Nahida the exiled Palestinian
I often pondered as to why the name Holy Land was given to Palestine?
What is it about this land that justifies or legitimizes such a description when in fact that land, through myriad of foreign invasions has witnessed some of the cruelest, most barbaric, most unholy, most immoral human behaviour?
My latest visit to my Home-Land Palestine was a heartrending experience with shocking reality; a roller-coaster, a volcano of paradoxical emotions, an extraordinary visual and sensual intensive course, with daily, if not hourly, spiritual lessons.
While the visit itself did not last more than ten days, I however travelled through time, standing on the terrace of my grandparents, I saw what was, what is and what could be.
As I stood on that old terrace of my grandfather's house in Beit Iksa, facing the remains of the village of Lifta on one side and the construction of the Jewish colony Givat Shaul with its hideous buildings and eery cemetery on the other, what I saw was indescribable: a vivid screen shot of two extremes of human existence and endeavour, a visual manifestation of a bizarre reality of two paradoxical worlds narrating the tragedy of what had happened and is still happening to Palestine and the world:
In the horizon, there before my eyes, written the truth in plain indisputable language.
With poignant Lifta on my left I saw the past: organic, natural, native, rooted, sustainable, gentle, green, alive, flowing, timeless, tender, harmonious, modest, and exquisitely beautiful.
With Givat Shaul on my right I saw the present, violently constructed on the ruins of massacred Deir Yassin by the Jewish-Zionist occupiers; artificial, implanted, pompous, forced, disconnected, rootless, harsh, malignant, cancerous, dead, offensive, aggressive, predatory, foreign, ruthless, and hideous beyond words.
On the terrace of my grandfather's I saw a Civilization that lived by fostering life VS a Devilization that can only exist by destroying life.
On the terrace of my grandfather I saw a culture of Life being momentarily oppressed by a culture of Death.
On the terrace of my grandfather I understood that for us Palestinians if we are to make it into the future, all we need to do is to vehemently reject the poisonous glitter of the occupiers with all its multifaceted deception: where slavery is sugar-coated with slogans as "modern banking systems", "global trade", "free loans", "buy now pay later" and "economical growth".
On the terrace of my grandfather I understood that whatever we do we must vehemently oppose any attempt that aims to lure us to "learn" from or mimic the occupier in any shape or form:
Not in the way they run their society, where the selfish concept of "I" and "my interest" are promoted and admired while the foundation of civil human interaction and the altruistic concepts of "we" and the "communal interest" are frowned upon, despised and discouraged as irrelevant backwardness;
Not in the way they conduct business by the use of usury enriching the rich few and impoverishing the masses of poor;
Not in the way they use aggressive agriculture, under the veil of "increasing productivity" they kill the land with chemicals and over-irrigation and destroy the future with GMO sterile seedless uncontrollable crops, they farm animals in most cruel conditions. Under the veil of modernity they inject seeds of death and un-sustainability, bleeding the land dry of its richness and natural resources;
Not in the way they model their pyramidic hierarchical systems of which millions who languish at the bottom are crushed by a handful who climb to the top.
Not in the way they build colonies brutally carving out the heart of our beautiful landscape, savagely slicing through our precious hills and butchering our millennia-old meadows and mountains only to replace it with prison boxes and creepy tombstones.
On the terrace of my grandfather I saw that a culture of death by its very nature is not sustainable, and cannot possibly survive let alone give birth to life.
On the terrace of my grandfather I saw the manifestation of an exemplary, sustainable, organic, cohesive, open and hospitable civilization, a World Heritage that learned how to peacefully and lovingly coexist and thrive with its neighbours, surroundings and environment.
On the terrace of my grandfather, I understood why and how a land can become Holy and where did the sanctity of this cherished Land emerged.
On the terrace of my grandfather I saw the hands of thousands upon thousands of men women and children tenderly attending the land, lovingly removing the stones from its farms and pathways, where in return I saw the stones write poetry of love and thankfulness with its poppies, daisies and bluebells.
On the terrace of my grandfather, I saw the attentive hearts of my people singing melodies of affection and adoration as they tenderly depicted their poetic verses in sublime harmony with their environment. Their little hand-picked stones thoughtfully arranged, perfectly in tune with the landscape around. Sensitively, compassionately and to the best of human endeavour, mimicking in fine details the Divine-artwork, without causing injury or harm to whatever lays in the way. Out of stones, rocks, flowers and trees they have created a timeless panorama of breathtaking beauty.
On the terrace of my grandfather, I saw the hands of generations of my ancestors patiently caressing its sleepy hills and artistically painting the landscape with the brush of pure love, swathing it with Holiness and Sacredness, preserving its Divine-given authenticity and protecting life that dwells on it.
On the terrace of my grandfather I saw breathing homes with flowery grassy roofs, I saw homes with eyes, homes with hearts, homes that smile and weep, homes that rejoice meeting her loved ones and mourns those whom she lost.
On the terrace of my grandfather I saw homes that welcome its dwellers with hugs and kisses and puts its children to sleep by tales of love, magical bedtime stories and singing prophetic lullabies.
On the terrace of my grandfather, I finally understood the meaning of the name Holy Land, Blessed Land, Sacred Land and why that name was bestowed on our Palestine.
On the terrace of my grandfather, I saw Love of Life, Love of Land and Love of Humanity beautifully and supremely intertwined with spirituality, religiously protecting all what is around, thus creating a Holy Land, with excruciating beauty and dazzling glory, a Sacred Landscape, a Majestic Prayer and a Soul-Capturing Sanctuary with infinite charm and mesmerizing grace.
On the terrace of my grandfather, I saw how is it possible for humanity to be saved, to survive and thrive by saving and following the example of Palestine.
On the terrace of my grandfather I understood that the day of their demise is a stone throw away and the day of our Liberation is not far anymore.
On the terrace of my grandfather I realised that stopping and reversing the destruction of this land, and its inevitable Full Liberation, is not only necessary and urgent from the standpoint of Justice. Palestine is far more.
Palestine and its ominously peaceful and sustainable model is NOT a mere nostalgic ideal, but the most perfect source of inspiration and blueprint to design a futuristic, yet solidly rooted and time tested society, in which human interaction, environmental intervention, timeless architecture, agriculture, ethical commercial exchange and spiritual quest are the peak of human achievement. They are not incompatible with contemporary technology and population growth, they are the safeguards and KEY to a sustainable, peaceful and brighter future.
Whether some like it or not, in order to rescue this Sacred World Heritage, it will need a difficult surgery: the removal of the invading death culture that has shown its colossal failure to integrate the Land and its People.
Beauty and Humanity shall prevail.
I warmly invite the world along with my fellow Palestinians to rediscover and embrace our Palestinian culture of Life following the flowering footsteps of the Prophets of this Holy Land, Palestine.