Remembering and Forgetting

by Mark Chmiel

1.

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

–Milan Kundera, Czech/French novelist

2.

The Jews of my city are now forgotten, erased from its memory. Before, there were some thirty synagogues in Sighet; today, only one survives. The Jewish tailors, the Jewish cobblers, the Jewish watchmakers have vanished without a trace, and strangers have taken their place.

–Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, advocate of remembrance

3.

Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You don’t even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don’t blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahlu, Gvat in the place of Jibta, Saird in the place of Haneifa, and Kfar-Yehoshua in the place of Tel-Shaman. There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.

–Moshe Dayan, Israeli military leader, politician

4.

The dispossession of Palestinian lands did not only entail the expulsion of their legal owners and the prevention of their repatriation and regaining ownership. It was compounded by the reinvention of Palestinian villages as purely Jewish or ‘Ancient’ Hebrew places.

–Ilan Pappe, Israeli historian, advocate of remembrance

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