In 81 chapters, 200 Pages, Zulay told the horrible and tragic story of a small republic, Chechen, that tried to be independent in the nineties but drastically failed. Chechen people were known for centuries for their special identity and culture. people who were denied living peacefully for centuries, under tzars and under communist repression, especially Stalin …seven hundred to one million people are the approx. numbers of this tiny republic. Proud People of the mountains who refuse to be controlled by any foreign power as Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote. No one can tell the story of their people other than people themselves. Zulay, a brave journalist has total credibility when she reflects on shootings, kidnappings, torture, springing bodies in the air, dropping live bodies from helicopters…etc: all that one could imagine about what happened during the war and its tremendous unforgettable results, especially among those who directly was witness to the drama, is found between the two covers of Zulay’s book. Without this brave honest and decent account, part of our modern history will be missed forever. Eyewitnesses and direct testimonies are the fountains for credible and authentic resources, much more than the accounts told be victors, who mostly falsify their archival accounts to match their version of the story.
I was always fascinated with Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” and the White Whale, with all that it can signify and represent. When I was only a few meters from the two huge Wales in Greenland, a sense of scariness infiltrated me from top to toe for a while, disappeared only when I stood to take photos of their wonderful dance around, and the driver of our boat assured me of the Whales’ peacefulness if we do not harm them: “It is their areas, and we are the intruders”.
Benjamin Stora , A French Historian, and Abd alMajeed Shaikhi,,,, Director of Algerian national archives and councilor to the Algerian President, were both named by French President Macron and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, to reinvestigate or revisit the memory of the colonial era in Alger 1830-1961 in order to settle the different views that are still in conflict with each other.
Also, there are 181 signatories of British historians who wrote recently a protest letter to authorities about historical information in a pamphlet required for all applicants for British citizenship. According to these historians, the government document is misleading applicants about several aspects of British history when they claim the UK’s role in the international slave trade is downplayed (NB: more than three million people were shipped by British merchants to be sold as slaves). The pamphlet mentioned nothing, in plus, about that numbers and the suffering of the slaves in an attempt to clean their colonial past and its slavery history. The end of the British Empire, according to historians, is described as “mostly peaceful” when it was not. The letter calls for the history chapter of the pamphlet to be re-written urgently. “Decolonisation was not an ‘orderly’ but an often violent process,” the historians argue.
Is it possible in the end to reconcile the irreconcilable discourse between the colonizer and the colonized? Can the two countries after decades of the Algerian liberation war reach a common ground of real identification of the horrors of colonialism and its devastating results on the colonized? Would that be followed by a clear apology and reparation of the damages that took place? I doubt. The French president apology in 2018 to Josette Audin, the widow of Maurice Audin, a French mathematician and anti-colonial activist who died in 1957 under torture of the police, while the official story denied that, is absolutely not enough, although a tiny symbolic recognition of official use of torture against prisoners.
History was written only by the victors. The indigenous people need to write, first and foremost, their own history, so as to meet the adversary on an equal footing…whether those are Blacks, Colonized Africans, Kurds, Armenians….. or still under the longest occupation in modern history as Palestinians. South Africa, post the Apartied era, gave a good example of a possible reconciliation after the principle of one man one vote won the battle.
Memory is a battlefield that could never be won by weapons, however, these weapons are strong. George Floyd’s spirit has done to history more than thousands of classical historians- to recorrecting our vision of history, the history that is written only by the victors, to empower them and to legitimize their authorities. History, to the masses who demonstrate on all the streets and squares of the world continents nowadays, becomes a self-conscience domain and a tool, a new methodology to redefine the past and the present – by revisiting the huge printed volumes, the prominent white personalities, the claimed heroes and the hundreds of colonial statues, adored by “national citizens” for centuries- and reevaluate this huge heritage from their own perspective and vision. Only this vision can integrate the past with the present, and open a promising future to our coming generations.
The urban sociologist Janet Abu-Lughod ( the mother of the Palestinian American anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod who wrote -Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society ,2000)- in her marvelous book: Janet Abu-Lughod. 1989. “Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350” demonstrates and deconstructs the classical ideas of the western civilization’s concept of its centrality to civilization. especially when she researched the history of Cairo city in 1001(Janet Abu-Lughod. 1971. “Cairo: 1001 years of the City Victorious),and other cities as Baghdad and Damascus…..
The main idea of Janet is to undermine the egocentric/Eurocentric concept (Eurocentrism as the term for an ideology was coined by Samir Amin in the 1970s) that is built around the globality of the world that is long-established before the industrial Europan revolution, and long before the renaissance; especially when we study the east and mainly china’s culture: an intro to Janet theory:
Interview with her daughter: Lila Abu Lughod on her research on women in Upper Egypt and other articles and books of her research_
On the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence, Belgian king, Philippe expresses his “deepest regrets” to the president of Congo. Between 10 and 15 million have died as a direct result of the horrors of the king and his colonial rule. Just last month the brother of the king defended Leopold 11, said that he did not visit Congo even once-thus unresponsible for the crimes committed there. Neither reparation nor compensation was mentioned in the King’s letter.
