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To exist without existing: The Palestinian injustice

By Reyam Jamaleddine, June 15 2023—

Do not go far! They say as they bury me

Where, if not faraway, is my place?

Malik Ibn Rayad (D.976)

For decades Jewish peoples endured anti-semitism across Europe in the early 1900s, and then after Hitler’s tragic take over of Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s, the Jewish people of Europe suffered one of history’s worst genocides. After decades of enduring this anti-semitism, Jewish people decided to embark on Zionism. 

As a means of rectifying the situation, they were given the land of Palestine, one of Britain’s colonial states. The nation of Israel came to be in 1948, and Palestine was forced to cease existence in the presence of Israel. The Jewish people have God’s right of passage to the land, no entity has the right to this land but the Jewish people. The Palestinian people were also expected to vanish that same year.

Zionism is the Jewish people’s national discourse, the discourse entails that they have the right to their ancient land. 

“Jews deserve their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel, in the same way the French people deserve France or the Chinese people should have China,” read an article on Vox.  

This logic of course only applies to the Jewish people, it is religious dictation. When Zionism is criticized it is immediately slandered as anti-Semitic. You hate Jews, you don’t think Jews have the right to live peacefully. Over and over again the scream roared as loud as one possibly can — what about the Palestinians? The hatred for the Arab and the restless lives they live!

Should we all call God and ask him who owns the land? Zionism has been depending on the silent words of the divine to assist in the ultimate thievery — the robbery of identity.  

In the presence of absence. To exist without existing?  Palestinian is the citizen of Palestine — how is one Palestinian with no Palestine? Why do borders have such a strong impotence on who a peoples are — it is what keeps a people from disappearing from existence. It is the asylum that keeps families, cultures and languages together — it is the glue for humanity. This is a discourse that has been explored by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and Palestinian professor Edward Said. A discourse with no avail from answers or alleviations from the discussion. 

The metaphor for Palestine is stronger than the Palestine of reality 

Mahmoud Darwish

A Jewish person is ethnically and religiously Jewish, if all peoples from all religions announced that they had the godly right to land we would have nations such as Bhuddaville exploiting and occupying vulnerable lands or Christnation — maybe even Islamada. When I write of these things the absurdity of them is so apparent, but why is it not so apparent for the Jewish/Israeli concept? We do not shy away from criticizing the political wrongdoings and injustices across history, but we shy away when speaking of Israel and Zionism.

How disturbing is it that I have to continuously remind you that I am not anti-Semitic

Anti-semitism: Hostility to or prejudice against Jewish people. When I speak of a nation that has been forced to vanish off the face of the earth, I do not speak with prejudice towards the Jewish person — I speak of what has happened, from the hallowed forced silence of the Palestinians. When I speak of a people’s identity is expected to disintegrate, I speak with beseechment towards the Jewish person — why? Why do you have a divine right over other human beings? 

The Kashmiris, the Assyrians, and the Kurdish people. Why did they not receive a divine right to a nation? 

Anti-semitism is real and prevalent, in all contexts; except for when we speak of the crimes that occurred to the Palestinian people. It has to be enforced that when we speak of Palestine do not silence us with cries of injustice as attempts to expose our non-existent bigoted hatred for you — if the Palestinians are expected to kill their children and themselves because of your need for your god-given land, how would you like me to speak of you?

Orientalism is a concept that came to light in a profound manner by Edward Said. It seeks to explore how the Western man views the Orient, the man of the East. The man of the East is deemed to be other than the occident — the Western man. Orientalism is the dramatization of difference, the West being the elite and the East being the romanticized subservient.

The Orient lives in a sand dune ridiculed by colonialism, wars and poverty. The Jewish person lives in the same sand dune in the same confines as the Oriental, yet they live a lavishly peaceful and secure life. They are technologically advanced and have mighty armies to defend the land they stole—the Palestinians defend their stolen land with sticks and stones. This is not because the Jewish man is smarter, more sane or better moralized — more human. It is because they have the white man plotting with them not against them. 

It was never a conflict — it was always an injustice.

I am Arab but not a Palestinian myself, so why does it matter to me? Why should it matter to you? And why do the Palestinian youth speak so passionately for and of a land they never existed coincidently with? It is because the existence of the nation of Israel is a direct incident of what it means to be oriental, lesser-than — colonized leftovers.

Palestine is the metaphor — the case in point for what it means to be taken for granted, unjustified and abused by the aristocracy of the white man. 

Almost a century after being expected to just die, the Palestinian (Fal-us-deeni) refuses to surrender their self-identity. Almost 60% of Palestinians were exiled from their nation in 1948. The Palestinian diaspora is a nation of people who exist with no nation. In the presence of absence as Mahmoud Darwish has written, the Palestinian identity remains, no amount of extortion, war, colonialism or idealization of the Jewish divine right can erase this group of people. Perhaps, on a rosy-colored day the world can wake up and recognize Palestine/Palestinians as a nation and people who have been cheated of their human right to exist — just like the Jews…once upon a time.

Free Palestine 

This article is a part of our Voices section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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