"Do not go out to die, Palestine needs you alive. Be angry, rise up, but do not die" proclaims Palestinian intellectual
Headline: “Do not go out to die, Palestine needs you alive”
Column by Muhammad Daraghmeh
“Do not go out to die, Palestine needs you alive. Be angry, rise up, go out to the streets and the checkpoints, block roads, shout, let the deaf world hear your voices, because if it does not hear today, it will hear tomorrow – but do not die. The homeland needs you alive.
It is an embarrassment that the Palestinians, old and young alike, should be silent over the occupation, and be occupied with benefits, and forget the homeland, etc., etc. – but the decision must not be between silence and insanity. We have been silent for a long time, but today we are rushing off crazily after the destructive lust for revenge.
It is possible that a young person who the occupation caused to lose the ability to think will pull out a knife and take to the street searching for a symbol of the occupation in order to kill him. This has happened and continues to happen, but this remains [an action] of individuals. However it is not [possible] that all of the young people of Palestine will hurry to death in this way.
How many soldiers have been killed by stabbings and how many Palestinians have fallen and wallowed in their blood in front of the trained and armed soldiers? When the second Intifada (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005) ended we stood as one and said: ‘Here we were wrong, there we were wrong; here we lost our heads, there we acted impulsively.’ During the intifada, no one dared to raise their voice and say what they said at its painful end, out of concern for something or for some sort of interest. However, today we must courageously face ourselves and say what we must say. The politicians are afraid for their popularity, but the intellectuals who protect the spirit of the nation must not be silent. They must shout with all of their strength: Where are we going? I understand that Israel is a racist occupation state that settles [its citizens on the land of others]. I understand that its soldiers and settlers are murderers and terrorists, and that their actions cause insanity, but we must not lose our heads and commit suicide.
Yes, one who grasps a knife and attacks a soldier commits suicide, because the trained and armed soldiers will kill him.Every day several Palestinian young people fall, and we are silent and praise their death. We must stand as one and say: ‘Enough!’ The political leaders, from the extreme right to the extreme left, must stand and say: ‘Enough!’ They must seize the moment of fierce national rage and channel it into a protest against the occupation, a protest without death, a protest that is entirely life, revolution, hope, and change.
As for the desperate Palestinian young people who go out for revenge, I say to them what I say to my children: ‘You must go out to the streets and protest, but this is only one round in the rounds of the conflict. At its end the conflict will not end, but rather it will develop into a new stage, a stage that requires every one of us – and not the memories of death, sadness, and downfall.’
Palestine is an international issue, and this issue will not be resolved in a round of knives, Martyrdom-seeking (Istish’had) operations (i.e., suicide attacks), or protests and demonstrations. It will only be resolved when the world understands that it must get involved and draw the borders, as it did in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Kosovo, in the two Koreas, and in other places.
Someone is likely to say: ‘For how long?,’ and I say: ‘A day will come.’ But we must protect the lives of our children and continue in the national struggle, which neutralizes the excessive force of the occupation, aids our survival, and amasses international achievements.
Someone is likely to say: ‘Did the previous struggle put an end to the occupation in peaceful ways?,’ and I say: ‘And did the military and armed struggle do that?’ Our problem is not a local problem; it is an international problem that the world created, and only the world will find a way out of it – but it will not do that if we are silent, and it will not do that if we commit suicide. It will only do that if we preserve a human path for our national struggle.
Gentlemen, the world does not agree to stabbing and car-ramming operations against civilians. It will oppose them as it opposed the Martyrdom-seeking operations (i.e., suicide attacks).The world, which we are trying to enlist to our side in our campaign, will condemn us and move away from us. We will lose it, and in the end we will find ourselves standing alone, as happened at the end of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (i.e., second Intifada). Our children are grasping kitchen knives in a storm of emotions. We must stand before them and tell them: ‘You are throwing away your lives and our lives, Palestine needs you alive.’”