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The Camera, The Picture & The Scene
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כדילתרגם לעברית
Posted on November 1, 2001
by: Mahmud Darwish *
Translated by Refaat M. Loubani

Faris Odeh few days before being murdered by Israeli Occupation Forces

PERHAPS they are in need of more darkness, to shed more blood. After each "killing ceremony" they used to bend their heads a little in front of the hurricane, then they return back to their motto "since others have killed us then we have the right to kill". They pour the hurricane into a cold water cup. "No victim has the right to be called a victim unless it is a Jewish victim. No executioner, in human history, shall be entitled to drain the tears of his viewers if he is not a Jewish executioner; because the Jewish executioner is nothing but a victim of circumstances that have turned him into a "pure executioner".

When the Palestinian uprising, in its simple human view, was liberating the Palestinian's picture from the traditional accumulating distortion, it was at the same time liberating western conscience from the greedy extortion and making it a witness of the SCENE through what it sees and hears.


This CAMERA was itself - a while ago - the Israeli weapon in the battle of marketing the Israeli tears to the human conscience together with the Jaffa oranges and the avocado of Al-Karmil. In each incidence of violence, the Israeli child and the Israeli woman were the already-prepared victims, because the Israeli soldiers usually "die quietly". The Arab bullets - they claim - can only kill civilians. The Israeli soldiers meet their "martyrdom" only in road accidents. Those alive are so human to the extent of violating the "holiness" of security. Some mutineer against the inhuman instructions of their leadership. Some commit suicide due to their grief on the other martyrs. Some sign petitions asking their Prime Minister to put an end to the dream of "Total Israeli Land". The pangs of remorse of the Israeli soldier reach a limit that tempts Arab Observers to start talking freely about the possibility of a civil war within the Israeli society.


It has taken part of the Arab desert and changed it into paradise (click here to read more about the subject). The bulldozers remove the sand, the swamps and the mosquitoes - on the tunes of Mozart - and convert it into gardens and lakes. It claims that the writings of the Europeans explorers, about the Palestine that was flourishing, were false. Human history could start from zero should the CAMERA wish so.

The Camera measures the magnitude of the civilization gap between a house in a Kibbutz raising ducks and oranges and that of a tin house in a refugee camp. In the first house there is a young tidy girl playing piano, a father reading the "Merchant of Venice" and a mother arranging flowers in a Japanese way. In the second house you see a young girl playing with the trash, a father narrating fables and a mother peeling onions and washing clothes in the same bucket of water.

It is not the duty of the CAMERA to explain more than the difference between the two pictures. It does not care to know that those living in the camp are the REAL OWNERS of the land on which the Kibbutz is built. It does not care to know that this is living on the RUINS of that after he UPROOTED him and sent him into oblivion, The CAMERA does not seek the origins or the roots. The CAMERA does not know what is underneath the place. Nor does it understand what is underneath the rose. The PICTURE is the undisputable evidence.

The Israelis got relaxed to their PICTURE in a video industry in which they excelled to a degree that they forgot that it was them who choose the SCENE, the heroes, the illumination and the lens. The CAMERA has been converted from a commodity to a doctrine, from a commodity for sale to a PICTURE of the people.

In their ecstasy with their PICTURE of themselves, they moved from the present, which they forged, to the past to subject it to the same sequence:

"From eternity God did want no people other than us on this land. We are God's picture"

Nothing happened that could distort the stability or the clarity of that PICTURE. Nabukhatnasser was nothing but a terrorist incident that was dealt with. Nothing happened to the picture of time that is identical with the picture of the present Israelis. The operation of handover and receipt between the last king of Judea and Ben Gurion was conducted in a quiet protocolean atmosphere.

"From eternity till doomsday we shall remain here. The others will never rise again. We are ever right and forever. A Jew will never ever sin".

As such, the PICTURE evolves its reverse nature - from a source and tool to tell the facts - to a profession which is the domination of the fixed time and subject it to serve its special demands in order to control the way history works, that history which is always "unemployed" as long as it does not contain the Israeli PICTURE in it. There is no history outside what the Jews consider should be the duty of history. In this way a Jewish Picture of himself becomes history's PICTURE of history. The Israelis have secured their "eternity" through a picture they made by themselves for themselves and of themselves, and of others, who have only one single role to succumb to the shadows dictated by the PICTURE.


When the Palestinian stone was able to scratch the mirror, the Israelis did not realize the brittleness of the material they made their picture from, but they scolded the CAMERA and addressed it in a way unaccustomed to their tongues. Instead of enquiring: "Are we like that?" They shouted: "Can the CAMERA be anti-Semitic also?"

