GUEST BLOG: Lois Griffiths – Our vision for Liberation

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ENGAGED PALESTINIAN LEADERS & INTELLECTUALS SPEAK OUT

edited by RAMZY BAROUD  and ILAN PAPPÉ

OUR VISION FOR  LIBERATION is a fascinating book, a beautiful book, a real treasure. Twenty-seven Palestinians, distinguished in a variety of fields, tell their narratives: who they are, what it means to be Palestinian, their  efforts to keep alive knowledge of the past, and to maintain and grow their  cultural heritage. 

Being given the opportunity to contribute to this book has allowed the writers  to say to the outside world and to Palestinian  youths that, inspite of discouragingly unhelpful political leadership, freedom and liberation will come. 

The struggle for liberation demands keeping alive knowledge of the history of the people. Archeologist Hamdan Taha describes the importance of museums and galleries and of UNESCO heritage sites, in preserving cultural memory. 

Hasan abu Nimah, born in1935,  recalls life in the small rural village of Battir. He remembers a tranquil way of life that “must have existed for dozens of generations across Palestine “that was not interrupted until world powers outside our control decided to designate our homeland as the property of someone else.” 

Hasan abu Nimah’s contribution is well- titled,  A Personal Journey Through Palestine’s Tragedy . In his four-decade diplomatic career, representing Jordan in the US, in Europe and at the UN, he “dealt with the question of Palestine almost every day.” ‘Palestine’s tragedy’ is summarized so clearly: the British replacing the Ottomans in 1917, the 1922 Mandate and the British commitment to Zionism, the British brutally crushing the 1936-39 revolt, the 1947 partition ,  Deir Yassin, the failure ofArab states to defend Palestine, the secret 1993 PLO Oslo negotiations  undermining its own Washington delegation.

Yet Hasan abu Nimah believes that the time will come when ”the country will be whole again …The only question is how many more precious lives will be wasted before we get there.”

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Scientists, writers, doctors, musicians, historians and film makers contribute to OUR VISION, sharing their efforts to keep Palestinian culture and memories alive. 

 Australian-Palestinian Samah Sabawi explains, “I believe we all wage resistance using our best skills. Mine is writing.  So, I will continue to write.”

“I write with that Palestinian incurable  hope.”  

Even embroidery plays a role. The Palestinian History Tapestry Project has been jointly created by women in different locations. 

Each contributor, highly  academically qualified,  shares his/her  personal stories of childhood memories. Some of the recollections: 

  Growing up as a 3rd generation refugee in Gaza’s Khan Younis refugee camp, 

  Growing up in Nazareth , ie Israel itself, a “homeland that told a narrative  that       contradicted my existence”

  As a 12-year old, helping on the family farm in the Hebron region in 1967 when the war began

  The solidarity of Palestinian Chileans

  As a small child, the family being expelled from  Jerusalem and thus having to leave their house and and abandon their dog

A common theme is of learning from their elders. Scientist Mazin Qumsiyeh recalls, “My maternal grandfather taught me to value and love books.” My Uncle Sana “taught me the love of nature.” 

 OUR VISION FOR LIBERATION is up to date. References are made to the events of May last year when efforts to ‘cleanse’ East Jerusalem, including attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque  were opposed by all Palestinians. And yet, now Ramadan 2022, the violence, including the intrusion of heavily armed violent  settlers and IDF personnel  into Al-Aqsa, is being repeated.

 Hanadi Halawani grow up in East Jerusalem. Her grandmother’s love for Al-Aqsa inspired Hanadi to qualify as a teacher of the Quran and then to become a Murabita, a woman whose ‘main mission in life is to stand guard against all attempts to denigrate Al Aqsa and to deny Palestinian rights in the occupied city’. Her activism has come at a cost. She’s been banned from the Mosque Compound more than once, assaulted by soldiers, arrested.

Last year when the Al Aqsa Mosque was being attacked and invaded by armed settlers and by the IDF, Father Manual Musallan called on Christians to help their fellow Palestinians defend the Mosque. Fr Manual is doing so again this year.

 He writes “I am a Palestinian Arab Christian.” “I will struggle with the rest of the Palestinian resisters for the liberation of the holy home. “

Divide and rule tactics against the Palestinians have not worked.

Every contribution in OUR VISION FOR LIBERATION is special. Every article contributes to a realization that Palestinians still exist, still challenge global society to admire and respect a people who in spite of cruel treatment, including being lied to, and lied about, continue to believe in their right to live as a free people. 

