New York journalist Philip Weiss had his eyes opened about Israel's occupation of Palestine a few years ago, and now blogs events from a Jewish anti-Zionist perspective. He even went to Gaza earlier this summer to witness for himself.
Today he reports on his reaction to Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie, and he remembers what I wrote about Ain el Helweh:
Thank you, Phil, for remembering Ain el Helweh's traumas, rather than laughing along with a useless comic. Some of us never forget what Israel has done to our neighbors. As Mahmoud Darwish said, and As'ad Abu-Khalil repeats daily, "All that you have done to our people is written in notebooks."
I am honored that my digital notebook page has entered the memory of those who have never set foot in Ain el Helweh.
If you are new to this blog, please note that I own a bit of property in Ain el Helweh, inherited from my grandfather. The Lebanese government asked my family to host Palestinian refugees there during the Nakba of 1948, "for two weeks." We began receiving 12 Lebanese lira a year rent at that time, which is now less than a dollar. The land is worth a great deal more than that. The saga of our suit for compensation would make a latter-day Dickens tale of lawyers, wars, and bureaucracy.
Since I grew up visiting Ain el Helweh and even attended school on its doorstep, I have always felt that the suffering of its residents was my personal business. These people are my neighbors, however unwilling their tenancy. They deserve to be remembered. They deserve justice.
They do not deserve the derision of clueless Westerners.