Letter to my Occupier ~ by @48Refugee

48Refugee weblog | May 18, 2012

To my occupier:I know you will read this because you read everything I write. You watch me closely hoping to decipher at least some of my words in any way that can hurt me.  Maybe you can figure out where my loyalties lie, where my sympathies are, what political affiliations my relatives have, what mosque my uncles pray in, what charities I donate to, who my friends are, and on and on.

I want you to know that you are wrong; wrong about the course history will take, wrong about the nature of my people, wrong about our will and persistence, wrong about the “purity” of your cause, wrong in your belief that you will continue to dominate, destroy, and humiliate us with impunity, you are simply wrong and I am proof.

My grandparents were a young couple from Beir el Saba, and in 1948, they did not have the option of staying and fighting. My great uncle had been killed only a few months earlier and he’d left an orphan and widow behind. Our family was small and couldn’t afford to support any more orphans and widows; we had no choice but to flee from the impeding death and destruction. Though it took me a long time to believe they weren’t weak or selling out when they left, I know that now. They had a right to return and I do too.

My father sought a better life, an education, wealth, status, respect, and dignity in the United States, all things he wouldn’t find in the refugee camp where he was born and raised. You hoped he would forget Beir el Saba, you hoped the taste of prosperity would keep him from returning to his homeland, you hoped he’d assimilate into American society and forget his rights waiting to be defended in Palestine, you hoped the old would die and the young would forget. You were wrong.

He left and he stayed a way for a long time, but he wore his nationalism proudly. He married a woman from his camp. His first child was born in Palestine and the two of us born during the first intifada have the nationalistic names to prove it. We hung the Palestinian flag and pictures of the Dome of the Rock in our Texas home. We sang revolutionary songs during every car ride. Palestine was alive in well in Texas.

I want you to know that I have not forgotten. I was born in a foreign land, but I have not forgotten. I count and think and dream in a foreign language, but I have not forgotten. I hold a foreign passport and vote in foreign elections, but I have not forgotten. I am a Palestinian from Beir el Saba, and you are wrong.

I don’t have deeds to my family’s lands, I don’t have a seventy-year-old key, but I have a sacred right. I will return and I do not need your approval or permission or a UN Resolution.

I write you this letter from the second floor of the house my refugee uncle built with money he spent decades saving and countless hours away from his family struggling to make the best of his conditions under occupation and siege. I write to you from the refugee camp where my parents were both born and raised, the camp where my family has waited patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, for the past 64 years for our right to return. I write to you with words my grandparents wouldn’t understand but in a language they spoke fluently. You are wrong. We sing songs for Jerusalem and hang maps of Palestine in our homes, we teach our kids the names of Palestinian towns, long ago ethnically cleansed, before we teach them the names of our United Nations-built camps.

Your buffer zones and warplanes don’t faze me. Your military incursions and illegal arrests only further encourage me. I do not fear you. I pity those you have misguided for soon they will know immeasurable shame and regret. I pity those who support you and enforce your policies for the same reasons, but you, you deserve your fate.

Save this letter, translate it to Hebrew, send it to your intelligence officers and remember always how wrong you are. Your propaganda, falsely framed excerpts of history, and great lie of democracy will not last. I promise you we will have our way and you will beg for our mercy, but we are better than you. Though we do not claim to be chosen or preferred or superior, we will treat you fairly, a value we derive from our humility and humanity.  Know my promise is not empty and that I will die for this cause, raise children for this cause, and sacrifice everything for it.  Out of kindness, I warn you that I am not alone. My comrades are many and we are stubborn, you cannot stop us or change our minds.

I do not wish you luck or happiness or success, but I will warn you that I have just begun and you will soon see my sincerity.

You are warned,

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