Its not over

Posted on January 19, 2009

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Abdel Rahman al Mozayen, "Children of the Intifada" (1988)

Abdel Rahman al Mozayen, "Children of the Intifada" (1988)

The headlines today are about Israelis triumphantly returning home, and Gazans pulling their spouses, children and parents from the rubble that was once their neighborhoods. I wish I felt something closer to relief. A feeling that this is over.

I think the one thing that un-hyphenated Americans often don’t understand, is that for those of us umbilicaled to that land–that scratch of dust by the sea and the mythical land of Canaan–its never over. Palestine is not something that comes up every now and then when an Israeli ignited conflagration gives CNN correspondents a chance to don headgear and kevlar. Its something we must face every waking morning.

I’ll be honest. I’m self-centered, selfish. I’ve tried to ignore it for years. I skip over the headlines with any permutation of the word Palestine. I don’t look at the photos or the video. I make my way quickly by the demonstrations. I don’t want to know. I want it to be over. I want to live life, enjoy it without sadness or guilt, as is my right. [aren’t I American too]? I don’t want to feel enraged, I don’t want to feel my skin burning off from incandescent anger.

But its not over. I dream of a day when I can go back to Ramallah; see the old house where my father as born in Dura al Q’ara; have a beer and those funny boiled nuts I never remember the word for, at Zyriab. And all those people I abandoned and left behind. Its like dreaming of heaven for the Catholic in me, where all the people you’ve lost are there to greet you at the end of everything, and no one minds that you ran away or weren’t so strong, or fucked everything up more than once.

But that day is not coming soon. Its not over by a longshot.

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