Americans Need to Know More About Palestine
Interview with Jamal Krayem Kanj: Author Children of Catastrophe
Interview by Elias Harb
Author Jamal Kanj talks about life in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. In his recent book “Children of Catastrophe: Journey from a Palestinian refugee camp to America”, he provides an account of life from Palestine to refugee camps in Lebanon and the events leading for the creation of the state of Israel.
Jamal Kanj joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss his book Children of Catastrophe.
ELIAS HARB: In your book you convey the personal aspect of the life of the refugees. Can you tell us what inspired you to write Children of Catastrophe?….
ELIAS HARB: In your book you convey the personal aspect of the life of the refugees. Can you tell us what inspired you to write Children of Catastrophe?
JAMAL K. KANJ: The Americans and the West in general are not well aware of the Palestinian experience. On the surface and at an emotional level, they are generally more sympathetic towards Israel, but this is mainly due to their lack of understanding or total disconnect with the human side of the Palestinian story.
Also one must recognize that the peculiar relationship between Israel and the West is deeply rooted in a long history of abhorrent Western anti Semitism culminating in the Holocaust. Hence, it was a mix of sympathy, guilt, and religious institutions in America and Europe which played an important role in shaping the lopsided view towards the Palestine Israel conflict.
Having lived in the US for thirty years after leaving the camp, I discovered that most people tend to switch off when trying to make an intellectual or historical argument explaining the Palestinian position. At the same time, I observed that the majority can better connect and listen when the intellectual or the historical argument is framed within the personal experience. During those 30 years, almost everyone whom I came to know at a social level consciously or subconsciously became more sympathetic with the Palestinians.
To sum it up, the main impetuous for writing this book remains my strong conviction that we, as Palestinians have a powerful story to share with the rest of the world, especially in the West. Throughout the pages of this book, I hope to connect with all those whom I have not, or may not have the honor meeting personally, to share with them the personal aspects of the Palestinian side of the story.
EH: Can you briefly tell us of the British role facilitating the Zionist colonization of Palestine?
JKK: While the World Zionist Organization (WZO) was founded in Europe in the late 1800s, their plan to colonize Palestine did not start to take shape until the 1920s and 1930s. One major reason, up until 1917 and in addition to Palestine, the Zionist movement contemplated other options for this “Promised land” such as Uganda, Cyprus, Sinai and parts of Argentina.
They basically were willing to take any “real estate” property a colonial power was willing to sell them. But in November 1917, and to sway the purported “influential” Jewish opinion in the US on the war (at the time, WZO had very close relation with the German Kaiser and maintained its headquarter in Germany) the British Foreign Ministry issued a letter to a Jewish banker, Baron Walter Rothschild, promising the banker with a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
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Buy The Book in Amazon.com This interview is only little of the great amount of information that you can find in the book, read it make your mind, read the stories of the victims, the refugees that fled the massacres.
“There is no more negligence to the truth when we choose to stay ignorant of our world realities and we take the easiest road and become numb and stay in the dark, Why? because we do not want to deal with our world. We insist that we can not do anything and become piled up with the Rest, the ignorant, the deaf, the careless and eternal whimpers that complain of everything but do nothing.” Marivel Guzman
We have countless notes, articles, books written on the subject “Palestine” we see a glimpse once and while in the evening news and for a moment we become glue to the screen for only for the grotesque pictures, and for the lack of sensitivity as if Palestinians as less than humans. I grew up seeing those images but not in News, no those images where portrayed in sensationalist magazines those that people regard as gossips, how little I knew back then that those stories were the truth, how little I knew that the News were just lies, feed by the propaganda machine. Now I can not get confuse from truth or lies, now I SEE, I invite you to try at least to revisit your memories and analyze what you learn, what you read and try to give Palestinians their humanity back. They were wronged, they were abused, killed, tortured, massacred, they are ethnic cleanse and still there are No News on the Paid Corporate Media about them. Research for yourself, see the picture, talk to Palestinians, they have another story to tell.
I insist sometimes in making distinction in titles, labels given to people, I do not agree with the title because I m American and that title “Americans” tend to generalize, first on the wrong idea that all Americans live in United States, and that All Americans think like their leaders.
Just in the US of North America we are littler over 300 million people and believe we all are one mind of our own and not all are Bad, or corrupted minds, some have make the leap and are awake and know the different from Good and Bad..