Amidst the ongoing bloody and catastrophic events that have unfolded in recent days, I find it increasingly challenging to find purpose in writing. Each human life lost is a poignant reminder of shattered dreams and unrealized potential. The concept of martyrdom, often sought as solace and hope, fails to alleviate the sorrow of losing someone who had only just begun to dream. Sons are taken from mothers, families lose their breadwinners, and communities mourn the loss of individuals who aspired to build a future and homeland.
Simultaneously, the notion of sacrifice for the sake of the nation has been ingrained in our collective consciousness. We willingly offer ourselves as sacrificial victims, believing in a greater purpose for our nation. Sadly, the reality we face reveals that with each sacrifice, the martyrs become pawns in the hands of those in power. They exploit the bloodshed of our children to negotiate their own survival in a conflict where we, the people, bear the brunt of the sacrifices. The nation has become a mere sphere of influence for the ruling authority, wherein the leader equates their own existence with that of the entire nation.
The complexity deepens when we are faced with the task of verifying sudden deaths. We are left questioning whether the demise should be deemed martyrdom or treachery. We struggle to ascertain whether the killings were carried out by the bullets of occupation forces, the authority itself, or in the midst of internal conflicts.
How do we condemn the brutal killings by the occupying forces while also addressing the savage arrests by the ruling authority? How do we denounce the absence of justice and the silence of the international community regarding the crimes of the occupation, while the authority evades accountability for its own crimes against its own people? How do we demand justice for prisoners and victims of the occupation, while the pursuit of justice for individuals like Nizar remains elusive? How do we raise our voices against the annexation of settlements and the construction of new units, while the authority continues to surrender our resources and lands for the benefit of the powerful and privileged?
Our lives have become an incessant waiting game, with the constant looming threat of a devastating disaster ready to crush us. We are left anticipating calamities that befall those who oppress us, while we feel helpless, unable to act, express, or even feel. Jenin has become a separate entity, isolated and detached from our own territorial lines, much like Gaza. We witness one martyr after another between Nablus and Jenin, and the news of such losses no longer even registers. Invasions have transformed into aerial bombardments, and all we can do is condemn these acts, often with subdued intensity due to self-censorship. We are constantly wary of harm coming from any direction, as each individual is subjected to closure, blackmail, arrest, or worse..killing.
Amongst the youth who perish, we walk the streets in fear, knowing that our fleeting existence on this earth could be abruptly terminated by a stray bullet, a passing skirmish, or the recklessness of young individuals racing through the streets, their cars temporarily transformed into instruments of death.
Violence engulfs us from all sides, pressing upon our existence relentlessly. There is no longer space to mourn the forced and unjust departures. The idea of resistance itself has lost its explicit meaning, as everything around us seems driven by hidden calculations and motives beyond our comprehension. We struggle to distinguish the resistor from the bargainer, the genuine patriot from the traitor who merely echoes calls and slogans.
How did we descend into this abyss where even the act of posing a question seems futile? And how can we hope to escape the depths of this abyss when contemplating it no longer serves any purpose? We find ourselves shrinking, isolated, and confined to the corners of this overwhelming chasm.
Each individual is left to grapple with their own calamities alone. Our vision is opaque, preventing us from seeing what we should. The yearning for a homeland, once a unifying force, has been overshadowed by the emergence of leaders who spawn forerunners. The citizenry has gradually retreated into isolation, forsaking the shared concept of a homeland. In this desperate attempt to salvage something, we have only managed to scatter ourselves further, perpetuating division. Jenin becomes exclusively the concern of Jenin’s people, Hawara becomes an isolated entity, Hebron a separate continent, Ramallah another continent, Gaza its own entity, and Jerusalem governed by celestial orbits.
I am reminded of the noble saying of the Prophet (PBUH): “Whoever among you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. And if he is unable to do so, then with his heart. And that is the weakest level of faith.” Yet, we find ourselves in a stage of weakened faith, where the essence of humanity seems all but lost, replaced by disfigurement. Ibn Khaldun’s words resonate true when he described the corruption that befalls individuals, affecting their abilities, ethics, and religious beliefs, ultimately distorting their very humanity and turning them into disfigurements in reality.
In conclusion, the ongoing bloodshed and fragmentation have left us grappling with despair and a sense of profound loss. Our once-shared dreams and aspirations for a homeland have been eclipsed by a fractured existence. As we navigate this abyss, where hope and purpose seem elusive, it becomes crucial to rekindle our collective humanity and strive for unity in the face of adversity. Only through steadfastness, compassion, and a genuine pursuit of justice can we hope to rebuild our shattered homeland and honor the dreams that have been tragically cut short.