Liberating the Palestinian voice

Liberating the Palestinian voice

by annie


Yesterday Rania made the following comment on a post here that we wanted to post. Extended excerpt:

From one Palestinian in America to another, do you think there is anything, ANYTHING, in this world that you could possibly do or say to prove conclusively to anyone that you are not anti-Semitic? Do you think that if you converted to Judaism, joined the IDF, and then moved to a settlement in the West Bank, people would believe you are not anti-Semitic? Or do you think that even then you would be accused of being a sleeper agent attempting to destroy the state of Israel from within? It took me a very long time to accept it, but I know that no matter what I do or say, because of my name and my skin and where I am from, I will always be suspected of being secretly anti-Semitic and attacked as such as soon as I say or insinuate anything that is even remotely critical of Israel, never mind that my family is suffering in Gaza.

People also assume that I am anti-Semitic even when I have said nothing about Israel at all. This is part of the continuing crime against us and our people, and it is aimed at silencing our voices and our narrative. It goes beyond getting us off websites and blogs; it goes straight to the destruction of our culture, our history, our story, and our ethnicity as a whole. It is the story of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and we are not immune to it because we are in the U.S. In fact, I think the Palestinian voice is suppressed here just as much as it is anywhere else, if not more.

If we are attacked as being anti-Semitic, the Palestinian voice loses all meaning and value, and becomes the crazed grumbling of an inhuman racist following in the footsteps of Hitler. Any anger that we feel about our own dispossession and the continuing genocide of our people is irrational and borne of racist hatred. From the perspective of those who would slander us as anti-Semitic, our anger is not righteous, and it never can be because we are not victims; we are the progeny of European anti-Semitism.

This is the reason why when well-meaning friends ask me about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I only point them towards articles and books and websites written by Jewish people. The Palestinian voice has been left bereft of any power. That is why when you write your highly logical and persuasive arguments, it is only your anger that is heard, and to be an angry Arab is a very dangerous thing. I have been in the United States for thirty years, and still I have to prove how American I am on a daily basis. If I lose my temper about something, people look at me like I am about to strap a bomb to my chest and head to the airport. If I criticize the Obama administration, I am not a liberal or an American; I am a crazy person who secretly hates America.

Like you, I was in law school on 9/11, and I was forced to spend my last year in school convincing everyone that I was just as upset as they, the “true” Americans, were. I don’t believe in jingoism, flag-waving, or war, so you can imagine how difficult this has been. Recently, when Mubarak was deposed, I expressed elation for the Egyptian people, the whole of the Middle East, and especially Palestine. I was immediately accused of secretly hating America by my closest friends.

I do not know if there is anything we can do to change this, but I do know that the Palestinian voice is worth hearing, and that speaking is liberating. I think by purposefully and systematically stripping our voice of power, those who slander and libel us to further their aims of ethnically cleansing our homeland have made our voice even more powerful and more dangerous to their cause.  Speaking truth to power gives life to our culture and our heritage….

This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Human Rights, Imperialism, Islamophobia, Palestine, Racism. Bookmark the permalink.

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