Ala Hlehel | Translated by: Iyad Maalouf
I would like to apologize to the world. To the western world, in particular. I would like to apologize to Israel as well, for the fact that we are not photogenic enough. Most of us are men with beards. Our women wear hijab and niqab; our clothes are pale and have no fancy international brands. They are traditional “Arab” clothes. You see them in every report broadcasted from one of our streets. The beach of Gaza is neglected and miserable. It has neither an amusement park nor summer brocades full of joyous colors. I would like to apologize on behalf of myself and of all Palestinians, because we refuse to succumb to the Israeli tyranny; because we force you to bear our images and embittering news.
We were playing on the beach. We were four children who grew tired of sitting home and counting aircrafts and intelligent missiles that testify to the advancement of the human civilization of which we are still lag behind. It is summer. Summer loves the sea. Our sea is salty like any other sea. Those who are poetic among us say it is salty because of our tears. My mother says that now. I hear her from the inside of my little, improvised coffin. I cannot believe that we did not finish our game at the beach, because I was about to win an unprecedented victory over my brother at Hide and Seek.
We ran fast. Children run fast because their bodies are light, and excitement usually controls our movements. We are used to run fast in the narrow alleys of Gaza. We are familiar with all of its curves and rough areas. We know by heart all the worn-out houses accumulated over each other, even when they are intermingled and look the same: their construction is not finished. Their colors are like dry cement. Believe me. We are familiar with aesthetics. In class, they taught us about Leonardo Da Vinci. But Gaza lacks cement and paint. Even if they were available – poverty is much stronger.
I would like to apologize to the scared child in Sdirot or Ashkelon. I want to tell him that I did not mean to steal the lights of world that you love to turn on for 24 hours a day. Believe me, scared child, I did not mean to do that. We were only playing Hide and Seek. Before I died, I had wished to know what it feels like to be in a safe concrete shelter; or what it feels like to sleep under the cover of the Iron Dome. They say it works like magic. It is breathtaking and feeds the imagination. Its rockets fly in the sky, as they like with high accuracy. I wish I had a kite that I can control, so its thread would not be stuck in the tree, and the kite would not be torn on a power pole.
I would like to apologize for our insolence, we Palestinians, because we reject humiliating truce agreements, and because we never learn. They bombard us with mortars, with intelligent and heavy rockets. They kill 15 of us: adults and children in order to assassinate one person – and we never repent. I know that we are stubborn like a rock. I know that the rational enlightened mind that can calculate the price of the new iPhone with convenient payments for 36 months in less than 3 seconds, cannot totally understand us. We are difficult to understand. We are not rational enough.
Allow me to apologize to anyone for whom we have ruined the delight of the “rational” and calculated attacks, and Israel’s ability to be humane while killing us. We have ruined for you the delight of the “international solidarity” with Israel’s pain. Here we are, once more as you see, insist on dying at the wrong time. Even in death, we are illogical and impractical. Is there any enemy like us? Cruel and coarse as such?