Monday, 25 June 2012

Chapter 123 Yaffa

It was in Yaffa that it hit home. Yaffa, that last bastion of Arabness; a remaining pocket of cultural survival.

Yaffa, bride of the sea.

A stunning coastline. Yet generic, potentially belonging anywhere. It made me quiet, drawing closer within myself.

Well tended parks and synthetic bridges supported teenage feet, their owners yelling out to each other in Hebrew and laughing. Alongside expensive, modern looking villas with barbeques on the terraces we strolled. Bland, contemporary architecture housing the rich who ‘summer’.

The ocean, the same ocean that crashes with intention onto the shores of Beirut, flowed under the piers. A boulevard of burger places and trendy restaurants framed the dark skinned fisherman who sat weaving nets on the wooden walkways.

The panorama of condos pushed me further into myself. And the more mono syllabic I became.

Finally my companion became frustrated and demanded an explanation to my sullenness.

I turned to him, exasperated yet mute.

Gesturing with my hands yet unable to fill them with words. Lump in throat, I swiped angrily at the unexpected tears that had begun streaming down my face. Then buried my face in my hands... it came pouring out.

“It’s gone. They’ve taken it. They’ve taken all of it. This is the most beautiful part, here on the sea – here where the wind blows. Where are we here? Where are we? Nowhere? Living in shacks and poverty in the city’s underbelly? Pushed underneath the rug of this picture perfection?”

Where was our history? Where was the proof of our existence here?

Gone. As if it had never been.

This same ocean that embraced me only a few miles north of where I stood, rejected me there and was no longer mine. The ocean that involves humiliating checkpoints and long hours of waiting to visit; an ocean that many born to it can only dream of its touch.

This blog was always meant to be about Palestine.

Not my feelings about it; which are wholly insignificant in the face of its reality.

I wanted this blog to be something that showed a new and unexplored side of Palestine. I stayed away from the politics or describing the same images the world has seen a million times. I wanted to paint a new picture. Show an equally important side, tragically neglected.

But it was in Yaffa that it hit home for me. And it hurt.


  1. Beautiful.

    Thank you for bringing Palestine to those of us who cannot go there, yet.

    Thank you for sharing your emotions.

    You are a beautiful being.

  2. 'mouni said this was one of your best.

    And it is one of your best.

  3. Thank you guys, your support has always meant a lot :)

  4. You introduced places in Palestine I only heard about and probably will never visit, a painful thought. Thank you for sharing your feelings, you echo ours.

  5. Thank you Oussama, you've also been a wonderful support over the past two years and I appreciate it greatly.

  6. i think its more complicated than that..

    but i was most curious by your words "our history".. who is included in the word "our"?

    i wish you had contacted me so i could show you some aspects of yaffo you might appreciate..

    i agree that it has controversy but it also has a lot of human beauty and captures many rays of hope for this piece of land and our region as a whole..

    churches dont burn in yaffo.. and even old mosques have recently been restored.. at the end of the day we live side by side..