Welcome to Palestine
Mr. President of the United States of America
Jad Kanaan Jadallah Tawil
On my behalf as a son of this land, and as a Palestinian-American, I welcome you to Palestine.
I was born in the Holy city of Jerusalem and reside at the moment in Al-Bireh City, which is part of the Palestinian territory in the heart of historical Palestine, with many of my fellow Americans who call West Bank and Gaza Strip their second home.
As I understand, you will visit Al-Bireh Youth Foundation in Al-Bireh City, where many of its expatriates and their families still reside in various US states, not to forget other Palestinian-Americans from near-by and far-away Palestinian villages, cities and refugee camps.
The aspirations of African Americans and the dream of Palestinians in liberation, equality and justice deeply started to solidify in my soul and grew up with me since childhood through the influence of my late father’s beliefs and passions which affected me. God Bless his sole, my father started to shape-up my social and political believes after he returned from his active duty in Vietnam War, as an American veteran, where he was drafted through Compulsory US army service.
My late father, Kanaan Jadalla, in that era used to chant and recap on regular bases certain clauses from Dr Martin Luther King’s famous Speech” I Have a Dream” to me, emphasizing the core meanings of the speech with the inevitability of the victory to the social movement in the USA and at the same time equating that with the rights of the Palestinians for liberty and justice by ending the illegal Israeli occupation to Palestinian land.
As an American citizen who lived for two-and-a-half decades in the heart of the city of Detroit, I associated with the under-served segments of the community and I came to know the common suffering of the oppressed people and their ambitions for social justice all around the world. Through my community activism, my work with the State of Michigan’s Social Welfare Agency and my volunteerism and advocacy in humanitarian and labour unions and media agencies I was given the chance to deeply know and understand what it means to be poor, oppressed and feeling inferior anywhere around the world.
At the same time, I was optimistic by the hopes and ambitions of the marginalized people and their hard work to achieve their political and social claimant specially my fellow African American brothers and sisters that I associated and still associate with their suffering, which is analogous to the suffering of the Palestinian people. The African-American experience made me a stronger believer and increased my certainty that the rights of the oppressed will prevail one day and injustice inevitably will disappear despite all of the odds.
Living and working for decades not that far from where Rosa Parks lived and Colman A. Young worked, and working side-by-side with congressman John Conyers from Michigan were the founding stones of this strong belief I have to represent the less fortuned segments of the society worldwide.
I was not far from Chicago when the rainbow coalition had mobilized people to vote for Jesse Jackson in his presidential bid, But years later Senator Barack Obama done it and become the First African American president of the United States of America.
Then and now I realized and got even more motivated by the hard working and determination of our American civil society and its leadership to abolish injustice and vindication of rights. On the other hand I will not forget what I learned from the refugees from Eastern socialist Europe while they were awaiting that fascist regimes to tumble down and how people received Nelson Mandela Liberation after 27 years of imprisonment, Where I was among the masses that received him at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, whose experience is similar to the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are still languishing in Israeli Jails Such as Samer Al Issawi who has been on hunger strike for over than 240 days.
Following the social, academic and activities of many famous Palestinian Americans in the USA including the late Professor Edward Said and Al-Khaldi brothers and their well- known international writings , made many of us certain and inevitable of a certain famous Palestinian proverb which could be translated as “no right will be lost as long as there is claimant behind it”. The insistence of the owners of the rights to their demands is their way of success and access to their demands.
I am a humanist and not a politician, I do not believe war is a solution to political issues around the world, I know most Palestinians and Americans believe the same way.
Mr President, I ask you with a strong logic to look at the suffering of the Palestinian people from Humanistic perspectives, and stay away from the pressures and interests of political and economic lobbyers and their groups, and I appeal to you also as the President of the United States of America, and I ask your colleagues members of the Senate and Congress to realize that Palestinian land has been and still being confiscated and the displacement of the Palestinian population, and the establishment of the Israeli settlements is taking place. Where the geographical separation of Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps is depriving Palestinians to move and live in prosperity. As distal and proximal realize that the economic and social situation is very bad for the Palestinian people in villages and refugee camps and rural areas in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip which is not in the best state and the simplest rights does not exist.
Palestinian citizens are prevented from reaching the Christian and Islamic places of worship freely, especially in the city of Jerusalem and also getting proper education and health care for Palestinians. We are facing major obstacles where we are not getting specialized and effectiveness care. (As Hemophilia patient myself and I have a liver transplant I am facing this problem too).
I am sorry to tell the American people that, in a parallel context, US citizens holding dual Palestinian residency (with the Israeli occupation ID cards), our American Passports are ignored and not respected by the Israeli authority and we are not allowed to enter the occupied Jerusalem and perform prayers in churches and mosques by the Israelis. The Israelis are not respecting us as Humans and as Palestinians at first, then they are (Israelis) are not respecting US citizens to move freely in the region, while our US tax money is used to support the oppression of Israel.
Mr President, as Palestinians and American citizens We appeal to you to become a pioneer as the US president , and since you are being of African descent you understand the meaning of injustice, so we are awaiting you to take the initiative to redress the Palestinians penile their rights in your second governing session ,based on your human vision and civil rights history and the understanding of our people(Palestinians) suffering , and linking this to the suffering of other peoples and ethnicities scattered around the world, Let the history records that President Barack Obama took the initiative and worked, but ended the last colonial occupation on this planet, and you as a human being also stood up with the oppressed against the unjust occupier and usurper of our Palestinian land.
In conclusion, I will quote Dr Martin Luther King’s speech title , “I Have a Dream”, and I will say my dream will be that the President of the United States of America Barack Obama stand at the podium in Al-Bireh city during his visit to Palestine and he will say, ” Israel, Enough injustice to the Palestinian People and Israel you must stop the occupation to the Palestinian land” and “ we hope Mr President of the United States of America will declare and recognizes the historic rights of the Palestinians which has been ignored by the world for decades.”
Jad Kanaan Jadallah Tawil
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”