A common space for harmonic peacemakers
"I want to believe (even if it's naïve) that one day, the 15th of May, will become one of the days that the people of this country will mark together, as part of our common history. And then we can declare to the world that we are a light to our region. Until then, the darkness will continue, fear and insecurity will prevail across the land.
I wish everyone a day of heartfelt, profound listening."
~ Jamal Daghash
Today is Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) day. I've translated a post from my friend Jamal Daghash, a home-hospice physician and social activist.
~ Yoav Peck
May 15, Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) Day.
As a cloudy Friday meets me, I wonder about the significance of this day in my personal life. I feel I'm touching on an explosive conversation, but I can't let it go, for it's like a white elephant in our lives. So what do you think, can we talk about this, without defensiveness, slamming of doors, or bringing up "reasons" why Jamal wants to talk about this?
I want to speak of 1948, with as little interpretation as possible, about what occurred in 1948, though I was born ten years later. What happened is that the majority, the Palestinians who lived here before the founding of the State, in cities: Tzfat, Tiberias, Acco, Nazareth, Haifa, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Ramle, Lod, and many more villages, some 800 thousand people… resisted the creation of a Jewish entity/state, on our lands. The resistance took different forms, including armed resistance.
The Palestinian resistance to the Jewish entity-in-formation failed, and at the end of the war in '48, the Palestinian majority became the minority (some 150 thousand) in its land. Many were torn from their homes, their land, and were driven or fled their villages. The Palestinian cities were emptied, and many of the people who remained became refugees, in neighboring villages. And the State that was born in '48 took most of the lands of the Palestinians and forbade most of the uprooted to return to their homes and their land. My father's side of the family lived in Dir Hanna, and were not driven from their land, though parts of our land were taken. The family of my mother, of blessed memory, fled Haifa to the village of Mrar, and later moved to Acco. To this day, we don't know where her house was, in Wadi Roshmia. That's the essence of what happened from my perspective, in 1948. On this day, we the Palestinians mark with sadness and pain the loss, the connection to the land where we were born, and longing for what was.
However, the more I listen to the stories of what happened in '48, I understand that for each of us (the Palestinians and the Jews) there is a personal story about what happened in '48. And as long as we fail to listen to the personal story of the other, we will continue to argue about the righteousness of our own story as opposed to that of the other. And it seems that we will not really succeed in creating a space of peace…first of all a personal space within myself, before I offer peace to others….and we will continue going out to righteous wars.
The significance of this day, from my perspective, is that the day is a test for all of us, testing our ability to embrace and respect the other's story, regardless of whether we agree or understand it. And challenging our ability to begin the first steps toward solving the conflict, and to bring peace to the land and to the region.
I want to believe (even if it's naïve) that one day, the 15th of May, will become one of the days that the people of this country will mark together, as part of our common history. And then we can declare to the world that we are a light to our region. Until then, the darkness will continue, fear and insecurity will prevail across the land.
I wish everyone a day of heartfelt, profound listening.
Translated by his friend, Yoav Peck.