28 years ago, one September day, after playing with my siblings and friends in our land, we returned home with joy in our hearts. We were very happy and rushed to tell my parents of our plan to go on a “picnic” the following day with our friends. My father looked at us and said calmly: no, there will be no picnic tomorrow. My parents were sitting in front of the TV, both unusually quiet, my father’s eyes looked troubled, my mother had tears in her eyes. The house was silent, dead silent, except for the screams coming from the TV. I looked at the TV and saw the same images over and over: dead bodies …. dead bodies …. dead bodies….
28 years ago, I saw images of butchered Palestinians, piled up like sacks one over the other. I saw images of murdered men, women, children and elderly filling the streets. I saw women crying and shouting and cursing. I saw Sabra and Shatila.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila, look at the images of the martyred victims. I memorize the 3500 names of those tortured to death, of those butchered. I read out loud the testimonies of those who survived the atrocities. I think of their pain, their suffering and of their fear. I think: 62 years of murder, 62 years of terror, 62 years of Zionism occupying Palestine and threatening humanity.
28 years ago, I understood for the first time what it means to mourn, what it feels like to lose someone, how much it hurts to see someone lying in their blood, hear the stories of the their last minutes, listen to the screams of those who survived. We sat in our living room in occupied Palestine and saw the images of all those men, women and children, lying dead in the streets. It was like waking up from a dream, and realizing that for you, as a Palestinian, there was no place for picnics, no place for happiness as long as other Palestinians were being murdered, that there is no place for happiness as long as Palestine is still occupied. These Palestinians did not live in Palestine, they were far away from us, but they were part of us. They were far away, in places called Sabra and Shatila. It was the first time that I hear of these places and since then these two names never left me. They were far away from their homeland, far away from Palestine, and we in Palestine, mourned them, cried for them and felt the pain of those who survived. They were the brothers far away from home, the sisters we never met, the cousins we heard of, the family that is an extension of every family in Palestine. They were the branches that were forcibly cut off of the olive tree. They were the roots that were snatched away from our mother Palestine.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila. I remember that Palestinians are targeted everywhere. I think of those among us steadfast in our land refusing to leave despite the daily Zionist terror, and think of those in the Diaspora dreaming and waiting for the return. We are the parts that make Palestine full; we are one body and when one part of Palestine bleeds, all of Palestine bleeds. I remember every massacre and every crime committed against the Palestinians. And despite the hopes, the wishes and aims of the Zionists, every massacre, every drop of Palestinian blood, every cry of a Palestinian child makes us stronger, more steadfast, more resolute to fight the occupation and the oppression. With every massacre and with every crime we grew closer and stood as one; one body aching for freedom. With every massacre and with every crime we cry for every victim of oppression, we go to the streets for every martyr and every wounded and every prisoner, we protest every injustice and demand our legitimate rights. It is our unity that makes us strong, a blood bond that not the Zionist entity, not the US, not even the treacherous Palestinians could break.
28 years ago, I realized that Palestinian refugees, wherever they might be, whether in Dheisheh, Balatah, Shu’fat or Khan Younis, whether in Shnellar, Ein Il-Hilweh or Yarmouk, are a threat to the Zionist entity because they expose its lie of a “land without a people for a people without a land”. I understood that the Right of Return is a threat to the Zionist entity that is a usurper entity based on racism, ethnic cleansing and terror. I realized that Jrash, Deir Aban and Zakariya are names the Zionist entity wants deleted from the memory of humanity as it deleted them from the map of the world.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila and think of Palestinian babies born every day. These babies are a threat to the Zionist entity because with every Palestinian baby the Zionist myth of “there is no such thing as Palestinians” crumbles and falls, with every Palestinian baby the Zionist dream of ethnically cleansing Palestine is destroyed, with every Palestinian baby the road to Haifa, Yafa and Al-Jalil becomes shorter and with every Palestinian baby Palestine grows stronger.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila and I think of all the collaborators and the sell-outs who want to “negotiate” our legitimate rights, who want to exchange the Right of Return for more dollars and euros to fill their over-sized Swiss bank accounts and who want to sell out Palestine for more “power” in their “mini-bantustan” aka Al-Muqata’a Ash-Sharifa. To them we say: the Right of Return is inalienable and there is no peace without justice, and there is no justice without the return of all Palestinian refugees.
28 years ago, I understood that the Arab betrayal that caused our Nakba and allowed a Zionist usurper entity to be established in the heart of the Arab world and on the dead bodies of Palestinians is still a strong ally of Zionism and a partner in dictatorship, racism and denying equal rights. I understood that the Arab betrayal that allowed the Sabra and Shatila massacre to happen is still joining forces with the usurpers to devour what is left of Palestine, to ethnically cleanse and remove off the face of the earth anything with the name “Palestinian”.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila, and think of the Arab regimes who still betray Palestine through their alliance with the Zionist entity. They continue to betray Palestine every time they shake the hands of Zionist war criminals, they betray Palestine every time they allow Zionists to enter their lands, they betray Palestine every time they encourage normalization with the Zionist entity, they betray Palestine every time they refuse to boycott Zionism and its products. And the Arab peoples still betray Palestine through their silence which makes them indirect accomplices. The millions over millions of Arab people betray Palestine every time their remain in their homes while millions all over the world go out to the streets to protest Zionist terror, they betray Palestine every time they “condemn” Zionist terror on facebook and twitter while others all over the world start solidarity groups, and initiate boycott movements, they betray Palestine every time they meet with Zionists with lame excuses such as to “discuss peace” and “hear the other side” thus siding with the oppressor and equating the occupier with the occupied.
