Tuesday, December 16, 2008


SPEECH by Dato Fuad Hassan, Chairman of Malaysia Sociological Research Institute (MSRI), on the launch of the Palestinian Children’s Book Series, at National Library, on 16th December 2008

Yang berbahagia, Raslin bin Abu Bakar, Dr. Najlah Bashour, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests,

In May of this year we commemorated 60 years of the Nakba, the catastrophe, when Palestine was split up into two parts and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were violently thrown out of their homeland.

The partition had been decided on 29 November 1947 by the international community with Resolution 181 of the United Nations, without getting consensus or the agreement from the people most affected: the Palestinians, despite the fact that the right of self-termination is one of the most fundamental principles of International Law.

On 10 December 1948, after a year of terror for the Palestinian people, who had to flee from their homes if they did not want to get slaughtered by Zionist terrorists, the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – another 60 years commemoration in 2008.

Last year, the Palestinian people commemorated 40 years of Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza. This occupation of the remaining 22% of the Palestinian Territory in which a ‘viable’ Palestinian state is suppose to be formed one day (according to UN resolution 181) this brutal military occupation since 1967, is the single most important impediment to negotiations which will finally lead to a lasting and just peace in Palestine and the whole Middle East.

This occupation of the West Bank and the construction of the Apartheid Wall, the complete siege of Gaza, brutal annexation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers, so-called extra-judicial executions, the complete lock-down of the Palestinian economy for days, weeks and months at a time, has been time and again declared illegal according international law. But no sanctions have ever been implemented against the perpetrators.

There are 7.8 million Palestinians worldwide, of which 2.2 million live in occupied Palestine (Westbank and Gaza), as citizens or as refugees in refugee camps in their homeland, so-called internally displaced people; 900,000 live in Israel as Arab Israelis, as 2nd class citizens who, for example are not allowed to own land as only Jews can own land in Israel.

The remaining 4.8 million live outside of Palestine, 2.5 million of which in refugee camps in countries of the Middle East such as Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, etc. This is the situation today!

The series of children’s books that we are launching today will give you and your children a glimpse of the hardship the Palestinians have to face daily, either under the occupation, or in the refugee camps, the obstacles they have to overcome and the impossibility of peace under occupation, but also some background knowledge of the Palestinian history.

In our sponsorship programme at MSRI we come in close contact with the young Palestinians in the refugee camps in Lebanon, small children and teenagers. They are fourth-generation refugees. Many of them are utterly despaired and without any hope of change for a better life.

The first generation of Palestinian refugees from 1947/48 has dwindled, and the direct contact with people who have still a personal memory of the homeland have become few. These fourth-generation children now need books to tell them about their history and homeland.

For many of these Palestinian refugee children, the only light in their lives are people, friends like us from abroad who show their support, who show they care.

We hope that these children’s books will contribute to better knowledge and understanding in Malaysia of the Palestinian cause and to help foster friendships across continents.

I would like to thank Dr. Najlah Bashour to give MSRI this opportunity to do something positive for Malaysian children and at the same time support the Palestinian refugee children in Lebanon.

And last, but not least, I would like to thank the good people at National Library for their contribution and commitment to make this book launch a successful event, and to generously offer their premises for the exhibition of paintings by a very promising young artist, Rouhaifa Qassim, by children of the camps in Lebanon, and also by Malaysian artists, who express their views on Palestine through art.

All proceeds from books, paintings and handicrafts will go to the Palestinian people in the refugee camps in Lebanon. Please help us to help them.

I would like to put this whole event, the children’s books and the paintings of the exhibition, under a Sanskrit saying:

Where the hand goes, the eye follows; where the eye goes the mind follows; where the mind goes, the heart follows, and thus is born expression.

Thank you all for being here today.


NOBISHA said...


blog ini telah disenaraikan di http://debatrakyat.blogspot.com

dijemput menziarahi apabila kelapangan.

fuhas said...

Terima kasih. Saya akan melihatnya.
Jadi setuju tak dengan jawapan saya tentang ketuanan Melayu tempohari?

yramc said...

sorry this looks like an old article-but...
I am looking for children's books in English on Palestine and the occupation etc. We are trying to get them into local schools. This came up in my search so I wanted to check with you. Thanks!