I went yesterday to collect Murakami’s short novel, “The Strange Library”, but found out that my local library in Brønshøj is open, but in a very mysterious way, with three employees standing together at the front door, questioning me: what do you want? Then leading you through a zigzag alle’ to collect my reserved book. Asking them: what about newspapers? “not ready yet. No newspapers because of Corona, perhaps next week”. Fortunately enough I was grown-up man; the employees can not divert me to room107 understairs, and I am not interested in the Osman Empire’s tax system. Although I shared few experiences with the young boy in the short novel in prison, nevertheless, he was luckier to return to eat his mother’s delicious food after being rescued by a speechless girl and a sheepman, without losing his brain that was destined to be eaten by a monstrous man who planned devilishly to eat the young man’s brain after memorizing the three-volume books of Osman Empire’s tax system…… Two strange libraries matching one another in a very mystical way: one fictional, the other real…….
One more hundred thousand elsewhere around our tiny planet left with neither memories nor remembrances…..while President playing Golf; anther deny the existence of the virus, advising his people to drink Vodka and go to Saona, and a third declaring emergency laws to fasten his grip on power!!!
In three months time, 1200 per day, topping the number 100 thousand in (only one country), other (200 thousand in the four continents) reminds us of the short distance between our dreams and our departure, without even having our love ones nearby, saying bye-bye virtually, through our laps and PC’s, or walking masked behind the funeral, if we are lucky, watching from our closed cars, and keeping social distancing in place. Behind each life lost is a life full of life, whether happy or sad, abruptly put to an end, without a choice, and sometimes without a word to leave amid lack of oxygen to breath…..Could philosophy, religion, dream, poetry, or wild fantasy give us a satisfactory answer to a banal question: WHY?
Commemorating the ongoing Nakba Day on Lubya debris 2014-2015
72 years of Denial, Occupation, Expulsion, Demolishing, Negation & Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine achieved a Zero-sum result. From the British “Balfour’s declaration” in 1917 to the American Trump’s “Deal of the Century” in 2020, the idea of cancelling Palestine is drastically failing. People of Palestine, 13.4 million, almost half in mandate Palestine, and the other half in exile, are still existing, without the right of self -determination, and without the right of Return to dispossessed lands and houses. All the military and economic might of the world are trembling in front of a microscopic Achilles heel Coronavirus. My friend and teacher Shareef Kanaani used to say to me: we should not be worried about the geography of Palestine. It was there, and it will be there always: from the stone age until nowadays. Only its people should keep on its memory and keep the flame burning until justice is done and freedom is achieved. One century of imperial promises and 72 years of uprooting and destruction are only a comma or max a semicolon in a page of a voluminous book of Palestine history. The idea of “Falasteen” with all its rich, multilayer ethnicities and historic heritage, long before the monotheistic profits were born, is much bigger, wider, and more promising than the mighty colonial powers who are shivering and disintegrating in front of a tiny insect. Shouldn’t those powers learn a b c lessons from history (Vietnam, Alger, South Africa…etc)?
Joy Harjo, born 1951, was named poet laureate by the Library of Congress, the first of its kind, for her achievements in poetry, storytelling, music and the power to reflect the oral traditions of her ancestry, the original native Americans, called American Indians. -Unlike John Eliot’s stories about the Indian Americans, published in 1685, in which he claimed that he heard them directly from American Indians while working among them as a Puritan missionary. The oral tradition, one of my favorite vehicles to preserve and enrich the indigenous cultures of the occupied, the oppressed and the uprooted, whether Palestinians, Armenians, Kurds, Africans or Native Americans, is prevalent through her various literature readings and musical performances. -Especially the symbol of Horses that is recurrent in her poetry, imagery rightfully remembered by Hadidi, when he draws the connection between Mahmoud Darweesh’s and Joy Harjo’s Horses symbolism. Her method of continuing oral tradition include story-telling, singing, in order to captivate the attention of her audiences, is overwhelming. While reading poetry, she claims that she “starts not even with an image but a sound”. As a poet, singer and playwright, she insisted on recapturing the memories of her past native Americans, refusing the current mainstream narrative that tried to suppress the right to write her indigenous history and culture, without falsifications of mainstream writers, whether nowadays or in past days, through Christian missionaries.
