The old will be brutalized. They will bleed, they will scream, they will claw their fingernails into the bones of the land that we will steal from underneath their hands, and we will then break their arms. They will be displaced, forcefully removed from their land, thrown into camps as if they are lifeless animals. They will die, and the young will forget.
It is the perfect crime. “The old will die and the young will forget,” said the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The world may never know the truth because the memories will not last long enough to be attested and spread. Therefore, the oppressor will prevail, reaping off our continuous Nakba forever, slurping it up as if our demise is its nourishment.
But our indestructible ability to remember had not been foreseen. The oppressor had foolishly assumed the young would forget, paving way to its predominant injustice. Foolishly, the oppressor did not know the strength of the memory of the young, how the memories of the Nakba and the countless other Palestinian catastrophes are passed down one by one to each generation like a hot bowl of soup. We all take a sip for empowerment, for perspective. The memories travel through our minds, into our bloodstream and back into our hearts, and every beat we emanate from our parents. We slowly rise. Their dreadful memories become our exploding will, and we rise to resist for them. We rise to resist for not only our justice but theirs.
It was an unspoken yet loud and overbearing story in my house growing up. We knew what happened to my father, his nine siblings, and to our grandparents in 1948, even before he shared it detail by detail. The Nakba is alive in his eyes, and we could see it burning. When Baba did speak of it, we listened with chills going down our spines. We heard the story of our family of refugees, our stolen land, our bloody plight. I then willfully demonstrate what Ben-Gurion was most mistaken of, that I, not only will remember, but I will rise to speak, vociferously.
It does not matter in what point of history this will be read, as it will remain equally relevant. It is the young that will liberate Palestine. It is the young that will tell the world what the old Palestinians were deprived of. Ben-Gurion was erroneous, and I will prove him wrong until the day that I pass. And when I am gone it will then be the duty of my children.
As we fight our accelerating occupation, our young minds are grasping, resisting, praying. Ben-Gurion was imprudent to believe we would somehow close our eyes to the imposed agony around us, that we’d numb our self into forgetting our pain, our family’s pain, our people’s pain.
“The old will die…” Ben-Gurion was not making any sort of revolutionary scientific statement here, he is correct, we will all face death. “…And the young will forget.” Here lays his senselessness. We have not forgotten; in fact we remember daily, and daily our oppressor’s worst fear is our ability to powerfully use our memory of our despoiled history to demand our future justice.
This is what it means to be young and Palestinian. It is our responsibility to continue for the rest of our lives remembering. It is our responsibly to continue for the rest of our lives understanding, studying, and arming ourselves with knowledge of every part and period of struggle within the Palestinian occupation. Proficiently enough, that not a single person we ever encounter will be able to challenge the Palestinian premise and demand of freedom. We must learn our personal story, our family’s story, our neighbor’s story, and the stories engraved but hidden in the soil of our land. And then we must use them to resist, to speak, to teach all who may ever want us to forget, our collective unforgettable story. The old will die, and the young will liberate Palestine.
(Crossposted at Beyond Compromise)