Reaching for the Stars

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“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”  Ralph Vaull Starr

An old friend visited me recently. We have known each other for over 30 years. We spoke about the “old days” as is the practice when you become aware that you are most likely on the back half of your life. You close your eyes and are trans- ported to the sights and sounds of those times when it was easy to dream the dreams of youth.

The dreams of youth are external. They lie outside one’s yet to come experiences. As time passes and one experiences life, this becomes the internal fodder for new dreams. They become part of your soul. But the tragedies of life also become the fodder for nightmares. The more severe the trial the harder it is to dream deep.

As Palestinians enter the sixth month of the Uprising against a brutal Israeli Occupation, it is becoming clear that one of the goals of Occupation is to eradicate the ability for Palestinians to dream deep. Israelis understand this prerequisite for Palestinians achieving their goal of freedom. If one can thwart the dream, one automatically thwarts the goal.

Maintaining an Occupation is really about the attempt to thwart dreams. When Israel bulldozes a Palestinian home it believes it is bulldozing a dream and in the process pushes achieving the goal of freedom further away. Make no mistake about it, when Israel destroys an olive grove it BELIEVES it is destroying dreams.

But when the dreams are part of your soul, they can never be destroyed. Israeli Occupation is effective in crushing the bones of children. It is effective in robbing 2.7 million people inside the Occupied territories of the joy of life. They are extremely effective in limiting journeys from one village to the other. But not even Israel’s might is able to stop the journey toward freedom as long as the dream lives.

The apologists for Occupation believe that Palestinians deserve neither the goal of self-determination nor the goal of freedom. This mindset creates an Occupation reality designed to snuff out dreams. But if Occupation snipers blind our youth, we may not be able to see the stars but we will continue to reach for them. If Israelis conquer and confiscate our lands, they cannot rob us of our dreams.

Israeli Occupation forces have maimed over 3000 people in the last six months. This would be the equivalent of 311,100 Americans if the same percentages were applied. Yet Occupation apologists would incredulously have us believe that Israel is the victim of violence.

No matter how hard Israeli Occupation attempts to crush our will, we realize that what lies behind us in our past and what lies before us in our futures are of less import than what lies within us as a people. But we will not stop searching for a new tomorrow. Our dreams are forever.

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