From Lebanon to Afghanistan, Sayyed Abbas: the Leader, the Fighter, the Martyr

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Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi with familyHistory of the Islamic Resistance of Lebanon proves that great leaders of Hezbollah had spared nothing for the sake of their cause. Neither did they save their time nor their money, sons and souls.


Examples are many, and sacrifices are much more. The most prominent were Sheikh Ragheb Harb, the late Secretary General Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi, the military chief Hajj Imad Moughnieh, the military leader Hajj Hassan al-Laqqis and several others.

“We cherish these models and we are proud of them, because we seek either victory or martyrdom,” Yasser, the older son of Sayyed Moussawi, said in an interview with Al-Manar website.

“It is unfair that such leaders would die in bed and not in the battlefield and confrontation,” he added.

Born in 1952, Sayyed Moussawi was raised in a conservative family where he was taught the importance of the Arab causes, and the Palestinian cause at the forefront.

Sayyed Abbas al-MoussawiWhen he became teen, he chose to specialize in religious studies and subscribed for that purpose at the Hawza of Imam Moussa al-Sadr in the Lebanese southern city of Tyre. At the age of 16, he wore the cleric dress and travelled to Iraq to be the student of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohamad Baqir al-Sadr, an influential cleric, philosopher, political leader, and founder of the Da’wa Party of Iraq, who was killed later by the tyrant Saddam Hussein.

Sayyed Abbas spent nine years studying theology in the Najaf Hawza, and returned to Lebanon in 1978 to serve his community, and established the Hawza of Imam Mahdi (as) in the eastern city of Baalbe. In 1979, he founded the Gathering of Muslim Scholars as a first attempt to unite the different Muslim sects in Lebanon.

The Leader


Following the victory of Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, and blessed by the great Iranian leader Imam Ruhollah al-Khomeini, Sayyed Moussawi launched the armed resistance against the Zionist invasion to Lebanon in 1982 as the enemy troops reached Beirut city.

His eminence not only dedicated his time and stayed in the Lebanese capital in order to plan for military operations against the Zionist aggression, but also intensified the operations in the occupied territories of Beirut and down to the villages and the cities in the south.

Furthermore, Sayyed Abbas used to read incidents differently. He was enjoying a high capacity of analyzing matters based on his strong faith. He who accompanied Sayyed Moussawi quoted him as saying that the future would be for the Resistance, while arrogance would be defeated, “but it is only a matter of time.”

His eminence was among the first prominent figures who warned Muslims of the Takfiri ideology, which “only serves the Zionist enemy since it is achieving the enemy’s goals of dividing our nation.”

Yasser told Al-Manar website that “Sayyed Abbas had developed social and personal relationships with a lot of Sunni Muslim figures, such as Sheikh Fathi Yakan, Sheikh Maher Hammoud, Sheikh Saeed Shaaban and many others, even with those who do not agree today with Hezbollah.”

Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi's visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan“He was keen to build relations with Sunni leaders, under the title of “Resistance is for all and belongs to all honest people”, he said, pointing out that “Sayyed Abbas was keen to involve people within the resistance combat groups, including Al-Fajr group that participated in abducting a Zionist military vehicle.”

Moreover, Sayyed Abbas’ visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan were also aiming to unite the nation’s efforts to face the world arrogance. He wanted the nation to remain coherent in face of seditions plotted by the enemy. He tried to spread awareness about the concept that the strife would harm everyone and would spare no one, and that the resistance is the school that everyone should learn and benefit from.

Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi's visit to popular neighborhoodsThe Reformer


After electing him as a secretary-general of Hezbollah in May 1991, Sayyed Abbas provided services for the resistance community, and started to follow up its daily life. He was keen to visit the popular neighborhoods to witness their needs and suffering. His immortal motto was :”We will serve by our lids.”

Yasser narrated that Sayyed Abbas used to devote each Friday to meet the people, listen to their problems, and try to resolve them.


The Commander


A source close to Sayyed Abbas reported an incident with his eminence when they were planning to attack a Zionist post in the occupied Lebanese town of Baraashit. Fighter Majid Ghaddar came to Sayyed Abbas to object for not adding his name to the combat group in the operation. Ghaddar insisted to participate and Sayyed Abbas allowed him to take a part in the military campaign. When the group departed for the battle, Sayyed Abbas informed the field commander that Ghaddar would be martyred in the operation, and actually, the operation ended up with the martyrdom of Ghaddar.

“Sayyed Abbas predicted Ghaddar’s martyrdom, and felt his sincerity and great enthusiasm,” the source said.

Sayyed Abbas al-Moussawi delivers his last speech in Sheikh Ragheb's funeralThe Martyr


On Feb. 16, 1992, His eminence insisted to attend the funeral ceremony marking the martyrdom of Sheikh Ragheb Harb in Jibshit southern town, who was killed by a Zionist agent in 1984 in front of his house during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.

Sayyed Abbas was accompanied by his wife, Om Yasser, and his youngest son, Hussein. He gave a speech in the ‘farewell sermon’, where he said his immortal commandment: “Basic Commandment is to Keep the Islamic Resistance.”

As the Zionist spy drones were hovering over Jibshit, Sayyed Abbas stepped his last steps towards the car heading to Beirut. When he reached the town of Teffahta, the Israeli warplanes fired missiles at his convoy and killed him, with his wife, Om Yasser, and his youngest son, Hussein.

The Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei have many quotes regarding the personality, the sacrifices, the dedications and the concerns of Sayyed Abbas with respect to his nation, community, resistance and the Muslim world. He was keen to unite different sects of Muslims to face the Zionist enemy.

“The martyrdom of Sayyed Abbas is a turning point in the course of resistance, the fruits of which are the achievements of the resistance and the victories over the enemy,” Imam Khamenei said.


Report by Zolfiqar Daher
Translated by E. al-Rihani

Source: Al-Manar Website

18-02-2015 – 15:42 Last updated 18-02-2015 – 15:42


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PFLP salutes the great leader Ahmed Hussein Abu Maher Yamani on his passing

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With great grief, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, its Central Committee, Political Bureau, and General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, announced the loss of the great Palestinian leader Ahmed Hussein “Abu Maher” Al-Yamani on January 3, 2010.

Comrade Yamani was a legendary leader of the Front and the Palestinian struggle and spent six decades at the forefront of continuous struggle for Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine. 