There is something very special about Palestinians. Khalida Jarrar, arrested many times under administrative detention, used her time under arrest to demand education opportunities for other women prisoners.

 My husband latched on to the book and started reading it before I had a chance. He told me that his first thought before even starting to read it, was to wonder, liberated from what? When he finished and finally handed it over to me, he said, “No one even mentioned revenge.”

So true. In the whole book, there is  not one word of revenge.

About liberation, Samah Sabawi explains, “ To be Palestinian is about creating an ethics that is rooted in fighting for justice. Palestinian liberation embodies what it means to be unapologetically committed to justice, truth-telling, dignity and freedom, no matter which part of the world you are in.”

 Palestinians will be liberated, as all people everywhere should be: free to tell and  share their narratives, free to know their own history and culture, free to be acknowledged and respected as part of global human society. 

Palestinians will liberate themselves. They will tell us how to help. 

And when Palestinians are liberated, people everywhere will understand that they too can be liberated. ‘Another world is possible.’ 

I’ll leave the last word to Mazin Qumsiyeh. We receive his regular human rights report. They always end with the message, ”Stay Human”.

 

Lois Griffiths is a Human Rights Activist.

11 COMMENTS

  1. History is on the side of the Palestinians. They have endured a brutal occupation for almost seventy five years. That’s a relatively short time. Ireland for instance had been occupied by Britain for some three hundred years. There were ups and downs in their struggle for freedom and independence which they finally gained in 1922 (the Irish Free State and in 1949 complete independence). The colonies in Africa and Asia can be seen as occupied by western states. They gained their freedom after WW2.

  2. Sorry but I can’t see any good outcome for the Palestinians here.

    This apartheid is based on a belief that the jews are gods chosen people and it is their god given right to occupy Palestine/Israel. It’s not like South Africa.

    Can anyone give me an example when an occupying force, working (as they believe) in line with the word of god, has given up there cause and gone “yes we were wrong to do what we did” and backed down voluntarily? It never happens.

    So we have muslims believing it is their god given right to occupy palestine vs jews who believe it is their god given right to occupy israel. It’s pretty black and white.

    So This comes down to to who has the most power because simply put neither side will be willing to compromise their respective vision for their peoples future. After all it is ordained by their god.

    Can you ever see palestinians having the power to overthrow the hi tech isrzeli war machine? No me neither

  3. To XstraightXedgeX

    The issue is not religion, it’s settler colonialism. Palestinians, whether of any religion or secular, call for a secular democratic state from the river to the sea where all are equal..and free to know their history and enjoy their culture.
    They want help from the outside world ..NOT military help to kill, like Ukraine is asking and receiving with great pleasure from the West ..but moral support
    That is what the Zionist regime fears the most. The Zionist fear the rise of moral support for the Palestinian cause, especially from American Jews.

    • To Lois Griffiths:
      Not about religion? Here’s a typical extract for the Hamas Covenant or Charter:
      ‘The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the

      individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews’ usurpation,

      it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.’ (Article 15)

      ‘Ranks will close, fighters joining other fighters, and masses

      everywhere in the Islamic world will come forward in response to the

      call of duty, loudly proclaiming: ‘Hail to Jihad!’. This cry will

      reach the heavens and will go on being resounded until liberation is

      achieved, the invaders vanquished and Allah’s victory comes about.’

      (Article 33)
      Of course, we know what it’s ‘about’ for Griffiths…denying the Jews, and ONLY the Jews the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland.

      • Charter Introduction
        Our Vision For Liberation: Enraged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out

  4. Israel would never commit suicide by surrendering to a single state option and the Palestinians have been rendered irrelevant anyway by the Abraham Accords.
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/16/palestinians-cant-stop-israel-new-ties-gulf-states-transform-region-normalization-deal-middle-east-trump/
    Israel is the 8th most powerful country in the world…and not going anywhere.
    Any book endorsed by arch-antisemite, Roger Waters, and kapo self-hating Jew, Pappe, is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

  5. Do tell us more about that “discouragingly unhelpful political leadership” please Lois. Do your paragons denounce them in the same terms as we critics on this site do? For which we are branded hasbara trolls, bigots, racists and that doyen of all smears employed to make the critic quiver in fear and shame: Islamophobe!
    Mr Nimah should have placed the woeful leadership as numero uno on his Palestine Tragedy grievance list. Were it not for their belligerence Palestinians, inclusive of those cast out by their brother Arab countries, would have their own state today.

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