A memorial at Deir Yassin?

Deir Yassin Remembered has long dreamed of a memorial at Deir Yassin. But would such a memorial be possible? And would it be desirable?

It has long been understood that a memorial at Deir Yassin, at the site of the massacre, is unlikely in the near or medium future. It would require both huge funding and Israeli permission, neither of which is , at present, available.

Nor might such a memorial now be desirable. Amid the present injustice, a memorial at Deir Yassin could, at best, be a diversion from and even a legitimisation of the injustice.

Any Israeli government could well say to us, “Sure, go build your memorial!” and then they could show visitors, en route to pay homage to Jewish suffering at Yad Vashem, how wonderfully ethical is their treatment of the Palestinians.

But a truthful memorial at Deai Yassin, in clear sight of the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem, still might not only be a way out of the current horror - it may be the only way out.

Because Deir Yassin, apart from being an enduring symbol of Palestinian life, history and survival and of the relationship between the suffering of Jews and Palestinians, Deir Yassin is also a symbol of exactly who did (and is doing), what to whom. This is no "You-feel-my-pain-I'll-feel-yours kind of dialogue. Nor is it a process by which the only reconciliation is Palestinians reconciling with their victimhood. This is not Jews and Palestinians holding hands in a peace tent. The road to Deir Yassin is a hard one.

Jewish theologian Marc Ellis has written about a ‘revolutionary forgiveness’ – a forgiveness with truth and justice at its centre, and therefore far removed from the realms of fake piety. Such forgiveness lies well with Arab and Islamic reconciliation traditions and indeed our own common sense, that before reconciliation can take place, both perpetrator and victim must acknowledge the truth.

Ellis proposes that this forgiveness take place in what he calls "the broken middle of Jerusalem". Those of us committed to the memory and meaning of Deir Yassin agree but, rejecting false notions of ‘balance’, we ask that it take place, not quite in the middle, but slightly off-centre at the village of Deir Yassin.

Read The memorial landscape by Fuad Bassim Nijim.

Open in Word format here.
Open in PDF format here.

Read The last memorial to atrocity in the Holy Land by Rami Khouri.

Open in Word format here.
Open in PDF format here.

Sign the petition for a memorial at Deir Yassin here.

PHOTOS

"In clear sight of Yad Vashem..." Deir Yassin seen from the famous Jewish Holocaust memorial. The bodies of some of the victims are believed to be buried under the water-tower (middle top left)