Melissa Nussbaum (Dorchester, Massachusetts)
Some impressions of a tour that tore my heart, of a talk that was fierce, of a leader that asked us to build bridges and another look at the WALL.
Zochrot. Omar is remembering.
He draws the route on the backside of his hand.
the WALL: Is it time?
The remembering of Lifta
Quickly remember because Lifta is now a name in parentheses and someone who cannot bear that there is a past that is connected to an unholy act has rubbed the Arabic name off the sign that points to a school, a fig tree, almonds, pools where the animals drank, and a mosque. Where the people who lived in that and that and that and that house prayed.
Somewhere out there there are two graves.
the WALL: Are we there yet?
Lifta has a new Hebrew name. Mei Naftoah conspires to erase the truth.
Someone is trying to change the story of the town into a reserve, a nature park. It does not matter what lies are told. I remember so many lies that were told.
Quickly remember the route before there is a mall and luxury homes.
Map the route that will lead to safe return
It must be in there in the stories of this town, this village, this hillside where the violence made empty these homes.
the WALL: People will never forget how you made them feel
It is in the remembering. Despite the denial, denial, denial reparation, of residency, of this basic human right to go home. To save the key to your house, to go away and lock the door and know you can come back any day you damn please and find things just the way you left them.
It is in the remembering that there is a possibility of return.
And when the systematic stripping stripping of it all makes nothing to return to?
the WALL: Life will find a way
I will call today Right of Return.
With emphasis on the Return of Dignity.