Mahmoud Darwish spoke in the
name of the Palestinian people
(In the Press)
Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish spoke in the name of the Palestinian people on the fiftieth memorial of the Palestinian Nakba, through Radio Palestine and by broadcast over the loudspeakers of mosques and churches, to mark the commencement of Palestinian marches in PNA controlled areas.
Darwish began his rallying call by saying, We who are born here on this divine land, we who are dedicated to the message of peace and freedom and the defense of human values, and of the strength of the olive tree, we who are yoked to the night of fifty years of occupation and dispersal, who are wounded from the hearts vein to the artery, we declare our presence as a wound crying in the depths of time and space in spite of the tempests which try to rend our roots from the very earth to which we gave our name. After a brief journey through the history of the Palestinian Nakba in which he recalled the memory of those Palestinians and Arabs who had sacrificed their lives for the sake of Palestine, and those who are captive in Israeli jails, Darwish considered that admitting honestly to the moral and political responsibility for the crime which the Zionist scheme had perpetrated against us (the Palestinians) is what will pave the way for a historical reconciliation between the two peoples - the Palestinian and the Israeli people.
Darwish highlighted what would follow on from this admission by way of political rights which acknowledge the legitimacy of our existence in our historical homeland and our right to sovereignty within the framework of our own independent state.
He said that this admission is the only way to reconciliation and that asking Palestinians to apologise for their history, to increase settlement activities, to renege on agreements made and to create facts on the ground was not the way.
Darwish said the Nakba scattered us in the full view and knowledge of the international community and was brought about in collusion with its great powers. He called upon these states to atone for their dormant moral responsibility by increasing the intensity of their expression of support for the Palestinian people and their national authority, morally, politically and materially, that they may fulfill their national rights and save the hope of peace from being murdered, through putting pressure on the Israeli Government to abide by resolutions of international law which call for withdrawal and for the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
Darwish reminded Europe to atone for its great crime against its Jewish inhabitants followed up through giving unlimited support to Israel as a resolution to the Jewish question, and that it bears responsibility for creating another question which is the Palestinian question. He said, No tragedy justifies the creation of another tragedy, and there is no intercession for a victim when such intercession transforms one who is innocent of the crime into yet another victim. We bear no responsibility for the great tragedy which Europe inflicted upon the Jewish people.
He continued, If it is our moral duty to accept the Jewish account of the Holocaust as it is without entering into discussion about the statistical aspect of the crime, and to intensify our expression of sympathy for the victims, then it is also our right to ask the children of the victims to recognise the position of Palestinian victims and their right to life, liberation and independence.
He added, The time has come for the worlds conscience to summon up the courage to distinguish between the victim and the executioner, and to review the policy of duplicity in connection with the living and the dead, and to cease to elevate Israeli reality to the point of a sanctity which cannot be held accountable nor even criticised nor made to comply with international law, because this only encourages it to prolong its policy of arrogance and force and its belief in the capacity of this policy to force us into yielding whilst it evades the obligations of peace.
Darwish stressed that the Palestinian people have had a wounded heart for the half century of the Nakba and resistance, looking forward nevertheless to a future with spirits filled with hope that freedom and justice will prevail, after having gained victory over the policy of genocide and denial of existence.
Finally Darwish said, We will not yield and will not lose faith in true peace which is linked to the implementation of justice and the practice of our right to independence and sovereignty. Fifty years of the Nakba have not been only in tears over painful memories. The past is not completely over nor is the future fully with us yet. The present is still open to the struggle. These sad years have witnessed a peoples epic of resilient resistance and the investment of energy into dissolving the effects of the Nakba, in order to provide our future generations with the right to freedom and dignity on their own land.
He stressed, We have not lagged in defending our right to be a free people in a free land underpinned by equality between man and woman, by democracy and the respect for human rights..
We have gained victory over a scheme which aimed to expel us from the annals of history, and have compelled the occupier to withdraw from precious parts of our homeland, through the thrust of our eternal Intifada, which changed the face of the occupation in the mirror of the worlds conscience, and became a source of inspiration to the oppressed and to the outraged. We who have dedicated ourselves to freedom and peace will not let the spirit of resistance and yearning for freedom in our homeland and sole land of our birth falter .We have been here since eternity, and will remain here infinitely. Jerusalem will continue to be the beacon of our souls and the capital of our homeland for ever.
"Maybe there's no place for both of us here, and his absence has given me the possibility to be present. But who's really absent now, me or him?" Over the years, Mr. Darwish said he had come to view exile in philosophical terms. "Exile is more than a geographical concept," he said. "You can be an exile in your homeland, in your own house, in a room. It's not simply a Palestinian question. Can I say I'm addicted to exile? Maybe."
It has been both cruel and kind, depriving him of his home but nourishing his art, he said. "Isn't exile one of the sources of literary creation throughout history?" he said. "The man who is in harmony with his society, his culture, with himself, cannot be a creator."
"And that would be true," he added. "Even if our country were Eden itself."