To my beloved Palestine, I am sorry. I love you.
By: Jehan Alfarra
My aim is not to narrate what happened on March, 15th; I will leave this to someone else. I will allow myself to be sentimental and emotional. I want to aver my feelings of pain, disgust, disappointment, and anger with this nonsense……. With much anticipation…
Fighting back my tears, I jot down these words.
I remember the day we, Palestinians, were all hand in hand, fighting with every cell of our bodies, with every breath of life, with every memory of death, and with every stone we could lay our hands on. I remember the day we fought tooth and nail to win over an Israeli watch-tower erected on our soil, killing our families and friends, and to climb up and raise a Palestinian flag upon it instead. I remember the day we were (children, men, and women) so proud to say: I am a Palestinian. I am a freedom fighter by birth and will never bow down to tyranny and occupation. I am never giving up one inch of my land, I will never have a rest, and I will always do my utmost best to get back my Palestine… And now, I sit here, too ashamed and too paralyzed, disappointment jamming the air in my lungs, suffocating me as I grasp what Palestinian has come to mean. It has become the trend of the decade. It has become the cursed nationality on my ID card and passport. It has become the Mapkin and the Palestine Papers. It has become international donations and open/closed borders. It has become the tunnels, and the Separation Wall with its graffitis. It has become Gaza or the West Bank. It has become the “three-state solution”. It has become yellow, or green. You detain me, and I detain you. You kill me, and I kill you. And Israel is, well not watching, but enjoying and expanding.
Dear Palestine… On behalf of Fatah, Hamas, Popular Front, Islamic Jihad, and all Palestinians, I am sorry. I am sorry we have allowed ourselves to fall into the dark abyss of disunity, although for your sake, forgetting that you are above us all.
I haven’t been feeling as though Palestine was Gaza, the West Bank, and the 1948 lands. If I define myself as Palestinian, it won’t be accurate enough. I have to say am Gazan. But NO, GOD DAMN IT! I AM PALESTINIAN, FROM PALESTINE!
We, the people, have always known this state is getting us nowhere. Who but us has two governments for a “no state”?
Well, my sustained yearning for that feeling of rebellion is finally to be met! March, 15th is the day we say ENOUGH! END THIS UGLY, DISHOMORABLE CHAPTER OF OUR HISTORY! If truth be told, I was afraid we will not be large in number. I was afraid not enough Palestinians will realize they are Palestinians and have the courage and will to go out and chant for one Palestine. And to be more precise, I was not sure whether West-bankers will be up for it; I barely felt them, ever.
It was finally March, 15th.
NOTHING tasted as sweet as the odor of REVOLUTION and REBIRTH filling the air that morning! One Flag (although I noticed they were all creased), and ONE CALL (END THE DIVISION)!!!! I was overwhelmed with feelings of rapture and honour! The young, the old, the female, and the male, the healthy and the ill, and even peddlers; all flooding the streets singing Palestine with shades of blazing fire in their eyes. Then I heard of the great numbers streaming the streets in the West Bank! I felt as though a new Palestine was beginning to take shape!
Until I saw something which made my heart beat faster than the pounding of a million boxsters….. Hamas has come in immense numbers holding new Palestinian flags attached to their green flag. I cannot put in plain words what it did to my heart, that sight…
I started walking aimlessly amongst the infiltrated crowds, watching the Hamas buses, and listening to them shouting “the people want to end the division” and giving speeches. It seemed more like an election campaign. It was off-putting, indeed. My friends and I almost left the scene. But abrupt shoutings “THE PEOPLE WANT ALAM FLSTEEN (the Palestinian flag)” really pushed our spirits up!
We joined in, we chanted, we moved around, until we finally decided to leave to Al-Katiba, leaving Al-Jundi Square to them, and trying to avoid any collision with them whatsoever. We came out peaceful, and we wanted to keep it as such.
Dear Palestine… So disgracefully, Hamas has used inexcusable aggressive means to scatter the crowds as evening descended. The same was done in the West Bank, but for a lesser degree that it did not affect the continuation of their protests and hunger-strikes. Amongst us in Gaza, though, was the wounded, the insulted, and the detained. It was so disturbing. They have managed time and again to disperse ours, but never succeeded in breaking our spirit.
