A Palestinian cousin (first cousin to be exact) just emailed me and asked to remove him from my email list that I use for my articles. While I understand that my fervor for exposing the Apartheid State of Israel is not in everyone and I do not expect every Palestinian to write or tweet as much as I do, I do expect Palestinians to show some empathy toward the Palestinian cause. I also understand that if you do not agree with my views, you have a right to tell me to shove off. What I do not understand is the total lake of identification with our Palestinian cause.
My cousin was born in the US, not with a silver spoon in his mouth, but he does live comfortably. He has never been in Palestine and therefore does not know how it feels to have a rifle pointed at his nose—despite his Texas gun toting mentality.
My cousin is typical of many Palestinians living in the diaspora. In fact, these apathetic Palestinian-Americans may not know that they are anything but American. They are self-indulged in what they are doing that they fail to see the misery and the daily indignity that our Palestinian brothers and sisters are facing in Palestine. They would rather organize a Football Super Bowl party rather than allow my articles to be posted on their Facebook site. My cousin’s request to delete him from my list and not allowing me to post my articles on a Facebook site dedicated to Palestinians are like closing one’s eyes to all the suffering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Palestine.
In 1967 after the Six Day War, my family came to the US. I understand that I could have as easily been exiled to a refugee camp. But I was lucky. There isn’t a day when I do not think that I could have been directed to a United Nations Refugee Camp in Lebanon or Jordan. The liberties that are inherent with being an American are lost upon many young Palestinian-Americans who know not what it feels to live in a refugee camp. I really do not know the true feeling of living in a refugee camp but I make it my duty to understand how it feels. Again I am not expecting Palestinian-Americans to have the same enthusiasm I have regarding Palestine but I believe that they should show a little concern.
My cousin speaks to other Americans in his daily activities. I am sure that occasionally he speaks to Americans about Palestine. His name invites Americans to ask “Where are you from?” Naturally, I would hope he would say “I am a Palestinian-American.” Then a conversation starts about the conflict between Palestine and Israel. I would hope that my cousin would be able to answer intelligently and explain how Israel is not a democracy but rather is an Apartheid State.
When Palestinians close their eyes to anything about Palestine, they are denying their own identity. I am a Palestinian and I am proud of who I am.
My cousin and I, of course, share the same grandmother, Adeelah. She passed away when my cousin was young, I believe under the age of 10. Maybe my cousin wasn’t taught the valuable lesson our grandmother instilled in me. She told me to raise my shoulders back and be proud of whom I am—a Palestinian, a Ramallahite, from the Shakara Clan, and from the Zanayed Family.
(© Copyright, Fadi Zanayed. Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)