The intensity of self-deceipt makes a person, looking at his picture take a long time to realize that that PICTURE was not his real PICTURE. It is the PICTURE of a daydreamer in a mirror. The PICTURE of an imaginative who has been taken by his imagination from a status quo to something that existed thousands of years ago. The PICTURE of a person coming out from a cave of fables to a history that he does not know.

This is the situation of the Israeli who is besieged by thousands of Palestinian children. They were born without his knowledge or permission. "Where did they come from"? "Was not this land with no people"? (click here to read more about the subject) He starts asking himself these questions and others which necessitate that the Israelis look back into their PICTURE. But they are not prepared to bear the shock, because they have gone too deep in developing the heavy industry of imagination.

From a victim who framed his human identity from this imagination, to being involved in a reverse role and reverse identity the Israeli realizes that the conflict is not limited to the land (the heavenly right or the status quo right), but the conflict is now between his true and imaginary PICTURE that PICTURE that he fabricated with a tool no longer monopolized by him. He is no longer able to justify everything he does. What was his weapon is now the weapon of other against him. What used to PICTURE his beauty and perfection now PICTURES his ugliness. He is no more a victim, but an executioner. The CAMERA that used to picture him alone now pictures the others. So the others exist. Why should the Israeli curse the CAMERA which was his lenient tool in his conspiracy with himself, the west, the status quo and history? His only reply: "Nobody has the right to profane the crimes of the Jews because they are justified. They are self defense".

But that is not enough, because the American CAMERAMAN cares more for a press championship than in the PICTURE of a Jew about himself. This is one of the PICTURES: Israeli soldiers smashing the heads, the faces and the arms of the Palestinians upon the instruction the Minister of "Defense". They executed the orders with gaiety and indignation, with millions of people watching the scene.

"Does a Jew behave like this"? Jews in the world were asking themselves. Yes, Jews do and have done this, because for them Israeli's security is more important than its beautiful PICTURE. This is what General Rabin said.

But Henry Kissinger - one of the "sellers" of mirrors - is more sensitive and careful about the Israeli PICTURE than the Israelis themselves. He has advised them to close the "SITE" and the "SCENE" from the CAMERA: "smash them without taking PICTURES". Kissinger the Nobel Prize Winner, the CAMERA star, is advising the Israelis to destroy the CAMERA when he found out that the CAMERA was PICTURING the Palestinian as a freedom fighter. This is not the role of the CAMERA. This is not its field of action. Instead of advising himself and the Israelis by withdrawing from a situation that can provide the CAMERA with no other PICTURE, he is advising the expulsion of the CAMERA from the "SITE".

From an advisor to the US National Security, to an advisor of the "Administration of Israeli crimes", Kissinger tries to heel the torture of his personal COMPLEXITIES, and evolve the Conflicting elements of his unbalanced nature, by urging (the Israelis) to kill in the darkness. In a jungle without a witness. In a jungle that is not capable of swallowing the status quo.

The removal of the CAMERA from the arena of the Israeli crimes, gives more proofs to condemn the Israelis. Not only because it tempts observers to make similarity between Israel and South Africa, but also it cancels from the Israeli PICTURE a dimension he used to boast of the only democratic creature in the Middle East.

In the democratic debate about democracy, between those Israelis demanding some withdrawal from some occupied territories to preserve the "Jewish Feature of the State" and those insisting to continue occupation of the land and expel the Arab inhabitants to also preserve the "Jewish Feature of the State" in this debate Racism shall be the only suitable name for such a democracy which accommodates no other Goyim. This means that the existence, the mere existence, of the Arabs in their own homeland - which is occupied now by the ghetto of democracy - is a threat to a democracy that has unveiled its true nature (click here to read more about the subject).

The CAMERA has been removed from the SCENE. Can the Israelis reassemble the fragments of the broken mirror? And can they reshow their "ideal" PICTURE of themselves to the west as they used to do?"

This question is referred to the west. Would its conscience anymore relax after the mist has densely spread over the SCENE of the crime? Would the west say: I do not see anything. I do not hear anything and then turn of the T.V. to see the holocaust. So that the Israeli "victim" shall ever be the "victim" of this era. and that "victim" shall ever have the right to commit any public or secret crime against the Palestinians?

The Western conscience should now ask much more than it did in the past: What is happening there?? What is happening there?? Because removing the CAMERA from the SCENE of the crime does not at all mean that the crime is not still going on. Pulling the curtain of darkness on the blood will never conceal the cry of the blood??

How many crimes are committed in front of the CAMERA?

How many other crimes are being committed in the absence of the CAMERA ??

But hiding the PICTURE does not conceal the status quo?


* Arabic Text By: Mr. Mahmud Darwish, Al Sharq Al Awsat Daily, Vol. 3401, 21 March 1998.


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