“Love in the Time of Cholera”, of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Daniel Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year”, Albert Camus’ the Pest”, the epic “Gilgamesh”, Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, and the thousands of articles, written nowadays on Corona Pandemic, in all languages possible, and from all four corners of the world…not a stone remains unturned, to find out what is taking place around, whether within or without. The answers remain for everyone to face, to contemplate, to ponder all questions related to DEATH, FEAR & LOVE -the three central topics that worried the majority of our planet. The political chaos of the few opportunists that always looks for gaining more powers to survive, forgetting the cemeteries around the world are full of people who thought once that they are greater than life; the discriminatory victims of the disease are huge: whether Chinese facing insults because of their origins, or Palestinians refused to board an airline because of documents they hold, or Kurds who were forgotten in the unending conflicts of regional forces around their lands; or the Africans whom two professional French physicians suggested testing their findings of medicine in Africa because they are of lesser value than Europeans, those two physicians did not even apologize after they were attacked on social media; or the American journalist who mocked the minute silence in China for the remembrance of the corona victims, calling them Pinocchios……All the worst in human beings, especially among nations whom they called themselves civilized, are pouring daily in media. “In the destructive element immerse” as Joseph Conrad wrote in “Heart of Darkness”. Kurtz, the civilized, the politician, the literary person, the gentleman, was becoming to a monster when he left the boundaries of civilized Europe and entered the darkness of the continent: Congo, putting heads on stalks around his mansion. Death and Fear can be conquered temporarily by Love and Solidarity; but the question of survival of our Human Nature, balancing our mother nature and its environmental milieu will remain our unprecedented lesson, facing ourselves amid deadly moral crises and Corona disease.
The late Greek poet Simonides (556-468 BC) said: “We defeated them, not when we conquered them, but when we oblige them to forget their history and civilization”. Dr. Hamdan’s article on Jericho, and the short summary he presented of the achievement of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities since 1994 under his leadership deserves a unique THANKS to him and his colleagues in the department. Despite the heavy rules of military occupation, I have seen, since I met Hamdan more than a decade ago, the huge task and the great achievements of this tiny department, that took me more than twenty minutes going around with a taxi to find where the physical building of the department lies, the tens of archeological sites that were excavated and researched, after the confiscation of the Archeological Museum of Palestine, established in 1920, now named Rockefeller, with thousand artifacts that are confiscated from Palestinian places, although the name is still curved on its stones – Palestine Museum – until now: a policy applied since 1948 on thousand of places in Palestine, to cancel the existence of the mere word PALESTINE, whether in archeological places or names of valleys, hills, roads or villages demolished. Although the efforts that are done in this regard are magnificent, the job is not accomplished yet, until retrieving the whole archeological and historiography of this tiny place of 27000 square kilometers, to reunify the history of the place and its displaced people, whether in exile or under occupation or living under apartheid and discriminatory rules.
The article: Two Decades of Archaeology in Jericho, 1994–2015 Hamdan Taha
Thank you always for your thoughtful reflections on issues of history, memory and identity. These efforts are complementary to your lifetime distinguished work on Lubya. Looking forward to see soon. Stay safe
Yahya Hassan- the Danish Palestinian poet, the refugee whose family was uprooted from Palestine in 1948, whose mother is from Lubya village, and father from Faradiya, the great genius who sold 120.000 copies of his first book in 2013, the young man who tried to introduce the Arab-Islamic Aviros (Ibn Rushd) into his candidate manifesto to the Danish Parliament, to give the Danes another version of the Arab-Islamic prominent philosophical personalities where scholars from Europe came to study philosophy in Andalusia in the twelfth century, the young man who tried to push forward for the recognition of Palestine, as Sweden has done by recognizing Palestine as a state, in his political debate, the personal revolutionary, almost without borders, against the classical traditional forms of his uneasy personal family life, the charming and angry way of reading his poetry that resembles the great Mahmoud Darweesh in his young age in Haifa: “Sajjil Ana Arabi” – left us so early yesterday, 24 years old. Perhaps Jørgen Leth is right when he said: no one is like him, no one could replace him. Danish literature, mainly poetry, is richer with Yahya, the refugee who tried with success at sitting on two chairs, instead of falling between the two cultural chairs: the Danish and the Palestinian. Yesterday I saw the documentary on DR 2 on Yahya. Always a biased redaction team when it comes to the history of Palestine Not a word on his family’s background. Images that are totally irrelevant to the past accompany Yahya’s father’s story. May your soul rest in peace Yahya.