Today, the PFLP, the Palestinian revolution, the entire Palestinian people, the Arab nation and the progressive forces of the world have lost a great man – a modest fighter and an outstanding leader who dedicated his life until its last moment serving the cause of his people and the Arab nation.
The Palestinian masses in every camp and location know of Abu Maher as a solid fighter and a leader who always held the feelings, problems and concerns of the people at the forefront and gave expression of the struggle for return, freedom, dignity and self-detemination.
The Arab people know of Comrade Abu Maher as a freedom fighter committed to Palestinian and Arab unity as a way to liberate every inch of Palestine and achieve the aspirations of the Arab nation for liberation, democracy, socialism and unity.
The PFLP promises to the masses of our people in Palestine and everywhere in diaspora to continue in the struggle and resistance on the path of Abu Maher Yamani, continuing his approach, methods and principles to achieve the full objectives of our great and glorious Arab nation.
Abu Maher al-Yamani was born in the village of Suhmata near Akka in September 24, 1924; he was married and the father of eight. He studied in elementary school in Suhmata before attending high school in Safed, Akka, and graduated from the Arab College in Jerusalem. He worked in the Department of Agriculture in Akka and the Public Works department in Haifa before al-Nakba. 
He served as the secretary of the workers’ trade union for the staff of the Department of Public Works and secretary of the Palestinian Arab Workers Union in Yafa. He was also Secretary of the People’s Committee of the village of Suhmata and a member of the Higher Arab Committee in the District of Upper Galilee. He played an active role in resistance during the Nakba and was forced to Lebanon with his family in Palestine, where he worked as a teacher and educator in Lebanon, at the College of Education in Tripoli, managed several schools in Baalbek, Ein el-Helweh, and Burj al-Burajneh. 
Abu Maher joined in the military filed of struggle, participating in the establishment of a military organization for the liberation of Palestine in 1949, and was one of the founders of the military branch of the Arab Nationalist Movement.
He participated in establishing the Palestine Division of the ANM, composed of Palestinian Arab youth, and was a member of the leadership of the Palestinian branch of the ANM.
Abu Maher co-founded the Association of Palestinian students in Lebanon and also co-founded the Union of Palestinian Workers in Lebanon, in addition to the establishment of popular committees in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon. He was Deputy General Secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Workers and was the GUPW delegate to the Secretariat of the General Union of International Arab Trade Unions in Cairo. 
Abu Maher al-Yamani was one of the founders of the PFLP and one of its most prominent leaders since its inception, was a member of the First Conference of the Popular Front, a member of its Central Command, a member of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau. 
He was the Secretary of the Palestinian Rejection Front formed in the mid-1970s and was the Secretary of the Palestinian Salvation Front in 1986. He was the representative of the Front to the Executive Committee of the PLO, and was responsible for the Department of Popular Organizations and Chair of the Department of Return, as well as a member of the Palestinian National Council.
He died of a stroke in Beirut, Lebanon on January 3, 2010 and will be buried in a funeral in Beirut on January 5, 2010.

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Farewell Abu Maher: Palaestine Lost Ahmad Alyamani, Another Great Historical Leader

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أبو ماهر اليماني .. يعـود إلى سـمحاتا

ولما أيقن «أبو ماهر اليماني» أن الموت وحده هو طريق العودة إلى فلسطين مشى نائماً إليها.
لكأنه استبق المزيد من الكوارث العربية التي كانت في طريقها لالتهام الغد العربي: محاولة ضرب مصر بالفتنة الطائفية وهي مثخنة بجراح الصلح المنفرد مع العدو الإسرائيلي، والتشطير الذي سيمزق السودان دولاً شتى ستموت في حروب القبائل فوق الأرض المتفجرة بالثروة، وشهوة السلطة التي تتهدد اليمن في كيانها الطبيعي، والإنجاز التاريخي للاحتلال الأميركي في العراق ممثلاً بتشطيره كانتونات على الطوائف والمذاهب والعناصر والأعراق ومن بعد على القبائل والعشائر..
أما لبنان الذي صار بالقسر وطنه الثاني فقد عاش «أبو ماهر اليماني» سنواته الأخيرة في قوقعة حزنه عليه وعلى الأذى الذي ألحقته به «الثورة» التي اغتالتها شهوة السلطة بعدما انشغلت بـ«مباهجه» عن الحروب الأهلية التي يستبطنها نظامه الفريد.
ولقد عرفت «أبا ماهر اليماني» في مخيم البداوي قبل حوالى أربعين سنة، وهو يتقبّل التبريك باستشهاد شقيقه على طريق فلسطين، بعد سنة واحدة على هزيمة 1967: سننهض من جديد. لن تسقط هذه الأمة ولاّدة الشهداء!
أما في بيروت فكان «أبو ماهر» يملأ المخيمات والشوارع والأندية والتجمعات حيوية وصدقاً وتنظيماً وحماسة… وكان لا بد أن تلتقيه كل يوم، وهو يمشي في اتجاه فلسطين.. عبر وحدة الأمة.
ومع رحيل كل رفيق في حركة القوميين العرب خاصة، أو من ثوار فلسطين عموماً، كان «أبو ماهر» ينتدب نفسه لتعويضه: هكذا كان بعد رحيل غسان كنفاني والدكتور وديع حداد، ثم بعد رحيل الدكتور جورج حبش، ثم بعد رحيل ياسر عرفات.. فالخلاف إنما كان حول العودة إلى فلسطين وليس عليها.
ابن «سمحاتا» في قضاء عكا، النقابي، المعلم، المناضل، القائد الجماهيري، الإنسان الطيب، الصادق، الطاهر، الذي استعصى على الإفساد والذي رفض أن يستقيل من النضال حتى النفس الأخير، غادرنا بالأمس منطوياً على أحلامه التي هدّه اليأس من استحالة تحقيقها.
لكنّ «أبا ماهر» ترك خلفه كتيبة من المناضلين لتتابع الطريق نحو المقدسة فلسطين.
 

أبو ماهر اليماني: أعظمُ عـشّاق فلسطين


أبو ماهر اليماني
كان في السادسة حين أخذه والدُه على حماره من سحماتا إلى مدينة عكّا. هناك، من على كتفيْ والده، رأى فؤاد حجازي وعطا الزير ومحمد جمجوم وهم يَصْعدون إلى الكرسيّ الذي أعدّه الجلّادون البريطانيّون لشنقهم، «فتتدلّى أجسامُهم وتتماوجُ حتى تفيضَ أرواحُهم الطاهرة». ومنذ ذلك اليوم صورُهم مرتسمةٌ في مخيّلته. ومنذ ذلك اليوم أبو ماهر يسير إلى فلسطين

سماح إدريس
عصرَ هذا اليوم، سيحتضن ترابُ لبنان واحداً من أنبل القادة العرب وأطهرِهم وأشجعِهم وأصلبِهم وأشدِّهم عشقاً لفلسطين. ولا يسعُني في هذا الوقت القاتل، الذي تُفْجَع فيه أمّتُنا برحيل أخلصِ خلّصها، إلا أن أخطّ كلماتٍ سريعةً وفاءً لهذا الرجل القدوة.

من مميّزات القائد أبي ماهر

أبو ماهر كتلة من المميّزات الإنسانيّة والقياديّة والأخلاقيّة، أكثر ما لفتني منها عنصران أساسيّان.
أولاً: تنوّع مجالات نشاطه في خدمة فلسطين، ولا سيما فلسطينيّو لبنان؛ بل لا نبالغُ في القول إنّه قد يكون أكبرَ مَن خَدم مخيّماتِ لبنان قاطبةً حتى يومنا هذا! وإنّ المرء ليُصابُ بالدُّوار من حيويّةِ هذا المناضل الفذّ وتنقّلاته: من تأسيس نقابةٍ، إلى إنشاء مجموعةٍ عسكريّة، أو نادٍ ثقافيّ

