Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Dispossessed

Writing about the Black civil rights movement, Harlem Renaissance Poet-man, Langston Hughes scrawled:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the events that Palestinians refer to as Al-Nakba, 'The Catastrophe' when the land of Palestine disappeared from the maps of the world. Until there is justice for the people of Palestine there will be no peace in the Middle East.

If the American War of Independence (from Britain) was simultaneously a war of expansion against the indigenous native populative, then likewise what Israelis refer to as a "the war of independence" was also a war of expansion against the people who had lived there for generations. These people were ethnically cleansed and their memory cleansed also in an orgy of destruction that saw over 400 Palestinian villages totally destroyed in the land that is now called Israel.

Like the Native Americans, Palestinians were driven at gunpoint from the land where they had lived for generations, many were herded into refugee camps where they still live alongside children and grandchildren. The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem was carved up between the Arab states, and later under Israeli occupation. A small remnant remained in Israel to live as third-class citizens. For the first twenty years of Israel's existence this Palestinian minority lived under direct military rule. The situation in the Middle East is explosive, 60 years of dispossession is 60 years too long: Palestine is a dream deferred.

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