by Mark Chmiel
Sumud, Arabic, noun, state of perseverance; samid (masculine form): the steadfast, the persevering, samdeh, feminine form; samidin, plural.
Sumud is watching your home turned into a prison. You, Samid, choose to stay in that prison because it is your home, and because you fear that if you leave, your jailer will not allow you to return. Living like this, you must constantly resist the twin temptations of either acquiescing on the jailer’s plan in numb despair, or becoming crazed by consuming hatred for your jailer and yourself, the prisoner. It is from this personal basis that sumud for us, in contrast with politicians outside, is developing from an all-encompassing form of life into a form of resistance that unites the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation….
But if I don’t flee, if I remain Samid, will they say of me tomorrow that I went like lamb to the slaughter?…
But if my sumud as a lawyer is to mean anything, I must at least be able to tell my people’s stories….
Between mute submission and blind hate—I choose the third way. I am Samid.
Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian lawyer