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My tribute to a real hero

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    My tribute to a real hero

    My Tribute to a Real Hero
    “...One Israeli soldier was killed in the bombing. The soldier die after trying to prevent a Palestinian suicide bomber from reaching a bus full of Jewish children”, lamented the news reporter. “The soldier was successfully able to protect the children’s bus, but unfortunately he paid his life in return”, the reporter added with the same trembling voice. Throughout the report and many reports later on, the real identity of “the fallen hero” was never included.

    The true identity of the Israeli hero was lost in a fictionalized and glorified story that came to remind the whole world once again that Jews still are the victims of humanity.

    Logic tells us that you are no hero if you receive the same fate of those who fall victim to your own forces. Common sense teaches us that you cannot take the life of a Muslim child, while protecting the life of a Jewish child and remain a hero. Heroism is a concept that needs to be earned, not granted by a fabricated report on CNN.

    If anyone wonders how I define heroism, let me explain through this short bittersweet story. My hero is no Superman, nor a young man with distinguished looks, running through the jungles of Vietnam, preserving Democracy, while looking for peasants to kill and women to rape. My hero is a 75 year old Palestinian villager named Al-Haj Muhammed Al-Zalmut.

    Haj Al-Zalmut is a Palestinian senior citizen who quietly spent his life defending his two most precious treasures, his children and his land. Despite the hardship of life, the old Palestinian man never gave up at making the best of his dark reality. His land in Beit Furik was his only refuge when life treated him unfairly.

    As if it is some sort of daily ritual, Haj Muhammed would take his donkey, some bread and homemade cheese, and his prayer rug, and head for the hills to a small plot of land he had planted with olive trees. His land had become much smaller once the Israeli Settlement, Itmar had grown rapidly and viscously at the expense of the voiceless villagers.

    Yet, Haj Muhammed Al-Zalmut adored the remnant of his land more than ever. Perhaps he felt that his small plot of land was “his own little Palestine”, that it was a shame to abandon it. Or maybe the 30 year old olive trees had become so close to his heart that he saw them as a part of himself. No matter what they meant to him, to the neighboring Jewish Settlers of Itmar, his land was just another conquest. It was a few more trees to bulldoze. It was another field to chase Arab children who came to play once in a while.

    As this year’s olive harvest season came to a close, Haj Al-Zalmut had almost finished the harvest of all of his trees. Only four more trees remained yet to be harvested. Last Monday, October 26th, while the old man prepared himself for the final day of harvest, his older son, Audeh offered to join him in his task. Yet Al-Zalmut persuaded his son to stay home. He said, “If I’ll go by myself, nothing will harm me. I am an old man and even the Israeli Settlers won’t harm a 75 year old man.” In the news later that day, Muhammed Al-Zalmut’s family heard that an Israeli Settler had called the police reporting that he had killed a Palestinian earlier that morning. This intensified the worry of the family, especially when Haj Muhammed had stayed much longer than he said he would.

    Audeh and his uncle, Suleman rushed to the olive fields searching for the old man. Their search was cut short when a group of Israeli soldiers fired at them with no warning and for no apparent reason. So the terrified family sought help from the office of the Palestinian Authority in the area. After long stressful negotiations, permission was finally granted for them to go to their land.

    When they reached the field, they found the last crop of the olives harvested and setting gently on an open blanket. Beside them stood Haj Muhammed’s faithful donkey, and a prayer rug that had not yet been folded.

    After a few minutes of searching, Haj Muhammed Al-Zalmut was finally found. In a scene that cannot be described by words, Al-Haj was lying dead in a pool of blood, his head completely crushed. The Jewish Settler who killed him with a large stone didn’t leave a trace of his face for his devastated wife to and children to kiss goodbye. However, his hands that day were washed by the tears and kisses of the faithful people of Beit Furik.

    Al Haj Al-Zalmut made the poetic concept of “watering his land with his blood” more than just a romantic image, he transformed it into a reality.

    The last harvest of olives was moved to his house later that day, a symbol that 75 years of faithful resistance were completed with great honor.

    No special reports were presented in the media. No special funeral was held. But it was one more reminder, one more piece of evidence from the land of Beit Furik, that Palestine still gives birth to valiant heroes. Heroes as old as 75 years. Heroes like Al Haj Muhammed Al-Zalmut.

    Ramzy Baroud
    November 2, 1998

    Please pass this to as many muslims as possible. thanks.

    This story was so inspiring. It made my blood boil and at the same time tears came to my eyes.



      The story may be sad...what you say may sound good, but in reality, for those who look beyond the cloaked words there lies the truth.

      Our objective in live is to worship the One and Only Creator: Allah(swt).




      If Islam says that fighting Israel is an obligation then so be it, and if Allahs commands disagrees with


      or your ethics, morals or your 'heroistic' actions...then your ideas have the same value as dung. [to be polite]

      [This message has been edited by jalal_ud_deen (edited 11-20-98).]