Monday, 24 November 2008

Pain and resolve of the al-Kurd family

News reaches us of the sad passing of Abu Kamel al-Kurd.

Mr al-Kurd, 61, died of a heart attack two weeks after being forcibly evicted from the family's home in Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem. Subjected to years of wilful intimidation by the Israeli state and settler zealots, Fawzia al-Kurd has now lost her home and her husband. The stress of eviction and callous destruction of a protest tent set up outside the family's home finally proved too much for Abu Kamel who had suffered prolonged illness. One can only imagine the despair and heartbreak for this heroic family, forced to watch him live out his final days in this barbaric way.

One is entitled to feel anger. Instead, I try to focus on the questions of compassionate awareness and solidarity. And, I ask, when will those multiple friends of Israel, forever issuing peace overtures and assurances to this apartheid state, realise their collective inhumanity in failing to speak on behalf of the truly oppressed, the dispossessed, the brutalised other? Will it come while David Miliband tours Israel and speaks at his Labour Friends of Israel luncheons? Or when the BBC, in their shameful 'haste', finally turn up to 'report' the al-Kurd's plight? Or when 'peace' groups like One Voice utter their squeaky-clean denunciations of 'extremists' on 'both sides', never daring to mention the state monolithic violence being visited every single day on anonymous Palestinians?

Their silence, their prevarications, their complicity is why such human wreckage is allowed to continue: apologetic human inaction feeds violent state action.

It's why there has to be clear proactive support for people like the al-Kurds - just as there has to be active criticism and exposure of the forces currently starving Gaza into submission, causing 98 percent of its children to be traumatised. To speak otherwise only provides the powerful with the means to mystify the issues and hide their crimes.

Beyond the sadness, I keep the pleasing memory of breaking Ramadan fast last year with the al-Kurds during our part in the watchful vigil outside their now stolen home. I smile thinking about that lovely gathering, of the family's generous hospitality and kindness. And, again, of their quiet, dignified resilience in the face of imminent eviction and loss.

All these images convey, for me, the true essence of the Palestinian struggle for justice. It also informs my understanding of peaceful, assertive and mindful-resistant politics; or zenpolitics. Even at such moments, it inspires a positive belief that there will be due deliverance for the al-Kurds and all those living and dying under the weight of Israel's brutal fist. Israel may be able to wield its mighty armoury, political network and media calumnies. But the people it seeks to demoralise and break show no sign of being silenced.

Strength and love to the al-Kurd family.


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