Introduction
The Massacre
Northern Fields
Inside the Village
First Wave
Second Wave
Third Wave
Fourth Wave
Sixth
Seventh
Ninth
Roster of Victims
Witnesses
Artist's Notes
Contact me
Exit

MEMORIAL on the 50th Anniversary of the Kafr Qasem Massacre


Fifty years ago, on October 29, 1956, 49 Palestinian residents of Kafr Qasem were murdered by Israeli border police who at that time were officially attached to the military. Countless more were wounded and left bleeding and unattended. Their families were unable to offer aid because of a 24 hour curfew lasting for some two days and three nights. Violation of the curfew was punishable by death. In the following two days (while the families were thus imprisoned in their homes) the Israelis unceremoniously buried the victims without permission, or the presence of witnesses. On the following morning, the unattended wounded who had helplessly lain in the streets were torn away from their deceased loved ones, thrown into trucks (not ambulances) and hauled off to hospitals. This deliberate massacre had been planned in advance to coincide with the Israeli and Anglo-French attack on the Suez canal.


50th Anniversary exhibition at The Bridge Gallery in New York June 2006.

The Memorial was part of an exhibition titled Three Arab Painters in New York curated by writer and historian Maymanah Farhat. The exhibition took place in New York at The Bridge gallery during the month of June 2006.


Guests to the exhibition were supportive and spent many hours reading the text or silently contemplating the roster of victims.


The townspeople of Kafr Qasem organize an annual memorial event on 29 the of October which begins with speeches by the town elders followed by a march through the town to additional ceremonies at the martyr's cemetery. Later in the day an open house for the arts is organized at the town council headquarters. Poets, writers, and artists are invited to contribute to these events thereby aiding the process of healing. I attended such an event in 1999. I began interviewing survivors and continued the work in subsequent visits. My primary goal was to make a series of documentary drawings. These drawings fill the pages of this web treatise. Some documentary photographs from Kafr Qasem publications are also included.

I have feelings of great love for Kafr Qasem and its heroic residents. They bring tears to my eyes when I contemplate their tragic story. These recent events taught me a lot about Sumoud (persistence). In 1948, Kafr Qasem had eighteen thousand dunums (a land measure). Amazingly as much as thirteen thousand still remain. Perhaps, this is because the Israeli government does not wish to call attention to this brutal massacre. Most other Palestinian Arab villages and towns have very little left of their traditional lands as the process of Israeli confiscation continues unabated. In 1956, Kafr Qasem was a village of approximately 1500 residents, now Kafr Qasem has become a town of over 15,000. In Kafr Qasem, 60% of residents once lived off of their land; now 80% are exploited workers.

Additionally Israeli taxation without a proportional return of social services, adds to the difficulties Kafr Qasem residents. Civil equality is a dream. There is no level of life where Israeli policy does not dictate limitations intended to reduce Palestinian Arabs to poverty or promote immigration. A mandatory and unfair educational curriculum, implemented by the Israeli government, reduces childrenís pride and promotes ignorance. Additionally, Israeli taxation without a proportional return of social services, adds to the difficulties of Kafr Qasem residents.

Itís the essence of Sumoud that Kafr Qasem resists, Palestine resists, Iraq resists, and Lebanon resists

Web posting and author: Samia A. Halaby,October 2006.


Copyright, Samia A. Halaby, 1998, All rights reserved. To request permission to reproduce any part of these words, or pictures, or to express your opinion CLICK HERE.

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