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The Young and Palestinian

on 22 Comments
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Graphic: Shepard Fairey

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)

Lena Ibrahim

Lena Ibrahim is a first generation Palestinian-American and sophomore in college studying Global Affairs. Follow her on [email protected]

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22 Responses

  1. annie on June 25, 2013, 3:59 pm

    this is an incredibly powerful expression of resistance. it is also Lena’s first MW article. i hope it is the first of many.

  2. Cliff on June 25, 2013, 4:56 pm

    Thank you for this article.

    Never forget.

  3. Inanna on June 25, 2013, 8:12 pm

    Thank you. We will also teach our children. May we all meet in liberated Jerusalem.

  4. wondering jew on June 25, 2013, 8:36 pm

    Inanna- Since Liberation and Return are the two items that are beyond compromise on the web site, I will not disdain the idea of liberation. But what will liberated Jerusalem look like? I fear that when your ideals of return and liberation yield their results it will be Hamas in charge of Jerusalem, and to me that does not sound like liberation.

    • justicewillprevail on June 26, 2013, 2:00 pm

      Liberated Jerusalem would look like it was for a thousand years or so, before the zionists occupied it and started their ethnic cleansing in the last 50 years.

  5. yourstruly on June 25, 2013, 8:40 pm

    beautiful, inspiring and powerful. may the liberation of Palestine occur this very day, Palestinians leading, the rest of the world joining in.

  6. Tom Suarez on June 25, 2013, 10:44 pm

    Comment to Lena:
    Thank you ! for your gorgeous piece. Usually things seem so dismal, and even young people so apathetic, that one feels hopeless and pushes on only because one must… but with people like you inheriting the world, I feel a new purpose. Please write more.

    Comment to Yonah:
    Hamas was an Israeli invention, as you know, to split Fatah. Most Palestinians who voted for Hamas did so not because they wanted a socially conservative religious party, but because we (Israel & US) gave them a choice between the frying pan or the fire — a party increasingly seen as corrupt collaborators (Fatah), or a party that was perceived as scrupulous with funds and would stand up against Israel—but had tons of other warts. Given that choice… well that’s what happened.
    My point is that Hamas is a function of Israeli fascism. A liberated Palestine would have no need for Hamas as we know it, and Fatah would not be serving at the pleasure of Palestine’s enemies.

    • wondering jew on June 26, 2013, 12:15 am

      Tom Suarez- Hamas was an organic development (encouraged by Israel) vis a vis the fact that the strongest movement in Egypt was and is the Muslim Brotherhood. Your belief that Palestine after the return and the liberation will vote for a liberal democratic party is a nice dream but you need more than a history lesson to tell me what the future is going to look like and your belief in that pretty future is based on your wishes and not on reality.

      • annie on June 26, 2013, 2:11 am

        Hamas was an organic development (encouraged by Israel) vis a vis the fact that the strongest movement in Egypt was and is the Muslim Brotherhood.

        your point? the MB is strong in egypt therefore israel encouraged hamas in gaza?

        you need more than a history lesson to tell me what the future is going to look like

        why, you don’t seem to concerned there is no “liberal democratic party” ruling israel now.

      • Cliff on June 26, 2013, 6:37 am

        Palestinian society has been radicalized.

        Hamas is a perfect example of that.

        If Palestinians are free of Israel one day, then normalcy could return.

        And why not compare this radicalism with Israel? After the terrorist campaign by the pre-State Israeli army and Jewish terrorist groups, the Arab minority in Israel lived under martial law until 1960.

        There’s probably an entire history of abuses during that period as well.

  7. quirx on June 25, 2013, 11:53 pm

    I’m neither Palestinian nor Muslim nor Jew, but please know that I will never forget. My family will never forget. We will not look away and say it doesn’t affect us, that it doesn’t involve us, that it doesn’t matter. We will not avert our eyes to the atrocities committed, to the humiliations and indignities inflicted by your oppressors.

    When news or descriptions of their atrocities overwhelm me, enrage me and depress me, and I want to look away, I think of you. I think of your parents. I think of your children. I think of your village or refugee camp. I think of what you all endure. And I know you are stronger than I, and I know that your family is beautiful and strong and loving and wonderful despite it all. I think of your passion and determination and resolute willpower to remain, to not look away or fly away. And so I don’t look away.

    We don’t know you or your family, or of you family’s house and lands that were taken from you, but we will not forget, we will not forget. And when I am gone, my children will tell their children, and they will not forget either.

  8. OlegR on June 26, 2013, 5:54 am

    The young apparently intend to liberate Palestine while living in America.
    Good luck with that…

    • annie on June 26, 2013, 12:33 pm

      oh that’s funny, tell the israel lobby they are powerless too why don’t you. palestinian americans are an enormous largely untapped voice in this conflict and there’s a reason for that. the investment in smothering their voices and portraying arabs and muslims as ‘terrorist’ has been a radical intent and investment by the ptb for decades. or haven’t you been paying attention? there’s a reason the predominant pundits talking about this issue are all jewish.

      the palestinian diaspora has a voice.

      • OlegR on June 26, 2013, 5:13 pm

        /oh that’s funny, tell the israel lobby they are powerless too why don’t you. /
        Well that’s the point the Jewish lobby is pretty powerful from what i gather just reading you guys (i do divide it by like ten but still pretty powerful)
        The Palestinian isn’t and not likely to ever become one.
        /there’s a reason the predominant pundits talking about this issue are all jewish./
        Wow taking the stroll into Annies conspiracy kingdom.

        /the palestinian diaspora has a voice./
        Well sure but does it have any influence, in the Arab world where they are despised like in Lebanon or feared like in Jordan,
        in the west were their numbers are marginal?

      • annie on June 26, 2013, 9:46 pm

        the Jewish lobby is pretty powerful….The Palestinian isn’t and not likely to ever become one.

        don’t count on it.

        in the Arab world where they are despised like in Lebanon or feared like in Jordan,


    • justicewillprevail on June 26, 2013, 1:57 pm

      Meanwhile the old apparently intend to extend Israel’s borders, undermine international agreements and support apartheid, while living in America.

    • tripledobe on June 26, 2013, 6:33 pm

      They have no choice.

  9. amigo on June 26, 2013, 11:09 am

    “The old will die and the young will forget,” said the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion.

    Unlike Jews who never forgot for 1000/2000/3000/3500/4000 ?????? years.
    You see Arabs have short memories like all untermenschen.

    Chutzpah at it,s finest.

    • Citizen on June 26, 2013, 1:00 pm

      I was thinking the same. It’s an old adage among Jews that they never forget. God knows, we’ve all seen it in practice on macro and micro levels. Hitler laughed too, telling his more cautious consultants, “Who remembers the Armenians?” Hitler remembered a lot, didn’t he? He cashed in on that memory with his fellow Germans, who oddly, also remembered a lot. The tides of fortune change. Memories linger on. There’s more than a few Snowdens and Mannings peering out from the mass of shit cemented over them by the PTB. I won’t forget the Palestinians. How can one forget that two wrongs don’t make a right?

      • amigo on June 27, 2013, 6:21 am

        See the irony of Jews fooling themselves that we will all forget as they add crime after crime to the list.

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