“A chain of mountains covered in pure white, trees extending beyond the reach of the eye, blue bodies of water mixed in with the white, brown and green. I was speechless and exhilarated, since my eyes had never seen such beauty. For 16 years I’ve seen nothing but the concrete jungle of the Gaza Strip. Still, my reverie was interrupted with an intrusive question: How could I enjoy such beauty when my family and friends back home can’t?” writes Mohammed Alhammami.
A Palestinian from Gaza writes a letter to African-Americans pointing out the many similarities share as oppressed peoples: “I do not have to be black to understand the words of Marin Luther King Jr. when he said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I am a Palestinian who is extending his arms in brotherhood to another people who know and live my legacy of oppression.”
Mohammed Alhammami recalls stories he heard growing up of Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in historic Palestine as one people, not divided factions. But he wonders what about now? Can Jews and Palestinians (Christians and Muslims alike) really coexist in the Holy Land, after 68 years of Nakba?
Mohammed Alhammami writes a letter to Cindy and Craig Corrie on the anniversary of their daughter Rachel’s death, “Thank you, Mr. and Ms. Corrie, for sharing Rachel with us. I know for a fact she has changed many people’s lives, in Palestine and elsewhere. I know she changed mine. May her memory be forever engraved in our hearts.”
The most dangerous threat Palestinians face in their struggle for freedom and human rights, besides the Israeli war machine, is the absence of historical context. Political Zionism is an ideology that is inherently racist, supremacist, and exclusivist. If you seek to understand the conflict, if you believe in and strive for a just peace in Israel-Palestine, this is where your fight starts.
Mohammed Alhammami shares the conversation he would like to have with an Israeli soldier who does not understand why Palestinians would be upset. The answer can be explained in one word: “occupation.”
On a recent September evening, two groups of culturally curious people, separated by countries and borders, virtually gathered together for art and social justice. At Said Al-Mishal Establishment for Culture and Science, Gaza’s Theatre for Everybody performed a short version of Tolstoy’s classic “War and Peace.” Simultaneously, on the other side of the world at London’s Az Theatre, a group of British and international supporters gathered to watch a previously recorded version of the same performance. The play was centered on two themes: condemning war and denouncing dictatorship.