12 June 2008

A Heart from Jenin

Ahmad El Khatib was only 12 years old when shot dead by the Israeli "Defence Forces." He was playing with a plastic gun and they thought he was a "terrorist."

His parents, Abla and Ismael El Khatib, decided to fight back with the most human weapon there could ever be - to donate little Ahmad's organs (including his heart) to children citizens of Israel.

Six children received Ahmad's organs. One didn't make it out of the operation room, and two decided to remain anonymous. The rest are a Bedouin boy from the Negev desert, a Druze girl from the Galilee, and a religious Jewish girl from Jerusalem. Ismael regularly visits the two Arab families, and he sees in these young children the life of Ahmad. To him, part of Ahmad is still alive.

The emotional story is told in the documentary film A Heart from Jenin, which was screened in Haifa in May. After the screening of the film, there was an opportunity for the audience to engage in a discussion with the Ismael and the film director, Marcus.

A man got up, introduced himself as a physician, and began his colonial monologue:
"We - the Arabs of the 'inside' - have great power. We can help you. We have a lot of influence in hospitals. If you just come to us, and ask us for help, we will help you."

This discourse of power, the strong 'us' coming to save the weak 'you' is an emulation of the very colonial discourse we are trying so hard to eradicate. It was difficult to sit there and listen to this complete blindness to reality, the ignorance of the mechanisms at work.

Every day, there are Palestinians passing through checkpoints from the West Bank to Israeli hospitals for medical procedures. Every day, there are women (some men, but mainly women), who give up hours of sleep, fill up their car tanks, and head to these checkpoints to drive children, women, men, and the elderly to the hospitals, stay there with them, and then back to the checkpoint.

The physician’s speech only showed how some of the Palestinians living inside Israel are ignorant of the reality. They prefer to watch the news and say “oh, poor Palestinians. I wish there was something I could do to help them.” And then, when the news is over, they continue on with their bourgeois lives. They make no effort whatsoever to get up, open the door and take some active steps.

I am positive that the physician who spoke at the film screening has done nothing since then.

When will we stop using the colonialist discourse? When will we start seeing that we have a responsibility towards ourselves?

(c) All rights reserved to Khulud Khamis (2008)

1 comment:

  1. thank you hulud. iagree and u just gave me another depressing story about reality here.
    nevertheless i believe that only through gethering together into political activism the change society here including educational political proigrammes against the occupation and the racism, we might change something


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