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Orwell’s 1984 and its dyslexic Big Brother, 1948
By Ali Alarabi — In May of 1948, Jews, later Israelis, in Palestine and around the world rejoiced at the proclamation of themselves – a new country in Palestine. They called it Israel.
Palestinians mourned. Fate had dealt them a stunning blow, their time had stood still, and life was no more. Palestinians watched helplessly as their country disappeared from the world stage and was replaced by another called “ Israel”. A new people with strange faces, strange languages, who came by the boat load from the shores of Europe to set foot on their land and claim the emptied homes as well as take away their orchards and olive trees.
In 2008, it has been sixty years since that fateful day in May when Palestinians suddenly found themselves strangers in their own land, strangers in the desert, refugees in hostile Arab lands, people without home, without a county.
In 1948 Palestinians were forced to pack whatever they could. Some did not have the chance, for they were cut down before they were able to flee the incoming terror and death.
Those who survived the onslaught left behind homes guarded only by their treasured ancient olive trees that witnessed their misfortunes.
Living a life in exile, in miserable refugee camps, in tent cities, subjected to cruelty and humiliation at the hands of their Arab brethrens. They were treated little better than animals, often times as suspects, as foreigners readily available to be sacrificed or deported to some desolate location; and in many cases simply killed off. Palestinians, however, lived on.
The world had failed the Palestinian people, While Israel and its people are treated as the legitimate owners of the land, received and welcomed in world’s capitals, but more painfully in Arab capitals. Palestinians are treated like outcasts that should be caged, and quartered in ghettos in hostile landscapes.
In 1948 Palestine was lost without a real fight.Five Arab Armies said to have wanted to liberate Palestine from the gripping hands of the Jewish Militias. Contrary to Israelis myths of heroic victory of biblical proportions over six massive armies; the combined Arab forces were no more than 20,000 soldiers. None of those armies had an air force or tanks to fight with. Lebanon, the supposed sixth Arab country, did not fight or send anything across the border. Jewish militias on the other hand totaled over 60,000 soldiers who received superior training in European and American armies, were equipped with top of the line weaponry, trained pilots and a lethal air force.
The same Arab defeat happened all over again in 1967. This time around, Palestine was swallowed whole, and yet again, without a real fight.
Betrayed, the Palestinians were the real losers in all of these wars. Their country was robbed in broad daylight, without a fight. Their society was destroyed and their institutions lay in ruins, and now they had to be content to live at the mercy of this government or that, or receiving hand outs and charity, or to be in prison and murdered in Israeli prisons.
In 2008 Palestinians in Gaza cannot leave that strip of poverty and misery without a gesture of mercy from the ruler of Cairo, or the strange man sitting Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. In Lebanon, the Lebanese government outlaws the Palestinian right to work in the country. The government,instituted Nazi-like laws that prohibit Palestinians refugees from working in 60 professions such as teachers, doctors or engineers. Palestinians carry no IDs, only some pale document that state their status as Refugees that live on the margin of that society in a ghetto with open sewers and no running water.
In Iraq,extremist Shia militias would kill any Palestinian on site upon discovering that he was “ one of them” meaning a Palestinian. Palestinians there carry no identity card; they carry their identity in their hearts.
tormented and murdered wholesale and in detail by their enemies, such atrocities however, did not lessen or succeed in erasing the memory of the homeland from the heart of every living Palestinian refugee, with or without an identity card. Until return, Palestinians are not going away, nor will they simply be content to disappear from existence, for every Palestinian, his existence depends on his resistance.
(Ali Alarabi is an award winning columnist and member of the National Arab American Journalists Association. He can be reached at http://alialarabicolumn.blogspot.com/. Distributed by the Arab American Writers Group, www.ArabWritersGroup.com)
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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