Nowadays, after72 years of Palestine’s colonization and uprooting of 2/3 of the Palestinians from their own homes and lands in 1948, one word of regret or sorry from authorities was not heard yet; the opposite is taking place: the continued confiscation of 30% of the remaining small archipelago Islands of what remained of historical Palestine, enlisted to start today- in what is known as “The Century’s Deal”. Colonial powers, past and present, never learn lessons from history – They change their tactics, but their main goal remains Control, Confiscations, Subjugation and Denial of the horrors they inflicted on the Aboriginals, Natives, and the Indigenous populations of the colonized people-thus refusing to repay back part of the debt they owed to the colonized peoples. Although partially appreciated after 135 years in complete silence, it is only a lip service from Belgian king Philippe that felt short of clear Apology, followed by Reparation and Compensation. Justice should prevail for all colonized, whether past or present.
(Although I mentioned this piece of info in Lubya book for two decades ago, but it is interesting to be mentioned in this article on Haganah’s 100th anniversary:
Assassinations, Terror Attacks and Even Castration – the Hidden Actions of Israel’s Pre-state Militia
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the forerunner of the Israeli army. While the Haganah boasts of its heroic acts and looks down on similar right-wing groups, its history also includes dark operations it would prefer not to mention
The Semiramis Hotel bombing in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood by the Haganah’s Moriah battalion, January 1948.
“The memory of what was done in Lubya, like the memory of all the other abominable acts that preceded it, will forever disgrace its destructive perpetrators.”
These scathing words were published in the Labor movement daily Davar 81 years ago. A few weeks earlier, in the summer of 1939, members of the Haganah – the underground, pre-independence army of Mandatory Palestine’s Jews, founded by the movement’s members – had murdered two men and a woman, and injured a young girl and a toddler. All of them were innocent Arabs from the village of Lubya in the Lower Galilee, shot dead at home in the dead of night.
The murders, described as a revenge attack for the killing of a Jew by villagers in Lubya, was carried out by members of the Haganah’s special ops unit. Each man who took part in the mission has a place of honor in the local history books: The most senior was Yigal Allon, who later headed the Palmach (the Haganah’s elite strike force), and became an Israel Defense Forces general and education and foreign minister.
The operation’s organizer was Nahum Shadmi, a senior Haganah member and a future IDF colonel and president of a military appeals tribunal, as well as a Mapai Party activist (Mapai was the forerunner of the Labor Party). His son Issachar was commander of the Border Police brigade whose members committed the 1956 massacre in the Arab town of Kafr Qasem.
This month marks the centenary since the founding of the Haganah. Its pre-1948 actions included assisting with illegal Jewish migration to British Mandatory Palestine; covert overnight construction of new settlements (the “Tower and Stockade” operations); dispatching operatives – such as Hannah Szenes – into Nazi-occupied Europe or commandos to Vichy-controlled Lebanon; as well as other heroic feats that have become part of this country’s legacy.
But there is another aspect to the Haganah that will not feature prominently in the centenary celebrations, and which is not well known to the public or part of the high school curriculum. This aspect has been excluded from museums, parades, and the official and state-sanctioned history books. It shows that the hallowed “purity of arms” concept was interpreted very loosely by the organization that gave birth to the IDF.
“Now, after 100 years, it’s time to talk about these chapters as well,” says Peleg Levy, a documentarian who has interviewed hundreds of veterans over the last decade – including members of right-wing and left-wing underground organizations – as part of a project documenting Israel’s history. They told him about assassinations, reprisals and terror attacks attributed to the Haganah. Among the wider public, such operations are normally only associated with the right-wing Irgun and Lehi organizations. Any mention of those names evokes the King David Hotel bombing in Jerusalem in 1946 and the Deir Yassin massacre two years later.
“If there’s a Lehi conference in which they don’t talk about the assassination of Folke Bernadotte [the Swedish diplomat murdered by Lehi members in 1948], people will complain. If the Irgun holds one in which they don’t talk about the King David Hotel operation, people will jump on them. So why do they allow the Haganah to write its history without talking about similar things their people perpetrated?” Levy asks.
Later in our conversation, he notes that the Labor movement called members of these two underground groups “terrorists,” while taking pride in the “purity” of the Haganah organization’s actions and stressing that their methods were different.
Despite this, the Haganah has a list of blemishes to its name, ones that former members would be only too happy to expunge from memory. They never took responsibility for most of these operations, making do with some general condemnation or blaming rogue elements in the organization. This is how the murder in Lubya was described in Davar. The paper said, without noting the identity of the perpetrators, that this act was “a horrific murder, attesting to the perpetrators’ loss of any ability to distinguish [innocents] and their lack of any human sensitivity. These shots, which killed elderly people, women and a baby, show that we are on a dark slope, sliding toward an abyss.”
‘Nest of killers’
Nine years later, in January 1948, Haganah members were involved in an operation that, over 70 years on, appears never to have been thoroughly investigated.
