Teju Cole went to the Palestinian Literary Festival and wrote a piece:
I do like Teju Cole, but here is a good example of how even someone as lucid and intelligent as he can easily fall prey to the need to offer ‘balance’
“How does one write about this place? Every sentence is open to dispute. Every place name objected to by someone. Every barely stated fact seems familiar already, at once tiresome and necessary. Whatever is written is examined not only for what it includes but for what it leaves out: have we acknowledged the horror of the Holocaust? The perfidy of the Palestinian Authority? The callousness of Hamas? Under these conditions, the dispossessed – I will leave aside all caveats and plainly state that the Palestinians are the dispossessed – have to spend their entire lives negotiating what should not be matters for negotiation at all: freedom of movement, the right to self-determination, equal protection under the law.”
No, actually, every sentence is not open to dispute. It is however open to manipulation of facts and representations of history. Every place name is not objected by someone – just ask the people who actually settled the place, lived there, had their lives there and even their land and home deeds. The specious parallel between the Holocaust and the perfidy of the PA etc. etc. are precisely what the powerful propaganda machinery of a colonial settler state always attempts to do – distract with historical confusion, legal obfuscation, teleological trickery to ensure that the bare, basic facts are just not reveal: a people had their land stolen under the false-flag of a League of Nations mandate, nearly a million were thrown off their lands, violent occupation and invasions sanctioned many times over and most recently in 1965. And even if all that is in dispute you can’t ignore the fact that what is not in dispute is that people who live in this land, under occupation, refuse to accept the occupier. It is not freedom of movement, or self-determination or equal protection under the law that we are negotiating. those are the trinkets that the occupier wants to dangle as cheap offerings.
What we are negotiating is a full return of all displaced refugees of 1948, full reparations for all these losses, for each generation that has suffered, full equal rights as citizens of one sovereign state that is neither jewish nor muslim, but Palestinian (the Israeli Jews are now Palestinians so they have to accept this fact – they are not in Europe, but in the heart of Arab Middle East and their weapons and mass media hypnosis can only go so far to push and erase what is an anciest culture, tradition, ways of life and rhythm of existence!). We are negotiating for justice, and for one that is rightfully belongs to the dispossessed. To suggest anything less is to concede to the colonial list a legitimacy that they do not possess. I expected more courage from Teju Cole