THE DAY I SHOOK THE DUNGEON

R3 jandthegirls_SALSA280.png

Dear United States of America,

I had begun this letter at 6:30am, when I woke from my bed in East Jerusalem. As I sat down to start writing this letter I heard the voices of children playing outside of my window. They were playing what had seemed to be a game they made up on their own. My initial reaction was to not join them, but I did not because of the importance of this letter to you.

In many ways, I could relate to these children, young boys and girls, and for them to see my face, the face of someone who shares similar forms of oppressions, similar police brutality, and all around similar forms of ethnic cleansing. After my time with these children, I have gained a strange perspective on time and human pain and effort.

I am aware that other people cannot see, what I see in this land of Palestine. Inside, I have pain and shed invisible tears that not even my own hand can easily wipe away.  I know what the world has done to the Palestinian people and how narrowly they have survived it. I know, which is much worse, this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them.

You have helped destroy and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it. Innocent and well-meaning Israelis have required Palestinians to be born under conditions that are not entirely different of those that you Americans ascribe to us Negros nowadays.

America, I am writing this letter to you to tell you about how you wrongfully handled this situation, for most of the people in the Western world do not yet really know that you exist in this Nakba (catastrophe).

I do know the conditions under which the Palestinian people are born because you have caused me to be there myself, though in a slightly different way. However, I assume you do not know because you are not here. Since I am assuming that you do not know, allow me to share the reality of the situation with you.

Imagine a country that you support such as Israel settles in your village, in which it is intended that you should perish. Should I spell out precisely what I mean by that? For the heart of the matter is here and the crux of my dispute with you my country. These Palestinian people were born where Israel has settled.

Palestinian people are born and face the future that they faced because they are Palestinian and for no other reason. They were born into a society which tells them with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that they are worthless human beings. They are not expected to aspire to excellence. They are not expected to make peace with mediocrity. Wherever they turn, in their short time on this earth, they have been told where they can go and what they can do and how they can do it, where they can live and whom can they see.

I know you and Israel do not agree with me and may suppose I am exaggerating. The fact of the matter is this: many Americans, particularly Black Americans, do not know Palestine and I do. So do you.

The details and symbols of the Israeli life have been deliberately constructed to make your citizens believe what people say about the Palestinians.

To my Palestinian brothers and sisters, please try to remember that what American and Israeli governments believe, as well as what they do, and what they cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority, but to their inhumanity and fear. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history, which they do not understand. Until they understand it, they cannot be released from it.