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64 Years, and We’re Still Here
Amer Zahr
by Amer Zahr
May 15th, 2012 (7 Comments)
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It’s May 15 again, and we are still here.  We haven’t gone anywhere.  Though, if you’ve been watching the news lately, you might think we no longer exist.  We are nowhere to be found on the airwaves of CNN these days.  It’s not like we haven’t been doing anything.  Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have been participating in a hunger strike for almost three months in protest of horrendous conditions and administrative detention in Israeli jails.  So just in case you were wondering… We’re still here.

We Palestinians are persistent.  We tell our story to whoever will listen.  In fact, we’ll even tell it when no one wants to listen.  You can’t meet a Palestinian without hearing the magic words in the first few minutes: “In 1948…” We always let you know… We’re still here.

Palestinians live in every corner of the world.  And wherever we live, we do well.  We succeed.  See, we’ve been robbed of our homeland, dignity, and history.  So we make it up for it by being smarter than everyone else.  We go to school and get professional degrees, even if we only plan on becoming a comedian.  We don’t just work in the gas station, we own it.  We don’t just work in the hospital, we run it.  We don’t just teach at the university, we’re the chair of the department.  And we don’t just tell jokes, we try to make you think a little bit too.  What I’m trying to say is… We’re still here.

To Israelis, we are a recurring nightmare, a constant reminder of the price of their independence.  They know we’re there, but they don’t like to talk about it.  They don’t even like to call us Palestinians.  They’d rather call us “Arabs”… as in, they’d rather we lived in any other Arab country.  In 1948, over 700,000 of us were displaced, including my one-month old father.  Those 700,000 are now over 4.6 million.  My dad had 4 children, and most Palestinians think that’s a small family!  Do the math… We’re still here.

In Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are classified as “present absentees.”  I know, it sounds weird, like “deafening silence,” “invisible ink,” or “Israeli justice.”  Sometimes, they even call us “internally displaced.”  That’s who we are… Presently absent internally displaced victims of Israeli justice.  But however you look at it… We’re still here.

Hummus, falafel, baba ghanouj, and stuffed grape leaves are all staples of Israeli cuisine.  Israelis might not like us, but they love our food.  I can’t blame them.  I remember when I was a kid, I used to bring my white friends over to my house for dinner.  They couldn’t get enough of my mom’s cooking.  Well, Palestine let some white people come over, and they loved her cooking too.  I let my white friends sleep over every now and then, but they eventually went home.  No such luck in Palestine.   In any case, every time one of Palestine’s white friends enjoys a falafel sandwich, filled with Palestinian lettuce, Palestinian pickles, and that tasty Palestinian tahini sauce, he can’t help but to remember one thing… We’re still here.

 

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* Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."

Comments (7)
  1. How does it feel to be a citizen of a country that funds the subjugation and humiliation of your people? Tell your story to all, but that won’t change reality.

    • SHADEN elkhatib ... May 16th, 2012 - 14:48

      What kind of ridiculous comment is this? Why do you think he writes this blog? Its not like he’s carrying a fund Israel bucket and making the rounds. He’s fighting for his country the way he knows how. Thank you Amer, wonderful as always.

  2. Imad Attallah ... May 15th, 2012 - 19:44

    Amer, every time I read one of your articles i become amazed of how smart, and knowledgeable you are, well, you are Palestinian and that’s how we are. I remember my Dad, bless his soul when he wanted me to study hard after realising that I been slacking off he would say, do you wanna fail school so you will become a cheap labor in Israel?, that was good enough for me to keep going on school back in the day, as for now I think it is that I had to do good in school so as I would represent my people in a way that makes me stand out on the middle of the croud. Thanks for a good Article as usual Amer.

  3. Othman Atari ... May 16th, 2012 - 03:44

    Well i want to tell Shitraeli’s that in nineteen forty eight you shitraeli’s invaded our country & took it from us..

    So in nineteen forty eight, it’s where it all began..

    In nineteen forty eight you guys stole our heart *palestine* from us..

    Nineteen forty eight that’s the date that i won’t forget..

    In Nineteen forty eight Shitraeli’s is the year where Shitraeli’s started the whole problems in the middle east..

    In Nineteen forty eight, my grand fathers suffered a lot from you people & were deported out of Palestine, & now i’m called a refugee because of Shitrael when it came to Palestine yeah & that was in Nineteen Forty Eight..

    Last but not least, since Nineteen Forty Eight, you guys didn’t even have your own cuisine, you even steal our own food!

    Like imagine since Nineteen Forty Eight Shitraeli’s didn’t have neither their own food, nor their own dress, not even a country!

    Viva de la viva Palestine.

    Down with Shitrael.

  4. You are so very right Amer. We Palestinians are resilient people and that scares Israel. This morning my three year old’s daycare teacher said he was the only child in her class that did not cry. He did not cry even when he got hurt and a lot of that attributed to his Palestinian blood. His father is a Palestinian, his mother has Palestinian parents – of course he is tough. We Palestinians never stay down. That is why we are successful and why we succeed everywhere we go. It is good to have Palestinian blood because I am not sure that I would have overcome all the adversities I did without it. Long live the Palestinian people!

  5. 64 years. OK. You know who is still here after 3000 years? Am Yisrael Chai.

  6. “Israeli justice”….that’s hilarious.


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