July: An Eye on Palestinian History
July 8, 1972 - Ghassan Kanafani assassinated in Beirut... Renowned Palestinian novelist, poet, writer and activist Ghassan Kanafani was assassinated by the Zionist Mossad in Beirut in 1972. Ghassan Kanafani was born in Acre in 1936, and his family was expelled from Palestine in 1948 by Zionist terror. The author of classic Palestinian literary works like “Men in the Sun” and “Returning to Haifa,” Kanafani’s work has affected, inspired and moved generations of Palestinians. Later he moved to Beirut and wrote for several papers before starting Al Hadaf, the weekly paper of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in 1969. Kanafani was an active member of the Arab Nationalist Movement, the forerunner of the PFLP, but later, along with his comrade George Habash, he became a Marxist, believing that the solution to the problems which faced the Palestinians could not be achieved without a social revolution throughout the Arab world. Kanafani was killed when his car exploded in July 1972: murdered by Zionist agents. Kanafani’s classic analysis of the 1936-39 revolt in Palestine may be seen online at http://www.newjerseysolidarity.org/resources/kanafani/
Below we reprint a tribute to Kanafani published by the Tricontinental Society in London, in 1980: Ghassan Kanafani, Palestinian journalist, author and artist, member of PFLP's Politbureau and spokesman for PFLP, was assassinated in Beirut on July 8, 1972, by Israeli agents. His ability to illustrate, beyond any. shadow of doubt, the deprivation and sufferings of his people, as well as to transform an ideology and political line into popular literature made him a grave threat to the Zionist entity.
The following are excerpts from a tribute to Ghassan by one of his colleagues, a Palestinian author, S.Marwan, published in Al Hadaf on July 22, 1972.
"Imperialism has layed its body over the world, the head in Eastern Asia, the heart in the Middle East, its arteries reaching Africa and Latin America. Wherever you strike it, you damage it, and you serve the World Revolution."
Imperialism is not a myth or a word repeated by the news media, a motionless picture that doesn't affect the human reality. In Ghassan Kanafani's conception, it is a mobile body, an octopus which colonizes and exploits, spreading itself over the world through western monopolistic enterprises. Imperialism is directing various forms of aggression against the toiling masses of the world, and particularly in the underdeveloped countries.
Based on the slogan: "All the Facts to the Masses", raised in Al Hadaf, Ghassan Kanafani put his clear intellect in the service of the masses and their objective class interests, leading him to state: "The desire for change which is sweeping through the Arab masses, must be motivated by ideological and political clarity, which is absolute. Thus, Al Hadaf devotes itself to the service of that revolutionary alternative, as the interests of the oppressed classes are the same as the goals of the revolution. It presents itself as the ally of all those carrying on armed and political-ideological struggle to achieve a liberated progressive nation."
The natural base for Ghassan's intellectual and artistic work was adopting and defending the interests of the toiling masses, not only of the Palestinians, but also the Arabs and the international oppressed classes. Because of this fundamental base for all of his work, Ghassan Kanafani, as a Marxist, adopted the path of armed struggle as the only way to defend the oppressed.
He was himself part of them; he lived and experienced the poverty caused by capitalism and imperialism and he remained within the ranks of the oppressed masses, in spite of the capitalists' temptations and their attempts to encircle his journalistic life. He remained a humble man who worked day and night to raise and develop the quality of human life out of the adversity imposed by history.
Addressing himself to a group of students, Ghassan said: "The goal of education is to correct the march of history. For this reason we need to study history and to apprehend its dialectics in order to build a new historical era, in which the oppressed will live, after their liberation by revolutionary violence, from the contradiction that captivated them." Ghassan Kanafani had not only achieved the knowledge of historical materialism, but he applied it in his work. The concept that he believed in and lived for was shown clearly in what he said and wrote. The primary contradiction, is the one with imperialism. Zionism and racism. It is an international contradiction, and the only solution is to destroy these threats by a united and steadfast armed struggle, he encouraged and raised the spirit of internationalism among all the people he addressed or knew.
This belief made him reject all compromises, all bourgeois or divisive solutions, which do not encompass or apply the thesis and development of the revolution and its long path towards liberation, striking the Interests of imperialism and consolidating with the masses. He said in a comment about the martyred Patrick Arguello: "The martyr Patrick Arguello is a symbol for a just cause and the struggle to achieve it, a struggle without limits. He is a symbol for the oppressed and deprived masses, represented by Oum Saad and many others coming from the camps and from all parts of Lebanon, who marched in his funeral procession."
In discussions about the imperialist reactionary schemes against the revolutionary forces, he stated: "The results of the imperialist assault will be directed against the oppressed masses to prevent them from mobilizing and fighting." This position was based on the analysis of the stand of the Arab regimes and the regimes of the underdeveloped countries in general, which retreat under the strokes of imperialism.
In the context of international revolution, he said: "Vietnamese revolutionaries have been struggling against imperialism for tens of years. They will transfer their revolution to other places; first, because their revolution is continuous, second, because they are internationalists . ."
"The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary, wherever he is, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era."
As the struggle of the international proletariat against imperialism was the main issue for Ghassan Kanafani, the conspirators behind his assassination feared his clear and logical confrontation stand, which was revealed in his works and through the western news media. This drove imperialism and its reactionary allies to stop the pen which refused to surrender to their temptations or warnings. Ghassan Kanafani transformed the Palestinian and Arab cause to a cause through which we adopt the struggle of all the exploited and oppressed in the world.
Ghassan's commitment will remain a monument for the struggling masses. He said in a meeting with the staff of Al Hadaf: "Everything in this world can be robbed and stolen, except one thing; this one thing is the love that emanates from a human being towards a solid commitment to a conviction or cause."
This article may be shared, reproduced or distributed under a Creative Commons License.
Al-Awda is published monthly by New Jersey Solidarity-Activists for the Liberation of Palestine. We welcome submissions, letters to the editor, cultural works, and other proposals for publication.
Contact us: Al-Awda Newspaper
New Jersey Solidarity
344 Grove Street, Suite 131
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Our editorial collective is responsible for editing, laying out and developing this publication. We are open to new members who are in accord with the mission and principles of this newspaper.
Please contact us about your upcoming events and activities of interest to readers of this publication.
Please contact us for advertising rates and information, or for material on becoming a distributor.