It’s unlikely that most people reading this will have heard of the Semiramis Hotel bombing in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood by the Haganah’s Moriah battalion. This may be due to the fact that it occurred at the height of the War of Independence, which was marked by many violent acts. However, it’s probable that the writers of Haganah history deliberately chose to minimize any mention of this incident – as many right-wingers believe.
The blast was meant to hit the headquarters of Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, commander of the Arab militias fighting Jewish forces in the Jerusalem area. A squad of Haganah soldiers gained entrance to the hotel’s basement and placed explosives there before detonating them. Husayni was not in the building, but dozens of Arab civilians were. The exact number of dead and injured is unknown to this day. According to one report, 26 people were killed and a further 60 injured.
Most of the dead were from the Christian Abu Suawan family, including women and children, as well as the Spanish vice-consul to Jerusalem, who was living in the hotel. Davar reported the incident the next day and, like before, did not provide its readers with the full picture. “The Haganah blew up Arab militia headquarters in Jerusalem,” the headline read. “This was one of the nests of killers in Jerusalem,” the paper declared.
Another building was blown up by the Haganah some two years earlier, in February 1946. This was part of a Palmach operation targeting British police stations across the country. Three British women and a child were killed in the explosion. “Over the years, Haganah leaders and the pre-state Jewish community accused us of being irresponsible in carrying out such attacks and yet here, Haganah members were the first to hit British women,” wrote Natan Yellin-Mor, a Lehi leader who later became a peace activist.
A popular song among Palmach members in those days talked about “castrating Mohammed.” This referred to an Arab from the town of Beisan – now Beit She’an – who was suspected of trying to rape a kibbutz member. Due to a rise in the number of Jewish women being raped by Arabs at the time, “the Palmach decided to retaliate according to the biblical injunction to chop off a thief’s hand – or, in this case, the organ used to commit the crime; in other words, to castrate him,” Mossad member Gamliel Cohen wrote years later, in a book describing the first undercover operations in which Jews dressed up as Arabs.
The official website of the Palmach describes the castration incident as one of “the exceptions, an extremely cruel one,” committed by its members in those years. This operation was initiated by Allon and carried out by Yohai Ben-Nun (a future naval commander), Amos Horev (a future IDF general and president of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology) and Yaakov Cohen (later a member of all three intelligence agencies). “The instructions were that the castrated man should remain alive, walking around with his injuries in order to deter others,” the Palmach website explains. The team was briefed by a doctor in Afula on how to perform this “operation.”
“From the perspective of the people who had decided on this, the preparations reflected the intention to implement it while applying a humane approach,” the Palmach website stresses. The three men found the suspect at home, dragged him to an open area and castrated him. “This operation had a riveting effect, resonating throughout the Beit She’an Valley and terrorizing the local Arabs,” writes Cohen in a book published by the Defense Ministry.
Sacrifices in the name of immigration
The 80th anniversary of one of the most lethal events in the history of the Zionist movement will be marked in six months’ time: the bombing of the British ship Patria on November 25, 1940 – an incident that also failed to lead to any expressions of remorse by the Haganah, even though its members were the perpetrators. The plan was to prevent the expulsion of some 2,000 illegal immigrants, who the British were deporting from Haifa to a detention camp in Mauritius. However, the damage wrought by the blast was so immense that the ship sank along with some 250 passengers.
Instead of relating to the affair as a tragedy that warranted the investigation of its perpetrators, the Labor movement insisted on turning it into a symbol, its victims turned into martyrs sacrificed on the altar of defending the homeland, with no note of who was actually responsible for their deaths.
Berl Katznelson, the ideological leader of the labor movement, wrote the next day to Shaul Avigur, one of the Haganah’s leaders: “Know that the day of the Patria sinking is for us like the day of [the 1920 fall of] Tel-Hai,” thus trying to assign to the event foundational national status. He added that the Patria operation was “the biggest Zionist action in recent times.” Yitzhak Tabenkin, among the leaders of the Kibbutz Movement, called the victims “heroic unknown soldiers.”
Eliyahu Golomb, the undeclared head of the Haganah, also spoke about the incident in the same vein. “For me, the day of the Patria is not a black day, nor the blackest day,” he said. “These were sacrifices made in the name of immigration, for our right to immigrate. These victims were not without meaning.”
The massacre committed by members of the Palmach’s Third Battalion in the village of Ein al-Zeitun, near Safed, was also ultimately glossed over. Today, every history buff in Israel knows about the April 1948 massacre in Deir Yassin, carried out by right-wing underground members. But few have heard about the one a month later by underground members of a left-wing organization. They conquered the village and imprisoned dozens of Arab combatants. Two days later, on May 1, they executed them with their hands bound.
Historian Yoav Gelber writes in his book about the 1948 war that the eagerness of the left to hurl accusations at Irgun and Lehi members while highlighting the Deir Yassin affair stems from their uneasiness over the participation of Palmach commanders and soldiers in similar actions, such as the murder of dozens of prisoners in Ein al-Zeitun.
