“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.
Now, to make things perfectly clear for you, what I am doing is something that would generate in statements like “He’s given up on all his friends and made enemies of all.” However, what I’m giving up is my own interest. The whole idea of saying something against the GYBO manifesto seems (even to me) indigestible. And saying something against Hamas, and not siding with the group at the same time, is like abandoning all, and leaving myself stand alone, something my mother always warned me against. “Make sure you always have a friend!” she would tell me.
Dear GYBO, our struggle for independence has been going on for long. Not 63 years as some suggest. We have a quite older history of struggle on the way to freedom. We all share the same sentiments toward it. Our first clash with Zionists was in the 1920 in Jerusalem. This means 28 years before the Nakba. We all glorify the same figures of that struggle, Fawzi al-Qawuqji, Mohammed Jamjoom, Atta el-Zier, Fuad Hjazi, Amin al-Husayni, Abdel Qadir al-Husayni (and other Husaynis) Sayeed al-Ass and the list goes on. Our grandparents, all of them, used to wear al-Kuffiyeh. The question of Hamas and Fatah is truly and absurdly precarious to our cause, however.
Why I came up with such a passing glimpse of our history at this very point is but to help myself and you open our eyes. We sure have an enemy. When we’re killed by thousands, our villages ethnically cleansed, our houses daily raided, our youth imprisoned, our holy sites desecrated, our mothers humiliated, we sure have an enemy. Let’s, then, define who our enemy is. I wouldn’t give an answer to this, also.
Dear GYBU, did you really not expect it to be “this big”? You should have. When “Fuck Hamas” is what you open your manifesto with, you should expect it to leave a much more stirring impact on the whole world. When we constantly complain about being negatively framed as fanatics, homemade terrorists…etc and at the same time, it’s but framing (framing of ourselves) that we use to express our feelings, the whole world then should move toward our alleged liberation. When we put “Hamas” at the same level of animosity, admonition and hatred as “Israel”, then statements like (and here I give up on my last friend) “The salvation hour has come, Gazans” will resound time and again.
Can we imagine the impact the letter would have generated had Hamas and it’s oppression been dropped. Had at least one third of the letter been edited out, or into, say, more talk about Israel’s crimes against us?
The grassroots factor in our having such sentiments of anguish, resentment and despair tearing at all of us from within is not Hamas. Hamas, however, refuses to be the cure that can alleviate such terrible pain, and sometimes aggravates it. And when the pain has become very intolerable that we can’t take it anymore, we will heartily abhor the pain, its sources, and the cure all together.
I could never muster enough courage to express my sentiments even less poignantly than how you, my friends, have done. I am sincerely grateful for that part. And I will not be idealistic so as to ask you to carry on our struggle and steadfastness, or even to ask you not to complain. I, too, am fed up. But let’s make sure we express ourselves properly and with pride. We all teach our little children to keep their heads held high as they say, “We’ll die out of hunger, but never bow our heads!”
So, let’s break out together!
Mohammed Rabah Suliman