، أو مؤسّسةٍ تربويّة. كذلك فإنّ المرء سيعتريه الذهولُ من كيفيّة توصّل أبي ماهر إلى «اختراع» الوقت لمتابعةِ أعمالِ ما أسّسه: بعينٍ حانيةٍ، وقلبٍ عطوفٍ، وتصميمٍ فولاذيٍّ. وهاكم جردة بسيطة ببعض أعماله ومناصبه. وما سيُلحظ فيها، بلا شكّ، إنّما هو منحاها التأسيسيّ؛ بمعنى أنّ أبا ماهر لم يكن محضَ مشاركٍ أو تابعٍ، بل كان مسؤولاً (أوّلَ أحياناً!) عن تأسيس عددٍ هائلٍ من الهيئات الفلسطينيّة الشعبيّة والنقابيّة والسياسيّة والعسكريّة والتربويّة.
أ) ففي ميدان التعليم، لم يكتفِ بأن أمضى سنواتٍ طويلةً في التدريس (كليّة التربية والتعليم في طرابلس)، وفي الإدارة (مدارس الأونروا في بعلبك وعين الحلوة وبرج البراجنة)، وفي عمل النظارة (الكليّة الأهليّة في بيروت وبعلبك وثانويّة خالد بن الوليد ـــــ المقاصد في بيروت)، بل كان وراء فكرة إنشاء مدرسةٍ في برج البراجنة. كذلك أسهم في تأسيس أنديةٍ ثقافيّةٍ في بعض مخيّمات لبنان. وعلى الرغم من أنه لم يحُزْ تعليماً جامعياً عالياً، فإنّ ما اكتسبه من تربيةٍ وطنيّةٍ صادقةٍ داخل المدارس التي ارتادها (سحماتا وترشيحا وصفد وعكّا والقدس)، وبفضل أساتذةٍ أجلاء (كحامد عطاري)، جعله يتيقّن من أهميّة التعليم والثقافة في تحرير الوطن ـــــ وهذا درسٌ سنعرضه بشيء من التفصيل لاحقاً، ولا يكفّ أبو ماهر عن التشديد عليه على امتداد مذكّراته الثريّة («تجربتي مع الأيّام»، خمسة أجزاء، عيبال وكنعان، دمشق، 2004).
ب) أما في العمل العسكريّ، فقد كان أحدَ مؤسّسي المنظّمة العسكريّة لتحرير فلسطين (1949)، والفرع العسكريّ في حركة القوميين العرب. ولم يكن ذلك غريباً، بالمناسبة، على ابن حسين اليماني: فأبوه باع بقرتَه في بداية الثلاثينيّات من القرن الماضي ليشتري بثمنها بندقيّةً، وليلتحقَ بالثورة التي قادها شيخُ المجاهدين (من جبلة السوريّة) عزّ الدين القسّام. ولم يكن ذلك غريباً على الفتى أحمد، وهو الذي شاهد، بأمّ العين، الآباءَ الفلسطينيين يخبّئون السلاحَ لمقاومة الجيش البريطانيّ ومهاجمةِ المستعمرات الصهيونيّة. هذا بالإضافة إلى انخراطه لاحقاً في ما سمّاه «اشتباكاتٍ صغيرةً» مع الصهاينة، من قبيل ما فعله في تلّ الرميش ومستعمرة حولون.
ج) أما في العمل النقابيّ، فإلى جانب قيادته نشاطاتٍ عمّاليّةً قبل طرده من فلسطين إلى لبنان، فإنه كان مؤسّس اتحاد عمّال فلسطين في لبنان، ونائبَ الأمين العامّ للاتحاد العامّ لعمّال فلسطين، وأحدَ مؤسّسي الكشّاف العربيّ الفلسطينيّ في لبنان، ومؤسّسَ رابطة الطلاب الفلسطينيين في لبنان، وأحدَ مؤسّسي اللجان الشعبيّة في مخيّمات الفلسطينيين في لبنان.
د) وفي المجال السياسيّ المباشر، كان أبو ماهر أحدَ مؤسّسي شعبة فلسطين في حركة القوميين العرب، والجبهة الشعبيّة لتحرير فلسطين، فضلاً عن تأديته دوراً قيادياً طويلاً ومؤثِّراً في الجبهة المذكورة (حتى استقالته منها في أوائل تسعينيّات القرن الماضي) وفي «جبهة الرفض» و«جبهة الإنقاذ» واللجنة التنفيذيّة لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينيّة. زدْ على ذلك ترؤّسَه «دائرةَ شؤون العائدين»، وعضويّتَه الفاعلة في أكثر من عشرة مؤتمراتٍ قوميّةٍ أو فلسطينيّة.

ثانياً: مناقبيّته الفريدة. لعلّه لا أحد يستطيع تلخيصَ أخلاقيّة أبي ماهر العالية أفضل من جورج حبش، رفيقِه في نبلِ الأخلاق قبل أن يكون رفيقَه في السلاح والموقف. يركّز «حكيمُ الثورة» عند حديثه عن «ضمير الثورة» على الأمور الآتية: نظافة اليد واللسان، النزاهة الأخلاقيّة، التواضع في المأكل والملبس والعيش، الحساسيّة الخاصّة تجاه عوائل الشهداء والأسرى (مقدّمة «تجربتي مع الأيام»، ص 12). ولعلّ الحكيم أدرك خصالَ رفيقه بعمقٍ لا بحكْم دربهما الواحد الطويل فحسب (منذ مطلع عام 1951)، بل لأنّه يشترك وإيّاه كذلك في تلك الخصال أيّما اشتراك. بل لعلّنا نضيفُ إلى تلك الخصال رفضَهما معاً للمناصب حين تتعارض مع قدرتهما على تحمّل المسؤوليّة كاملةً. هكذا يكتب حبش ما يأتي: «مع حلول عقد التسعينات، أقدمَ أبو ماهر على التخلّي عن جميع مواقعه في الجبهة الشعبيّة ليفسحَ في المجال أمام الجيل الجديد… ليأخذَ دورَه. غير أنّ الرجل لم يتوقفْ عن العمل، بل تابع القيامَ بواجباته الوطنيّة التي شملتْ ميادينَ العمل السياسيّ والقوميّ والجماهيريّ…» (المصدر السابق، ص 13). هنا لا تفوتنا ملاحظة أنّ الحكيم استقال من مهمّاته التنظيميّة هو الآخر بعد شعوره بالعجز الصحّيّ عن إكمال مهمّاته، طامحاً إلى بناء «مركز الغد» لشرح أسباب الهزيمة العربيّة وسبلِ النهوض على حدّ تصريحه غيرَ مرّة؛ فيما أقدم أبو ماهر على الاستقالة من الجبهة، طامحاً إلى كتابة مذكّراته لتكون عوناً للأجيال القادمة في تلمّس طريقها في خضمّ الصراعات المضطربة.

وإذا كان لي أن أقدّم واقعتيْن سمعتُهما شخصياً، ولا تزالان تهزّانني هزاً حتى اللحظة، تمثيلاً على مناقبيّة أبي ماهر، فستكون الأولى نقلاً عن أبي ماهر نفسه، والثانية نقلاً عن أخيه ورفيقي ماهر. أما الأولى فهي أنّني زرتُه قبل عدّة أعوام في منزله في الطريق الجديدة، فشكا سوءَ صحّته، فسألتُه لماذا لا يعودُ الطبيبَ، فأجاب إنّ طبيبه (د. إبراهيم السلطي) صديقُه ولا يقْبل أن يأخذ أجراً منه، وهو لذلك يفضّل ألا يذهب عنده إلا للضرورةِ القصوى احتراماً لوقته وصداقته وعمله! أما الثانية فملخّصُها أنّ الجبهة طلبتْ من ماهر (المقصود هنا أخو أبي ماهر) أن يقبضَ على أحد المشتبه في عملهم ضدّ المقاومة لمصلحة «المكتب الثاني»، فتقصّى ماهر تحرّكاتِه، وحين أيقن أنّه في منزله قبل سطوع الفجر قرع بابَه، ففتحتْ زوجتُه، فاستسلم الرجلُ لمعرفته بعزم ماهر وتصميمِه على الإتيان به مخفوراً مهما كان الثمن. عاد ماهر فسلّمه إلى الجبهة، ليُفاجأ بأبي ماهر يستشيطُ غضباً وهو يقول: «ألم يكن في استطاعتك أن تنتظر حتى يخرج من البيت بدلاً من أن تُفزعَ عائلته وترْهبَها؟ أنسيتَ ما كان يَحلُّ بكم حين يهجم عناصرُ المكتب الثاني على البيت في وسط الليل ليقتادوني إلى السجن أكثرَ من 50 مرّة؟». نظر ماهر إلى أخيه مذهولاً وأحجم عن حمل السلاح أيّاماً (مع أنه مسؤول عسكريّ ومقاتل). نعم، هذا هو أبو ماهر، أيّها السادة، وهذه هي التربية التي سلكها ونقلها إلى الآخرين: السلاحُ يُستخدم بأخلاقٍ وشهامةٍ وطهْر، مهما كانت الظروفُ وكان الخصومُ؛ فالغاية لا تبرِّر الوسيلة قطّ.

