Wednesday 14 January 2009

Hear, O Israel!!

WRITTEN BY Stefano Sarfati Nahmad

Hear, Hear O Israel!
You have massacred infants and blamed their parents for it
saying that they used them as shields. I can think of nothing,
nothing more disgraceful.
Only in the space of a generation, in the name of that suffering,
you have caused suffering to others: you have hermetically sealed them
in a territory, and you started to slaughter them with the most sophisticated
of arms, indestructible armoured tanks, state-of-the-art helicopters
brightening the night-time sky as if it were day, to strike them more efficiently.
But 668 dead Palestinians and 4 dead Israelis is not a victory, it’s just
a defeat for you and for humanity as a whole.

Hear, O Israel!
I do not repudiate my history, or that of my family, which had
undergone the Shoah. But I repudiate you, the Israeli State, because you
believed that to make the credit of the Shoah mature, you would
be allowed to rid yourself of the Palestinian people and occupy their land.
But that is not the way things operate, life does not work that way. The people of Israel
have to live their own lives and not live by means of the deaths of others.

Hear, O Israel!
I do not repudiate my history, or that of my family, which had
undergone the Shoah, but today I am Palestinian. I am on the side
of the Palestinian people and their heroic resistance. I am with the
heroic resistance of the Palestinian women who kept on giving birth
to little Palestinian girls and boys in the refugee camps, in the villages
from which you had uprooted their olive trees, stolen their land. I am with the thousands
of Palestinians jailed in your prisons for having only resisted
your annexation plans.

Hear, O Israel!
There will be no Israel without Palestine, but there could be Palestine
without Israel, because your credit, by now completely dried up
by your mad and suicidal policies, was not towards the Palestinian
people who never raised a finger against you, but it was towards the people
of Germany, Italy, Poland, France, Hungary
and Europe in general; and they are to be blamed for their inaction.
Hear, O Israel, hear these names: Deir Yassin, Tel al-Zaatar,
Sabra and Chatila, Gaza. They are some names, names written
in the annals of history, that
will be voiced every single time one sees the name: Israel.

Translator’s Note: This poem is a reference to the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael, which is recited in the morning and in the evening by all practicing Jews and it is the prayer that even secular Jews will have been taught and have heard more than any other. Primo Levi wrote a memorable version of it which was the incipit of his first book, “If this is a man”, the title of which is a line from his adaptation of this prayer. It is often used in a way to stir the conscience of the listener, but it is especially directed at a Jewish public, which may intend the Shema as a moral obligation to hear, remember and bear witness.

Translated by Mary Rizzo for Tlaxcala,

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