An extract from Mourid Barghouti’s memoir [bold is my addition]:
In such conflicts, the incident, the word, and the teardrop repeat themselves. Everything is repeated. Despair is repeated and hope is repeated. Heroism and treachery are repeated. Blood recurs and elegies recur. In long conflicts we don’t have to wait for the massacre to experience the pain that will follow or for reality to come into being for art to be created. What we wrote in the past will always provide material that fits the future perfectly.
The cruelest degree of exile is invisibility, being forbidden to tell one’s story for oneself. We, the Palestinian people, are narrated by our enemies, in keeping with their presence and our absence. They label us as it suits them. The weaker party in any conflict is allowed to scream, allowed to complain, allowed to weep, but never allowed to tell his own story. The conflict over the land becomes the conflict over the story and little by little the weak discover that his enemy will not allow himself to be wronged. The enemy permits him only to be in the wrong, defective, and deserving of pain because he has brought that pain upon himself through his defects and his faults; it is not his enemy’s doing. This is the cruelest form of injustice, and injustice is a form of exile, just as stereotyping is exile and misunderstanding is exile. In this sense, the entire Palestinian people is exiled through the absence of its story.