من دروس التجربة «اليمانيّة»

لا بدّ لكلّ مَن يطالع مذكّرات أبي ماهر أن يخرجَ بخلاصاتٍ كثيرة، سأقتصرُ هنا على أبرزها.
1 ـــــ البعد النضاليّ الفلسطينيّ جزءٌ لا يتجزّأ من النضال العربيّ، مهما كانت شراسةُ تآمر الأنظمة العربيّة، قريبِها وبعيدِها، على القضيّة الفلسطينيّة. لذلك، ربّما، لم ينجرفْ أبو ماهر وراء شعار «يا وحدَنا» الذي روّجه اليمينُ الفلسطينيّ (ولا سيّما بعد هزيمة 1982) ليبرِّرَ استسلامَه أمام العدوّ الإسرائيليّ والولايات المتحدة.
2 ـــــ إنّ للوحدة الوطنيّة الفلسطينيّة ثوابت ينبغي أن ترتكزَ عليها، وهي التي تبنّتها قراراتُ المجالس الوطنيّة الفلسطينيّة المتعاقبة والمجلس المركزيّ واللجنة التنفيذيّة لمنظمة التحرير، وتقضي بعدم التنازل عن شبرٍ من فلسطين ولا عن حقّ العودة إلى كامل فلسطين. ولهذا صرف أبو ماهر سنواتٍ طوالاً وهو يصارع المستسلمين داخل منظمة التحرير، بل وهو يناضل ضدّ بعض «الانحرافات» داخل الجبهة الشعبيّة نفسها على ما يردّد بعضُ العارفين.
3 ـــــ لا انتصار بلا معرفة، والمعلّمُ الشجاعُ هو أساسُ النهضة. وهذا درسٌ لنا، نحن معشرَ الأكاديميين و«المثقفين»، الذين نسينا أو تناسينا أنّ شهاداتنا ومعارفَنا ليست وسيلةً للتباهي والتبجُّح، بل لخدمة الناس والمجتمع والأمّة، ولمواجهة الإدارة الظالمة أو المتقاعسة. لم يتردّدْ أبو ماهر لحظة في عصيان إدارة المدارس التي عمل فيها حين رأى فيها تهاوناً بحقّ فلسطين والطلاب (ولا سيّما مدارس الأونروا)، فطُرد أو سُجن جرّاء ذلك. فكم عددُ أساتذتنا اليوم الذين يؤْثرون السلامة على المواجهة مع الإدارة؟

■ ■ ■

اليوم يحْملك طلابُ المخيّمات والمقاصد وبعلبك وطرابلس وصيدا وبيروت يا أبا ماهر. ويسير بك أحفادُ جورج حبش ووديع حدّاد وغسّان كنفاني وأبي علي مصطفى وتلميذِك النجيب ناجي العلي. وسيردّدون جميعُهم، في قلوبهم، كلماتِك البسيطةَ المفعمةَ بالتحدّي والأمل:
«سأعود إلى أرضي الحبيبة، بلى سأعود. هناك سيُطوى كتابُ حياتي، سيَحْنو عليَّ ثراها الكريمُ ويؤوي رفاتي. سأرجعُ، لا بدّ من عودتي!»
* رئيس تحرير مجلة الآداب


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«على العهد باقون»

نعت الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين «عضو اللجنة المركزية للجبهة والقائد الفلسطيني الكبير» أحمد حسين اليماني «أبو ماهر اليماني». وقالت، في بيان النعي: «فقدت الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين والثورة الفلسطينية والشعب الفلسطيني بأسره والأمة العربية وأحرار العالم كله رجلاً مناضلاً فذاً وقائداً متواضعاً… يعيش بكل جوارحه أحاسيس الناس ومشاكلهم وهمومهم وآلامهم وآمالهم في العودة والحرية والاستقلال والكرامة».

وتابع البيان: «كان وحدوياً آمن بالوحدة الوطنية الفلسطينية والوحدة العربية الشاملة طريقاً لتحرير كل ذرة من تراب فلسطين». وقالت «الشعبية» إنها «تعاهد القائد الغالي على الاستمرار في الكفاح والمقاومة ومواصلة السير على نهجه وطريقه ومبادئه لتحقيق كامل أهداف شعبنا».
أما الجبهة الديموقراطية لتحرير فلسطين، فقالت في بيانها: «اليوم يغادرنا أبو ماهر لينضم إلى قوافل الشهداء الميامين وفي القلب منهم رفيق عمره ودربه أبو عدنان قيس عضو المكتب السياسي للجبهة الديموقراطية، حيث كان الراحلان من أوائل قادة اللاجئين في لبنان، الذين أسسوا اللبنات الأولى للحركة الوطنية المعاصرة، ومن أوائل الذين أدركوا مبكراً أهمية الدور الفلسطيني الخاص ممزوجاً ببعده القومي الديموقراطي التحرري».
بدوره، رأى الأمين العام لجبهة التحرير الفلسطينية، الدكتور واصل أبو يوسف، أن اليماني «كان إلى جانب حكيم الثورة الدكتور جورج حبش (الصورة) والقائد الأمين العام الشهيد أبو علي مصطفى من مؤسسي الجبهة الشعبية وحركة القوميين العرب، حيث انتخب لسنوات عديدة عضواً في اللجنة التنفيذية لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينية وبقي مدافعاً عن برنامجها الوطني وثوابت شعبنا حتى اللحظات الأخيرة».
ويوارى جثمان الراحل بعد صلاة العصر اليوم (الأربعاء)، نحو الثانية والنصف من بعد الظهر، في مقبرة شهداء فلسطين. وتُقبل التعازي في ممثليّة منظّمة التحرير الفلسطينيّة، خلف فندق الماريوت، الجناح، أيّام الأربعاء والخميس والجمعة بين الحادية عشرة والواحدة، وبين الثالثة والسادسة.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Ayatollah Sayyed Fadlullah: A Life of Jihad and Knowledge

04/07/2010 Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlullah was born in Iraq’s holy city of Al-Najaf on November 16, 1935 /1354H. He was raised and educated by his father who greatly influenced the life and thought of his son.

His father Sayyed Abdul Ra`ouf Fadlullah: Born in 1325H/, went to Najaf and studied with Mirza Fatah` Ash-Shahid, Sayyed Abul Hassan Al-Asfahani, and Sayyed Abdul Hadi Al-Shirazi. He became a prominent scholar and a widely sought and appreciated teacher. He stayed with his brother, Sayyed Muhammad Sa’id and went to the south of Lebanon when the latter died. There he continued his studies and became a religious authority capable of issuing religious decrees (Fatwas). He was known for his piety asceticism and good morals. He had a great influence on his son who benefited a lot from him until he died.

