By Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh – Jerusalem
In the presence of the eloquence of blood, there is no time to expose the myth of the barbarians but in passing. Today in Gaza there is no time for mourning, no time for theorizing, no time for satire, and most certainly there is no time to mull over utterances and endlessly pondered questions. There is no time to weigh words when the open wound has become the size of a nation, and in the land where being a victim is the sole evidence of the oppressor’s existence, who fulfills his duty through the other’s annihilation. There is no time for love in the time of war. There is no time for war in the time of love except as a yearning for life. There is no time to review laws and principles, for the majority of judges in God’s own country are still on reserve in Samson’s army. In Palestine, these judges are on collective leave, paid for by the kin of the victims, so that they can join forces on the Gaza war front. There is no time to balance statements to secure a longer list of signatures from our friends in “the Israeli peace camp” (even peace is practiced in camps in Israel!) There is no time to negotiate even-handed statements of condemnation so as to not harm the “moral equivalency” between the victim and the oppressor without naming either. There is no time to do all of this to gain more support for a multi-lingual appeal that has been answered—even before it was issued—by the chief of staff of international principles in the new-Sodom in New York! There is no time in the dark of night and its rough passage but for one statement: STOP THE CRIMES IN GAZA.
The kind friend asks: what should intellectuals do today? The cunning foe asks: what is intellectualism good for tomorrow? The numbed-soul asks: what is the meaning of an “open fist”? The weak-hearted asks: what is the size of the nail? Out of the futility of all these questions, and from the desire to be and thirst to live, in Gaza, comes the answer: “one scream is better than a thousand theories.” Let us scream in all the languages of the world, for the right to decipher the last gesture by the martyr seems to be lost in translation on TV screens. Was his index finger raised in the performance of his final prayer for his departing soul, or was he warning his rescuers of the F16s of death that returned to hunt, and to silence the media that was just about to bankrupt the neo-Homerians? The bright child asks: can translations erase the color of blood from sign language? Can the “anti-Semitism of the camera” exaggerate the difference between a kite and an Apache to this extent? Can the same camera be rewound to capture the wronged David and the treacherous Goliath? And what of the world and its pirate consciousness that gazes at the “treasure island of Gaza” through the “covered lens of the one-eyed-binoculars” of the eternally defeated Israeli general? Would a statement by Palestinian intellectuals—in defense of the right to live and to resist in Gaza—succeed in guiding this consciousness to correctly distinguish between the victim and the oppressor? Perhaps it would, and perhaps it is an imperative to say:
While the world is busy explaining the details of the images of Palestinian blood, made in Gaza at the hands of Israeli fascism; and while there exist those who justify Israeli crimes “here” and there; and given the everlasting stuttering in presenting the cause at the United Nations—that conflates between the Palestinian victim and the Israeli oppressor in a shameless “unbinding” press release; and in light of American military and political partnership in the crime, and its bare coverage of the atrocities justifying them by advocating “Israel’s right to defend itself;” and in light of some Arab leaders conspiring with the Israelis… We stand here in Palestine as intellectuals whose hands are not contaminated by the ink of unjust agreements; neither taking part in besieging our fellow Palestinians in Gaza and justifying it, nor is our record tarnished by any condemnation of the right to resistance.
Today we proclaim what we said earlier during the hideous war on Lebanon in 2006: The resistance that defends the right to live and the life of rights—in its battle with the Zionist entity on all fronts—is a right granted by international law for all those who are under occupation until they gain their freedom and right to self-determination. Resistance, albeit not defined by international law in terms of place, time, or method, is not a choice among many, but it is the multiplicity of choices in place, time, and method. Resistance is not a choice among many, but the only means to defend our existence. Resistance is not a choice among many, for it is a necessity to defend our right to live. Resistance is not a choice among many, but the sole choice to rein in Samson who unleashed his sinful-tailed-foxes to burn down Gaza and to extinguish life in all of Palestine.
The stylish colleague wonders: “your statement is full of rhetoric… it’s too much for the taste of our supporters. Its diction defies translation!” The frumpy opinionated fellow argues: “you must break with the establishment, my friend! Its existence eclipses some of our growing shadow!” The earnest poet whispers: “the moment of revelation has not arrived… I’m still waiting.” The children of Gaza say: what is Samson’s riddle, oh my all-knowing friend?!” And my warrior friend exclaims: “Did the horse’s throat become the hive,” or “did the bees nest in the carcass of the lion’?”
