Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dreams and Love in the Face of Violence




"Khalil was shot and killed by Israeli guards at the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah after he allegedly tried to stab one of them on 22 November. No Israelis were injured during the incident."


Anything about Kalandia catches my attention, regardless of the way the word is transliterated. This one stood out with vivid clarity. That could have been Muhammad. Sometimes the characters we create in novels become real enough to appear in news articles. Muhammad, at least the hero of my novel Checkpoint Kalandia, never really existed. He never really had to be held down to keep from attacking the soldiers at the checkpoint, but his is the background I ascribed to Jihad Khalil. A situation that should never happen continues to be repeated…and repeated…and repeated for years, decades, and generations.


The people of Gaza live under even more repressive conditions than those on the West Bank, yet they continue to make art. They paint, they write, they produce plays, they make amazing music. The video below was one I found on the same website, electronicintifada.net. I find it great fun to find that hip-hop music has found a home in Gaza.

The English subtitles are hard to read, but the words are very uplifting. I have taken some liberties with their less-than-perfect translation:

We’re tightening our strength to be the people who never kneel down to death.
We give the mute dream persistence and voice.
We’re tightening our strength to be the people who never kneel down to death.
 Time passes fast. We still hold faith in our hearts
Immigration is not even an option for us
so we will resist the humiliation until we return
We still hold dreams in our hearts
Tomorrow they will be facts.
The bitterness will change to love
And carry the meaning of liberation.
Come sing with us. Let us fly.
We build the love of the land deep in our hearts
And keep it safe within us.
 Sing with us. Let’s all fly. Let’s all fly. Let’s all fly.
 We’re tightening our strength to be the people who never kneel down to death.
We give the mute dream persistence and voice.
We’re tightening our strength to be the people who never kneel down to death.




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