Red’s not dead

Posted on 10 July 2012

On Sunday we moved to Deheishe. Sitting on the roof of Muna and Abu Sa’id’s home is always a pleasure. The rhythm of life in the camp is different to Doha. Doha is calmer, quieter, greener. Dehieshe is a-buzz with almost constant noise and activity. But the roof is a place of sanctuary from  which we can observe what’s going on, but not necessarily be involved in it.

In the distance at the top of the camp we could hear quite a bit of noise. Muffled by the number of houses crammed into such a small space, it could’ve been a wedding, a fight, kids, anything. But J said, “that sounds like the PFLP”. A few minutes later and the muffled sounds came down through the camp until they at the top of our  street. And it was the PFLP! (How J could tell, I’ve no idea!)

For someone who firmly believes in “leftist” politics, the sight of the PFLP march was really uplifting. The left has suffered many setbacks, especially since Oslo, and to see young people marching under the banner of the PFLP brings some hope for the future of political activity here. (We touched on some of the problems the leftist partied have faced at the Leila Khaled book launch on Monday night.) There was also a very important reason for the march: July 8th marks the assassination of one of Palestine’s most important intellectuals, Ghassan Kanafani.

Ghassan Kanafani was assassinated 40 years ago, on July 9th 1972, by the Mossad. He was blown up by a car bomb in Beirut, alongside him was one of his young nieces. Kanafni was a leading writer and journalist, and member of the PFLP. His work still influences many Palestinians today. He was just 36 when he was killed.

It wasn’t a massive march, but the fact that it happened means that there is still belief in the politics and ideology of the left. And the belief in people like Kanafani, and the many other figures of the struggle who’ve been assassinated, imprisoned or exiled, means that there is still a desire and a will inside to fight for freedom from oppression.

1 Response to Red’s not dead

  • [...] A few weeks ago – July 8th – was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the great Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani. Kanafani was killed at the age of just 36, along with his teenage niece, by a Mossad car bomb at his home in Beirut. The anniversary coincided with my Leila Khaled book launch in Ramallah, which was particularly annoying because I would rather have been at the round table discussion on him at the Sakakini Centre. In Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem, PFLP supporters were commemorating the anniversary; here’s how, courtesy of my friend Georgie: [...]

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