In 1939, the Jewish Agency’s political department issued a “Thou shall not murder” decree, signed by the most senior spiritual leaders of the age, in which they warned against Jews killing Jews. The decree was aimed at the Irgun organization, which had murdered Jews it deemed “traitors.” But these leaders ignored the fact that the Haganah also executed Jews and non-Jews who it identified as traitors and informants, says Gili Haskin, a tour guide who wrote a Ph.D. thesis about the “purity of arms” concept in those days.
Haskin wrote in an article that the executions carried out by the Irgun and Lehi groups were overt and publicized, whereas the ones carried out by the Haganah were surreptitious, performed by special ops teams.
‘No clean hands’
The first Jew to be executed by the Haganah was Baruch Weinschell, who was accused of giving the British information about illegal immigration. He was killed in October 1940, in Haifa. Oscar Opler, a kibbutznik from the Lower Galilee, was also executed. He was a British informant who had revealed the location of hidden weapons and was subsequently condemned to death by the Haganah. Moshe Savtani was exposed as an informant and shot in the stairwell of his house by the Haganah. He died of his wounds in hospital. Yitzhak Sharansky from Tel Aviv, Baruch Manfeld from Haifa and Walter Strauss and others also fell victim to internal assassinations by Haganah members.
Such operations continued right up to the establishment of the state. At the end of March 1947, Mordechai Berger, who worked in the Mandatory police’s traffic division, was murdered in the street after being suspected of divulging information about the Haganah to the British. “The assailants gagged him and hit him over the head with clubs. Berger fell bleeding,” wrote Prof. Yehuda Lapidot, an Irgun member who later researched the history of Mandatory Palestine.
“None of the organizations emerges with clean hands from this dark matter,” Haskin wrote. He added that the fingers of right-wing organization members were lighter on the trigger, but emphasized the role of Haganah members in assassinating Jews.
In this context, one cannot ignore the first political murder of a Jew in Mandatory Palestine. The victim was Jacob de Haan, a strange character and proud poet who became ultra-Orthodox and an anti-Zionist, talking with Arabs about the possibility of revoking the Balfour Declaration. Haganah member Avraham Tehomi and other associates were believed to be behind de Haan’s assassination on a Jerusalem street in June 1924.
British officials were also targeted by the Haganah, although most assassinations of Mandate officials were perpetrated by Irgun and Lehi members. The most famous was the assassination of Lord Moyne, the British minister of state in the Middle East. He was shot to death in Cairo by Lehi members in November 1944. The Haganah, meanwhile, killed British officer William Bruce, who was shot in Jerusalem at the end of Simchat Torah, in October 1946. “A British inspector was murdered last night while walking alone in Jerusalem, wearing civilian clothes,” Haaretz reported the next day.
Exceptionally for those days, the perpetrators were members of the Palmach: the Haganah’s commando force had been set up in 1941, cooperating with the British in its early years. The murder was in response to Bruce’s abuse of Palmach prisoners in a British prison a few months earlier.
Peleg Levy’s documentary project included an interview from 2010 with the commander of that operation, Aharon Spector. He told Modi Snir and Levy that he had followed Bruce with the intent of punishing him. “I waited for him, he sensed he was a target,” he recounted. The assassination was preceded by a trial by a special Palmach court, which sentenced Bruce to death. According to Spector, the order came from Yigal Allon.
“Privately, people didn’t worry about telling these stories, while the collective they belonged to did not relish talking about it,” Levy says.
Yisrael Medad from the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem investigated the incident as part of a lecture series he holds on the “purity of arms” topic. “This incident is amusing,” he says, referring to a flyer the Palmach published after the murder. “They needed to explain that they were unlike those terrorists from Irgun and Lehi – but that in practice they needed to do the same thing,” he says.
Nations, when they start to be nations for a few centuries ago, agreed always upon symbols, flags, statues, parks, forests…to be their symbols, their heroes/heroines, and in a word their proudness. Even though they were empires before, as the British, Danish or French, very few dare to question the meaning of those symbols, especially the statues that were raised in different corners of their empires, and later nations. Post George eight minutes forty-six seconds a wave of demonstrations walk the streets of hundreds of cities around the world, reminding us of the movement that flourished in what is known as the Arab spring in all the Arab world. Although the main slogan, rightfully, was Black Lives Matter, young people from all races, religions, and nationalities walked together marching the streets, culminated in the slogan: “topple the racists,” toppling of statues that represent the era of the slave trade in the past four centuries. Africans shipped to America, through many European companies- mainly British. The list of those named by protestors is too long. Recently, Nancy Pelosi decided to move the statues of 13 of them from the congress halls. Already demonstrators drove few statues to the water of the harbor in Bristol city: such as Edward Colston. The man who compared Palestinians with dogs Winston Churchill’s statue was sprayed with graffiti as racist.: “He asked rhetorically before the Peel Commission “Why is there injustice done if people come in and make a livelihood for more and make the desert into palm groves and orange groves?”, believing in the myth of making the desert green!!: “I do not admit that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, though he may have lain there for a very long time I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been to those people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race or at any rate a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place. I do not admit it. I do not think the Red Indians had any right to say, ‘American continent belongs to us and we are not going to have any of these European settlers coming in here’. They had not the right, nor had they the power”. He continued summarising his views before the Peel Commission bluntly: “It is a question of which civilization you prefer.” At one point he explicitly told his Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery that he “hated Indians” and considered them “a beastly people with a beastly religion”!!!
