Who Turned The Light Out On Paris?

In 1948, Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Zionist Israel, gave an order to raze over 450 Palestinians villages to the ground, resulting in the wholesale slaughter of thousands of Palestinian, men, women and children. As the bodies lay wounded and dying, Ben Gurion’s, General Yallon, asked “What shall we do with the 700,000 remaining Arabs?” Gurion was reported (by Yallon) to have waved his hand dismissively and say “Expel them.”

Given this well documented time in the history of the human rights violations of Israel against the Palestinians, it defies belief that Paris, the city that gave us the great existential thinkers, and started a revolution that gave the ordinary men and women the same status as a King or Queen, could even consider erecting a monument to such a man.

Yet, the Municipality of Paris has announced that on April 14th they will open ‘The Ben Gurion Garden’ in honour of a mass murderer.

Paris is seen to be priding it’s self in being the front runner of forward thinking. So one has to ask, on what criteria was the decision made to honour a man so lacking in honour and humanity. This decision not only insults and offends Palestinians; it insults the people of Paris and offends every decent minded person on the planet. We may as well start naming parks and gardens after Adolph Hitler if we are going to blatantly ignore the crimes of Zionists like Ben Gurion.

If the Municipality of Paris wanted to honour a note worthy Israeli, they would could have made a better choice with someone like Israel Shahak, a respected intellectual, who stood until the end of his life against the apartheid Zionist state and worked toward a resolution for the peaceful coexistence of Palestinians and Israelis, based on justice and respect. Or any Jew who has made contributions to the betterment of mankind through, music, literature, medicine and science.

That they choose to honour a man who left his native Poland, and travelled thousands of kilometers to Palestine, to murder and deport innocent Palestinians raises big question mark not only able the lack of commonsense of the councilors of the Municipality of Paris, but also their lack of common decency. This decision defies all logical thinking. A quality throughout the history of Paris has been its beacon in an often dark world.

As if to add insult to injury the Municipality of Paris announced that it will name an alleyway after the Palestinian Poet Laureate, Mahmoud Darwish. In a bizarre twist of irony here, Darwish, gave the world inspirational poems of love and peace, and was one of the 700,000 Palestinians deported from his from his village Al Birwa by the Hagana forces led by Ben Gurion. In this case the Paris municipality is honoring the victim and the perpetrator simultaneously, which is paradoxical and hypocritical to say the least.

Ben Gurion needs no monument to be erected for him to be remembered. His brutality is carried in the memory of his victims. Neither Paris, nor the people who visit Paris, need to be reminded of the rivers of blood of innocent Palestinians’ that tyrants and killers like Gurion caused in the creation of the Zionist, fascist State of Israel.

It is perhaps poignant to close with a reminder of the gentle humanitarian Mahmoud Darwish and words from his immortal poem: Ahmad Al-Za’tar

For two hands, of stone and of thyme
I dedicate this song.. For Ahmad, forgotten between two butterflies
The clouds are gone and have left me homeless, and
The mountains have flung their mantles and concealed me
..From the oozing old wound to the contours of the land I descend, and
The year marked the separation of the sea from the cities of ash, and
I was alone
Again alone
O alone? And Ahmad
Between two bullets was the exile of the sea
A camp grows and gives birth to fighters and to thyme
And an arm becomes strong in forgetfulness
Memory comes from trains that have left and
Platforms that are empty of welcome and of jasmine
In cars, in the landscape of the sea, in the intimate nights of prison cells
In quick liaisons and in the search for truth was
The discovery of self

The authors of this article, which first appeared on Countercurrents are from two oppressed nations. One is a historian and the son of a Palestinian family, expelled from his homeland on the orders of Ben Gurion, the other an Aboriginal Australian writer and activist, whose own history is a mirrored image of the atrocities and suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people, and for whom she has a great empathy for their struggle for justice.  The photograph is of the opening by then European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering of 'The Shadow of Words" an exhibition held at the European Parliament in 2004 in honour of Mahmoud Darwish.