On April 9, 1948, well before dawn, the peaceful village of Deir Yassin awoke to the sound of gunfire as the genocidal Zionist organizations known as the Stern Gang and Irgun invaded. All too quickly the Zionist forces had entered our home. My great-great-grandmother and her grandchildren were forced to witness as a female commando riddled my great-uncle’s body with bullets. Our home had forever become his tomb and happy memories vanished as quickly as his last breath.
One by one the men of the village were executed and the women captured. Hours later, my six-year-old great-aunt, Naziha, was finally reunited with her mother, burdened with the task of delivering the ominous fate of her grandmother and younger brother.
Like any mother, my great-grandmother refused to accept their fates without confirmation, she screamed and begged the soldiers to take her to her child. Eventually, the soldier vaingloriously conceded.
She arrived to her familiar street only to discover her mother’s bloodstained body and her two-year old son motionless beside her. His young fragile body unsoiled. As my great-grandmother reached for his tiny hand, the Zionist soldier pointed his gun at her ordering her to leave her son or she would be shot. Until this day we do not know whether my uncle Omar had already been murdered or was left to die. By that afternoon our village had been destroyed, our women humiliated, and we had lost forty-two members of our family.
On April 9, 1948, sixty-six years ago today, the Stern Gang and Irgun did not ask anyone in my family to have a dialogue as they massacred our village.
Again, in 1967, my family had to uproot their lives, as Jericho was seized by the Zionist forces. The settlers who had taken my mother’s home did not ask for a dialogue with the people whose pictures were on the wall.
Today, I am met with hostile criticism, for I refuse to normalize with those who insist on benefiting from the dispossession of my people and the most tragic event in my family’s history.
My father is from a village named Kufr’Ana near the city of Jaffa.
My mother is from the village of Deir Yassin, a municipality of Jerusalem.
And I was born in East Brunswick, New Jersey…
Despite my displacement, I eternally yearn for the sweet nectar of justice, like that of a Jaffa orange, until then my adversaries will only meet the bitter taste of the Yassini almond.