The millions over millions of Arabs betray Palestine and themselves and their children every time they say “our leaders won’t allow us” while millions and millions of peoples throughout the history took their destiny in their own hands and liberated themselves from tyranny and dictatorship.
28 years ago, I saw the blood flowing in the streets of Sabra and Shatila mix with the blood of Deir Yasin, with the blood of Kufr Qasim, with the blood of Qibya, Ish-Sheikh, Ad-Dayameh, Sharafat, As-Sammou’, and countless many more. I saw men and women scattered on the ground. I saw children, like me, with no limbs and no heads. I saw horrors that were the “trademark” of Zionism. And I saw the fear, I saw the anger and I saw the resolution. I saw Palestine bleeding and I cried.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila, and think of the Palestinian blood shed by the Zionists in Oyoun Qarra, Al-Aqsa, in Al-Ibrahimi, in Jenin, in Jabalia, in Gaza. Palestine is still bleeding, cries, awaits us to stand up again as one against the occupiers and their accomplices. Palestine asks us to stay loyal to the blood of Sabra and Shatila and all the innocent victims, never to forget, and to lead the way to Safsaf, Majd Il-Krum, Amka and Yajour.
28 years I saw Palestinians become Lebanese and Lebanese become Palestinians. I saw both united against one enemy; Zionism which is the enemy of all humanity. I saw Palestinians and Lebanese neighbours living near each other, living together and living for each other. I saw Palestinians and Lebanese neighbours as it always was: Palestine hugging Lebanon and Lebanon hugging Palestine until Zionism torn them apart. I saw Palestinians and Lebanese blood mingle and become one: the blood of the innocent victims of Zionism.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila, and think of what was and what is. I think of the Palestinian refugees who lost their homes and their lands, who were forced out of Palestine and who were butchered wherever they went. I think of Palestinian refugees who have only one home to which they want to return, who have only one identity to define them: the Palestinians of Palestine. But until the day of the return; don’t they deserve to be treated like humans?
28 years ago, I saw the victims of Sabra and Shatila and understood that murderers who kill civilians know no “peace”; that killers who butcher children don’t want “peace” and that only resistance is the way to Haifa, Yafa and Akka, that only through resistance will we liberate Palestine, only through resistance will Palestine be one again; from the river to the sea.
28 years later and after some 20 years of useless “negotiations” between those who don’t represent us and those who butcher us, I remember Sabra and Shatila and every single massacre committed by the Zionists and their accomplices. I remember every single child, woman and man killed for the sake of Zionism. I remember every village, every town and every refugee camp that was ethnically cleansed, destroyed, bulldozed or bombed in the name of Zionism. I remember those who refused to sell their conscience, their honour and their land; I remember those who chose Palestine. And I remember those who shook the hands of the killers of our people, I remember those who “acknowledged” our killers, signed “treaties” with them and called them “our partners in peace”; I remember those who sold Palestine. And I will never forget.
28 years ago, I, a child, sat in my bed in the middle of one September night in 1982, the images of the dead children filling my little head, the cries of the survivors echoing in my ears, tears swimming in my eyes, and swore to remain loyal to the innocent souls of Sabra and Shatila, to remain loyal to Palestine. I swore never to forget, never to forgive.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila, and I haven’t forgotten, nor have I forgiven. The war criminals still walk freely, they are welcomed in every Arab country, they are hugged and kissed by those who claim they represent us.
28 years later, I remember Sabra and Shatila and I will never forget those who, while Palestinians were being butchered by Zionists, went to have dinner with the war criminal Sharon in his ranch built on usurped Palestinian land.
And 28 years ago, I cried for the victims of Sabra and Shatila and dreamt of freedom, of liberation and of the return of all refugees to their homes so they can bury their dead and dry their tears and plant olive trees where Zionism tried to kill the land.
28 years later, we commemorate Sabra and Shatila; commemorate the souls of the innocent civilians butchered in a most horrific manner by the Zionist terrorists and their accomplices and watch as another set of accomplices meet with the same Zionist usurpers to sell our legitimate rights and our land.
28 years later, the tears of Sabra and Shatila haven’t dried yet. The blood of Sabra and Shatila still flows in every alley and every street of every Arab country that welcomes a Zionist war criminal. The screams of Sabra and Shatila still resound in every alley and every street of every Arab country that welcomed a Zionist war criminal.
28 years later, and 10227 days after Sabra and Shatila Palestine is still occupied by the Zionists and their accomplices. Palestinian blood is still being spilled for the sake of Zionism. Palestine is still usurped, besieged and faces daily ethnic cleansing and terror.
28 year later, Sabra and Shatila appeals to us, adjures us never to forget!
28 years later; our people are still steadfast in Palestine, the refugees still cling to the Right of Return and Resistance is still the only way for a free Palestine from the River to the Sea.