About Us :: من نحن

Bookmark Here :: أشّر هنا

Contact Us :: اتصل بنا

 
 

 

 

African News

Muslim World News

Middle East News

International News

Articles And Essays

Quran & Hadith

As Sirah Biography

Muslim Briefcase

Arabic Dictionary

Muslim Marriage

  The Web EsinIslam.com

African Muslim A-Z Gulf Yellow Pages Middle East Finder Arabic Dictionary Muslim Marriage

 

Homepage :: الرئيسية

Articles By Uri Avnery Accredited - Unassociated

Index :: القائمة

 
 

Nigerian News | South African News | Somali News | Sudanese News | Egyptian News | Articles Writers

     
 

A Hope not Lost: Memory of Childhood and Zionism

Post By Uri Avnery

ON THE MORROW of Independence Day, a newspaper reported that an Arab child had refused to stand up while the national anthem was sung. The paper was furious. I was not. In fact, it raised a childhood experience from the depths of my memory.

It was in Hanover, Germany, some months after Adolf Hitler had come to power. I was a pupil in the first class of a high school that bore the name of the last German Empress, Auguste Victoria.

The rise of the Nazis to power did not, in general, cause immediate and dramatic changes. Life went on. But in school there was a marked change: every few weeks there was a celebration for one or another of the many military victories that German history is richly endowed with. On such days, all the pupils congregated in the big hall, the "aula", the principal made a speech full of pathos and the pupils sang patriotic songs.

On one of these occasions - I think it was in celebration of the conquest of Belgrade from the Turks by Prince Eugen in 1717 - we assembled again in the aula, and at the end of the ceremony two anthems were sung: the national anthem ("Deutschland ueber Alles") and the Nazi anthem (The Horst Wessel song). The hundreds of pupils rose to their feet, raised their right hands in the Nazi salute and sung devotedly.

I was 9 years old, a pupil of the most junior class, and the youngest child in the class. I was also the only Jew in school. I had no time to think. I rose to my feet, but I did not raise my hand and did not sing. One little boy in a sea of raised hands. I was trembling with excitement.

Nothing awful happened. But afterwards, some of my class-mates threatened that if I did this again, they would break my bones. I was saved from this test. A few weeks later my family fled Germany and went to Palestine, the land of my dreams.


HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Arab children are now facing a similar test. They are expected to sing an anthem that ignores their very existence and reminds them of the defeat of their people. This week, the publisher of Haaretz, Amos Schoken, the son of an immigrant from Germany, proposed changing the anthem.

"Hatikva" ("The Hope") was written more than a hundred years ago. At the time, a small Zionist community already existed in this country, but the song reflected the point of view of the Diaspora. "As long as deep in the heart / A Jewish soul is yearning, / And towards the edge of the East, the orient, / An eye is looking out towards Zion…" (My literal translation.)

Since then, the situation of the Jews and of this country have changed radically. In the country, a large and strong Hebrew society has emerged. Why should we sing about the "edge of the East" when we are living in Zion? 

True, the fact that a song has become obsolete, even ridiculous, does not make it unfit to serve as a national anthem. The French anthem calls on the sons of the fatherland to stand up against the bloody tyrants (meaning Germans and others) and soak the fields with their impure blood. The Dutch anthem speaks about the injustices committed by Spain some 400 years ago. The British anthem prays to God to frustrate the knavish tricks of the enemies of the monarch. So we Israelis may be allowed not to lose our hope to be "a free people in our land" - as if we were under occupation. (Whose, exactly? Jewish? British? Turkish?) In the original text, by the way, the hope was "To return to the land of our fathers, / The town where David camped." It was changed later. 

No, the problem with Hatikva is not the text of the song, nor the melody, which was swiped from Eastern Europe. The problem is that it excludes the Arab citizens, who now constitute more than 20% of Israel's population.

I don't want start another discussion of whether or not Israel is a "Jewish state" (What does that mean? That it belongs to the Jewish religion? That the majority is Jewish?) Even somebody who wants it to be so must ask himself: Is it wise to make every Arab citizen feel that he or she does not belong? That this is a foreign and hostile state?

Hatikva can well remain the anthem of the Zionist movement, and Jews can sing it in Los Angeles or Kiryiat Malachy (both "cities of the angels"). But it should not be the anthem of the state. 

