Massacres & Peace

September 18, 1982

I cannot quite believe that it has been 33 years since that horrifying massacre at Sabra and Shatila, the two Palestinian refugee camps on the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon.

I cannot believe that from about 6 o’clock on the evening of September 16 and until September 18, a Lebanese Christian militia supported by the urging, logistics and support of the Israeli Defense Forces under the leadership of Ariel Sharon (for which he was later indicted by an Israeli Court) conducted this massacre of an estimated, and contested, figure of 3500 people: men, women and little children.

This is the same camp that I, as a Palestinian woman living in the city of Beirut, could not enter before 1967 and the establishment of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). Contact with the outside world for the miserable refugees living in these and other camps was prohibited until that year.

This is, also, the same place which I, and a group of Lebanese and Palestinian women, entered proudly and joyfully in 1968 and established Jamiyat Ina’ash Al Mokhayyam al Filistini (Association for the Development of Palestinian Camps). We were the pioneers of that project that is still successfully functioning today.

Here is where I met my Palestinian sisters, embraced their children and hugged their stories and sorrows. In this area is where Israel’s fighter planes hummed overhead and occasionally let out a barrage of death and destruction. Here, too, is where a young boy lay beneath his mother during that fateful period, and asked her why her tears were drenching him and her clothes only to realize well into daylight that while she had been protecting him with her body she had been slowly bleeding to her death! I know that boy well! Oh, how bloody infuriated and deeply saddened I can still get for that man, as well as for all those others I knew! All those others that I knew, whose homes I sat in, whose coffee I sipped, whose love had surrounded me.

Tragic stories that take me back to the Nakba of 1948 and the numerous other disasters since then. That massacre at the Palestinian camps was only one of many that have amplified since 1948 and that, as of then, have been getting more vicious, brutal and horrifying all across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

I have not forgotten, nor will I forgive.

I have not forgotten, nor will I forgive that crime. It is etched deep into my brains and heart with its personal and miserable memory never to fade.

That crime, like the abundant number of them, is ingrained in the collective Palestinian conscience and, so should – and will – remain as a constant reminder that our struggle for Justice, Equality and Freedom is not over.

However, our struggle has come a long way since the hijacking of airplanes in the sixties. It now belongs to a new generation of activists and freedom fighters: the valiant generations of our two memorable Intifadas, of Gaza and of the ongoing Israeli efforts at the subjugation and enslavement of the Palestinian people. This is the generation that has smartly chosen different tools with which to continue the struggle. They have fittingly chosen the modern day tools of boycotting, of peaceful demonstrations, of outreach, of writing, messaging, performing, producing, singing, orating, documenting, collaborating and preserving the factual history and culture that was stolen from us, rewritten and distorted by our wicked enemies. This is the courageous younger generation of admirable Palestinian men and women that realize only too well that this is a long, long, struggle that they have vowed never to give up.

On this day, as on so many of our tragic milestones, we know that the only way that the memory of those that were massacred since before 1948, during 1948, since Sabra and Shatila and all the wars on Gaza, as well as all our spilled blood and agony over these long years will not be vindicated until we have achieved our well-deserved Freedom, our Equal Rights, our Justice and the Peace that we are earning with every heart-wrenching tear and with every incarcerated, tortured and fallen hero.

I will not forgive or forget. No. Never! However, I do not blame every Jewish person or Israeli for what happened then, or since. But, yes, I do blame Every Israeli government since Israel’s establishment; Every person who supports the continuing massacres on my people; Every silent Jewish man and woman who does not speak up against these atrocities; Every Arab, European and American government that has provided us with lip service and scanty support and that have our blood on their hands; Every corrupt Palestinian politician who was – and still is – being enriched by the people’s plight; All branches of the dismal United Nations and all their Resolutions regarding Palestine which have been continuously and systematically ignored and totally disregarded by Israel and none – None! – that have resulted in any form of punishment or sanctions against the Israeli government, while the daily provocations, murders, incarcerations, torture, deprivation, siege and all forms of racist activities that only evil minds can think of, and that are only meant to break the Palestinian spirit, continue unabated.

Nevertheless, the struggle is, and will continue to be! I have reluctantly accepted that this is a struggle that might not end in my lifetime. That’s okay. However, I am joyfully seeing it persisting within Palestine and supported by activists from all over the world!

Sabra and Shatila, in memory of your horrifying massacre, as well as the barbaric and savage ravages on the Palestinian people, their homes, olives, orchards and existence that have been continuously occurring, we will carry on with every ounce of resilience that we have and until every drop of blood is vindicated. Justice, Equality and Freedom are our goal.

No compromise! No giving up! No forgetting! No! Not ever!

September 21, 1981

That date had been designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. And was this someone’s idea of a sick joke, I ask you? Seriously now? For rather than herald the beginning of an era of peace in the world it seems to have marked the onset of mayhem, corruption, greed, bloodshed, wars and more wars and more still on our ailing planet. The escalation is almost unbelievable! There might be speeches, memorials, reaffirmations echoing in the corridors of the United Nations. Is there any sane person out there who still buys this crap? Who still believes the inept hypocrites and opportunists who are selling us these palliative words and speeches? Who thinks that the corrupt and totally incompetent rulers of the world have any intention of realizing a more just and more peaceful world? Wake up! Wake up! Those in charge of the governments and corporations of the world have no intention of ever achieving justice or peace.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981. The massacres on Sabra and Shatila took place in 1982. And ever since then the Massacres on millions of people in the name of Peace have been ongoing! The fires that Israel ignited in Palestine have today engulfed the entire Middle East, and still neither Israel, nor the US, nor have Europe, nor Arab Governments made the connection that colonialism – specifically Israel’s and America’s – is at the root of these tragedies!

What a farce is that International Day of Peace! What irony it is to celebrate it as the world is in this dismal and cataclysmic Free Fall! Maybe we are living World War Three?

How is it acceptable that the corrupt few are in control of our collective destiny? How did we – and still are – allowing it to happen?

Quite unbelievably unexplainable!


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