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Palestine Awareness Week: Number Crunching, and “Meen Irhabi”

February 21, 2013

I’m teaching my “Palestine-Israel Conflict” course again, and again a few of my students are doing their final research project on suicide bombers, mostly because all they knew about Palestine before taking my class is that Palestinians are suicide bombers. By the time they start their research for the final project, my students are “understanding,” sympathetic. So they present to the class that suicide-bombers are made, not born. Only yesterday, one of my students shared with the class that about 70% of the suicide bombers have had their homes demolished by Israel, and that 100% of suicide bombers had seen a family member or loved one injured, humiliated, or killed by Israeli troops. This student was explaining that trauma leads to suicide bombing.
But I had to interject, and explain to her, and to the whole class, that there have been a total of 163 Palestinian suicide bombings, ever. And that’s an official Israeli figure, which includes attacks which only killed the bomber. So you know that if anything, the number is inflated, rather than reduced. And that’s the number since Israel first started dispossessing the Palestinians, even before 1948 (I guess that means it wasn’t Israel then, it was the Zionist terrorist gangs), destroying 450 villages, and ethnically cleansing 80% of the Palestinian people.
Now I’m not a number cruncher, but when you think of the millions—-literally, over 10 million Palestinians today– whose ancestral villages have been erased, whose human rights are violated daily, and yes, the millions who have seen loved ones injured and killed, the millions who have had to smuggle food in tunnels to survive a genocidal siege, and the millions of children who have seen their fathers and brothers arrested, and the hundreds of thousands who are seeing their homes demolished today, and their land and livelihoods stolen, then what we must emphasize is not that trauma leads to suicide bombings. My calculator does not have enough digits to show what a minuscule percentage of the millions of traumatized Palestinians have become suicide bombers. No calculator has enough digits for such a tiny fraction. Instead, what we must emphasize is that despite all that trauma, over decades and decades, we are an overwhelmingly peaceful people, a people that still laughs, loves, reaches out, rebuilds, educates, and engages in unarmed popular resistance, in sumoud, in proud and dignified defiance of the terrifying Zionist juggernaut..
Next week is Palestine Awareness Week, and this, the beautiful sumoud of my people, is the Palestine Americans must become aware of. Ours is a legacy of resistance that would make any people proud.

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2 Comments
  1. For my non-Arabic speaking readers: “Meen Irhabi” means “Who’s the terrorist,” and is a reference to the song by that title by the Palestinian rap group DAM.

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