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PA-associated youth magazine glorifies death
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PA-associated youth magazine
glorifies death

"If your song is the song of Martyrdom (Shahada),
and death, for you, is birth - then you're a Palestinian!
If you love death... then you're a Palestinian"

PA Deputy Minister of Education
on magazine's advisory board

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The PA-associated educational youth magazine Zayzafuna, whose advisory board includes PA Deputy Minister of Education Jihad Zakarneh and the Head of the Media Department of the PA Ministry of Education, Abd Al-Hakim Abu Jamous, has published for the third time a poem glorifying Martyrdom death for Allah - Shahada. It has been published in the issues of January 2012, June 2013, and September 2013. Twice it has been attributed to an 8th grade student and once, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch, to an 11 year-old in 5th grade.

The poem repeatedly promotes death as an ideal, stating in different words that if you want to die for Allah, i.e., to achieve Shahada - Martyrdom - "you're a Palestinian."

"If you go to your death without caring - then you're a Palestinian;
If your song is the song of Martyrdom (Shahada)
and death, for you, is birth - then you're a Palestinian!
If you love death... then you're a Palestinian"
 
It also speaks admiringly of those who have already died. They have paved the way for more Martyrs that will follow:

"If you have watered the tree of the homeland
with your free blood, with love,
and have offered the remnants of your bodily parts
as a bridge for those who are yet to come
- Then you're a Palestinian!"
 
The magazine gave different titles to the poem each time:
"How do you know you're a Palestinian?"
"Homeland"
"The Palestinian"
 
The following is the full text of the poem:

"If you know that you were born with a death sentence, and if you go to your death without caring - then you're a Palestinian!
If your song is the song of Martyrdom (Shahada), and death, for you, is birth - then you're a Palestinian!
If you love death, and you say the Shahada [declaration] (i.e., the Islamic creed: "There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is Allah's messenger.") aloud - then you're a Palestinian!
If you've ever felt that you're an exploding body and that your soul will long one day to be a knight for the homeland - then you're a Palestinian!
If the stone is your weapon against oppression, and if those who hate [you] criticize your struggle - then you're a Palestinian!
If you have saturated the tree of the homeland with your free blood, with love, and have offered the remnants of your bodily parts as a bridge for those who are yet to come - then you're a Palestinian!
If you have shattered the chains, and carried the key to the house from which [your] grandparents were expelled - then you're a Palestinian!
If your wedding (i.e., a Martyr's death and funeral in Islamic tradition are a wedding to the 72 Maidens of Paradise) was amidst a hail of bullets between the shoulders of friends [who carried your body], against the sound of tears mingled with joy and the searing pain of separation - then you're a Palestinian, and you're full of pride at being a Palestinian."
 [Zayzafuna, January 2012, June 2013, September 2013]

This poem reflects PA ideologies that were prominent during the PA's five year terror campaign, the Intifada, when the PA encouraged Palestinians, even young children, to seek a Martyrdom death. Mothers likewise were encouraged to express joy over the Martyrdom deaths of their children. One music video which PA TV broadcast hundreds of times during the years 2001-2004 depicted a young boy leaving a farewell letter expressing his hope to die for Allah, and telling his mother: "Be joyous over my blood, don't cry for me." As the child-actor falls dead in the video, his words are: "How sweet is Martyrdom."

Click to view

The message teaching Palestinians not to fear death but to seek and embrace it is illustrated in a poem in a PA schoolbook for 7th grade: "I see my death, but I hasten my steps towards it." The poem is accompanied by a picture of a dead child-Martyr:
"I shall carry my soul in my palm and toss it into the abyss of destruction...
And then, either life, gladdening friends, or death, enraging the enemies.
By your life! I see my death, but I hasten my steps towards it...
By your life! This is the death of men.
And who asks for a noble death - here it is..."
["Our Beautiful Language for 7th grade," section 1, p. 81]

This schoolbook is still in use today.

This week, PMW reported on the August 2013 edition of Zayzafuna magazine, in which a list of quotes were attributed to Hitler. In 2011, PMW published a detailed report on the magazine Zayzafuna, which included an essay presenting Hitler as a positive role model for children, specifically because he killed Jews.

Click for special report on Zayzafuna.

More info about the Zayzafuna Association:

Zayzafuna's website states that the magazine's advisory board is comprised of Palestinian Authority officials and educators:
Dr. Walid Shurafa, lecturer in comparative literature at the Faculty of Journalism and Media, Bir Zeit University
Dr. Mahmoud Al-Atshan; Expert in Arabic and children's literature
Jihad Zakarneh, PA Deputy Minister of Education
Dr. Widad Al-Barghouti, the Faculty of Journalism and Media, Bir Zeit University
Abd Al-Hakim Abu Jamous, poet and journalist, Head of Media Department, PA Ministry of Education

The website also states that: "The Zayzafuna Association for Development of Children's Culture - a non-governmental non-profit educational organization, founded and received the required permits in 2009."
[Zayzafuna's website, www.alzayzafona.com , accessed Oct. 17, 2013]

In May 2011, the Deputy Chairman of the Zayzafuna organization Abd Al-Karim Ziyada explained on PA TV that the PA gives "a monthly payment of 10,000 shekels ($2,700) to cover the magazine's [costs]."
[Official PA TV, May 9 and 13, 2011]

The August 2013 edition of the Zayzafuna magazine states that "the opinions and the texts appearing in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the association or the magazine."


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