Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why don't we stop the madness?

Jenin refugee camp after Israeli invasion 2002. photo by Jonathan Lurie.

Why don't we stop the madness of history repeating itself?

Arna Mer Khamis was a Jewish woman born in Palestine in 1929 who did try another way. She was born into a Zionist family and as a Jew she was entitled to become an Israeli citizen when the state was created in 1948. She married a Palestinian, Salima Khamis. Arna worked tirelessly to help bring justice to the Palestinians. She led protests and went out into the streets and confronted Israeli soldiers. Poor health did not stop her: she even left the hospital where she was getting radiation treatment for terminal cancer to challenge the Israeli occupation of Palestine. She also worked for creative change for the Palestinians and recognized that children are the hope for new change. She took the money she was awarded for her human rights work and opened a drama school for Palestinian children in the West Bank.

She is dead now. The school is gone.

Her son, Julian Mer Khamis, made a film about his mother and about the Palestinian children she mentored and what has happened to them. Through the lives of the Palestinian children, Julian documents the changes from youthful hope to militant resistance.

On the Arna Active Memorial Site,

SanàA Osseiran
writes that:

"Hatred and contempt are the instruments of colonial domination and propaganda tools. They are certainly not natural phenomena. According to Arna, the ultimate goal should be for Jews and Arabs to share this land, and to learn how to live together in a state of equality, liberty and democracy. This is a possible road, a desired and productive strategy."

You can watch the film here. It is 1hr 24min, and worth a watch. Eerily, some of the scenes of the Israeli incursion into Jenin look similar to scenes I see on my tv today.

Why don't we stop the madness of history repeating itself?


Merche Pallarés said...

Now I know about Arna. Brave woman. I'll come back with more time to see the movie. Much love, M.

northshorewoman said...

Merche, I hope for more Arnas. She was an amazing woman, and I am sure there are many more like her. I admire her for many reasons, but one is that she stood up and faced her fellow Israelis and Jews and confronted them on their injustice. That is what we need more of: people who challenge within their communities.