Nakba, the Palestine catastrophe… – a poem

Paul Balles |  Posted on |  Saturday, May 21, 2011| Gulf News

One of my first students when I came to the Middle East was a young Palestinian boy. He had earned a scholarship to attend the university. Remarkably, this young man had grown up in a refugee camp. His mother and father, plus 11 brothers and sisters, lived in a tent. They had been victims of the Nakba (“the catastrophe”).

Despite the difficulties this family encountered, my student managed to study, earn good grades and win a scholarship to attend university.

Now, 63 years since the Palestinian catastrophe, there are more than seven million refugees whose forbearers were driven out of their homes and villages by terrorist gangs like the Haganah, the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Gang.

Are 7m Palestinians barely surviving in refugee camps any better off than 6m Jews in German concentration camps?

The terrorist gangs, later called Israelis, destroyed and depopulated 418 Palestinian villages to be stolen and occupied by Jewish settlers.

Palestinians still living and working in Palestine and referred to as Israeli Arabs experience their own frustrations and hardships by submitting to the apartheid state of Israel.

Writer, musician, ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon discovered a moving poem, by an unknown author, that beautifully expresses the frustration and despair felt by Palestinians under the occupation.

Here it is:

Can anyone hear me?

I’m sick of The Wall

I’m sick of the checkpoints between Palestinian


I’m sick of illegal Israeli settlers and settlements

I’m sick of having the Hebrew language on my

ID card

I’m sick of people not knowing anything about our

history but knowing so much about Jewish


I’m sick of people ignoring the Palestinian Right of

Return and accepting the Jewish Law of Return

Can anyone hear me?

I’m sick of the Oslo Agreement which no one here

wanted in the first place

I’m sick of the Palestinian Authority having zero


I’m sick of watching my father being humiliated at

checkpoints by people my age and younger

I’m sick of my international friends having to lie

about coming to visit; being interrogated, strip

searched and sometimes deported in the process

I’m sick of people not understanding what

“occupation” is

Can anyone hear me?

I’m sick of being scared all the time

I’m sick of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder being

a normal state of being here in Palestine

I’m sick of how ineffective the UN has become

I’m sick of International Humanitarian Law not

applying to the State of Israel

I’m sick of how fighting for basic human rights for

Palestinians or being critical of Israeli policy is

so often labelled “anti-Semitic”

Can anyone hear me?

I’m sick of the fact that everybody forgets I’m

a Semite

I’m sick of hearing Israelis complain about

discrimination when the State of Israel was

founded on a principle of ethnic purity

I’m sick of living in a time when racial profiling has

become acceptable

I’m sick of constantly being treated as a suspect

I’m sick of how mainstream media portrays us and

our situation

Can anyone hear me?

I’m sick of the whole world caring about Gilad

Shalit when there are more than 7,000

Palestinians inside Israeli prisons

I’m sick of trying to defend myself, friends or

countrymen and being labelled a terrorist

I’m sick of the fact that everywhere I go I can see

The Wall, a settlement or Israeli soldier

Can anyone hear me?

I’m sick of 63 years of Israeli Occupation!

Whether in refugee camps, living in the West Bank or as Israeli Arabs, Palestinians have all suffered 63 years of being sick of Israeli occupation.


In Pictures | The Nakba

In Pictures | Palestinians Commemorate Al Nakba | 2011

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