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PACBI-Omar Saad refuses to serve in the Israeli military forces

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Omar Saad | 30 October 2012

Omar Saad refuses to serve in the Israeli military forces

Omar Saad from Mghar in the Galilee, a member of the Palestine Youth Orchestra of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, declares himself a conscientious objector and refuses to serve in the Israeli military forces.  He addresses the following letter to the Israeli Minister of Defense:
I, Omar Zahr ed-Deen Mohammad Saad, from the village of al-Mughar in the Galilee have received a summons to present myself at the recruitment offices on October 31, 2012, so as to go through the regular tests needed for army service which is compulsory for the Druze community.   However, I wish to make the following statement:
I refuse to go through those tests because I completely oppose the compulsory army service for my people of the Druze community.
I refuse because I am a man of peace and abhor violence in all its forms, and I believe that the military establishment is the pinnacle of physical and psychological violence. Ever since I received the summons I feel my life has changed.  I feel nervous and unable to focus.  I remember the thousands of harsh images and cannot see myself in military uniform and taking part in oppressing my own people, the Palestinians, or fighting my Arab brothers.  I refuse to serve in the Israeli army or any other army on conscientious and national grounds.
I abhor oppression and oppose the occupation, I detest any form of fanaticism or suppression of freedoms.
I hate whoever arrests children, women and the elderly.
I am a musician who plays the “viola;” I played in many places. I have musician friends from Ramallah, Jericho, Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Shafa’amr, Eilaboun, Rome, Athens, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Oslo, and we all play for freedom, humanity and peace.  Our only weapon is music, and we shall not carry any other weapon.
I belong to a community that has been subjected to a grave injustice by an oppressive law.  How can we fight against our own relatives in Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon?  How can I carry arms against my brothers and my own people in Palestine? How can I be a soldier at the Qalandia checkpoint or at any other occupation checkpoint when I have experienced the oppression of checkpoints?
How can I prevent people from Ramallah from visiting their city, Jerusalem?  How can I guard the apartheid wall?
How can I be the jailer of my own people when I know that most of them are prisoners of war and seekers of rights and freedom?
I play for joy, freedom, and a just peace built on the basis of ending colonialism removing the occupier from Palestine, and establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and the release of all prisoners, and the return of the exiled refugees to their homes.
Many of our [Druze] young men served in the Israeli army according to the compulsory law of service, but what did we get out of this?  We are discriminated against on all levels. Our villages are the poorest, our land has been confiscated, and there is no urban planning or industrial areas.  The percentage of university graduates from our villages is the lowest in the area, and the unemployment rate is among the highest.  This compulsory law has distanced and isolated us from our Arab community.
This year I shall graduate from high school, and I am hoping to be able to resume my university education.  I am sure you will try to bar me from realizing my humane ambition but I declare it loud and clear:  I, Omar Zahr ed-Deen Mohammad Saad, will not be your cannon fodder, and I will not be a soldier in your army.

Omar Saad     

Posted on 03-11-2012

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