Education:

Sayyed Fadlullah went first to a traditional school (Kuttab) to learn the Quran and the basic skills of reading and writing. Then he went to a modern school where he stayed for two years and studied in the third and fourth elementary classes. Sayyed Fadlullah began Islamic theology studies at a very young age. He also used to take great interest in the whole cultural and literary scene, which he followed up by reading Lebanese, Egyptian and Iraqi magazines and newspapers.

Sayyed Fadlullah also studied the Arabic language, logic and Jurisprudence, and some philosophy. He did not need another teacher until he studied the second part of the course known as Kifayat al Usul which he studied with an Iranian teacher called Sheikh Mujtaba Al-Linkarani. He attended the Bahth Al-Khariji (External Research) in which the teacher does not restrict himself to a certain book but gives more or less free lectures.

Teachers

Sayyed Fadlullah attended the Bahth Al-Khariji of some of the greatest scholars and religious authorities of that time including: Sayyed Abulkassim Al Khou’i, Sayyed Mohsen AL-Hakim, Sayyed Mahmoud Shah`roudi, Sheikh Hussein Hilli, Mullah Sadra Al-Qafkazy who was known as Sheikh Sadra Al-Badkoubi.

Academic and literary Activities

When Sayyed Fadlullah was only ten or eleven years old, he joined hands with some friends in publishing a hand written magazine they called Al-Adab. He then took part in editing the Al-Adab magazine (1380H) that was published by Jammat Al- Ulama (Scholars’ Group) at Najaf. He used to write the second editorial called “Kalimatuna” (Our Message) and these articles were then compiled in a book called, “Our issues in the light of Islam”. The first ”Our Message” editorial was written by Martyr Sayyed Mohammed Baqir As-Sadr.

Back to Lebanon

After 21 years of studying under the prominent teachers of the Najaf religious university, Sayyed Fadlullah concluded his studies in 1966/1385 H and returned to Lebanon. He had already visited Lebanon in 1952 where he recited a poem mourning the death of Sayyed Muhsin Al-Amin.

In 1966 he received a invitation from a group of believers who had established a society called ”Usrat Ataakhi” (The family of Fraternity) to come and live with them in the area of Nabaa’a in Eastern Beirut. Sayyed Fadlullah agreed, especially as the conditions at Najaf impelled him to leave.

In Naba’a, he began organizing cultural seminars and delivering religious speeches that discussed social issues as well.

Nevertheless, his main concern was to continue to develop his academic work. Thus he founded a religious school called” The Islamic Sharia Institute” in which several students enrolled and later became prominent religious scholars including Martyr Sheikh Ragib Harb., one of the main founders of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. He also established a public library, a women’s cultural center and a medical clinic.

When the Lebanese civil war erupted in 1975, he was forced to leave the Naba’a neighborhood. He moved to the Southern suburb of Beirut where he gave priority to teaching and educating the people. He used the Mosque as his center for holding daily prayers giving lessons in Quran interpretation, as well as religious and moral speeches. He even opened a religious school in the Sayyeda Zeinab (daughter of Imam Ali and sister of Imam Hussein pbut) neighborhood in Damascus, where he used to teach regularly.

Resistance:

Sayyed Fadlullah was a staunch fighter against arrogance and for the cause of freedom. He supported the international liberation movements and devoted his efforts to guide and back the international Islamic movements.

In this context, he took part along with Martyr Sayyed Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr in founding the Islamic Movement in Iraq as a first step towards an Islamic movement in the Shiite sphere. Then, in the late seventies, he announced his support to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic movement in Lebanon with all the means possible to ensure its success: speaking, writing, and defending its major arguments at every opportunity.

In his sermons, he strictly called for armed resistance to the Israeli occupations of Lebanon and Palestine, along with opposition to the existence of Israel. The media described him as the spiritual guide of the resistance. Before long he became the target of several assassination plots executed by local regional and international intelligence services.

Attempt of Assassination:

On March 8, 1985, a car bomb equivalent to 200 kg of explosives went off at a few meters from his house in the Bir El-Abed neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburb. 80 people were martyred and 256 were wounded, most of them were children and women. The blast destroyed a 7-story apartment building, a cinema. The attack was timed to go off as worshippers were leaving Friday Prayers. “Sayyed Fadlullah escaped injury, as a woman had stopped him at the mosque seeking a few answers to some religion-related questions.

Sayyed Fadlullah accused the US, Israel and its internal allies of being behind the explosion.

Social Activities

In addition to academic and religious activities, Sayyed Fadlullah concentrated on social activities.

His Mabarrat Association was born, and it soon became one of the greatest pioneers and models in this field. The association which began its activities by building orphanages expanded and began to build social and medical centers as well as mosques.

The Mabarrat has now nine orphanages, two medical centers nine schools, one Vocational School, eight Islamic centers and other Media and Information centers.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Bereaved Gaza astronomer opens up the heavens

Rami Almeghari writing from , The Electronic Intifada, 4 May 2010

Suleiman Baraka stargazing in Gaza. (Amjad Hammad)

As the sun set on a clear evening in Gaza City, Suleiman Baraka was setting up his telescope on the rooftop of the French Cultural Center as two dozen visitors waited anxiously to gaze into the stars. It was a rare occasion to break away — at least momentarily — from the siege on the ground in the Gaza Strip.

“It is such an exciting experience for me that I never imagined would happen,” said Suzan al-Barashly, one of the waiting star-gazers. “I’ve been used to nothing but Israeli warplanes and drones buzzing over our heads. I have never enjoyed the beauty of our sky. I am seeing the stars close to me — such a beautiful scene.”

In recent years, the Gaza Strip has witnessed widespread Israeli air raids that targeted many parts of the coastal territory, the latest and deadliest of which was in the winter of 2008-09. More than 1,400 persons, mostly civilians, were killed in the attacks.

That reality was not far from al-Barashly’s mind. “I just told a friend that I am afraid to look into this telescope,” she said. “It resembles a rocket launcher, so I am afraid the Israeli unmanned drones will hit us, thinking we are launching rockets.”

Ahmad, another amateur astronomer, said, “I feel glad to have experienced something that is unimaginable in Gaza. Really, thanks to Mr. Suleiman, who made us enjoy such an incredible moment.”

For the past several weeks, astronomer Suleiman Baraka has been touring the Gaza Strip with his telescope to allow as many individuals as possible to enjoy a few moments looking up into the heavens. His first stop was with the schoolmates of his late son, Ibrahim.

Ibrahim Baraka

Baraka, 46, hails from the southern Gaza Strip and holds a doctorate in astrophysics from an Australian university. In 2007, he spent a year doing research at the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States. In January 2009, he returned to Gaza after Ibrahim, aged 11, was killed in an Israeli air strike that hit his home in the town of Bani Suhaila. Baraka now lives at his brother’s home in Bani Suhaila along with his own four-member family.

“The killing of my son inspired in me a message of peace, a message that I decided to convey to his killers,” Baraka said. “I gathered Ibrahim’s fellow students and started teaching them how to be inspired to be scientists.”

“I didn’t teach them sources of horror or terror,” Baraka recalled. “Rather, I wanted to send out a message that the sky, from which my son was killed, is a beautiful sky that has beautiful things to look at.”

Along with the killing of his son and the destruction of his home, Baraka lost his large library of scientific books. With a smile full of pride, the astronomer also spoke about his experience at NASA.

“Man is great, man can do everything, once he is provided with the tools for creation. When you take off the social or economic burdens that always pose an obstacle in the face of achievement, man can do anything and can reach the moon. The Americans have been successful enough, ensuring such proper conditions for creation.”

Before his position at NASA, Baraka had spent time doing research at Virginia Tech. When he first joined NASA, Baraka said, “I felt so proud of being a part of this prestigious American agency,” he recalled.