Among others, as well, is Christopher Columbus’ statue, whom we were credited with discovering “the new world”, the Americas, in the 15th century…as if the Americas did not exist before, and did not have inhabitants. The same lie arrived in Palestine a century ago, to discover the promised land and make the desert green, as if Palestine was empty of its people and awaiting the new colonizers to enrich it! In 1897 a Rabai delegate reported to the rabbis of Vienna on the prospects for a Jewish state in Palestine: “the bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man“. Native Americans protested many times the honoring of this discoverer who stood as a symbol of the genocide of their ancestors, where millions, an estimate of 20 million, were killed as a result of this “discovery”, but their shouts ended up in total silence, ignoring even to respond to their petitions. King Leopold 11 (1865-1909), under whose absolute rule of Congo- now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an estimated 10-15 million Africans died. Hands of men, women, and children were amputated when they did not come at the precise time or did not deliver the amount of rubber assigned to them. “Exterminate all the brutes” was the slogan of Kurtz in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. As usual, experts who are always from the colonizing power, question marked the numbers, saying that there wasn’t enough evidence.
Had there been no camera to register the 8:46 seconds of the killing of George Floyd, the experts and prosecutors of the police will come with the same excuse: no evidence, no documentation…and in many cases accusing the victim of violence and resisting the arrest by force. In the same week of George’s killing, a Palestinian with special needs was shot dead by four bullets in Jerusalem, while he was on his way to his school. Without the detailed report of an Israeli journalist Gideon Levy in Haaretz newspaper, and the interviews he did with Iyad’s carer, with the parents, and with the people who knew the 32 years old Iyad Hallaq. There was no camera in place, as with other hundreds of similar cases. After 72 years, the denial politic is still mainstream, although an abundance of material is in place
Europeans, and especially those who were colonial powers, including Denmark where I live, must face its past with braveness and recognize their dark past. This is a daring step that clears the educational curriculum and the heavy consciousness of the crimes committed and build a new generation’s identity that is not biased. Identity concept is a moving phenomenon, that always gets richer when it is more open towards the past. Without a critical approach to our past, neither our present nor our future will be bright as we think. Many thanks to George’s memory, which leads to questioning the past of hundreds of racist figures worldwide, who were wrongly glorified and praised as symbols of nationality. “Culture & Imperialism” 1993, of Edward Said would help little bit those who want to put this phenomenon of cultural struggle, including nowadays toppling statues as I think, in its historical-cultural context. The main pivotal question is who wrote history, and who can judge the credibility of its discourse other than the people themselves from all races, religions, ethnicities and nationalities- versus the elite who mostly falsify the narrative to comfort those in power. Those marginalized and oppressed people- mainly blacks, women, colonized- do have the right to be heard and to put their narrative in real human history.
8 minutes & 46 seconds to murder George Floyd were enough to inflame worldwide protests against injustices and Racism, not only against the Blacks, but other minorities persecuted around the world. Today is the 99th anniversary of Tulsa massacre where around 300 blacks were massacred, and 1200 homes were burned by Whites. George was lucky to have witnesses and cameras that register his brutal murder. Blacks soldiers in WW1 won’t give help them immunity from racial discrimination and subsequent raids from the Whites. Even after a century, the burial place of the dead bodies was not identified. Documents and archival material of the massacre disappeared. Criminals in power everywhere try always to hide their crimes. Only a few who survived the massacre were lucky to testify and recount their horrible moments before their last breath. “I can¨t breathe” was the only last word we heard from Floyed. How essential for researchers to register what happened to Palestinian survivors after almost 70 massacres – before, during, and in the aftermath of Nakba (disaster) in 1948- through “Oral History” documentation: a weapon of the marginal and oppressed. Our common enemy as human beings is RACISM whether we are Blacks, Palestinians, Kurds, Armenians, European Jews, Muslim Rohingyas or Tutsis in Rwanda.
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.
A host of writers wrote on Epidemi since humanity began registering their sicknesses, hopes, enemies, anxieties and how to face or interpret death. From Plato’s cave metaphor to ibn Sinaa’s instructions to cure deseased stomachs , to Jose Saramago and the white blindness that dominate one of his novels, to Kafka’s protagonist who comes to be a small insect, to Camu’s plague novel of Oran in Algeria, to the unwritten stories of TWO Milion people, besieged in Gaza in 2020, and their un-noticed confinement for more than two decades, not only a few weeks or months that drove the World mad until now ……….We all are seeking metaphors of survival, for our egoistic satisfaction and welfare. Our means are: books, art, films, small donations- only to fly away and evade the fundamental questions: Why are the poor continue to living poor, and why minorities, whether in gender, race or religious groupings, continue their un-achieved successful results of their struggles? while the few – who are less than ten persons- owning more than half of the 8 billion world’s population? Can we have a say on who own the World Bank or the International Monetary Font (IMF) as Jose Saramago once asked in a press conference?
