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Monday, April 07, 2008

 

Memory Eternal, Palestine

I haven't been moved by any story for a long time as I was by Ramzy Baroud's poignant epitaph for his father, "My Father Died Alone in Gaza/No Checkpoints in Heaven." Ramzy has never failed to move me; when I read his tribute to his beloved father, I was reminded of his story about a hero of the Jenin massacre, "Abu Jandal Was A Hero."

With Ramzy's latest story about his father who died alone in Gaza, bereft of his family, on March 18; I was reminded of my own father, who although not a refugee, died six years ago also in the month of March, during the height of the second Intifadeh. His death, undoubtably, was hastened by the heart-rending horrific reports from historic Palestine, stories about children alone and besieged in their homes with their dead parents, prohibited from seeking help by a cruel enemy determined to maintain a majority Jewish demographic no matter what the cost to the indigenous people. I know that my mother finally told me not to speak of the horrors to my father, that his condition worsened whenever he talked about the indignities to which his countryment were subjected by the Jews who'd streamed into Palestine from all over the world.

So, when I read the latest post by Seth Freedman, well-off British immigrant to historic Palestine, in which he wrote about Australian and South African Zionist youth intending to immigrate to Israel, who in their "gap year" met with so-called "Israeli Arabs," I posted the following comment:

The young and privileged South African and Australian Jews will soon have rights and privileges in two countries, while Israel denies our parents and grandparents to be buried in the land of their birth.

A group of Palestinian refugees fleeing Iraq who have been living for two years in tents at the Syrian/Iraqi border recently were received in Chile, while Jews from Chile may become instant citizens of historic Palestine.

Read refugee Ramzy Baroud's poignant epitaph (an excerpt below) for his father, "My Father Died Alone in Gaza," for an insight into the nature of the Palestinian experience, which will not be remedied by encounters with Zionist youth, the descendents of the engineers of our tragedy:

"It's been fourteen years since I last saw my father. As none of his children had access to isolated Gaza, he was left alone to fend for himself . . . In our last talk he said he feared he would die before seeing my children, but I promised that I would find a way. I failed.

"'I am sick, son, I am sick,' my father cried when I spoke to him two days before his death. He died alone on March 18, waiting to be reunited with my brothers in the West Bank. He died a refugee, but a proud man nonetheless.

"My father's struggle began 60 years ago, and it ended a few days ago. Thousands of people descended to his funeral from throughout Gaza, oppressed people that shared his plight, hopes and struggles, accompanying him to the graveyard where he was laid to rest. Even a resilient fighter deserves a moment of peace."

******

The story of Ramzy's father is one of many, of which many are still untold. Rest in peace, Abu, and rest assured fathers and mothers, "So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,/ So long lives this, and this gives life to thee." The old will pass, but the children will not forget.

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