Monday, November 10, 2008

Being Remembered

Does the Land Remember Me? I was incredibly moved by the words of Mr. Shihab in a recent post, Being Naomi Shihab Nye III (In Honor of Aziz Shihab). There seems to be a deep connection for many with the land. The land in that disputed Middle Eastern area has long been a struggle for so many, causing much death and destruction—great agony too. I thought it was particularly interesting that Naomi's 12 year old son, Mr. Shihab's grandson came up with the title of his book, Does the Land Remember Me? This is reminiscent of the stuggle being remembered generation after generation. Such memories are evident on both sides.

Personally, I do not know what the right thing to do with regards to that disputed land. But I know that death and destruction is not the right thing. Mr. Shihab suggested that the U.S. should remove itself from the equation and the Israeli and Palestinian people would come together. But can we count on righteous others in the Middle East to be fair? Will our ally Israel be protected, surrounded by enemies? Are they indeed enemies? Must they be? Would these enemies subsist with the perception of fairness? (Are these naive questions?) It is believed that the scores of dead Palestinians far out number those of dead Isrealis. Though, for me, it seems that one death is a tragedy.

Remembering the land for Mr. Shihab seems to be remembering the sights, smells and air or his homeland and remebering a terrible time during the war of 1948 that his land was literally taken away and claimed by others. Although many European were removed from their homes during WWII and their valuables confiscated, it is perhaps not seen as the same. Could the confiscation of their homes been seen in the same light as the removal of Palestinians from their land? I guess everything is fair in love and war. I now write from my land in America which was allowed first through the confiscation of land from Indians and then through the struggle of African Americans for the right not to be property but to own property on a land that is ancestrally not mine.

While there seems to be a distinction between homes and valuables, the great pain of being displaced, however, cannot be underestimated. The move of many to Israel worldwide may suggest that the land itself has value. This move seems to be recognition that this is the ancestral home and there is the sense of never being displaced again. The only problem there seems to that others too consider this very land ancestral and they have indeed been replaced. I don’t have the answers. But what I do know is that there must be peace and justice there for both the Israelis and Palestinians or there will continue to be death and destruction for both.

No comments: