Monday, October 5

This past weekend we had the opportunity to accompany MCC partner Zochrot on a visit to a village that had been destroyed in 1948. We’ve written about Zochrot in the past on the MCC blog.

This village was called ‘Kfar Inan’ and was located in what today is part of Israel proper (on the Israeli side of the Green Line). Zochrot was able to find our guide for the visit, Abu Marwan, when one of their employees was visiting the destroyed village and was taking pictures. Abu Marwan approached her and asked, “Do you know where you’re standing?” “No,” she replied. “In my house!”

Abu Marwan was delighted when Zochrot asked him if he would guide our group around his old village. He remembered everything as it was and told the story of how all the homes in village had tied white flags to their doors and windows because they hadn’t wanted to be part of the war in 1948. Initially the army passed by their village, but then the army returned and told everyone they had to leave and could come back in a few days; when they came back they found the buildings and homes destroyed.

He and his family live about 15 kilometers/10 miles away. He remembers the village so well that he even hand drew a map of where all the homes and buildings were before the village was destroyed! It was touching when he explained that he still visits the village at least twice a week just to walk through the stones and remember what it was like. He was 14 years old when Kfar Inan was destroyed.

I wonder what kind of pain he must carry with him that he still visits these old stones regularly. What hope sustains him? That the residents of the village will one day come back and start anew? Is the remembering what drives him? Seeing what he knows to be the home of an old friend, or the bakery, or the pool where he used to swim? I’m not sure but I like to think that as he led a group of Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals around what used to be his village that his pain was perhaps slightly lessened and his hope fed just a little bit. I think peace comes in small steps: as we remember a village, as we meet a person, as we hear a story. I hope that some small part of Abu Marwan was restored as he led us through his home of 60 years ago and that his future visits to the village have less pain and more hope.

Cactus with the remains of one of Kfar Inan's buildings in the background. Palestinian villages would use cacti as a kind of fence, and seeing cacti growing like this often indicates that one can find the remains of a village nearby.

Abu Marwan standing on the corner of a home as he tells us about the history of Kfar Inan.

Posting a Zochrot sign, indicating the name of the village, 'Kfar Inan', in Arabic, Hebrew, and English.
Abu Marwan and his wife.

A boy was wearing this shirt, which his mother said he was wearing by chance: History never looks like history when you are living through it.

The view from the remains of Kfar Inan.