Asked whether he planned to stay in Gaza or move abroad, Baraka replied that he is thinking of staying in Gaza to foster research for the benefit of the entire Gaza community.

“In coordination with a local university here, I plan to open up the first-ever space research department, hoping that in a course of five years, Gaza will see several space researchers, God willing,” Baraka said.

But even bringing his highly-advanced Meade LXD 75 telescope into the Gaza Strip was enormously difficult due to the strict blockade Israel has imposed on in the territory for almost three years.

“Three countries helped bring this equipment into Gaza, but I am not going to name any of them,” the astronomer said after an evening of star-gazing. As he spoke, he packed up the telescope, ready for the next stop on his tour.

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Remembering Al-Hakim George Habash: A Revolutionary Life, a tribute to the great Palestinian Arab leade

Goerge Habash is dead: the revolutionary ascetic.
Posted by As’ad

I was very sad all day today. I would feel my tears on my face every time I would see his pictures on Arab TV stations which reported on his death. I told part of the story here before: on the first time I met Habash in Beirut when I was in high school. `Aziz woke me up after midnight. I did not know where I was going, but `Aziz was smiling. He knew that I would be happy. We went on his motorcycle.

We entered the living room in that apartment in Hamra Street, and there was George Habash and his wife, Hilda. I was 17 years old in 1978. Habash was drinking whiskey. I was mesmerized–by him, not by the whiskey. I never was affected by meeting a person, like that meeting. I never since then found anybody with his charisma. In my eyes, nobody had Habash’s charisma, although I am objectively critical of his political role and the experience of the PFLP.

Of course, the Western media will portray him as a terrorist, and House of Saud neo-conservative writer, Waddah Shararah (I disliked him when he was a Stalinist and I dislike him even more as a neo-conservative Arab but my consolation is that nobody reads him and those who read him don’t know what he wants to say–Sadiq Jalal Al-`Adhm once told me that Shararah writes as inside joke between himself) will repeat what he said before on Habash, that he was a terrorist. I know better.

I even know that he was a gentle man, not a violent man at all–current Zionist obituaries in the Western press notwithstanding. Ironically, the era of the early hijacking and “international operations” made him notorious worldwide in the early 1970s although he had nothing to do with that. That was the brainchild of Wadi` Haddad, who did not have the patience for “mass work” that Habash so favored, what is now called “collective action” in the political science jargon. So during the conversation, Habash brought up the issue of that right-wing student at IC (my obnoxious elitist high school) that I have “bothered.” I prevented the student from displaying books by right-wing organizations during an Arabic book exhibit at the school. I was merely observing–as I still do–the “isolation” of the Phalanges Party–the fascist party of Lebanon–in the wake of the `Ayn Ar-Rummanah massacre. The student’s father was Habash’s dentist, and the father complained to Habash. So Habash brought up the issue: and I so arrogantly–I get embarrassed when I remember–told him: there is no “wisatah” (mediation) in revolutionary matters. Who am I to talk like this to a symbol of world revolution at the time? Who did I think I was? How arrogant of me. I still remember what he said. He said: we can’t say that he (the fellow in question) is “in`izali”(isolationist) nor we can say that he is “watani” (patriotic).

I was deeply affected by the encounter, and my (personal) admiration for him grew. You often meet people you have read about, and then you lose your admiration when you see them up close. It was not like that in the case of Habash, although politically I was growing increasingly toward anarchism and opposed Marxist-Leninist organizations in college–one Stalinist organization threatened to kill me because they said that I was having a bad influence on their members who had left. But I managed to smoke Habash’s pipe afterwards–I hate smoking, but did not want to miss the opportunity to smoke his pipe.

So Habash was not in favor of “international operations” and he was adamant about that and was forced in late 1971 to expel his very best friend Wadi` Haddad over “the hijacking and international operations.” Haddad believed in actions, and nothing else, and that was not Habash. Habash’s family was of course expelled by Zionist gangs under the leadership of Itzhak Rabin (he talked about the expulsion in the Hebrew edition of his memoirs, but not in the English language–why harm Zionist propaganda in the English speaking world, he must have calculated) in 1948.

I saw Habash a few times over the years, and the last time was a few years ago when the publisher, Riyadh Najib Ar-Rayyis and Fawwaz Trabulsi suggested that I talk with Habash about writing his biography. Nothing came out of that, and he said that his wife did not agree: she wanted to monopolize the process. Habash was somebody you can disagree with: in fact, he had read a very critical article I had written on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine back in 1987 in the Middle East Journal. I also gave him in that meeting another very critical article I have written about him for the Journal of Palestine Studies (titled “Neither Unity, Nor Liberation”).

Prior to the meeting, his entourage and my sister kindly asked me to not be too critical: they were worried about him because he had become too emotional and excitable. I noticed that. He would get very emotional. But he was mentally alert, although he would forget a date here and there. I offered some criticisms in that last meeting: about how the Front did not promote women’s rights, as it should have. He fully agreed, and told me that they are working on promoting more women in leadership positions. I told him that secularism was not pushed hard enough, and he also agreed. But what bothered me was his sense of resignation: he basically felt that he was willing to leave the Palestinian question in the hands of Hamas and Hizbullah because “we the left, have failed.”

It bothered me that he was not willing to be critical of the Islamists, or be interested in saving or reviving the Left.

I am very critical of the experience of the PFLP: many things along the way. Oil money (directly or indirectly) reached and corrupted all organizations of the Palestinian revolution. And during the experience of the Rejectionist Front (from 1974-1977), Habash and the PFLP allowed the regime of Saddam Husayn to exercise control over all of them in return for hefty subsidies. That was it. Between Zionism and imperialism, oil money, the Syrian and the Iraqi regime, and the lousy leadership of Yasir `Arafat, they succeeded in aborting the Palestinian revolution. Habash uniquely resigned from the PFLP leadership.

He wanted to found think tank. He gave me a copy of the plan–it was super secret in his mind, as he told me to not share with anybody. I read it later, and felt very sad. He basically had a vision of a think tank, organized Leninistically–with a politbureau and a Central Committee, etc. It never took off of course: he had no money. He barely had money to live, I know that. He also refused offers of financial help from wealthy Palestinians. But lest Zionist hoodlums begin their celebrations too prematurely: I still remember his last words to me: he said, as if to take himself out of a gloomy mood: “and there is and there will be a new Palestinian generation.” How true. Stay tuned.

Posted by As’ad at 8:28 PM

Commemorating the second anniversary of the death of Al-Hakim George Habash, we reprint three articles published in homage to this great man who remains an inspiration and a source for millions. The first briefly recounts the legacy of this great man, the second is an interview in which Dr. Habash in his own words describes the decisive moment of his life and the third is a tribute delivered in London by the Communist Party.
WRITTEN BY Yousef Abudayyeh – With the passing of Dr. George Habash, the Arab people as a whole along with peoples of the world struggling for liberation have painfully lost one of the towering legends of decolonization. Dr. Habash, popularly known as Al-Hakeem in dual reference to him being a medical doctor and the conscience of the Palestinian movement, is unmatched in Arab history.

He is the quintessential intersection of Palestinian democratic nationalism, pan-Arabism, progressive internationalism and egalitarianism.