It is taking the world two World Wars to move from a village-like economy, as my own village Lubya in Galilee -Palestine, to an international village-like economy which is called Global World Economy. The Spanish virus, following WW1, killed almost 50 million people, double as much as those perished in the war. Coronavirus of today is pushing all of us to rethink the relation between our selves and this global village we live in.
Theories of “the End of History.” of Francis Fukuyama is overpassed and needed to be stranded aside. Samuel Huntington’s thesis of “The Clash of Civilizations”, that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world, is crumbling, although we heard repetitively nowadays of the origins of the Coronavirus attributed to a specific nation- such as China. The different versions of Marks theories and interpretations are floating here and there, claiming success because of the Capitals’ necessary downfall because of the permanent conflict between productive forces and means; and the Corona is only a manifestation of this conflict.
It is early to predict a clear theoretical frame for the powers who compete internationally now to draw the new world’s order that this crisis necessitates. If we want as persons, me and you and her to have a role in this coming Worlds order, shouldn’t we rely little bit on Søren kirkegårds’ visionary philosophical perceptions, especially when he wrote “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”? Do we have the courage to put our own anxieties and our subjective desires and dreams at the crux of the wheel that is on its way to move on – in post Corona era? Especially that we all have seen that the Emperor is Naked, as H.C.Anderson’s child cried in “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? Could we dismantle our imminent internal fear and face those few who will try always to dictate our personal and collective lives?
For sure, the world before Corona will be different than after. But the question is: in which direction? and who would benefit most from the radical changes? Through all human history, there was a combat between authorities and their established institutions: leader, army, judiciary etc and the few who would challenge the order. Socrates was sentenced to drink poison in 399 BC because he exceeds the norms, refusing to recognize the gods of the state and accused also of corrupting the youth. He was given other choices than death but refused.
The best philosophers and writers were killed in the Umayyad and Abbasid kalifates because they opposed the power of the ruler. Rasâ’il Ikhwân al-Safâ’ wa Khullân al-Wafâ’ (Epistles of the Pure Brethren and the Sincere Friends), 52 in numbers, were written in the tenth century in an anonymous way to protect their views and their heads as well. Galileo in 1616 was summoned by the Church Inquisition, afraid to reaffirm his beliefs in Copernicus heliocentric theories, imprisoned in his house for the rest of his life. But when he left the judge room he trample the earth: “and yet it does move”. Only in 1992, the Vatican recognized that Galileo was right, and the earth rotates around the sun. Nowadays, we are hearing of prof. Didier Raoult was visited by Macron to hear from him his theories about curing the Corona virus. Didier is against the establishment. The medicine factories are part of the profit companies and had no interest that others would succeed and surpass their reputation and reproduction. Not to mention Dr. Anthony Fauci and the daily contradiction with the President.
Every person in this tiny human world is obligatorily invited to rethink his/her gender, nationality real or imagined, wealth, rightly collected or through maneuvers of deceit through banking systems.
The 17th October movement in Lebanon in 1919, the yellow jackets in France, the Arab spring in 1910 and all its ramifications, Occupy Wall Street in 1911…..etc…All these movements, coupled with the huge awareness of environment and the heat of our sphere put us all, and each one of us at the forefront of the coming battles after the Corona episode is diminishing. The majority’s interest against the few whose greedy appetite for power and money is unlimited. We are the only owners of our lives and destiny, and our choice of representatives should be guided not by the supply-demand theories of the new liberals; but by the new measures of post-Corona: health, care, equality, dignity and knowledge based on science for all.
In the time of confinement, books are the best friends to frequent. I do have more than 2000 books in my modest library after I get rid of more when I moved years ago to my small apartment. Now it is time to clean the dust from valuable books that need rereading. Al-Dahikoon الضاحكون is an old book written by Mohamad Ali, a few years ago-1988, the fifth edition. Stories and Personalities like Jiha, Ash’ab, al-Jaahith, and many others make you explode in laughing, although sitting alone amid escalating Corona death numbers: Perhaps Ibn Sina had right when, one thousand years ago, had recommended high humor and laughter as a helping cure to stomach diseases. Thanks Abu Suhail for lending the book.
