The people of Palestine yearn for peace

The following is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Dr. Haydar Abdel-Shafi, founder of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, at the Madrid Conference in 1991.

“We, the people of Palestine, stand before you in the fullness of our pain, our pride, and our anticipation, for we long harbored a yearning for peace and a dream of justice and freedom. For too long, the Palestinian people have gone unheeded, silenced and denied. Our identity negated by political expediency; our right for struggle against injustice maligned; and our present existence subdued by the past tragedy of another people. For the greater part of this century we have been victimized by the myth of a land without a people and described with impunity as the invisible Palestinians. Before such willful blindness, we refused to disappear or to accept a distorted identity. Our intifada is a testimony to our perseverance and resilience waged in a just struggle to regain our rights. It is time for us to narrate our own story, to stand witness as advocates of truth which has long lain buried in the consciousness and conscience of the world. We do not stand before you as supplicants, but rather as the torchbearers who know that, in our world of today, ignorance can never be an excuse. We seek neither an admission of guilt after the fact, nor vengeance for past inequities, but rather an act of will that would make a just peace a reality.”

There is no peace in the land of peace. The olive trees have burned, at the hands of Israel, the fire’s stoked with American tax dollars. Dear reader, I call upon you to take action against the ongoing genocide happening in Palestine and to boycott Israel, to call upon our institutions and representatives to divest and cut ties with Israel and the means that fund their war crimes, to make your voice loud for the people of Palestine. If you’ve wondered what you would’ve done during slavery, the Holocaust, or the Civil Rights movement, you’re doing it right now. We decide upon the legacy we leave our children; shouldn’t they be able to find shade beneath the trees of peace?

Malea Kirkpatrick

Orcas Island