In World War II, Stalin decided that the then national anthem - the Internationale - did not serve his purpose anymore. He wanted to arouse patriotism and needed the cooperation of his capitalist allies. So he announced a competition for the writing of a new anthem. A rousing song was chosen, which struck such deep roots that even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians preferred it to the old anthem of the Czars (familiar to us from Tchaikovsky's "1812").

The time has come to discuss changing our anthem, not only for the sake of the Arab citizens, but also for our own sake: to have an anthem that reflects our reality. 38 years ago in the Knesset I first submitted a bill In this spirit. It was soundly defeated. Now is the time to revive the idea.

THAT IS also true for the flag.

The blue-white flag is the banner of the Zionist movement. It took the Jewish prayer shawl, the tallith, added the Star of David (an old Jewish symbol, which also appears in other cultures) and created a new national flag. It has one obvious fault: the blue and the white do not stand out against the background of the blue sky, the white clouds and the grey buildings. It is enough to compare it to the jolly American Stars and Stripes, the solemn British Union Jack and the esthetic French Tricolore.

But the main fault of the flag lies in the fact that it excludes the Arab community from the family of the state. An Arab who salutes the flag is lying to himself when he tries to identify himself with symbols like the tallith and the Star of David that exclude him and don't speak to him.

(The more so as many Arabs believe that the two blue stripes stand for the Nile and the Euphrates, and that the flag hints at the Zionist ambition to create a Jewish state according to the Biblical promise (Genesis 15, 18): "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt into the great river, the river Euphrates." This is an invention, but it makes the flag even more difficult to accept.)

The aim of a national flag is to unite. This flag disunites. It does not touch the heartstrings of an important community in the state. It pushes them away. And not only them. As Gideon Levy wrote this week, it has been expropriated by the extreme Right and is connected, in the eyes of advocates of peace and justice, with the shame of the roadblocks, the settlements and the occupation. 

Not so long ago, the Canadian state was facing a similar problem. The national flag, based on the Union Jack, was pushing away the minority of French-speakers. In spite of the fact that these constituted only 10% of the population (to which could be added the offspring of mixed couples), the majority decided, wisely, that the unity of the country was more important than their own British sentiments. A new flag was decided upon, a flag that has at its center a symbol every Canadian can identify with: the maple leaf.


THE OPPOSITION to the changing of the anthem and the flag does not emanate, of course, only from a devotion to existing symbols. It is mainly an opposition to the changing of the Jewish identity of Israel.

The desire to preserve the "Jewish state" is strong and profound. Lately it has been strengthened even more by the demand of Arab intellectuals, citizens of Israel, to re-arrange the relationship between the state and the Arab minority.

Almost daily, new proposals pop up. This week, Otniel Shneller, a member of the Knesset and close friend of Ehud Olmert, proposed a new idea: to turn over to the Palestinian state, once it is set up, the Arab villages in the Triangle, an area on the Israeli side of the Green Line, in return for the settlement blocs on the Palestinian side, which would be incorporated into Israel. This way the proportion of Arabs in the state will decrease and the proportion of Jews increase.

Unlike Avigdor Liberman, who proposed something similar, this Kadima member of the Knesset does not propose to do it by force. He professes to a desire to achieve an agreement with the inhabitants, so that they would retain some of their social rights in Israel even after becoming citizens of the Palestinian state. What is important for him is only that they - and perhaps also the Arab inhabitants of Galilee - will cease to be citizens, so that Israel will be more "Jewish and democratic", or, rather, "Jewish and demographic".

Shneller and Liberman - both settlers, both belonging to the extreme Right - do not propose to give up East Jerusalem, where almost a quarter of a million Palestinians are living. That does not worry them, because these Arabs have never been given Israeli citizenship anyhow. When they were annexed to Israel in 1967, they were accorded only the status of "permanent residents". Therefore, they are not required to hoist the blue-white flag and to sing Hatikva. 

By the way, these proposals show that these two Rightists have lost hope for the Greater Israel, and resigned themselves to a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Otherwise their proposals would be meaningless.


HOW DO the Arab citizens of Israel react to Shneller's ideas? They just ignore them. Up to now, not a single Arab voice has been raised in support of this proposal, much as not a single Arab voice has been heard in support of Liberman's ideas.

