only way they have been able to survive thus far has been due to the tunnels that smuggle food and goods from Egypt.
This is what Israel has done to Gaza over the past two years. They ghettoized Gaza and turned it into an open air prison – a concentration camp of civilians with no way to earn a living, no way to defend themselves and no place to run from the slaughter bombarding them from air, land, and sea.
But Gazans dared to try to resist with pathetic homemade rockets that, until Israel’s barbaric attack, generally landed in open desert. The rockets were mostly symbolic of resistance, very much like the fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. But who would have called on a ceasefire there, in 1943, for “both parties” to “cease the violence”? Who would have blamed the Ghetto fighters for their ultimate fate? Who would say they had no right to resist? No right to fight back?
What have Palestinians done to deserve such a fate? To be endlessly hunted like animals? To have their homes demolished, their ancient history and heritage cast into forgotten space? To languish in refugee camps and slums, while Jews from all corners of the earth flock to fill their confiscated homes and farms? To be tortured, imprisoned, and denied in every conceivable way?
Why? Because they elected Hamas? Hamas has held power for less than two years. Yet, Palestinians have suffered this kind of slaughter for 61 years. Whether now in Gaza, in 2002 in Jenin, in 1947 and 1948 in Deir Yasin, Balad el-Sha, Yehida, Tantura, and the list goes on. Or 1982 in Sabra and Shatila.
Israel, and the United States with its unconditional support, will only succeed in radicalizing a whole new generation of its victims. Of revving world hatred and resentment against this unholy duo.
Palestinians will not forget this, as they have not forgotten the past 60 years. But what will you remember a week or a year or a decade from now, when a Gazan, who stood before the long rows of corpses and vowed vengeance, creates your 9-11? When one of those few million children without a will to live straps on a belt that rips through your daily routine? Will you remember what we did to them?
Friday, January 30, 2009
O Globo is Brazil's largest newspaper. This areicle appeared on the back cover on the release of the Portuguese edition of The Scar of David (the fifth language in translation).