Samer Issawi’s ‘hunger speech’ to Israelis

on 13 Comments

The following was posted on the Youth Against Settlements website:

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Samer Issawi

Hunger Speech
by Samer Issawi

I am Samer Issawi on hunger strike for eight consecutive months, laying in one of your hospitals called Kaplan. On my body is a medical devise connected to a surveillance room operating 24 hours a day. My heartbeats are slow and quiet and may stop at any minute, and everybody, doctors, officials and intelligence officers are waiting for my setback and my loss of life.

I chose to write to you: intellectuals, writers, lawyers and journalists, associations, and civil society activists. I invite you to visit me, to see a skeleton tied to his hospital bed, and around him three exhausted jailers. Sometimes they have their appetizing food and drinks around me.

The jailers watch my suffering, my loss of weight and my gradual melting. They often look at their watches, asking themselves in surprise: how does this damaged body have an excess of time to live after its time?

I’m looking for an intellectual who is through shadowboxing, or talking to his face in mirrors. I want him to stare into my face and observe my coma, to wipe the gunpowder off his pen, and from his mind the sound of bullets, he will then see my features carved deep in his eyes, I’ll see him and he’ll sees me, I’ll see him nervous about the questions of the future, and he’ll see me, a ghost that stays with him and doesn’t leave.

You may receive instructions to write a romantic story about me, and you could do that easily after removing my humanity from me, you will watch a creature with nothing but a ribcage, breathing and choking with hunger, loosing consciousness once in a while.

And, after your cold silence, Mine will be a literary or media story that you add to your curricula, and when your students grow up they will believe that the Palestinian dies of hunger in front of Gilad’s Israeli sword, and you would then rejoice in this funerary ritual and in your cultural and moral superiority.

I am Samer Issawi the young “Arboush” man according to your military terms, the Jerusalemite, whom you arrested without charge, except for leaving Jerusalem to the suburbs of Jerusalem. I, whom will be tried twice for a charge without charge, because it is the military that rules in your country, and the intelligence apparatus that decides, and all other components of Israeli society ever have to do is sit in a trench and hide in the fort that keeps what is called a purity of identity – to avoid the explosion of my suspicious bones.

I have not heard one of you interfere to stop the loud wail of death, it’s as if everyone of you has turned into gravediggers, and everyone wears his military suit: the judge, the writer, the intellectual, the journalist, the merchant, the academic, and the poet. And I cannot believe that a whole society was turned into guards over my death and my life, or guardians over settlers who chase after my dreams and my trees.

I will die satisfied and having satisfied. I do not accept to be deported out of my homeland. I do not accept your courts and your arbitrary rule. If you had Passed over in Easter to my country and destroyed it in the name of a God of an ancient time, you will not Passover to my elegant soul which has declared disobedience. It has healed and flew and celebrated all the time that you lack. Maybe then you will understand that awareness of freedom is stronger than awareness of death.
Do not listen to those generals and those dusty myths, for the defeated will not remain defeated, and the victor will not remain a victor. History isn’t only measured by battles, massacres and prisons, but by peace with the Other and the self.

Listen to my voice, the voice of our time and yours! Liberate yourselves of the excess of greedy power! Do not remain prisoners of military camps and the iron doors that have shut your minds! I am not waiting for a jailer to release me, I’m waiting for you to be released from my memory.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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13 Responses

  1. Citizen
    April 9, 2013, 11:28 am

    Any zionist will be happy to see him die. Well, only so long as it does not result in bad PR for Israel. Wonder what Anne Frank, if she were alive today, would think of Issawi’s situation? Any takers?

    • seafoid
      April 9, 2013, 5:05 pm

      Anne Frank would not believe that someone like Netanyahu would speak for the Jews of the world. Or that a thug like Lieberman would rise to high political office.
      Or Sabra and Shatila. Or Gaza today.

      Because she was a decent person.

