The Holocaust Owns Me

Edna Yaghi’s Column

I am the Palestinian stone child. You may have seen me near the barbed wire barricades my occupier has erected in my own country. I wield a single stone against the 4th largest military power in the world. What can my small stone do against all the weapons American taxpayers give to those who have come to occupy my land, to raze my home and to wage a war of genocide against my people?

I will not tell you I have no fear but it does no good to be afraid of dying because death is all around me. It confronts me on my way to school, when I eat, when I try to play and when I sleep. There is no safe haven from those who are determined to take away my life so they can occupy my land. This is the land that is mine and has been the land of my father, and our forefathers before us for more than 2000 years.

Jewish European invaders swept across my gentle valleys and peaceful fields in a “scorch and kill policy” after British colonists supplied them with money and weapons while making sure that my people remained without any means of defense. From the beginning our Anglo colonizers prepared the way for their replacements, the Jewish invaders, against the peaceful unarmed villagers who had tilled their land with love just as a doting parents tends a child.

A trail of blood and tears has spread all over my land like a dark plague. This trail is the work of Jewish terrorists. Whole villages were wiped out during and prior to 1948. Children were orphaned and women widowed but even this carnage was not enough to whet the appetite of the terror groups come to take what was not theirs.

Those Jews who slaughtered the most Palestinian women and children were celebrated as heroes and made leaders of the new state of Israel born out of Palestinian blood and built over Palestinian corpses. All the time they slaughtered my people, uprooted my trees and desecrated Palestinian fields, they spoke of peace with forked tongues and some of the most ruthless and most brutal butchers were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes as if taking the lives of Palestinian civilians was an honorable accomplishment.

Tent cities sprang up within the occupation and in neighboring countries and the many who had been proud owners of acres upon acres of citrus groves and bountiful crops had to wait for humiliating handouts just to make it through each day.

Yet even this was not enough. Israeli Jews were not and are not satisfied with taking most of Palestine away from its indigenous inhabitants. They want it all. I just don’t get it. Any Jew anywhere in the world can come to Palestine and claim my land as his or her own but my people and I are not free to live on our own land and to govern ourselves. I live in the remnants of my country; I have no water to drink while Israelis enjoy their fancy swimming pools during summer heat filled with water illegally diverted from my springs, wells and rivers.

As the world watches and blames us, the victims, Israelis bulldoze Palestinian homes while the occupants are yet inside. More than 500 Palestinians were massacred in Jenin in early April of this year under the excuse of rooting out “Palestinian terrorists.” But every Palestinian is considered a terrorist, be he an infant of one day, a pregnant mother, an elderly person or a child on his way to school. Not long ago, a mother and her two toddlers who were out walking, were shot down by Israeli soldiers. And even now, the stench of rotting bodies fills the air in Jenin as survivors search for their lost loved ones.

Against tanks, Apache helicopters, bombs, F-16s, an enormous army, and bulldozers, the Palestinian people have their stones and a few light rifles. Meanwhile Israelis have their lies, their propaganda, the control of Western media and their crocodile tears.

Israeli prisons are filled with children and women captives and thousands and thousands of men. These are the ones caught fighting for their freedom with their bare hands or daring to resist the guns and tanks come to bombard them with death. Children and women and all Palestinian prisoners are beaten, tortured, fed food unfit for human consumption and live in conditions the “civilized” world would not keep an animal in.

The greatest form of terror is a war that is carried out against a civilian population. Palestinians have nothing to defend themselves with-only their raw courage. The real terrorists are those who have stolen Palestinian land and kill anyone who dares to remain on Palestinian soil.

I shall continue to throw stones at heavily armored tanks manned by blood thirsty Israeli soldiers who take special delight in shooting down and killing or permanently disabling children like me. I have no hope for tomorrow. My dreams died in villages like Deir Yassin and in refugee camps like Sabra and Shatilla and Jenin.

I thought that people everywhere are entitled to the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is inconceivable that some people are now defined as more equal than others and that the sanctity of life is reserved only for the special few. Aren’t we all children of God?

I long to be a boy again and to go about the business of boyhood- collecting frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. But the horror of the Palestinian holocaust owns me and will follow me to my grave.