On My 88th Birthday: A Reflection

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November 21, 2018

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By Richard Falk

13 Nov 2018 – I took part in a stirring program here in Berlin earlier this evening in support of three activists from Palestine and Israel who face criminal charges for disrupting a meeting featuring Zionist denials of Israeli crimes against humanity. Two of the three who face these charges are Jews born in Israel, and one a Palestinian born in Gaza, whose family was in audience, including his father who was in an Israeli prison for 18 years.

It was an inspirational event that discussed with depth and insight the obstacles to support for Palestinian rights encountered in Germany because of the persistence of German guilt about the Nazi past. In my remarks I tried to convey the understanding that the only true way to erase that sense of the past is to oppose the ongoing Israeli crimes of states rather than be complicit by choosing to be silent in the face of evil.

I post a poem that I wrote earlier today, and read at the end of my talk, perhaps a self-indulgent conceit on my part, but I share it here as a way of thanking so many friends near and far who sent me the most moving birthday greetings throughout the day, which made me feel that we who are supporting the Palestinian struggle are part of a growing community that will prevail at some point, and the two peoples now inhabiting Palestine can finally live in peace, and with dignity and equality. All of us agreed that peace can only happen once the apartheid structure of the present Israeli state is fully dismantled and a spirit of true equality for Palestinians and Jews is affirmed and implemented, not only for those living under occupation, but for Palestinians confined to more than 60 refugee camps, to those millions long victimized by involuntary exile, and by the Palestinian minority in Israel.

**************************************

To be almost 90
And happy
With good health

Feels criminal
Amid Satanic happenings
Raising Images too dark
To be real

Children in Gaza
Are shot to death
Friday after Friday
By armed vampires

Khashoggi’s murder
An unspeakable crime
Yet no more than a problem
For hard men of power

Events so dark
And so numerous
Casting shadows

Will despair be our fate?
Is this truly our world?
Are we even meant to survive?

My hope– to live
Long enough to shout
An everlasting ‘No’

And may so affirming
Become my last word
Become my testament
Of hope for all beings
_______________________________________

Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, an international relations scholar, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, author, co-author or editor of 40 books, and a speaker and activist on world affairs.

19 November 2018

Source: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2018/11/on-my-88th-birthday-a-reflection/

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