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Saturday, September 15, 2007


No More Massacres: Peace and Dignity in their Own Land for Palestine's Refugees

"When I was younger I thought I would actually be able to help achieve all our aspirations for independence, unity, justice. Many died for those aspirations and things are only getting worse. That, certainly, can
make one despair. But more than ever I feel a sense of duty to do what I have to and can do." Naji Al-Ali, immortal Palestinian cartoonist
In the summer of 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon to destroy the PLO once and
for all. The Lebanon invasion transformed Naji. He witnessed how the country was
invaded by land, sea and air. And how 10 thousands honest Lebanese and
Palestinian Muslims resisted 90 thousand Israeli soldiers with all of their
modern weaponry for 88 days under siege in East Beirut being bombarded by what
is equivalent to the two atomic bombs on Japan. All that happened while Muslim
Iraq was fighting Muslim Iran. While most Arab countries were oppressing their
own people. Arabs and Muslims just stood and watched the Arab capital of light
invaded slowly and painfully, while the world was watching the world cup in
Spain. But it even got worse. The PLO decided to leave Lebanon if Israel
promised that the Palestinian civilian refugees would be safe. Israel agreed but
in September 1982 the Israeli tanks surrounded the refugee camps of Sabra and
Shatiela and stopped anyone getting in or out. The next two days were among the
ugliest in history. 2800 Men, Women and children Palestinian and
Lebanese Muslims were massacred in the streets of camps by guns, knives and
axes. The Israeli and their Christian Lebanese allies took their revenge for
their failure to control Lebanon. The tanks soldiers even used glowing lights at
nighttime because time couldn't be wasted. After the discovery of what happened,
the world was enraged but helpless. Israel reacted to this Nazi style massacre
by admitting its “indirect” responsibility and “punished” Sharon the engineer of
Lebanon occupation and invasion by stopping him for life from being a defense
minister. After, he became the foreign an deputy prime Minster in the
1998, and now, the current prime Minster of Israel.
When Al-Ali, who grew up in Ain Al Hilweh Refugee Camp, and who was an eyewitness to the Sabra/Shatila massacre, feared he would forget the Palestinian cause he created Handala, in his own words, to remember his "lost childhood." Handala is the ten year old refugee boy prominant in most Al-Ali cartoons:
I was scared that I was slipping into the luxury of life, forgetting my
real cause, so I decided to create a character that would represent the honest
Palestinian who will always be on people's minds.
One day when the world wakes up to the fact that a rights based solution is the only solution for Middle East peace, the Palestinian refugees will go home to live in peace and dignity on their own land and will no longer be subject to massacres. Kahlil Gibran said, "Every beauty and greatness in this world is created by a single thought or emotion inside a man."
Al-Ali echos Gibran: "I was prepared to die defending just one drawing, because every drawing is like a drop of water which makes its way through the minds of people."
After the Sabra/Shatila massacre, Naji Al-Ali made Handala's hands more animated, sometimes throwing a stone or lifted in defiance. We honor the lost childhoods of Palestinian children and the lost lives of massacre victims by continuing to educate people about a rights based solution for Palestine's long suffering refugees. Israel, in violation of international law, refuses to solve the Palestinan refugee problem by implementing a rights based solution. Instead, we witness the ludicrous and unjust display of well-heeled Jews from Europe and North America immigrating daily to property which rightfully belongs to Palestinians suffering in refugee camps and subject to massacre.

a perfect post.
First Issue of UNTIL RETURN Now Available!
window into palestine blog
13 Sept 2007

Until Return - Issue 1
Al-Awda online magazine

all the best U!
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