Without playing the self-centered intellectual, I reply: our enemies pace time, via a two-thousand-year old Masada, oh my friend. They are not ashamed to recruit Samson in their pursuit of their modern war—a war where only the “uncivilized” bleed. It is a war of the “god” of wars who takes lives from the sky. Our enemies have mastered all war plans from Masada to Auschwitz not learning the simple lesson of survival: “to leave one door—even a closed one—as an emergency exit.” This is what their avant-garde intellectuals argue. What is, then, the lesson today? What is the wisdom of blood? And is there any wisdom of blood but that which guides the beholder to distinguish between the oppressed and the oppressor?
Samson’s heirs, from Olmert and Livni to Barak and Ashkenazi, have re-opened the “Book of Judges” to declare that Samson was not the “last judge,” but rather the first to commit suicide! The suicidal-judges, in Samson’s modern army, have completed the grand preparations to carry out their plan: to set Gaza alight. It is the same plan: the plan of Samson who was forsaken by foxes; the plan of Sharon who was forsaken by his dark heart; and Mofaz’s plan of Palestinian shoah that was aborted by a “woman”—who was not Palestinian—so that she can carry it out! And what do our enemies teach their children, who are on reserve, but that Samson was the “last of judges” who delivered ancient Israel from the Philistines!
This son was born to no father and to a barren mother. Proclaimed by angels, it was a prophet-like mythical birth of the redeemer of ancient Israel. Samson was adventurous and his stories with harlots and lions are endless! He would conquer lions and devour the bees that nest in their carcasses. He would kill thirty Philistines in Asqalan, while his heirs massacre three hundred in Gaza today. He would attach torches to the tails of his foxes and unleash them in Gaza’s fields to light it on fire, while his heirs today unleash death on Gaza from its six fronts so Mofaz’s shoa could be realized. After being enraged by his “wife’s affair” he slaughtered one thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an donkey, while his heirs today kill thousands of Palestinians with the jaw of Zionism and the new-Sodom arsenal in New York. Samson would rip the gates of Gaza and carry them to the hills of Hebron, while his heirs today call up Hebron’s settlers on reserve to burn down the doors of Gaza’s mosques and churches. He would bring the temple of the Philistines down after being blinded, while his heirs today blindly bring down Palestinian shrines, and bomb their children’s cradles.
Gradually, the myth fades away and in its place comes the picture lacking the jawbone of the donkey, the fur of the lion, the sons of God, and the sons of His enemies! The picture is full of Gaza that is drowning in blood shed by Samson’s heirs. However, the Gazan child wonders: is it possible for the myth to be realized in clearer manner? Was Josephus exaggerating to that degree, or was he “not a little liar” as reputed? Are our enemies still deceived to this extent? Would the “sun” of Samson set in de-Layla’s “night” once again? Didn’t the Dan tribe(s) discover that Samson was but a suicidal king, and never a prophet or a judge? Don’t Samson’s heirs realize that his suicide was an act of regret and “redemption,” as Abrahamic Judaism entails, not as the Zionism of Olmert and Barak dictates? Perhaps, because our enemies prefer the history of kings and heroes over the history of prophets, they did not want to know that Samson was anything but a suicidal king with little to do with righteous judgment even before he was blinded?
Samson was not a “Herculean judge,” Masada was not a “moment of sacrifice,” and Bar-Kokhba was not a “son of the star”… but all were symptoms of the “Bar-Kokhba syndrome” that created the Israeli settler colony as a suicidal entity as it was described by its former chief of Israeli military intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi. It is a Don Quixoteian entity that sees no one but itself, it appears to deny the mere right of existence of its other. However, it is the slyness of names, the shrewdness of metaphors that allows Sharon to be the heir of Samson; Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to be the heir of Elazar ben Yair; and the “never failed to fail” president of Israel Shimon Peres to be the heir of Simon Bar Kokhba “the Simon of lies” not “the son of the star.”