That sheds light on a fact that has escaped many: the Arab citizens of Israel are much more connected with the state than it seems. In spite of their suffering discrimination in practically all fields of life, they are connected with the political, economic and social system. They have no desire whatsoever to give up Israeli democracy, social security benefits and the economic advantages. They certainly want to order the relations between them and the state on a new basis, but they definitely do not want to be separated from it.

Many years ago, an Arab member of the Knesset, Abd-al-Aziz Zuabi, coined the phrase "my state is at war with my people". That is the dilemma of the Arab citizen of Israel. He is a part of this state, and at the same time belongs to the Palestinian people.

Every "Israeli Arab" is faced with this reality, and every one is looking for an answer of his or her own. The Azmi Bishara affair (which I shall address in the near future) symbolizes this dilemma. As long as there is no Israeli-Palestinian peace, the dilemma will endure.

A new anthem and a new flag will not solve the problem, but they will constitute a significant step towards a solution that both sides can live with. 

* An Israeli author and activist. He is the head of the Israeli peace movement, “Gush Shalom”.

 

Email This Page To Someone إرسل هذه الصفحة إلى شخص ذي شأن

 
     

 
   
   
 

Homepage :: الرئيسية

Articles By Uri Avnery Accredited - Unassociated

Index :: القائمة

 

 

 

 

 Our Sheikh And Amir: Sheikh Abu Abdullah Adelabu (Ph. D. Damas) :: Email Sheikh

     

 Advertisements are free on this site based on strict selections and high valuation of services to the Muslims

     

 Our Editor & Director: Umm-Abdullah Adelabu :: Email Us

esinislam.com All Rights Reserved Copyright © esinislam.com :: إسين إسلام جميع الحقوق محفوظة