Reflections on Corona days- How to measure the strength of a nation:
While running my 6 km per day in the forest close to me, I wonder a little bit about political leaders of the world and their reaction to the killer virus: Newzeland Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, the brave woman – who stands sharply against massacring innocent Moslems in two mosques, preventing people from holding private guns – closing borders so early, taking clear steps of the total shutdown, that only one death until now is reported. Even one death is so many if that can be evaded. No more Military Tanks, Airplanes and Atom Bombs and millions of men and women underarm are the signs of the strength of nations: it is how many Beds and Respirators you have in your hospitals that matter and give you the first rank. How many millions of masks can be made or imported for the price of one military tank? Health and respect to the elderly versus elites greedy appetite to money and power. Who could think this formula would be valued more, only two months ago?
A Few words concerning the Corona & other viruses in the past. Imwas Plague-640 (A Palestinian village bet. Jerusalem and Ramla, totally demolished in 1967, to follow those demolished in 1948; on its ruins is built a “Canada Park”- to make the Sahara Green-as the myth of the colonizers claim!!!). History books told us of thousands who perished from Imwas Plague, such as Abu Ubayda al-Jarrah. Rules were put from that time on how to manage the collective Plague. These rules were updated by Ibn Sina-Avicenna- discovery of the viruses in the body, and the ways to cure the disease by distancing, washing, & using courage and happy humor to conquer the disease. (NB) Ibn Sina’s books: The Canon in medicine- القانون في الطب (al-Qānūn fī aṭ-Ṭibb) were taught at the biggest university of Polonia University in Italy, the oldest in Europe until the 18th-century.
Ibn Sina, Avicenna (980-1037)-the Islamic Philosopher and Doctor, warned people of the same measures of nowadays Social Distancing we are observing in 2020, even advising people of evading social gatherings, praying at home and not mosques, washing the hands and clothes, even cleaning the money in vinegar, precisely as the British used it in 1666 when facing the London Plague. Mainly he spoke about being brave and not being scared: See the following trailer of a Russian film produced in 1956 about Ibn Sina:
The Orwellian “Big Brother”s have one COMMON GOAL: Control, Profit, Power, Higher Shares’ Investments, more Military Equipments & Airplanes; less Infrastructure, less care to the Elderly, less budget to Hospitals, less budget to Education & Culture.
Feb.6, 2020, Doktor Li.W died in China, rebuked by police because of his early warning of the virus COVID 19.
Nov. 26, 2018: CNN reports that Trump “dismissed a study produced by his own administration … and more than 300 leading climate scientists, warning of the potentially catastrophic impact of climate change.” Asked why, Trump told reporters, “I don’t believe it.”
Jan. 22, 2020: President Trump is asked by CNBC: “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?” Trump answers: “No. Not at all. And we’re, we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. … It’s — going to be just fine.”
March 31: Trump “I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going through a very tough few weeks”. Medical Governmental Experts expecting bet. 100.00 to 240.000 could die in the coming weeks.
“We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering and upending people’s lives,” the United Nations declared: “This is much more than a health crisis,” the report added. “The coronavirus is attacking societies at their core
SOCIAL Distancing is a practice that is common a long time ago. In 1666 king Charles 11 ordered closing restaurants, pubs and schools as an answer to the Bubonic Plague, or black death, that spread in London, killing a quarter of its population. Samuel Pepys’ marvelous daily diary spoke about people hiding toilet papers and cheese in holes in their gardens while fleeing their homes to the countryside. Accusations that time against the Dutch who brought the disease, are exactly the same as nowadays of accusing the Chinese!!!! The head of the revolutionary Oliver Cromwell was put on spike, 20 feet long, as a revenge act form the king, to look at the victims of the plague from Westminster hall, after his body being exhumed, many years after his death(1658), tried for treason, severing the head from body!! “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce” K.Marx.
In 1837 an earthquake in Lubya killed 143 Lubyans. In 1948 a human earthquake demolished 1000 houses by one kg. TNT in each room, and all its inhabitants were expelled, except those who were massacred. Now: 2020 Lubya’s historiography is printed in 9 languages: to keep the Memory and the Will to Return alive, despite 72 years in obligatory exile.
Replies from friends:
1.Michael Nathanson reply: Dear Mahmoud and friends,
Finally, I was able to purchase a copy thru Amazon and will receive it soon. I read your introduction to the book on line and have a true sense of your agonizing over the history and fate of your covillagers in particular and of the Palestinians as a whole. Having travelled through the Galilee prior to 1948 I too mourn the destruction of many of the villages and with it of Palestinian society. Again, I congratulate you for succeeding to republish the book in many languages so that its readership may increase and your massage spread around. If only it could be translated into Hebrew…
All the best
2.Bo Hermensan svar
Super! Til lykke!
Jeg håber, du i øvrigt har det godt trods Coronaen. Selv var jeg sammen med en smittet kollega i onsdags (før hun fik symptomer), så der er en god chance for, at jeg selv får den også. Øv! Men ellers går det da meget godt.
Wow. Congratulations. Eight languages! How did you do that. We may learn something. Never came out in more than 2 languages.
Best wishes. Ingrid
Great achievement. Congratulations Mahmoud.
Congratulations! Finally out and in many languages. How important is this job to circulate this history, your history. The story of one person, one family, and one village often tell us more than that of one nation or one army.
