By Dallas Darling
Even alleged terrorists have authentic grievances, obvious truths that cannot be denied in regards to state-sponsored terrorism. This ancient certainty was again revealed when Israeli soldiers shot and massacred over twenty Palestinian protesters and wounded hundreds more. Their crime was commemorating the Nakba, an event when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed or militarily forced to flee their homes while Israel became a new state. The Palestinian protesters, killed alongside steel barricades in Lebanon, and the Occupied Golan Heights and Gaza Strip and West Bank, were not only calling attention to Palestine’s Nakba, also known as the Day of Catastrophe and a tragic remembrance which Israel has outlawed and tried to eliminate, but they were also demonstrating on behalf of Palestinian refugees and their right to return to their homelands.
In 1948, when the Truman Administration and much of the United States recognized the creation of Israel even before the United Nations did and immediately provided aid and military support, Palestinian survivors of Deir Yassin were striped naked, loaded onto open trucks and paraded through Jerusalem where they were spat upon, beaten and stoned. The Zionists laughed and clapped as the women had their breasts cut. One passing Palestinian mother quickly pulled her young child away from the horror-filled scene, but not before he cried out, “Momma, look at the blood.” His name was Sirhan Sirhan.(1) After assassinating Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 and at his trial, Sirhan delivered a grievance, a warning to the United States concerning its unwavering support of Israel at the expense of Palestinian refugees.
“Well, sir, when you move-when you move a whole country,” said Sirhan, “a whole people, bodily from their own homes, from their own land, from their businesses, sir, outside their country, and introduce an alien people, sir, into Palestine-the Jews and the Zionists-that is completely wrong, sir, and it is unjust and the Palestinian Arabs didn’t do a thing, sir, to justify the way they were treated by the West.” He explained how forced relocations and massacres deeply affected him asking, “Where is the justice involved, sir? Where is the love, sir, for fighting for the underdog? Israel is not underdog in the Middle East, sir. It’s those refugees that are underdogs. And because they have no way of fighting back, sir, the Jews, sir, the Zionists, just keep beating away at them. Than burned the hell out of me.”(2)
In his final audiotape and just before his assassination, Osama bin Laden warned the United States and Americans that they would not live in safety until the Palestinians lived in security. A sickly and pale-looking bin Laden declared, “America will not be able to dream of security until we live in security in Palestine. It is unfair that you live in peace while our brother in Gaza live in insecurity.” Like Sirhan, bin Laden was thinking back to 1982 when he witnessed the United States and its warships bombing, killing, and wounding many Palestinian refugees in Lebanon while other fled in terror. In “The Towers Of Lebanon,” bin Laden wrote, “I still remember those distressing scenes: blood, torn limbs, women and children massacred. All over the place, houses were being destroyed and tower blocks were collapsing, crushing their residents, while bombs rained down mercilessly on our homes.”(3)
And like Sirhan, bin Laden wondered how the “whole world” could hear and see what had happened but still do nothing. In another letter, this one entitled “To The Americans,” bin Laden explains why he is fighting the United States and its military and what he wants. The very first reason he expresses is: “Because you attacked us and continue to attack us. You attacked us in Palestine.”(4) According to bin Laden, “Palestine, which has foundered under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction, and devastation…The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally avenged.”(5)
The United States and Americans must someday realize that Arab Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone; and their peaceful protesters slaughtered by Israeli soldiers do not die alone.
(Note: While abhorring the violent acts committed by both Sirhan and bin Laden, Palestinians should be commended for their nonviolent Intifada uprisings.)
– Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. You can read more of Dallas’ writings at www.beverlydarling.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
(1) Smith, Michael K. Portraits of Empire: Unmasking Imperil Illusions from the “American Century” to the “War on Terror.” Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press: 2003., p. 32.
(2) Ibid., p. 137.
(3) Lawrence, Bruce, Messages To The World: The Statements Of Osama Bin Laden. New York, New York: Verso Publishers., p. 239.
(4) Ibid., p. 240.