AwqafAfrica is in association with www.esinislam.com, www.islamafrica.com, and www.islamicafrica.com <<>> African Muslim Directories <<>> If you reside in the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, or Australia and require FREE Islamic ritual services including Marriage, Newborn Baby Ceremonies, Funerals, etc. send your requests to: ritualservices@esinislam.com  <<>>> Free Muslim visits in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Accra, Cotonou, Port Novo, Freetown, Abidjan, Dakar, Khartoum, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Harare, or Kinshasa visits@esinislam.com  <<>> FREE Translations English-Arabic-English and French-Arabic-French are available for mosques, Islamic centres, and Muslim organizations based in Africa or serving the Africans abroad: translator@esinislam.com  <<>> Free Islamic And Arabic Studies For The African Muslims And African American Muslims <<>> Islam In Africa <> Islam In America <> Islam In Europe <> Islam In Asia <<>> Join us celebrating Islam in Africa Muslims or African Muslims | Muslims of Africa and Muslims in Africa Islam in Angola Muslims or Angolan Muslims | Muslims of Angola and Muslims in Angola <>Islam in Benin Muslims or Dahome Muslims | Muslims of Benin and Muslims in Benin <> Islam in Botswana Muslims or Boswanan Muslims | Muslims of Botswana and Muslims in Botswana <> Islam in Burkina Faso Muslims or Burkinan Muslims | Muslims of Burkinafaso and Muslims in Burkinafaso <> Islam in Burundi Muslims or Burundian Muslims | Muslims of Burundi and Muslims in Burundi <> Islam in Cameroon Muslims or Cameroonian Muslims | Muslims of Cameroon and Muslims in Cameroon <> Islam in Cape Verde Muslims or Capean Muslims | Muslims of Cape Verde and Muslims in Cape Verde <> Islam in Central Africa Muslims or Central African Muslims | Muslims of Central Africa and Muslims in Central Africa <> Islam in Chad Muslims or Chadian Muslims | Muslims of Chad And Muslims in Chad <> Islam in Comoros Muslims or Comorian Muslims | Muslims of Comoros and Muslims in Comoros <> Islam in Congolese (DRC Kinshasa) Muslims or Congolese (DRC Kinshasa) Muslims | Muslims of Congolese (DRC Kinshasa) and Muslims in Congolese (DRC Kinshasa) <> Islam in Congo (Brazzaville) Muslims or Congolese (Brazzaville) Muslims | Muslims of Congo (Brazzaville) and Muslims in Congo (Brazzaville) <> Islam in Djibouti Muslims or Djiboutian Muslims | Muslims of Djibouti and Muslims in Djibouti <> Islam in Equatorial Guinea Muslims or Equatorial Guinean Muslims | Muslims of Equatoria Guinea And Muslims in Equatoria Guinea <> Islam in Eritrea Muslims or Eritrean Muslims | Muslims of Eritrea and Muslims in Eritrea <> Islam in Ethiopia Muslims or Ethiopian Muslims | Muslims of Ethiopia and Muslims in Ethiopia <> Islam in Gabon Muslims or Gabonese Muslims | Muslims of Gabon and Muslims in Gabon <> Islam in Gambia Muslims or Gambian Muslims | Muslims of Gabia and Muslims in Gambia <> Islam in Ghana Muslims or Ghanaian Muslims | Muslims of Ghana and Muslims in Ghana <> Islam in Guinea (Conakry) Muslims or Guinean (Conakry) Muslims | Muslims of Guinea (Conakry) and Muslims in Guinea (Conakry) <> Islam in Guinea Bissau Muslims or Bissauan Muslim or Bissawean Muslims | Muslims of Guinea and Muslims In Guinea <> Islam in Ivory Coast Muslims or Ivorian Muslims | Muslims of Ivory Coast and Muslims in Ivory Coast <> Islam in Kenya Muslims or Kenyan Muslims | Muslims of Kenya and Muslims in Kenya <> Islam in Lesotho Muslims or Lesothian Muslims | Muslims of Lesotho and Muslims in Lesotho <> Islam in Liberia Muslims or Liberian Muslims | Muslims of Liberia and Muslims in Liberia <> Islam in Madagascar Muslims or Madagascan Muslims | Muslims of Madagascar and Muslims in Madagascar <> Islam in Malawi Muslims or Malawian Muslims | Muslims of Malawi and Muslims In Malawi <> Islam in Mali Muslims or Malian Muslims | Muslims of Mali and Muslims In Mali <> Islam in Mauritania Muslims or Mauritanian Muslims | Muslims of Mauritania and Muslims In Mauritania <> Islam in Mauritius Muslims or Mauritian Muslims | Muslims of Mauritius and Muslims In Mauritius <> Islam in Mozambique Muslims or Mozambican Muslims | Muslims of Mozambique and Muslims in Mozambique <> Islam in Namibia Muslims or Namibian Muslims | Muslims of Namibia and Muslims in Namibia <> Islam in Niger Muslims or Nigerean Muslims | Muslims of Niger And Muslims in Niger <> Islam in Nigeria Muslims or Nigerian Muslims | Muslims of Nigeria and Muslims in Nigeria <> Islam in Rwanda Muslims or Rwandan Muslims or Rwandese Muslims | Muslims of Rwanda and Muslims in Rwanda <> Islam in Sao Tome Muslims or Sao Tomese Muslims | Muslims of Sao Tome and Muslims in Sao Tome <> Islam in Senegal Muslims or Senegalese Muslims | Muslims of Senegal and Muslims in Senegal <> Islam in Seychelles Muslims or Seychellois Muslims | Muslims of Seychelles And Muslims in Seychelles <> Islam in Sierra Leone Muslims or Sierra Leonean Muslims | Muslims of Sierra Leone and Muslims in Sierra Leone <> Islam in Somalia Muslims or Somali Muslims | Muslims of Somalia and Muslims in Somalia Islam in South Africa Muslims or South African Muslims or Southern African Muslims | Muslims of South African Or Muslims Of Southern Africa Or Muslims in Southern Africa <> <> Islam in Sudan Muslims or Sudanese Muslims | Muslims of Sudan and Muslims in Sudan <> <> Islam in Swaziland Muslims or Swazi Muslims | Muslims of Swaziland and Muslims in Swaziland <> Islam in Tanzania Muslims or Tanzanian Muslims | Muslims of Tanzania and Muslims in Tanzania <> Islam in Togo Muslims or Togolese Muslims | Muslims of Togo and Muslims in Togo <> Islam in Uganda Muslims or Ugandan Muslims | Muslims of Uganda and Muslims in Uganda <> Islam in Zambia Muslims or Zambian Muslims | Muslims of Zambia and Muslims in Zambia <> Islam in Zimbabwe Muslims or Zimbabwean Muslims | Muslims of Zimbabwe and Muslims in Zimbabwe <> Islam in African Muslims || African Mosques || African Muslim Organizations || African Muslim Colleges || African Muslim Businesses www.esinislam.com <<>>  ALL SERVICES ARE FREE