Ode to Farris
Return of the Knight
By Israel Shamir
Nobody is allowed to enter or leave the Gaza Strip. It is surrounded
barbed wire, its gates are locked, and even with the proper documents,
cannot visit the largest high security prison on earth, home to over
million Palestinians. The Israeli army, once a fabled fighting force,
become mere prison guard. The IDFs tactics were formulated back in
‘you do not have to kill a million, kill the best, and the rest will
cowed’. This method was first applied by the British with the help
Jewish allies during the Palestinian uprising of 1936. Since then,
of the best sons and daughters of this land, the potential elite of
Palestinians, have been exterminated. Once again, the Israeli army
used to implement the same master plan, to ‘cool the restive natives’
routinely shooting potential rebels.
Their job is easy: the strongest and biggest army in the Middle
major nuclear power, has all the weapons in the world, while the jailed
Palestinians have only stones and light guns. Recently, Israelis intercepted
a boatload of weapons on its way to Gaza. The Army boasted of a major
victory, but expressed ‘concern’. They have a reason for concern. Since
1973, the Israeli army has rarely had to worry about return fire. The
soldiers got used to soft jobs. They prefer to shoot unarmed kids.
Gaza is a sci-fi reality, reminiscent of some Prison Planet B-movie.
barbed wire fence guards a secret: the unbroken will of its people.
It is a
B-movie set, but its men and women are first grade.
This secret message came out of Palestine embodied in a 13-years
Farris Ode. He was the youthful Palestinian David we saw confronting
Jewish Goliath on the outskirts of Gaza in the immortal photo by AP
photographer Laurent Rebours. Farris the Fearless threw his stones
armored monster with the grace of St George, the beloved saint of Palestine.
He confronted the enemy with the nonchalance of a village boy chasing
ferocious dog. The picture was taken on the 29th of October, and a
later, on 8th of November, a Jewish sniper murdered him in cold blood.
He leaves behind a picture of a hero, a poster to be placed next
Guevara’s, a name to be spoken in the same breath with the name of
the brave rebel kid from the barricades of Paris in Victor Hugo’s novel
MisÈrables, a symbol of the unvanquished irreducible human spirit.
emerged from a different time, the time when heroism was not a dirty
when men went to war ready to fight and die for a noble cause. Symbolically,
his first name means ‘a Knight’, and the last name means ‘the Return
His image truly evoked the idea of the return of the gallant knights
yore. This spirit is totally foreign to the cheap commercial hedonism,
main ideology of our days, abundantly supplied by American pop-culture.
Farris’s legacy is a sign of the failure of Israel’s master plan. This
rebel was born under Israeli military occupation and he died defying
soldiers of the IDF.
This message of hope was not immediately understood by friends
Palestine, as we have become accustomed to the idea of Palestinian
and martyrdom. In our writing, we unconsciously copycat the somewhat
effeminate approach of presenting ‘our side’ as unfortunate victims
deserving of compassion and pity. The last thing we should feel towards
Palestinians is pity. Admiration, love, solidarity, hero-worship, even
but no pity. If you pity them, you might as well pity the 300 warriors
King Leonidas, who fell defending Thermopylae, or the Russian soldiers
stopped Guderian’s tanks with their bodies, or even Gary Cooper in
Noon. Heroes should not be pitied, they are an uplifting example for
At first, we failed to correctly place the image of Farris. The
of suffering called for the picture of a crouching Muhammad Dorra,
front of our eyes, a child companion to the little naked Vietnamese
running out of the fiery hell of napalm.
The image of the Knight who Came Back, Farris Ode belongs to
set of icons: that of a hero. Its place is next to that of the Marines
Iwo Jima, or in a church next to his countryman, St George. After all,
warrior saint was martyred and buried in the Palestinian soil, not
Farris, in the crypt of the old Byzantine church in Lydda.
The adversaries of the Palestinians understood this reality better
their pals in New York. The American Jewish-dominated press spared
to erase the memory of Farris, as they were unable to find a hero of
own to compete with the Gaza boy. MSNBC.com ran a silly contest for
important Picture of the Year, with a choice between Dorrah the Martyr
picture of dogs. (They always give you the choice, and it is always
one, whatever you choose.) The dogs were promoted by the Israeli consul
LA and voted for by many Israeli supporters, while the partisans of
Palestine rose to vote for Dorrah. The really important picture, the
Farris, was not offered to the public.
But that was not enough, and the Washington Post sent its correspondent
Palestine, Lee Hockstader, to debunk the fallen kid’s memory. This
rag could depend on Hockstader. His reports should be studied in schools
journalism, in the course on disinformation. When the Israeli army
gun ships blasted defenseless Bethlehem, Hockstader wrote: “In the
(he would not mention Nativity, would he?) town of Bethlehem, Israeli
soldiers and Palestinians fought with tanks, missiles, helicopters,
machineguns and stones[i]”. I suspect that Hockstader’s history of
would narrate a tale where the US and Japan fought with nuclear bombs,
Jews and Germans killed each other with concentration camp gas canisters.