      • miriam6
        April 10, 2013, 8:58 pm

        Citizen, please for god’s sake leave Anne Frank out of the discussion , she was a human being , an ordinary 15 year old girl , not an angel or a saint.
        Are you really so lazy?
        Regardless of which side of the divide one is on ,whether one is pro or anti Israel, the Palestinians and Israeli’s are involved in a POLITICAL struggle , Anne Frank was not involved in a political struggle with ANYONE.
        Citizen, by invoking poor Anne Frank’s fate you are seeking to de-politicise the conflict between the Palestinians and Israeli’s and to turn the conflict into a simple-minded morality play by which the likes of you can score a cheap, cynically made “point” and make yourself look ever so “moral .”
        Only a POLITICAL solution will resolve matters , not this constant cynical invoking of an adolescent girl long dead by genocide.
        This ab(use) of the Holocaust and it’s victims is tawdry and sordid in the extreme, particularly the uses and abuses of it that goes on this site.
        People on this site suffer from a sort of double-think, whereby they accuse Zionists ( rightly) of mis-using the Holocaust as an excuse for Israel’s policies , whilst, at the SAME TIME , anti-Zionist commenters on this site construct comments around mis-using the Holocaust and it’s victims. doing exactly the same thing they accuse Zionists of .

    • Joe Ed
      April 10, 2013, 8:28 am

      You would have to ask Meyer Levin about that

  2. Chu
    April 9, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Another unnecessary death so Jews can have a ‘safe’ homeland.
    What a shame that Samer’s name is not Gilad Shalit. He returned to his
    ‘home’ land – that homeland that was built on the backs of Palestinians.

  3. Citizen
    April 9, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Here’s a memo to Phil Weiss et al from a really important Jew:

    Get with the hasbara program, Phil!

    • seafoid
      April 12, 2013, 3:57 pm

      That is such a crock of hasbara. The land is all Jewish.
      Sure it is. And my grandmother is Nadia Comaneci.

  4. Cliff
    April 9, 2013, 8:04 pm

    Palestinian photographer in Aida Refugee Camp, shot in the face deliberately by IDF stormtroopers.

  5. Abu Malia
    April 9, 2013, 8:05 pm

    “I have not heard one of you interfere to stop the loud wail of death, ”

    No Samer, the well-fed, well educated, highly connected Jews that enable your tormentors are busy debating whether Israel is a democracy!

    • Dutch
      April 10, 2013, 9:04 am

      Exactly, the ‘creme de la creme’ is dealing with highly moving questions, such as: ‘Why is democracy in Israel important to you?’

  6. thankgodimatheist
    April 10, 2013, 5:07 am

    ‘La hayata liman tunadi’ as the Arabic expression goes. There’s no life in those you are calling on, Samer.

    • miriam6
      April 10, 2013, 11:06 am

      On the subject of hunger strikes in protest at injustice and detention without charge, a cause with which you are all apparently terribly concerned about, there are hunger strikes happening right now, on your own American doorstop, in one of your very (many, worldwide) own imperial colonialist outposts, Guantanamo naval base.
      The latest news about the Guantanamo prisoners is that a visit was made by the Red Cross to check out the men’s plight.
      A growing number of “War on Terror” detainees, 31 out of 166 prisoners at Guantanamo are now on hunger strike.
      The figure has roughly doubled from the week before as more and more prisoners have joined in the protest.
      The number of detainees involved has been growing since the hunger strike began on February the 6th, seven weeks ago.
      U.S. media has reported that 11 of the prisoners were on feeding tubes, while 3 of those had to be hospitalised.
      Carlos Warner a public defender representing 11 of the detainees, told CNN that conditions at the prison were dire.
      He said one prisoner told him ,
      “America should take off it’s mask and kill us.”
      Lawyers have said the strike is a protest against the prisoners indefinite detention without charge and the diminishing prospects that the infamous site will be closed.
      Mr Warner said,
      “It leaves them with the prospect that the only way to leave Guantanamo is death, and unfortunately I think the men are ready to embrace that.”
      This story about the hunger strikes at Guantanamo is all over the news.

  7. Sherri Munnerlyn
    April 10, 2013, 7:15 am

    I am thinking about that comment here about the Occupation abuses having drained the life from Israelis. And I think about Samer Issawis final comment to his jailers about how he now awaits not their release of him but for them to be released from his memory. DEATH beckons a man onward to a fuller life, a life with God for Eternity! WE can feel sorrow for the living among us who remain for today who shall miss this brave and courageous and inspiring man, but there really is no need for sorrow for him. CAN we even begin to contemplate what God has in store for him in his tomorrows?

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