By Nurit Peled-Elhanan – distributed by email, 18 March 2010
I will mourn on Nakba Day. I will mourn for vanished Palestine most of which I never knew. I will mourn for the holy land that is losing its humanity, its landscape, its beauty and its children on the altar of racism and evil. I will mourn for the Jewish youngsters who invade and desecrate the homes of families in Sheikh Jarrah, throw the inhabitants into the street, and then sing and dance in memory of Baruch Goldstein, the infamous murderer of Palestinian children, while the owners of the desecrated houses with their children and old people are sleeping in the rain, on the street, opposite their own homes. I will mourn for the soldiers and police who protect those wicked Jewish orthodox invaders without any pangs of conscience. I will mourn for the lands of Bil’in and Ni’lin and for the heroes of Bil’in and Ni’lin, many of whom are children aged 10 and 12, who fearlessly stand up for their right to live in dignity on the land of their fathers. I will mourn for the human rights that have been buried for a long time now in this country, for the blood that is dispensable with impunity, for the killings committed with blessings, for the mendacious Zionist myth on which I was educated and for the crushed Palestinian narrative that is forbidden to express itself but the truth of which has returned and the green shoots of which are poking out through the weeds and the racist laws.
I will mourn for the former Minister of Education, Livnat, who defended the law against mourning on Nakba day saying: “If they have nothing to mourn over they will have no reason to rebel,” Words worthy of the worst of our adversaries and the most wicked of colonialists.
I will mourn for all of us who do not know what to do in the face of a law that is pure ruthlessness, one of dozens of racist laws that are in the process of assuming places of honour – if not all the places – in the statute-books of the democratic Jewish State. I will mourn for the democracy in this country, half of whose subjects live in conditions that are forbidden even for beasts in other democratic countries.
I will mourn for the children. Those who have died. Those who will die tomorrow. Those who can no longer live here, and those who are living here like monsterous golems that have turned on their creators,whose identity is shaped by fear, evil, racism, the twisted love of a land that is not theirs, hatred for all that is not in their image and an insatiable appetite for killing.
I will mourn on Nakba Day. And also on the day that precedes it which we call Remembrance Day and which is nothing but a day dedicated to the cult of dead flesh, at the end of which everyone goes out and grills another kind of dead flesh on open flames, sings, dances, overeats and gets drunk. I will mourn for our Independence Day that is nothing but a celebration of the triumph of closure and subjugation.
All these things I will mourn on Nakba Day. I will join the millions of dispossessed, downtrodden and humiliated who have not given up on the future and who still believe there is a chance, who stand as witnesses and as firebrands of the true human spirit.
I will mourn on Nakba Day in order to be worthy of them, so that my children will know which side I am on, and so that they too can believe there is a chance for hope and a future in which justice will prevail.
Translated from Hebrew by George Malent
Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the Sakharov Human Rights Prize laureate, member of Bereaved Families for Peace, and a co-initiator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine