"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of IsraelIn 2008, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation sponsored a competition to express the Palestinian narrative from 1948 in the form of visual arts, poetry, essays, music, video and digital media. I received Honorable Mention, which follows, because as Don Hewitt instructed his "60 Minutes" staff:
"The formula is simple and it's reduced to four words every kid in the world knows: Tell me a story. It's that easy."- Don Hewitt
And by the way, in 2006 I snail mailed "60 Minutes" -and many other of the top USA Media outlets a DVD copy of "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and also hand delivered 50 copies to members of Congress.
I still have NOT received a reply from any!
Keep Hope Alive (an excerpt) By Eileen Fleming
Twenty-one hours later they reached the town of Bint Jubayl and the family joined the end of a queue at a water well. The land owner offered them drink and hard crusts of bread and Khaled told him of their twenty-one hour odyssey of terror. Their host sighed and shrugged, then handed Khaled a blanket and pointed them down the grove where they could sleep amongst thousands of other Palestinian refugees. When they found an unoccupied olive tree they spread the blanket atop the dirt and roots and huddled together beneath the tree's broad canopy and fell into an exhausted sleep.
The next day, a mile from the grove, the young family found a vacant, unfurnished room in an unfinished building and sat down. For two days, they moved in a cloud of unknowing as more refugees flooded into Lebanon. On the third day Khaled announced, "We must move on. I say we go to Damascus. I have my teacher's certificate with me. I will teach the children of wealthy merchants, and we will eat and sleep without fear until we can return home."
He smiled, remembering the fierce joy of Khaldiyeh and Latifah when they erupted into song and dance, and Little Mo asked, "Why not?" It was their first laugh since leaving home.
The only transportation available was a decrepit old train that had once carried livestock. Hundreds of refugees were packed in like standing sardines and people relieved themselves and vomited all around the young family. After five hours, Khaled noticed the girls looked ready to pass out and announced that they must all jump off.
"I will count to twenty, and then we must all jump at the same time. Are you ready?"
The girls were visibly trembling, but nodded yes. Little Mo appeared stoic, but quaked within. Khaled counted slowly as they all stood at the edge of the open car holding hands. When Khaled screamed "twenty," he, Little Mo, and Latifah jumped, but not Khaldiyeh!
With astounding power Khaled ran after the train, climbed back aboard, grabbed his sister, picked her up, and jumped off once more. The siblings were scraped and bruised, but grateful to get off that wretched train. They all laughed for the second time since they had fled Majd Al Krum.
The young family walked the remaining mile to Beirut, where they spent the night wide awake in a bus depot, waiting for their ride to Damascus. They were filled with idealistic, youthful hopes, until their connection arrived, carrying thousands of dazed and confused Palestinians.
After disembarking from the long, silent ride, Khaled led his family into a dingy gray Damascus neighborhood. He was able to afford a few nights in a sparsely furnished attic room. On the third day, he ventured alone into the center of the cradle of civilization.
The Damascus streets sights and smells overwhelmed Khaled's senses. His gait slowed to a shuffle as he inhaled and savored the pungent spices of meats and the sweet perfume of fresh fruits. He stopped at a booth displaying rugs and despaired at the thought of his family sleeping another night on a bare floor.