Yet, even such monumental attributes are but a small part of Al-Hakeem’s legacy. It is his unparalleled principled character, humility, love for his comrades and people and unblemished history that coin him as the archetypical revolutionary leader. From the day he became a refugee in 1948, to founding the Arab Nationalist Movement and subsequently the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to emerging as one of the most beloved Palestinian Arab revolutionaries in the seventies, to his final departure in Amman, Jordan, Abu Maysa’s 83-year journey is that of Palestine itself. While many barter for mere crumbs the entirety of their once-existing principles, Abu Maysa gave up none – not an ounce. As purported “leaders” construct palaces through thievery from which to command their gangs of fear, he died just as he lived, in modesty, humility and enormous dignity. This is a leader who set the highest example by voluntarily vacating his top political seat while at the peak of his popularity. Al-Hakeem transcended all organizations, political parties, nation-states and borders. He spoke loudly for the deprived, fought for the needy and healed the wounds of the poor. He was Palestinian in heart, Arab in blood and egalitarian in his principles. He leaves a legacy of internationalism situating the Palestinian struggle within an anti-imperialist struggle that transcends the borders of any one state. Al-Hakeem shunned chauvinists and embraced democratic nationalists who valued unity and home-grown socialism. He rejected the blind mechanical importation of political theory, and argued that it must evolve from our particular Arab conditions. He understood the colonial nature of Zionism as an agent of imperial dominance while also recognizing that it is served by functionaries and servants from within the Arab ranks. He was an ardent advocate of the inseparable duality between national liberation and social equality. Unlike others, Al-Hakeem never saluted a Zionist, never “negotiated” under the Israeli flag, never traded kisses with our people’s killers, never knelt before a king and never stretched a hand in beggary.

He remained true to his belief, never oscillating from one political camp to the next in search of a seat of power. Abu Maysa lived and died never distinguishing along religious lines. He was deeply entrenched in the cumulative totality of our Arab history from the Gulf to the Ocean.

And while the wretched of our people searched for meager pieces of bread and drops of clean water throughout the Gaza Strip and the camps of exile, he did not reside in a palace, nor did he enjoy pay-offs of treason. Ironically, the passing of this exemplary unifying pan-Arabist legend comes at a time when our people in Gaza are tearing down fences to join hands with the Egyptian Arab people across imposed colonial divides. How sad it is to lose George Habash at a time when true leadership is scarce and despots are many. How painful it is to lose such a visionary at a time when our people appear to be led by local agents of Empire. How devastating it is to lose an icon of integrity and pride, when Arab pride is trampled every day, particularly by its presumed custodians. And how untimely his loss is when the need to enhance the democratic pan-Arab nationalist alternative is an existential necessity in today’s era of right wing ascendancy. With the loss of this refugee from the town of Lid, we are all painfully so much less, yet due to his life and legacy we are all so much more. How easy it is to pretend to be a revolutionary during times of luxury, and how almost impossible it is to live and die as one during impossible times. Such is painstakingly achieved only by the select few, of whom El Hakeem is undoubtedly unmatched. Farewell Abu Maysa! The struggle continues… The Free Palestine Alliance January 26, 2008

habash 2nd anniversaryAbout his uprooting during the 1948 battle of Al-Lid Palestine

Interview edited by: Adib S. Kawar, a chapter of his book “Testimonies of Uprooted Palestinians”

Al-Hakim George Habash was a born leader, the respect of whom was inevitable and willingly accepted by the people around him without demand on his part… generations of young and old Palestinians and other Arabs in complete devotion and dedication to the Arab cause in general and the Palestinian one in particular, which is in its core… Al-Hakim (doctor and wise man) George Habash, made irreplaceable and unforgettable favors to all those who accompanied and worked with the beginning of the Arab nationalist movement and Palestinian Arab struggle on the road of return to the stolen and occupied homeland, Palestine and its neighborhood, that is ours in the past, present and future. Al-Hakim exhausted his youth and up till the last breath of his life in the struggle for the cause.

He sacrificed his promising and lucrative profession as a medical doctor that he studied and worked hard to complete for long years, but he sacrificed the profession, wealth and his health without regret or request for gratitude. He deserves all the gratitude, respect and admiration by all his people… In the words of Dr. George Habash: Place and date of birth: Al-Lid Palestine 1927 I left Al-Lid twice, the first time to Yafa at age 13 after completing my elementary schooling. I had the patriotic feelings, simply general patriotic feelings, and I still remember demonstrations and resistance that were organized by Palestinian Arab citizens… In Yafa I joined the secondary Orthodox school, and remained in it up till second secondary. I would like to mention here my Lebanese teacher of the Arabic language, Munah Khoury from the Lebanese south. He left in us a deep and strong impression. Arabic as a language was for him his complete, beloved and full world, he was reciting poetry as if being sung, and I admire him today. I still remember him well.
I met him in Beirut when I joined the American University of Beirut, and I learned that he left later for the United States. As Yafa’s school was an incomplete secondary school, I had to move to Jerusalem to join the Terra Santa secondary school. Upon completing my secondary education I returned to Yafa where I taught for two years, and in 1944 I joined the American University. While in Yafa I used to frequently go the Orthodox Club to read newspapers and magazines that came from Egypt, in which I used to read literary and cultural topics. At the American University I was a top student, paying full attention to my lessons. In my spare time I used to practice my hobbies, especially swimming and sometimes I used to sing. I had a good voice. Politics was out of my mind, and never occurred to me that I would get involved in it, and that it would become my whole life.
This condition of mine remained constant up till the beginning of my fourth year in the university, my second year in the school of medicine. When one day a friend in the university, Maatouk Al-Asmar, approached me and said that there was a professor in the university – meaning Dr. Constantine Zureik – who was conducting small closed cultural circles, talking to a limited number of students (20 – 30 students) about Arab nationalism, and about the Arab nation and how and why it should resurrect. He suggested to me the idea of attending these circles. These were lectures the aim of which was enlightenment and stirring debate, and there were no organizational commitments.
To be specific, Maatouk told me about a person called Ramez Shihadeh who at the time had already graduated from the university. “I want you to meet him to talk about Arab unity and the salvation of Palestine and how to achieve these goals,” but as I was at the time planning to go back home, the meeting didn’t materialize. That was at the end of June/July 1948, when Zionists had been trying to complete the uprooting of Palestinians from their homes and land, which at the time had reached its peak. The year ended and the university closed its doors. I told myself that I should go to Palestine and to Al-Lid in particular. Zionist forces uprooted the people of Yafa to temporally settle in Al-Lid. But my parents asked me to stay in Beirut, and sent me money; my mother was always worrying about me a lot. My arrival surprised the family and my mother said, “What do you want to do son?” And my sister for her part asked: “What could you do?” I wondered whether I could fight. I had already started studying medicine and probably I could help in this field. There was in the hospital a doctor of the Zahlan family, and I started assisting him. Al-Lid, like other Palestinian Arab cities and villages was in severe conditions of confusion and worry. Zionists airplanes were bombarding Palestinians and frightening them.
Conditions were severe and horrible. I was involved in my work when my mother’s aunt came to the hospital and told me that my mother was worrying about me and asked me to return home. I refused and insisted on remaining in the hospital, but she insisted and I in my turn insisted on doing my duty. When I continued refusing then she told me that my elder sister whom I dearly loved had passed away. On my way back home I saw people in the streets in a severe condition of fright, and the injured, including some that I knew, lying unattended on the sidewalk. We buried my sister near our house, as reaching the graveyard was impossible. Three hours later Zionist terrorists attacked our house shouting and ordering us to leave in Arabic, “Yala Barah, yala barah ukhrojo”, go out, leave.
My mother and I, along with my sister’s children – including a baby whom we carried – walked with our relatives and neighbors. We didn’t know where to go. The terrorists were ordering us to walk, and we walked. It was a very hot day, and it was Ramadan. Some of those around us were saying “this is resurrection day” and others said, “This is hell”. Upon reaching the end of the town we saw a Zionist check point to search the people. We didn’t have any arms or weapons. And it seemed that our neighbor’s son, Amin Hanhan, was hiding money; fearing that they would steal it from him, he refused to be searched. The terrorists shot him dead right in front of us. His mother and his younger sister rushed to see him and started wailing. His younger brother, Bishara, was a friend and classmate of mine, and we used to study together. You ask me why I chose this path, why did I become an Arab nationalist. This is Zionism and they speak about peace? This is the Zionism I know, saw and experienced.(*) Al-Hakim referred us to details in the book: “Palestinian Struggle Experience. A full dialogue with George Habash”. One of the founders of ‘The Arab Nationalist Movement” and “The Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine”, and their first secretary general.
George Habash, a revolutionary life The following tribute was delivered to a meeting organised by the Communist Party
(http://www.cpgb-ml.org/) in Central London on Saturday 10 February 2008. Issued by: CPGB-ML Issued on: 10 February 2008 In his 1944 speech, Serve the People, Comrade Mao Zedong said these famous words: “All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: ‘Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.’ To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”
Today, the heroic Palestinian people are continuing to resist, whether in the breaking of the barrier with Egypt to alleviate the genocidal siege of Gaza, or in the martyrdom operation at Dimona, the nuclear site where imperialism and its stooges do not demand inspections, to express a sense of grief at the loss of Al-Hakim, Dr George Habash, one of the greatest leaders of the Palestinian people, and, more importantly, to celebrate his glorious life and give real political vitality and clarity to the essential work of building solidarity with the Palestinian people in the British working class and in the anti-war and other progressive movements. Comrade George Habash, who has passed away at the age of 82, gave more than six decades of his life to the revolution. He was born into a prosperous Greek Orthodox family in the Palestinian city of Lydda. At that time, the Palestinian people were under the rule of the British colonial mandate, which was systematically preparing the way for the creation of a zionist settler colonial state, which, in the words of Sir Roland Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem in the 1920s, would form “for England a ‘little loyal Jewish Ulster’ in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”.
In the summer of 1948, whilst studying medicine in Beirut, George went back home to help organise resistance to the zionist catastrophe that was sweeping over the Palestinian people, driving them from their ancestral homes and lands into exile and dispossession. At this time, he and his whole family, along with 95 percent of the inhabitants of his native city, were forced out at gunpoint by the zionist terrorists and ethnic cleansers commanded by Yitzhak Rabin. Years later, Habash was to observe: “It is a sight I shall never forget. Thousands of human beings expelled from their homes, running, crying, shouting in terror. After seeing such a thing, you cannot but become a revolutionary.”
During al-Nakba, the catastrophe, more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and lands, made stateless and refugees. Graduating as the first in his class, Dr Habash eschewed the chance to pursue a lucrative career, opting instead to open a people’s clinic offering free treatment and a school for refugees in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Book review: A Palestinian century in a poet’s life

