I spoke yesterday with a friend who also lived through the horror period in the aftermath of the camp’s destruction after the Zionist invasion of Lebanon. He told me that he felt he was living in times of terror again when reading this memoir, and indeed these were days of horror par excellence.
The white Mercedes cars of the Zionist intelligence used to enter the camp daily created a great deal of terror.
The people of the camp knew that the white Mercedes cars carrying Zionist intelligence officers. Once a teacher in the camp was standing on the main street when a white Mercedes taking the Zionist invaders’ intelligence passed by him. The car stopped, and the officer asked him to go with them.
He went with them to the headquarters of the military governor, which is the building that was blown up at a later time when the Lebanese resistance began to attack the occupants. Of course, he refused to work with them.
They tried to intimidate him and gave him a day to think and return to them; he fled to Beirut the same day.
The camp was still in a really terrible state. Destruction was everywhere, and worse was the state of terror that we were experiencing literally every hour.
I slept at home, and sometimes I slept at friends’ houses here and there. I only moved into the camp during the day but cautiously.
The militia of the Lebanese quisling General Luhud used to come to the camp and spread terror by shooting and beating the residents.
They sometimes entered the camp alone or with the Zionists. And when they reached the camp entrance, the news spread quickly.
Then the camp’s young men disappeared from public places because everyone was subject to arrest.
One evening, we heard cries that the luhud quisling forces were coming into the camp. I was sitting at home with my neighbor Ramzi. The residents were afraid of the repeating of the Sabra and Satilla massacre.
In this massacre more than 3000 Palestinian civilians were murdered in cold blood by Israeli backed Lebanese right-wing militia under the protection and the supervision of the Zionist forces.
Every man tried to arm himself with a stick, a knife or anything. I took a knife and left the house. On my way, I saw the women and children panicking and running without knowing where to go. I tried to calm them down, telling them not to be afraid.
I will never forget that sight of horror as long as I am alive, seeing women and children in this state of terror. They were running, confused in all directions. I would never forget the view of a woman running in a state of horror, carrying a child in one arm and holding another with the other hand and looking back to be sure the other children are running.
Some young men had hunting rifles carried them, ready to defend the people of the camp. However nothing happened and the whole thing was a cry of a man from the camp who saw armed men from luhud militia backed by the Zionists. This man has lost some of his family in the sabra and Shatila massacre.
When I think of those days, I feel great respect for the people of the camp and the Palestinian people for this extraordinary capacity for endurance that is beyond description. Those, who read me after thirty years or more when the Zionists are defeated, must remember that Palestinians faced them bravely and did not possess anything.
Palestinians confronted Zionists with the absolute faith that they would one day be defeated despite the military arsenal and the unlimited Western support.
Palestinians know that the Zionist coming from the ghettos of Eastern Europe are occupiers whose existence in Palestine depends only on terror. And the balance of force is a changing factor and not forever.
Palestinians know that the Zionist invaders seek to destroy the entire Palestinian existence, and every Palestinian knows that the struggle against Zionists is existential. And despite the state of weakness Palestinians are going through, Palestinians strongly believe that there is no future for the Zionist apartheid project in Palestine and that it must end one day.
Palestinians know they are in the situation of the natives of South Africa in the days of the apartheid regime. The native experienced all sorts of oppression. The cooperation between the Zionists and the apartheid regime in South Africa was close because they belonged to the same type of murderous regimes.
I must admit that it was one of the happiest days of my life to see the collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa. This is precisely what will happen in Palestine sometime in the future.
Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian Norwegian researcher, lecturer playwright and poet, wrote more than 17 books such as Perspectives on thought, culture and political sociology, in thought, culture and ideology, the road to Baghdad. Palestine in heart.