Sending you love in a time of turmoil.
6. Emanuel Pfoh
All the best,
Congratulations on the new edition of your fine book.
9. Neils Peter
Oh, I have one in three languages! But well done, Mahmoud!
Niels Peter Lemche
10. Hamdan Taha
الف مبروك ِ عمل رائع. شهاده ضد الظلم التاريخي الذي حاق بقريه لوبيا . لعله يجلب بعض العداله للمظلومين الذين ينتظرون حلول العداله يوما. واولها معرفه الحقيقه التي هي شرط التحرر
Heather Spears, in her new book “The Creative eye”, opens the horizon to everyone thirsty for new vision, new look, and I dare to say exploring new ways to live life. Spears, in her artistic quest of the why and how, is matching what Hayden White tried to explore in the History of Consciousness: creativity, imagination, renaming and redrawing – it is a new philosophical vision that is needed, not only to look back at the past thousands of years of Mesopotamian’s and Egyptian’s art; but, to contemplate an obscure future, and to gaze into our own mystical inner world as well. -A lovely and inspiring book is needed now to read, especially when we are instructed to be at home nowadays-because of Corona.
Lubya Monograph is covering the historiography, culture and identity of a Palestinian village, Lubya, demolished in 1948, uprooting and dispersing all its population; nowadays residing in thirteen different countries in the four corners of the world. To erase the witnesses and the debris of the houses, a huge green forest called “South African Forest” is planted to bury the last remnants and cover up the horrible crime of the demolishment. Around 3500 people were living in Lubya before the Nakba in 1948; nowadays, they are almost 50.000.
The main method used to reconstruct the historiography of Lubya – the biggest in Tiberias district, and the second in Galilee- is qualitative interviews with the elderly generation, supported by archival documents in Jerusalem, Nazareth, London; diaries, newspaper articles and historical references. Young Lubyan generation living in exile were interviewed as well to follow their aspirations, livelihood, identity question, integration and their dreams of return. Table of contents cover a forward, by Ilan Pape, a preface and an introduction, ten chapters, conclusions and thirteen appendices:
Table of Contents
Chapter One the Archaeology of Memory
Chapter Two Hamayil, Shuyukh and Makhateer
Chapter Three Landscape
Chapter Four Rhythms of Life
Chapter Five Village Relations
Chapter Six the Struggle over Land
Chapter Seven the ‘Great Revolt’
Chapter Eight the Nakba
Chapter Nine Exile
Chapter Ten the Future
I Families as Remembered by Lubyans
II Places’ Names in Lubya
111 Names of 240 ‘Absentees’ from Lubya
1V Names of Lubyans Killed during the 1936-39 Great Revolt
V Names of Lubyans Killed during the 1948 War
VI Lubya’s Occupation in the Archives
VII UNRWA Registered Refugees from Lubya
V111 Lubyans living in Denmark
1X Interviews with Young Generation of Lubyans
X Thomas Thompson: Lubya: Investigating Palestine’s Subaltern Heritage
X1 An article written by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac on 8th May 2015 covering apology of South African Jews to displaced Lubyans
X11 Update article on “Oral History’s credibility, role and functionality From the Arab Islamic tradition to modern historiography.”
X111 Publications by the author: Monographs, book chapters & periodicals-
On January 1, 1837 an EARTHQUAKE took place in Galilee. 143 from Lubya reported dead, “wrote Edward Robinson”
Edward Robinson (April 10, 1794 – January 27, 1863) is Founder of Modern Palestinology, an American biblical scholar. Robinson traveled to Palestine in 1838 in the company of Rev. Eli Smith. He published Biblical Researches in Palestine in 1841.
In 1948, 111 years later, The ethnic cleansing of Lubya, is continued and completed, now by 1000 kg TNT, planted in and around 1000 rooms of the whole village, for destruction. See film “Village under forest (https://www.youtube.com/watch…). This time it is “Man Made Earthquake” . But the geography, the debris, the Sabr trees, the wells and the graveyards are still there-even though buried under a fabricated “South African Forest”. 72 years on, in 2020, more than 50.000 Lubyans worldwide insisted to keep the memory of their village alive, until the Right of Return, Compensation, Restitution and Justice is met and implemented.
Monograph is covering the historiography, culture and identity of a Palestinian village, Lubya, demolished in 1948, uprooting and dispersing all its population; nowadays residing in thirteen different countries in the four corners of the world. To erase the witnesses and the debris of the houses, a huge green forest called “South African Forest” is planted to bury the last remnants and cover up the horrible crime of the demolishment. Around 3500 people were living in Lubya before the Nakba in 1948; nowadays, they are almost 50.000. The main method used to reconstruct the historiography of Lubya – the biggest in Tiberias district, and the second in Galilee- is qualitative interviews with the elderly generation, supported by archival documents in Jerusalem, Nazareth, London; diaries, newspaper articles and historical references. Young Lubyan generation living in exile were interviewed as well to follow their aspirations, livelihood, identity question, integration and their dreams of return.