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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

 

Palestine's Resiliant, Dignified, and Courageous Voices

As we approach the sixtieth year of Israel's occupation of Palestine and its fortieth year of occupation of Gaza and the West Bank let these voices of resiliance, courage, and dignity inspire us as we continue to demand respect for Palestinians' human rights and implementation of their inalienable right to return to their homes from which they were ethnically cleansed by Eastern European and American foreigners.

"Eighty year old Mohammad Issa was wearing a coat and head cover to protect himself from the bitter cold. He leaned on a stick and cheered on the others to resist, encouraging citizens to not back down, to 'move forward into the face of Israeli forces that aim only to destroy.'"

"I became a refugee at the age of 10, when strange European Zionist settlers invaded my country, destroyed my home and made me a refugee. I spent all my adult life wondering why this enemy destroyed my life. I tried to put a face to this invisible enemy – for I have never seen one before. Like millions of Palestinians, I started, then in 1948, on the long trek to return home, The trajectory of expulsion propelled us to the four corners of the earth but our compass was always directed towards our home. In unison and in unbelievable resilience, we vowed: We shall never rest until we return home." Dr. Salman Abu Sitta

Your people, Bir'im have not died
And will not forsake a grain of sand from you
As long as you have men like these
As long as you have men like these
Who continually strive for justice
they do not care what others may say
And they always say to the oppressor
Our Bir'im is more precious than money.
And the return will never disappear
We will return contented
We will forget the bitter days. Refugee from Birim

“I do not believe that there is a single Palestinian or a single Arab who is willing to accept giving up Al-Quds, the right of return or any other of the legitimate rights of our people”. He said: “No… and a thousand times… No! to the peace projects of surrender that they want to impose on us, without us receiving anything in return." Archbishop Ata Allah Hanna

"I find it interesting that most people refer to 'Palestinian refugee' without contemplating on what it means to be a refugee. As a Palestinian refugee who has been forced to live in another country all my life, I have EVERY right to go back to the place where I belong. It is my God given right, it is my right that is mandated by all international treaties, UN charter and all western laws... I am a Palestinian refugee. All I want is my God-given and basic human right to go back to my home country." Yassine

"Sabah mentions the hardships of the first years in the refugee camp. The horrendous journey across the broken bridge and the raging waters and the terrorism of Israeli soldiers pales in contrast to the hardships of life on a crowded cold muddy plain without food or shelter. She is haunted by sudden wild shock in the absence of a home. 'It was cold and muddy and it was my duty to bring drinking water in buckets from far away. I was twelve. My boots sank in the mud every painful step.' We returned, she and I, to Bak'a camp to visit the orphanage she helped to build.

"Sabah struggled to survive in the camp, to rebuild the disrupted social relations, to find work, and to preserve her optimism. From the years of activism she remembers her love. Her face becomes beautiful. This beauty is a jewel embedded in the harshness of the camp. The birth of her daughter, Sanabel, focused all the loss into one moment. Sabah suffered a stroke. Her life is the other side of privelege -- Israelis privileged to steal her home, her land, and burden her life. She and her husband, workers, worked hard and moved out of the camp." Samia Halaby

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