Rosario, Tuesday, May 31st of 1988
The Palestinian Children, the Children of the stones (view)
By Suhail Akel
For La Capital
The following is an article written by Suhail Akel, representative of the Palestine Information Office in Argentina. The problem of the children born in refugee camps is analyzed in this article.
From the most remote times, childhood has always been the easiest target for the bloodiest hatred. The Palestinian children are today one of the greatest victims of the second half of the century. During four generations, born in refugee camps, with their beautiful dark eyes and their angel-like faces, they hide inside them the suffering for the territorial castration, massacres and all most horrendous that the human mind can imagine: children who are costume to playing even with death. With their small chests unprotected and against all kind of weapons, from a common revolver to the most sophisticated and condemned fragmentation bomb; nevertheless, just as their elders, they continue clenching their rocks until the storm passes through and they may return to their legitimate usurped territories.
The Palestine Liberation Organization, worried about protecting the mental and corporal health of the new generations, and this way preserve the existence of the Palestinian people before those who pretend its extermination, has had to base its work on three fundamental actions: psychical, educational and labour.
In the psychic field, psychiatric centers, which specialize in child rehabilitation, where orphan children of martyr parents, rescued from death, may heal, enjoy special protection, with a healthy development and where all of them are treated in the same way. A great effort being carried out by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PLO institution), an equivalent to the International Red Cross.
In education, the Palestinian found a great impediment for their acquisition of knowledge due to the Zionist State, which imposed strict limitations in their preparation in the historic and political levels, eliminating all data relative to Palestine and even censoring the Arab contribution in the development of humanity, reaching the pint of replacing the atlases that carry the name Palestine. These aberrant episodes have been denounced by the Economic Commission of the United Nations for West Asia; just as professor Mary W. Gray, who formed part of the group of 8 observers sent by the UN to the occupied territories, from November 24th to November 30th of 1980, expressed in the “Chronicle of Higher Education”: “We can observe how students and teachers are harassed by way of arrests and the closure of schools and universities”.
Before this reality, the PLO, working jointly with the public aid organizations of the UN, has formed a network of educational systems for the assistance of children in schools and kindergartens; while the Palestinians in the high school and university levels have reached great achievements, to such a pint that they have gained the highest levels of capacity in the Middle East, occupying today the third place in the world, next to France.
In the labour field, the oppression of Palestinian childhood has always been a pleasure for exploiters, taking advantage of families and their need of work, applying up to 13 hours of heavy work against children between 9 and 10 years, with miserable pay. During decades, this has been denounced and condemned by the Committee for Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People of the United Nations and the International Labour Organization, ILO, before Israeli indifference. To speak of something more recent and to compare that the present situation is coherent with Zionist policy in Palestine, I shall bring the words of the British minister David Mellor, who visited the occupied territories on January 4th, 1988. Expressing his indignation, he declared: “¿How long do you think 1,500,000 Palestinians can continue subdued under gunpoint? This cannot go on and that is what all international community believes”.
The PLO has brought solutions in part to this problem of exploitation by creating the SAMED (cooperative establishments) and I say in part because the SAMED was prohibited by Israel in the occupied territories.
I have tried to offered a short reflection about the suffering of the latest generations of Palestinians and I explain, especially to the readers who have been following all my articles in this media, the reason behind the Palestinian Popular Uprising, an insurrection of the people who are tired of being exploited, deported and tortured. And the principle markers are the children, these children who are victims of those who in their own childhood were victims of the hitlerite camps. They are the Palestinian children who have overcome the fear that controlled their laughter and their tears, turning that fear into hope, because in each of them there is an undying conviction –Palestine- and a national identity –the PLO- and this is why their tender eyes have become catlike and their soft hands have become tweezers, pulverizing the rocks of holy Palestine so as to make stones to face that robot armed to kill, showing it that no one could never keep Palestine under occupation, from the Hebrews in 1022 Bc to the English in 1919. This is the Palestinian childhood which will not allow the occupation to continue much longer. Nevertheless and above all, it has been the PLO the one which has guided the feelings of this heroic childhood and, far from inculcating hatred, it has prepared them to offer peace to those who have imposed war on them.
“Let the children come to me, because the Kingdom of Heaven belong to them” –Jesus Christ.
* Representative of the Palestine Information Office in Argentina