Hockstader duly justified Israeli raids on civilian population,
“Israeli army spokesmen say that the raids are limited and essentially
defensive. But the Israeli government takes a broader view, noting
raids give local military commanders flexibility against an elusive
If he takes “a broader view” of Israeli actions, the Palestinians in
reports are just mad terrorists: “The Palestinians have been threatening
exact a price for what they regard as a war of aggression. A representative
of the Islamic Resistance Movement known as Hamas, called for further
suicide bombings and mortar fire against Israel.”
A fellow Hockstader-watcher, Francois Smith, wrote on the Web:
offended that this guy thinks I'm dumb enough to believe him. Watch
Lee Hockstader. I think he has an agenda”.
Well, he certainly has; the agenda of enforcing Jewish supremacy
smearing Palestinians. Debunking Farris fits this agenda perfectly.
Hockstader went to Gaza, and reported, that Farris was a bad boy who
obey his mommy and daddy, that he played truant at school, he was an
‘adolescent daredevil’, who actually wanted to be killed, and a merciful
Jewish sniper just fulfilled his wish. Hockstader missed nothing: the
was shot while lifting a stone, and therefore had to be killed; his
posthumous fame was ‘the hullabaloo over his death’; and anyway, his
received ‘a $10,000 check from President Saddam Hussein of Iraq’.
Hockstader played safe. If he had dared to infer that the settler
of the killed infant in Hebron wished their child dead, if he would
the Israeli reaction as ‘hullabaloo’, or just mention a fat check her
parents received from the hands of the butcher of Sabra and Shatila
Hockstader would not have made it out of Israel alive, and Katherine
the Washington Post’s owner, would be repenting it to her last
Jews have succeeded in cowering their enemies, and not only by
of words. Lord Moyne, British minister of state in the Middle East,
of British soldiers and officers and hundreds of Palestinian leaders
assassinated by Jews in their drive for supremacy in the Holy Land
until the terrorized Brits sailed away from Haifa Bay on May 15, 1948.
today, two peace activists and men of the cloth in San Francisco, a
priest Labib Kobti and a Jewish Rabbi Michael Lerner, receive death
from Jewish terrorist groups and take them very seriously.
The Palestinians are rather peaceful peasants and city folk.
They know how
to tend olives and vine, how to make a zir, a jar that keeps water
in the hottest hamsin. Their beautiful stone masonry adorns every corner
Palestine. They write poetry and venerate their holy tombs. They are
warriors, certainly no killers. With astonishment and disbelief they
in the mirror of a Jewish dominated press and see themselves dressed
mask of a bloody terrorist. But these peasants are still able give
us all a
lesson about heroism, whenever an enemy tries to snatch their land.
Palestinians proved it many centuries ago, in the legendary days of
when their ancestors battled with overseas invader.
In 1930s, a fervent Russian Jewish nationalist and founder of
political party, Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky wrote (in his native Russian)
historical novel, Samson, elaborating on the Bible story of the suicide
bomber who killed three thousand men and women (Judges, 18:27) and
the enemies. A few years ago, this novel was published in Israel in
Hebrew translation, and a Davar newspaper reviewer noted an interesting
For Jabotinsky, the Brits were the modern Philistines, while
Israelites became the Jews. But for a modern Israeli reader, the novel
as a glorification of the Palestinian fight against Israeli rule. The
civilized Philistines with their superior military technology, invaders
overseas, hedonistic dwellers of the Coastal Plain and belligerent
in the Highlands reminded the reviewer of modern Israeli Jews. While
s people, Banu Israel, the natives of the Highlands, certain of their
roots, confident of the inevitable victory of their attachment to the
over the military might of the invader, reminded him of modern Palestinian
It makes sense, as the Palestinians are the true descendants
Israel, of the indigenous people who embraced the faith of Christ and
Muhammad, and remained in the Holy Land forever. The Israelis know
the genetic labs of Tel Aviv, the researchers of the ‘Jewish DNA’ proudly
produce every result, tenuously confirming the blood relation of Jews
Palestinians. They know that our Jewish claim to the proud name of
at least dubious. Like Richard III, we seized the title and crown,
Richard III, we feel insecure while the legitimate heirs are still
That is the psychological explanation of our inexplicably cruel treatment
the native Palestinians.
The Israelis want to be Palestinians. We adopted their cuisine,
their falafel and hummus as our own ethnic food. We adopted the native
cactus, sabra, growing at the site of their villages, as the name of
local-born sons and daughters. Our modern Hebrew language came to life
hundreds of Palestinian words. We just need to ask their forgiveness,
embrace them as long lost brothers and learn from them. That is the
of hope coming out of the present darkness.
As modern Israeli archaeology studies have made clear, three
years ago the Highland tribes (Banu Israel of Bible) eventually achieved
modus vivendi with the Coastal ‘people of the sea’, and together, these
of Samson and Delilah, became progenitors of the Bible composers, of
s apostles and of modern Palestinians. The advanced Philistine technology
and the Highlanders’ love of our parched land combined to achieve the
spiritual miracle of ancient Palestine. It is not impossible, and it
highly desirous, that history will repeat itself, and the glorious
young Farris, fighting the tank, will blend with images of king David
George in the minds and schoolbooks of our Palestinian children.
Israel Shamir is an Israeli writer and journalist, living in Jaffa.
other articles can be found on his site http://shamir.mediamonitors.net/
He also needs a Web designer. Nigel Perry
needs not to apply.