Sunday, April 14, 2013

How dare they

Samer Issawi, the Palestinian political prisoner who has been on hunger strike since August 1, 2012, and whose life is now in grave jeopardy, has called on supporters to do everything possible to demand his release and safe his life.

In his most recent statement, a public letter specifically addressed to Israelis, this brave brother called on " intellectuals, writers, lawyers and journalists, associations, and civil society activists" to visit him in prison and witness his suffering. He noted bitterly that "I have not heard one of you interfere to stop the loud wail of death, it's as if every one of you has turned into gravediggers, and everyone wears his military suit: the judge, the writer, the intellectual, the journalist, the merchant, the academic, and the poet." He concluded: "Israelis: Listen to my voice, the voice of our time and yours! Liberate yourselves of the excess of greed power! Do not remain prisoners of military camps and the iron doors that have shut your minds!"

I find this not only poignant and moving, but incredibly generous, that this freedom fighter who is at death's door should find it in his heart to reach out with nearly his last breath and call on Israelis to open themselves to his words, to "liberate themselves" from the chokehold of the racist monster that is the Zionist state.

So what is the response from the Israeli intellectuals and writers to whom brother Issawi issued this appeal? Did they heed his words? Visit him and pledge solidarity? Take a stand? Did they announce they were joining him in his hunger strike, call on others to do the same, build a mass public campaign to demand that Samer Issawi be freed and pledge that they would suffer along with him until he is? Did they do anything at all, in fact, anything to support this political prisoner their government is murdering?

Quite the contrary. They didn't address the Israeli state at all. Instead, they issued a statement addressed to him, to Samer Issawi, demanding that he call off his hunger strike.

Wow. The arrogance. The arrogance of the oppressor, condescending to instruct the oppressed in how they, the oppressed, ought to proceed.

The statement's writers, including such supposed literary luminaries as Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, expressed their "agony," pronounced themselves "horrified," about Issawi's hunger strike. They accused him, in so many words, of making things worse. And so on.

Damn. Do you wonder why I refuse to read any Israeli fiction, even, no especially, written by ostensible liberals? If this is the best of them, I mean, Jesus H. Christ, come on! How dare these privileged comfortable thieves of the Palestinian homeland presume to instruct one of the dispossessed about what he ought to be doing! How dare they lecture a hero like Samer Issawi!

Such is the state of arts and letters inside the Zionist state. Which should come as no surprise, for what other art could the project of theft, expulsion and occupation, the Zionist project, possibly give rise to but the most distorted expressions based in occupier consciousness?