Ghassan Kanafani with my morning coffee.
I want to share this excerpt from the introduction to this collection. It’s from a letter Kanafani wrote to his son:
I heard you in the other room asking your mother: “Mama, am I Palestinian?” When she answered “Yes”, a heavy silence fell on the whole house. It was as if something hanging over our heads had fallen, its noise exploding, then — silence.
Afterwards… I heard you crying. I could not move. There was something bigger than my awareness being born in the other room through your bewildered sobbing. It was as if a blessed scalpel was cutting up your chest an putting there the heart that belongs to you… I was unable to move to see what was happening in the other room. I knew, however, that a distant homeland was being born again; hills, plains, olive groves, dead people, torn banners and folded ones, all cutting their way into a future of flesh and blood and being born in the heart of another child…
Do not believe that man grows. No; he is born suddenly — a word, in a moment, penetrates his heart to a new throb. One scene can hurl him down from the ceiling of childhood on to the ruggedness of the road
“Waiting is Forbidden”
Sometimes Arabic just looks … by Mona Hatoum, the video and installation artist of Palestinian origin. More on Wiki:
على هذه الأرض ما يستحق الحياة: تردد إبريل، رائحة الخبزِ
في الفجر، آراء امرأة في الرجال، كتابات أسخيليوس ، أول
الحب، عشب على حجرٍ، أمهاتٌ تقفن على خيط ناي، وخوف
الغزاة من الذكرياتْ.
على هذه الأرض ما يستحق الحياةْ: نهايةُ أيلولَ، سيّدةٌ تترُكُ
الأربعين بكامل مشمشها، ساعة الشمس في السجن، غيمٌ يُقلّدُ
سِرباً من الكائنات، هتافاتُ شعب لمن يصعدون إلى حتفهم
باسمين، وخوفُ الطغاة من الأغنياتْ.
على هذه الأرض ما يستحقّ الحياةْ: على هذه الأرض سيدةُ
الأرض، أم البدايات أم النهايات. كانت تسمى فلسطين. صارتْ
تسمى فلسطين. سيدتي: أستحق، لأنك سيدتي، أستحق الحياة.
We have on this earth what makes life worth living: April’s
– hesitation, the aroma of bread
at dawn, a woman’s point of view about men, the works of
– Aeschylus, the beginning
of love, grass on a stone, mothers living on a flute’s sigh and
– the invaders’ fear of memories
We have on this earth what makes life worth living: the
– final days of September, a woman
keeping her apricots ripe after forty, the hour of sunlight in
– prison, a cloud reflecting a swarm
of creatures, the peoples’ applause for those who face death
– with a smile, a tyrant’s fear of songs.
We have on this earth what makes life worth living: on this
– earth, the Lady of Earth,
mother of all beginnings and ends. She was called
– Palestine. Her name later became
Palestine. My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life
This is the picture at the entrance of the Palestinian Consulate in Mexico. It features Emiliano Zapata and Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni.
The arabic is translated to:
Long live Zapata - hero of the Mexican revolution - 1915
Long live Abd al Kader al-Husseini - hero of the Palestinian revolution - 1948
The artist is Burhan Karkoutly, the same guy who illustrated Ghassan Kanafani’s books.
i.e. the artist behind this much loved post
This is really beautiful .
Zapata was shot to death in the state of Morelos on April 10, 1919 at age 39.
Al-Husseini was killed during the Battle of Qastal on April 8 1948 at the age of 41.
The Massacre of Deir Yassin, Palestine; April 9th, 1948
Irgun and Stern Gang, the Jewish forces, stormed into the village of Deir Yassin on this day 63 years ago [64 now], they sprayed the houses with machine gun fire, killing many. They raped and killed some of the women, they gathered the remaning villagers in one place and shot them all in cold blood.
Fahim Zaydan was 12 at the time;
“They took us out one after the other; shot an old man and when one of his daughters cried, she was shot too. Then they called my brother Muhammad, and shot him infront of us, and when my mother yelled, bending over him- carrying my little sister Hudra in her hands, still breastfeeding her- they shot her too.”
Zaydan was shot too (he survived) when the troops lined up children against a wall and sprayed them with bullets “just for the fun of it”.
Research suggests that between 93-170 people were massacred, this list doesn’t include the people killed during the fighting.
Info source; The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe (see pages 90-92)