ONE PEOPLE, OUR LAND
America is known as the melting pot—meaning that many people come to the U.S. and melt in the social and community fabric that makes up this great nation. Yet, as we, the Palestinian community in the U.S. become a part of that social fabric by becoming voters and active participants in what makes the U.S. great, we also need to keep the beauty of the Palestinian culture alive in our hearts, our minds and our souls.
As Palestinians, we know too well the many attempts to eradicate our culture; to uproot our roots in terms of people and our commercial epicenter—the olive tree; to steal our culinary meals—humos; to confiscate our land—ever increasing illegal settlements; and to prevent the unification of our political parties—blackmailing one party to not reconcile.
We know too well that we need to be one people on our land—Palestine. We know too well that our enemy wants to remove us from our land, our Palestine, and they will use any means necessary. They have and continue to use the “divide and conquer” methods to attempt to destroy our will. They employ religious tactics to pit Christians and Muslim against each other; and they employ blackmail, war and political incentives to pit Fatah against Hamas.
Our enemy can use all the tactics at its disposal. It can use military tanks and war planes to destroy our buildings, our schools, our hospitals, our universities, and our commercial centers. They can build an Apartheid Wall which divides our people from each other; which separate us from cultivating our land; and which isolates our towns and cities into separate Bantustans.
However, there is one thing our enemy can never destroy. They can never destroy our will, that innate human spirit that inspires every human being to be free. The human spirit inside us, inside the collective will of the Palestinian people, cannot be destroyed; it cannot be separated from our culture; it cannot be stolen by claiming our food as theirs; it cannot be eradicated by military might; and it cannot be blackmailed with piecemeal political incentives that divide our people.
No, our human spirit to be free from the chains of occupation and apartheid cannot be destroyed. It lives in each and every Palestinian. The human spirit lives in the grandfather that still has the key to his house in Yaffa (not Jaffa as our enemy calls it). The human spirit lives in the Palestinian boy who faced down our enemy’s tank with a stone. The human spirit is rooted in our people who steadfastly remain strong and remain on the land.
So we celebrate the DAY OF THE LAND together to energize our collective human spirit; to cultivate the human spirit of our culture in our children and to state that we are ONE PEOPLE who remain defiant against any attempt to separate us from OUR LAND.