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Israel/Palestine: Commemorating the Nakba and Debating Loyalty

May 15 is Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the creation of Israel and subsequent Palestinian displacement and dispossession. Shortly after the day this year, a controversial piece of legislation was proposed in the Knesset banning commemoration of the Nakba. Two other bills were recently proposed, one introducing a pledge of allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state, and another criminalising public denial of Israel as a Jewish state. While the “loyalty law” has been rejected, and the Nakba bill has been amended, the fact that the bills were introduced at all has prompted debate and protest.

It’s me has been contemplating the annual Nakba commemorations:

لم أكن أريد الكتابة عن هذه الذكرى .. لا أعلم لِمَ
ولكن دوماً لا أدع الحروف تقتلني بالداخل .. فلتخرج ويقتلني أحدهم
النكبة ..
خيمة .. وكرت أزرق .. ومفتاح .. وآمال كاذبة
ومصطلحات كـ ( باقون – عائدون – لاجئون … الخ )
ومادة دسمة للمتحذلقين أشكالي .. هذه المرة لم أكن أريد ولكن حوار صباح يوم مع
أمي أو أي أم .. كان
” أنا : يمّه اليوم ذكرى النكبة
الأم : تنهيدة .. كل يوم في نكبة وكل يوم في ذكرى وكل يوم في احتفال “
وصمت مطبق..

I didn’t want to write about this commemoration…I don’t know why.
However, as long as I don’t put the words down they kill me from inside. So let them come out…and one of them will kill me.
The Nakba.
A tent… a blue card [given to refugees]…and a key…and deluded hopes.
And expressions such as “holding on”, “we will return”, “refugees”…and so on.
A substantial subject for pedants such as I…This time I didn’t want to [write], but a discussion this morning with my mother – or with any mother – was as follows:
Me: Mother, today is the commemoration of the Nakba.
Mother: [sighing] Every day there is a nakba, every day there is an commemoration, every day there is a celebration.

Total silence.

Reacting to the “loyalty law”, The Other Door has written a sarcastic post in the personae of various Palestinian citizens of Israel:

انا محمد الصفوري , أقسم بتوراة بني إسرائيل أنني سأكون مواطن مخلص لدولة اسرائيل واحترم قوانين السير وسأسدد الضرائب وسأعلق صورة ميرا عوض في الصالون.
انا سليمة الجبيلي, وحياة رحمة ابوي بترابه رح أكون مخلصة لإسرائيل ورح أطبخ بس خبيزة كشير.
انا سليمان لدواي, اقسم بالله العظيم اني كنت عارف وسميت بنتي الكبيرة ولاء تيمناً بالولاء لدولة ليبرمان, وانا وكل العيلة رح نكون مخلصين للدولة , منشوفكو في بارك هيركون يوم عيد الاستقلال , مسموح يفوتوا عرب صح؟
انا محمود ابو دقة سموني محمود على أسم سيدي اللي استشهد مع الفدائية بال 71 سيدي استشهد من اجل الوطن وانا رح أكمل طريقه واقسم يمين الولاء لدولة اسرئيل .
I am Mohammed Al Safoori. I swear by the Torah of the Jews that I will be a loyal citizen to the State of Israel, and will respect traffic regulations, pay my taxes and put up a picture of Mira Awad in my living room.
I am Salima Al Jebaili. On the soul of my dead father, I swear I will be loyal to Israel and bake only kosher bread.
I am Sulaiman Ladwai. I swear by Almighty God that I knew and named my eldest daughter Walaa’ [loyalty] as a premonition of allegiance to the state of Lieberman. My whole family and I will be loyal to the state. We will see you at Yarkon Park on Independence Day. Arabs are allowed to enter, right?
I am Mahmoud Abu Daqa. I was called Mahmoud after my grandfather who was martyred with the resistance fighters in ’71. My grandfather was martyred for the sake of the nation, and I will continue on his path, and swear an oath of allegiance to the State of Israel.
انا جميل خوري من إقرث , وحياة العدرا رح أكون مخلص لأسرائيل
[…]
أنا نورة مجدلاوي , اصحابي بينادوني نوريت , وانتو كمان كئيلو بتغدروا…انا متخايفت إني أكون نئمانة لمدينة وكمان مكيغا با كمدينة يوديت ديموكغاتيت, وبتمنى السلام يحل في كل دول العالم زي ما حل علينا. وبدي ابعث تحية لأصحابي من الخدمة المدنية في مستشفى نهاريا.
انا مراد العبد, وحياة الله وحياة الجامع والانبيا وحياة حبي وحبك وحياة عيوني اللي انشاللة يوكلها الدود إذا بكزب وحياة السما وحياة امي وحياة بيضات ابوي وحياة الشرميط , وحياة نجلاء فتحي اني بحب اسرئيل وانه احنا ضد الارهاب …
I am Jameel Khouri from Efrat. On the life of Virgin Mary I swear to be loyal to Israel.
[…]
I am Nora Majdalawi and my friends call me Nurit [a Jewish name].You too all seem to betray… I am committed to be loyal to the state and also recognise it as a democratic Jewish state. I hope peace will manifest itself every country of the world, just has as it has for us. I would like to send greetings to my friends in the civil defence at Nahariya Hospital.
I am Murad Al Abed. I swear by God, by the mosque and by the prophets, by my love and your love, by my eyes (which I hope will be eaten by worms if I lie), by heaven, by my mother, by my father’s testicles, by prostitutes, and by the life of Najla Fathi, that I love Israel, and that we are against terrorism.

2 comments

  • […] A Palestinian blogger comments on Israel’s proposed “loyalty” law: […]

  • Stan R

    Was it sarcastic? I listen and watch to Arabs from West Bank, Gaza or here in North America. Most of them wants peace and future for them and their families, not some abstract theotratic Palestinian state. Israel should go back to it’s original zionist roots. Democratic secular country where all it’s citizens Jews, Arabs black and white, could live in peace and prosper. To advocate two state solution as a foot in the door to destroy Israel is not the smartest and is not realestic for maybe next 100 -200 years.

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