Friday, April 29, 2005
Palestinians Must Accept Reality of 'Right of Return': My Response
Oppressed people attain a dignity that is denied to those of us who are more worried about what latest hot video we're going to rent. They also develop heartbreakingly poignant symbols which sustain them from the world's indifference. The symbol of the Palestinian refugee is the cartoon character, Handala, the ten year old refugee child, created by Naji Al-Ali. Handala is a symbol of "bitterness." Handala is frozen in time and his late creator, who was expelled from his homeland when he was ten, says that Handala will "start growing up," when he returns. Handala has his hands "clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way," said Al Ali.
"His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself," said Al-Ali. "Things will become normal again when the homeland returns."
There is nothing "extreme" or "ideological" in rejecting racism and insisting upon an "inalienable" right. What is extreme is facilitating an injustice that has not been righted for fifty-seven years. What is extreme is that Jewish self-determination created and continues to create homelessness for Palestinians. What is extreme is that Jewish self-determination arose from forcibly, illegally, and systematically expelling the indigenous population because they weren't Jewish.
If you are not morally swayed consider the feasiblity of return. Research by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta shows that today seventy-eight percent of the Jewish population resides on fifteen percent of the land. The five hundred and thirty one Palestinian villages that those Jews in search of self-determination demolished remain largely uninhabited. The "reality" is that racism is rejected by civilized people. The reality is that Jewish self-determination that comes at the expense of Palestinians' human rights is a mirage.