Saturday, 8 January 2011

Chapter 27 What it is

It’s a bus ride into Jerusalem where everyone under the age of 55 disembarks to walk through the pedestrian check point. It’s having Israeli ID cards but still being made to go through the indignity of it all.

It’s a massive menorah erected right outside Nablus. It is a yearlong visa that has to be approved by the Israeli Ministry of Interior yet doesn’t guarantee passage back into Palestine. It is not being able to leave for fear of not getting back in.

It is Hebron and knowing that Israeli soldiers enter Nablus in the early hours of the morning to take people away. It is news of air strikes into Gaza and needless deaths at check points and protests.

It is creeping settlements on top of hills. It is stories told in simple factuality about siblings with deformities because their mothers had been gassed while pregnant.

It is children who do not know the difference between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’.

It’s the sheer, desolate, heartbreaking helplessness of it all. It’s the feeling that nothing can or will change. It’s the fear that it can only get worse.

It’s approaching a check point with a knot in your stomach. It’s passing through one and looking back at those waiting on the side to be interrogated.

It is many things.

It’s getting into a taxi and having the driver turn around and exclaim:

‘Sara! How are you? Home or work?’

It’s leaving a neighbor’s house with a full stomach because they happened to intercept you on the stairs and invited you in to eat ma’loubeh with their family.

It’s the early morning call from a near stranger who’s downstairs with a plate full of manakeesh for you because he thinks you don’t eat enough.

It’s the quick laugh of a child whose optimism has yet to be eaten away. It’s the beautiful landscape and the taste of a sweet, juicy orange.

It’s an initiative like Bazinga! and the people setting up Tedx Ramallah.

It’s the Freedom Theatre and the Circus School.

It’s Women's Corner and a conference in Ramallah to address domestic violence.

It’s the things that happen here every day that are pushing for progress. Forcing things through the bureaucracy and the hardships. Carving out spaces and creating opportunities that will make Palestine sustainable.

It is many things.

Let’s make a pact for 2011. Let’s do all we can to move these efforts forwards and support them.

I’ll keep trying if you do.

Happy New Year.