FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Imagining Palestine

by KATHLEEN CHRISTISON

A Palestinian child died in my arms today. It was a young boy; it was a girl. It was an infant; it was a 13-year-old. She had been shot 20 times by an Israeli soldier firing U.S.-made bullets; he had been dismembered by a missile fired from a U.S.-manufactured Israeli helicopter gunship. I am a Palestinian, and these were my children.

I am a Palestinian. I say I am a Palestinian to express my solidarity and that of many silent Americans with a suffering people under Israeli domination. John Kennedy could stand up with honor and make his statement. I must bow my head in shame, for it is my government that pays for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, my government that is committing ethnocide against the Palestinians, my government that is killing Palestinian children. I am a Palestinian, and I reject my American government.

I comforted a woman today whose house was demolished by Israeli bulldozers, monsters of destruction made in America. I helped her pick through the rubble of her home to retrieve her children’s clothing and toys. I comforted her children, who will have no toys and no place to sleep tonight. I listened, thunderstruck, as her husband wailed aloud, standing in front of the pile of broken concrete that was his home. I will not be able to persuade his children that he has not failed them, not failed to provide the protection that any father must give his children. I imagined my own home in ruins, my own children bereft, and I wept. I am a Palestinian, and this woman, this man, these children are my countrymen.

I stood with a Palestinian farmer today whose agricultural land has been destroyed by Israelis. He is a middle-aged man whose olive orchard, his only means of livelihood, was burned and cut down by U.S.-subsidized Israeli settler thugs. The farmer is a young man whose greenhouses and prime agricultural land, left to him by his father and his grandfather, were leveled by Israeli soldiers driving U.S.-manufactured Caterpillar bulldozers, clearing land for a concrete separation wall meant to grab prime land for Israel. The farmer is an old man who watches daily as Israelis build new homes in settlements on land that belonged to him until it was stolen. I am a Palestinian, and these farmers once fed my now-impoverished people.

I stood in the hot sun at the notorious Huwara checkpoint south of Nablus with hundreds of Palestinians waiting for permission to go to work, to school, to medical appointments. I stood in the driving rain at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, waiting with hundreds of others who must pass here every day, waiting for hours to get to work and then hours more to return home. There is no sun more searing, no rain more cold and driving than in Palestine, yet we all stood like automatons, fearful of arousing the anger of the power-mad teenage Israeli soldiers who control our lives and our freedom, fearful that they would shoot us if we showed any evidence of emotion. In the middle of the night last night, I consoled a woman who gave birth on the ground at a checkpoint because an Israeli soldier in his teenage wisdom regarded her as a security risk, and later I rode in the ambulance as she bled and her baby turned blue and perished. I am a Palestinian, and I stoically endure the peculiar humiliation of these checkpoints with my countrymen.

I gave solace to a Palestinian political prisoner today and to his wife. I am a Palestinian, and this man is serving time for fighting for my freedom.

I picked a fig from a tree in my front yard today and ate it. It was the most delicious sweetness I had ever experienced. I believe this because I am a Palestinian, and the fig tree grows in Palestine.

Ordinary words fail. The horrific fate of Palestine cries out for the power of poetry. This is no powerful poem, or any poem at all, but it is a cry from the heart.

I care about murdered Israeli children too, but there are far fewer of them, and my government already embraces them. I embrace Palestinian children because so few others do, because my government cares nothing about them, because my government kills them.

I am a Palestinian. I live the daily lives of Palestinians. I cradled a dying Palestinian child in my arms today.

KATHLEEN CHRISTISON is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
John Stauber
The Rise and Fall of Obamacare: Will the Inside Story Ever be Told?
Ted Rall
Ameri-Splaining
Michael J. Sainato
Mainstream Media Continues Absolving Itself From Clinton, Trump Election Failures
Ralph Nader – Mark Green
Divest or Face Impeachment: an Open Letter to Donald Trump
Gareth Porter
US Airstrikes on Syrian Troops: Report Data Undermine Claim of “Mistake”
Martha Burke
What Trumponomics Means for Women
Ramzy Baroud
Fatah, Hold Your Applause: Palestinian Body Politic Rotten to the Core
Steve Horn
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill Exempting Fracking from Drinking Water Rules
Joe Ware
The Big Shift: Why Banks Need to Stop Investing Our Money Into Fossil Fuels
Juliana Barnet
On the Ground at Standing Rock
Franklin Lamb
Aleppo Update: An Inspiring Return to the Bombed Out National Museum
Steve Kelly
Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests
December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail