Monthly Archives: January 2011

Egyptian Intifada is the “Old Arab Dream”

The latest waves of the demonstrations, the uprising or preferably still the revolution which have been surging through Egypt’s largest cities from Cairo, through Suez and Alexandria to Bani Suef (Upper Egypt) persisted as Mubarak’s speech extremely failed to mollify the Egyptian massive demonstrators, steadfast in their intentions to topple the National Democratic Party ruling system and put and end to the 30-year rule of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Meanwhile, the youthful generation in Gaza watched closely the demonstrations which constituted an empowering source of inspiration, stirring their sentiments and mobilizing their efforts which terminated in their taking to the streets in solidarity with their Egyptian neighbors. They closely followed the happenings attempting to absorb every minute event so as to carry it through the years when they will be able to communicate to their sons one of the most inspirational and largest events in the history of the Arab world and feeling proud they have lived such a day.

It is common knowledge for educated youth in Gaza that generations which lived through the fifties are usually looked on as kind of veterans, distinctly learned, and politically experienced whose politics it’s dangerous to disagree with, and everyone listens to when they speak of the current political occurrences, though their analyses could be very far from being true or unlikely to happen. In fact, the majority of them are unintelligent people, awfully loquacious who speak only to speak, though their speech might be nonsensical and invalid. Why we listen to them, however, is because we, the younger generation, know they have lived through crucial times in the history of Arabs and Palestinians, and through an era characterized by its abundance of political events, like the 1956 Tripartite Aggression on Egypt, 1967 Israel-Arab war, the 1968 The Battle of Karama, October War 1973, the Israeli war on Lebanon in 1982, the Black September’s Munich massacre in 1972 and other significant political events.
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The Palestine Papers: end of claims for PA

The Palestine Papers, a cache of more than 1600 documents on diplomatic peace negotiations leaked to Al-Jazeera and the Guardian constitute end-of-claims blow for the Fatah-dominated Palestinian authority’s claimed strategic position of a much hailed “we won’t sell out”. The damage these documents have caused to the PA’s image is by no means less than the damage they have caused to the people they constantly claimed to represent. The majority of the Palestinians in Gaza had already lost faith in the US-backed authority, and what remained of this faith will come to vanish into thin air after the publication of these documents.

Palestine, the watermelon!

Reenacting one of the episodes of their popular and politically satiric sitcom Watan ala Watar (A Country of a String), the three actors played in the presence of their president, Mahmoud Abbass. Having sliced that watermelon into several portions, and animatedly explained the Palestinians’ loss of their land, they perform the closing scene of the episode.

“Where has Gaza gone?” the student asks, meaning the slice of watermelon representing Gaza.
“Go ask Mashaal where Gaza has gone” The teacher replies.
“Okay, but where is Jerusalem?” She asks again.
“I swallowed it.” He replies.
“Swallowed it? And where is the West Bank?” She continues.
“I swallowed it.” The teacher replies.
“And where the hell is Palestine?” she cries maddeningly.
Pointing at the president, and with an angry rising tone, “You can ask Mr. President where Palestine has gone, sister!”

And the president, the camera focused on him, beams and claps for the lively performance, apparently not taking it seriously, or rather uncomprehending the allegory of the watermelon. Continue reading

Can you defeat a State?

“I just take it as a challenge, the louder the bomb, the more engrossed in my book I become, the more intense the shooting, the more pages I’m determined to read. And they just lose.”

That is what my teacher told me on the first day after the war when I ventured out from home for first time in twenty two days, on a visit to my university, the Islamic University of Gaza. He asked me, “How did you spend your time during the war?” I just foolishly fidgeted as I didn’t have an answer. And he said the above words. Ever since, those words have become my fundamental doctrine and precisely demarcated the essentially antagonistic relationship between me and Israel. That is to say, me as an individual, on the one hand, and Israel as a state, on the other hand. And ever since, I have mastered the game: Israel is set against me, and whatever crimes Israel commits are meant against none but me. This mindset proved influential, and functions rather psychologically. “Go on and defeat Israel” becomes your motto!

I used to say I’m never afraid of another war only because I’ve already gained an insight into how to live through it profitably. People are usually afraid of new prospects, but what are new prospects to someone like me? The intifada, the civil conflict, the siege, the war. Every time I meditate on such an inimical relationship between me and Israel, I’m quickly struck with a matter-of-fact condition of my self and a patent discrepancy between two stages of my life: before the war, and after the war. Senseless is what I’ve become. That’s why when a huge bomb strikes a nearby area and shakes the whole building, what the little kids do is carry on their game of marbles. Continue reading

GYBO: You could have put it better

Read the Gaza Youth Breaks Out Manifesto Here

“What do you think of the GYBO manifesto?” I was asked time and again.

I would circumspect, repeat, stammer till I made sure I didn’t give a clear-cut answer.

But why? Am I afraid to side with youth who are very much like me in Gaza. Youth who expressed the general feelings of overwhelming depression, gloomy despair, and stifling rage at what is going on in the “besieged enclave”? Am I so different to disagree with 22 of my friends on Facebook who, obviously, already like the group? (never mind this part, I just pressed “like”) Do I stand a chance of being as someday courageous as they are? Didn’t I always curse the political situation much more obscenely than they did? Is it not me who always cursed the dark, though lighting a candle, and blaming it all on the political situation, or rather Hamas just to be more precise? Didn’t I always have the same thoughts, feelings and even nightmares! I dropped a tear more than once during the war. I am sick of the whole thing. Am I not?

Well, what am I waiting for, then? Why am I so reluctant so as to hail the guys’ inspiringly daring manifesto? Just like how others did.

“Come on, you’re not jealous of their success, are you?” I would think. That sometimes did make sense to me, specially since no other interpretation bolstered my withholding from “hailing the guys”.

Two things. First, I have never been afraid of declaring my affiliation with all youth in Gaza. Our thoughts of the ever deteriorating political situation are the same. Our feelings of despair, irritation and resentment are the same. Our perseverance is the same. I really liked the guys’ job immensely. But I think they could have sent a better letter. Sorry, a better manifesto. Second, I share the guys’ admonition of Hamas’s policies which I really abhor, most of the time against. Period. Continue reading

A scenario that didn’t happen: Jawaher Abu Rahma

The tragic death of the Palestinian protester Jawaher Abu Rahma in Bil’in grieved all of us very deeply as we sat helpless leafing through the news that reported the story of her sad death. That, in fact, was not an extraordinary incident to me, but rather a new episode in the long series of the Palestinians’ embodiment of the essence of what a sacrifice means. As one sleeps, another wakes up. As one dies, a whole generation is born.

(The sun is about to set behind the horizon; the trees stand on the two sides of the gritty road; nothing is heard in the background but the demonstrators marching amongst whom is Jawaher, her heart beating really hard. The demonstrators carry the Palestine flags, red flags, and yellow ones. Some are busy taking photos. A sudden stream of thoughts invades Jawaher’s mind as few Israeli soldiers into the distance come within her range of vision.)

“Here we go,” Jawaher says to herself, still marching ahead. “here is 1, 2…3” Jawaher turns her head a little bit to the right, “4, 5, hmm” and as a new soldier, his gun diagonally overturned across his chest, comes into view from behind a hill (supposedly there is one) she continues “and here is 6” Jawaher lowers her head to the ground as she marches ahead.

(The protesters start whispering to each other, some hastening their steps to catch up with others and pointing with their hands in different directions. A middle-aged protester with shabby hair, putting on sun glasses, and grotesquely wearing green stroked Bermudas hastens his steps so that he becomes by the side of Jawaher, and pointing with his eyes straight ahead slightly to the left.)

“There are another two,” he says to Jawaher intermittently.

(Only then a whole troop of soldiers appear from behind the hill. Barely visible, four soldiers in the lead followed by a dozen behind them who show up gradually in pairs, all helmeted and carrying their guns haughtily.) Continue reading