Electronic Intifada
Mya Guarnieri, The Electronic Intifada, 20 November 2009

My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness bills itself as “A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century.” To better understand Adina Hoffman’s biography of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali, however, consider it: “A Palestinian Century in a Poet’s Life.” But this syntactical slip doesn’t discredit Hoffman’s work. By deftly stacking shattered recollections atop dusty stones of history Hoffman has built a literary landmark — not only is My Happiness the first English-language biography of a Palestinian writer, it offers an evocative biography of pre-1948 Palestine.

The biography of place lost begins with the village Saffuriyya, which was perched atop a hill in the Galilee. Ali’s childhood there was difficult but idyllic. His father was hobbled by a bout of polio and unable to work, leaving his family poor. Ali, who was born in 1931, attended school for only four years before he began to support his parents and their growing brood. At a time he should have been learning math, Ali worked as a businessman, selling eggs in Haifa.

Eventually Ali, a savvy entrepreneur, ran a kiosk from his family home. He built a small but bustling business, with an eye turned towards his fiancee, Amira, betrothed to him since birth, “whose trickling laughter and graceful gait,” Hoffman writes, “had entered his bloodstream so profoundly that she almost seemed to be part of him …”

Amira’s presence, along with the gentle Galilee, softened the rough contours of Ali’s early life. The landscape later conjured in Ali’s poetry and recreated in Hoffman’s book, teems with life and seems somehow different from the surrounding world, almost magically so. Hoffman writes:

“The thorns themselves seemed to smell sweetly there, and though he couldn’t say which perfume belonged to what plant — or explain how he knew the difference between the fragrance of a Nazareth sage bush and a sage bush with its roots in the soil of Saffuriyya — the boy was convinced that he could tell in his nose when he’d crossed the border …”

Saffuriyya sat on rich land that yielded mounds of fruit including “the most sought-after pomegranates in the whole Galilee.” Saffurriyya was a “village of the Quran, of epic tales and colored Damascene or Cairene prints of their heroes …” And most importantly, Saffuriyya was a thread weaving Ali and his family through the fabric of Palestine.

But the cloth was torn on a July night in 1948 when Israeli forces bombed the village. Ali and his family fled to Lebanon. There the teenaged Ali hawked goods in a refugee camp until the spring of 1949, when he and his family returned to freshly-named Israel. After sneaking over the border under the cloak of night, they settled in Nazareth, less than 10 kilometers from the remains of their village. Ali opened the kiosk that later became one of the two souvenir shops he owns today.

Though his own career as a poet began late in life, Ali’s store in Nazareth was a frequent meeting place for important Palestinian literary figures, including Michel Haddad amongst others. At this point the book becomes, as Hoffman calls it, a “kind of group portrait.” Hoffman explains, “Taha is hardly the only artist in this story … To understand Taha and his place in Palestinian and indeed Arabic letters, it’s crucial to be conscious of the range of personalities that have surrounded him over the years.”

While the reader occasionally loses Ali in My Happiness, the book compels the reader to search out his poetry — available to English-readers in So What: New and Selected Poems 1971-2005 translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin — and there he comes into full view.

Ali’s poems, each powerful in its own right, resonate most deeply when taken as a whole. When considered in such a gulp, recurring themes and images take on new dimensions. In “Ambergris,” published in So What, he writes:

This land is a whore
holding out a hand to the years …
Our land makes love to the sailors
and strips naked before the newcomers …
there seems to be nothing that would bind it to us,
and I — if not for the lock of your hair,
auburn as the nectar of carob …
Your braid
is the only thing
linking me, like a noose, to this whore.

Here, hair chains the narrator to a land that will betray and suffocate him. But in “The Place Itself, or I Hope You Can’t Digest It,” also published in So What, hair appears again, this time as a thing of comfort:

And so I come to the place itself …
Where are the bleating lambs
and pomegranates of evening —
the smell of bread
and the grouse?
Where are the windows,
and where is the ease of Amira’s braid?

In both Ali’s poetry and Hoffman’s biography — which Booklist recently named one of the top ten biographies of 2009 — Ali’s deep, and deeply complicated, connection to the land is highlighted. Hoffman, in turn, takes great care to explain the historical circumstances his ambivalence is born of. My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness should be considered, then, a crucial complement to — but not substitute for — Ali’s work. Much as Ali’s poems are in tune with each other, so does Hoffman’s biography work in harmony with Ali’s writing, life and times.

Mya Guarnieri is a Tel Aviv-based journalist and writer and a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post. Her work has also appeared in Outlook India — India’s equivalent to and subsidiary of Newsweek — as well as The National, The Forward, Maan News Agency, Common Ground News Service, Zeek, The Khaleej Times, Daily News Egypt and other international publications.

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