Between the “night of Delilah” in which Samson’s sun set, and the “night of Dalal” in which Barak’s sun will eventually set, the settler colony of Israel repeats the crime. It is the criminal regime full of war criminals that redefines the holocaust, the pogrom, and the ghetto. The criminal regime forces the Palestinian into the inferno of them all, then prevents him from being mentioned in the myth—neither as a hero nor as a villain. The Israeli regime performs the criminal acts, monopolizes the status of victimhood, and claims the role of the judge who legitimizes destruction. The criminal entity of Israel emphasizes their definition of the holocaust, the pogrom, and the ghetto when they validate—openly and boldly—the bombardment of mosques, churches, universities, ministries of culture and civil affairs, hostels and hospitals. After all, the criminal Zionist regime blames the victims that were not alert enough to the brutality of the “mighty” IOF. And after all, part of the international pirate consciousness still chooses shadow over substance when siding with the Israeli narrative in a completion of the myth. Nonetheless, is there a statement-scream that would disintegrate the myth, and reconstruct the narrative in whatever space available for a scream? Is there a thunderous statement that proclaims:
No one has the right to put the blame of the oppressor on the victim. No war criminal has the right to hold the family of his victims responsible for being close to the alleged military target. No one has the right to blame the victim for not leaving the site of bombardment. No one has the right to forget to forgive. No one has the right to forgive to forget. Those who were not martyred have no choice but to become martyrs. There is no duty for those who are not criminals but to chase the criminals. No one has the right to condemn resistance while awaiting its triumph no matter how great his political or symbolic capital is. No one has the right to equate between “wrestling fundamentalisms” while one is a victim and the other is a criminal. No one has the right to judge resistance’s place, timing, or method by the amoral standards of the gauche caviar elite in Palestine or abroad—for resistance is not a cultural project funded by a mutual grant. It is the product that defies all sorts of commodification, for it is the alignment of the sublime with the sublime. It is the alignment of the sky with the hands of the martyr that refuses to conform. It is the alignment of the eyes of the believers with the path to the demolished shrine. It is the alignment of the refugee with his native land. It is the alignment of the starving prisoners with the internal sound of their hunger. It is the alignment of the uprooted tree with her—and our—mother earth. It is the alignment of the meaning with the heart of its author and its righteous compass.
Repeating now what has been said earlier is to emphasize that Arab blood is one, Palestinian blood is one, and the enemy of both and the enemy of humanity is also one—it is the merciless Zionist occupation. It is the monster that was bitten by Nazism yesterday, and acquired the attributes by which it is biting the Palestinian victim today. The enemy is also those who are—overtly and covertly—conspiring with the Zionist monster. Repeating now what has been said earlier is to highlight the right of Palestinians to resist. There are no boundaries in praising resistance. There are no boundaries in supporting resistance until the aggression comes to a halt, the Zionist war criminals are put on trial, and Palestinian rights are achieved. There are no boundaries to the grievances screaming to heavens in Gaza. There are no boundaries to the enemy’s fascism. There are no boundaries to the selectivity of the international pirate consciousness. There are no boundaries to the tyranny of the American empire of destruction. There are no boundaries to the barbarity of the Israeli fortress of fire and iron. And there are no boundaries to the elegies and apologies of the Arab tongue… Hence, there must not be boundaries to defend resistance and the right to live. There must not be boundaries for hope. Blessed be the martyrs. Blessed be the resistance. Blessed be the life.
Yet, is there a time for a poem—not written for an occasion—to respond the martyr’s cry? It is the same martyr that we buried in haste between yesterday and today fearing the “god of wars” would yet again bombard the morgue. Were we afraid that the martyr would not find someone to dignify him justly on the soil of Palestine?
He said to me: “why do the dead bury the dead as they are? They might return.
they might return, for they know the path to a blood they voluntarily left behind”
– You mean the martyr?
– He is in the afar
– And we are closer to life. Among the abundance of its songs, we only memorize the song of his last return, and the salute:
“The brother has returned, oh my eye… don’t cry!
the brother has returned on the shoulders of his comrades and admirers
the brother has returned, oh mom, ululate him
the martyr’s blood is a debt on us.”
Return to us, our martyr, here is your spring waiting for you.
the fire your hands have lit is in thirst for your cheerful breath,
and in thirst for your mother’s mourning songs that exhausted her tears.
Return with your guardian angel,
return with your praised and sweetened name by the lord of the universe
on earth and in heavens.
Return whenever you wish.
Return, oh the eagle of your own soul,
return where all the scripts are molded with your prophetic heart pasted with ‘Antara-The Martyr
return absolved of our shame:
“Have the martyrs left any (empty) graves?” we ask,
as to crown the gravestone with laurel, or with thorns so not to bring about the day of judgment!
Have the martyrs left their harbor, then?
Have they “untied their ships” in the dusk? Are they returning?
Have the martyrs changed their direction so that we guide them to the virgin eternity?
or has our garden narrowed down on them, and the path faded out of their absence?
-Abdul-Rahim Al-Shaikh, Ph.D. is the Director of the Academic Support Unit at the School of Graduate Studies, and is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies at Birzeit University. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.