I am sorry again. But, I promise you this: I will never tire out from shouting “End the Division”, and no matter what they do, we will go back again and again, and we will not allow this humiliation and dishonour to continue. Enough of us are still and will always remain up for it.
Dear Creased Palestinian Flag,
Hear the buried screams of my torn heart, the silenced cries of my aching soul, and the imprisoned shouts in my lungs; oh how I missed you…! We have, so inconsiderately, replaced you with utter rags that have done us no good but pleasure our enemy… My words would fail to articulate the seas of joy and satisfaction I was overcome with once I held you up high, chanting “end the division, end the occupation”!! It has been so many years since I’ve seen you flying, defying…! The only places I have been seeing you are either on TV soaring in solidarity demos, or with convoyers and activists coming into Gaza… I am sorry WE have kept you folded in the closet these many years and chose to be colour-branded… So, NO! I will not accept the new joint-flags of Hamas; I much prefer you, as creased and crumpled as you are… “WE WANT `ALAM FLSTEEN!!!!!”
May God forgive you, as I do not have the capacity to do so. You have suppressed a caged-for-years anger and anguish.
I am deeply disgusted, disappointed, and infuriated by the way in which you have handled—or, rather, mishandled— the situation. The course of action that you have, so stupidly and callously, been undertaking is not in the slightest justified. Where is your so-called Islam??? Perhaps I am in no position to judge, but for to my own awareness beating up kids, girls, and elderly is by no means Islamic. Beating up university students for merely calling for the end of division is by no means Islamic. Preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded inside the university is by no means Islamic. Beating up journalists and confiscating all Cameras, brutally and recklessly, and so explicitly lying to the public are by no means Islamic. The policy of silencing your people is also far from Islamic.
You may have succeeded in infiltrating our PEACEFUL protests, AGAINST DISUNITY that is, yet you have just given all of us, particularly those who actually had some faith in you, a concrete reason to reject your rule and authority. It’s a crying shame…
Allow me to say that you are paranoid, or as you have just proved-Palinoid. You’ve came with the flags to assert your presence?? All you did was add more fuel to the fire and assert the division in an anti-division demo. The flag thing is an obvious provocation! You do not want it to look like an anti-Hamas protest?? Well, the bands, green scarves, and the green hats were enough to say you are Hamas! Forget that, ONE supporting speech from a high ranking official would have done the trick! You have just given us every excuse to be an anti-Hamas indeed (not that we would shout anything other than ‘End the Division’ still; merely because our ultimate objective is to narrow down the gap, and not broaden it as you have so unmistakably did). You need to realize one thing and one thing only; not everything that isn’t solely Hamas is anti-Hamas. You need to learn how to man up and accept the other. We are the people you want to “liberate” for God’s sake!
If you were received with any opposition from the people later on, then you are mostly responsible for having generated it. Fatah certainly did not fund and support those protests as you claim. The West Bank has 700,000 protesters right now! Some were met by the like treatment from PA’s security forces, too! It is just that I was not anticipating that from you. Even if they did, is it an excuse to take such brutal, unjustified measures??
Dear Hamas, if I had a shred of faith in you, it has transformed into an angry beast inside of me! But look, I am not perfect, neither is anyone else. So I am not expecting you to be God’s angels on earth, and I will still only shout for an end of the division, and only the end of the division. As for you, you need to grow a pair, use your brains, and stop acting so foolish. Whatever happened to win the hearts and minds?? Match your words to your actions, and do something about your crippled sense of justice. Palestinians deserve better.
In the end, I tell you this: what happened on March 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th (and yet expected to happen again and again) is an utter disgrace to the memory of Ahmad Yassin and Abdul-Aziz Al-Rantisi.
Dear Red Cross Administration and Staff,
Yet again, a devastating blow to my faith. The disappointed, angry youth of March 15th resorted to you for protection and had a protest outside your door, but what did you do? You let them get beaten and dispersed, under the lame excuse that his was none of your business. What a shame.
Dear Fatah supporters,
The sorry fact that you have, so blindedly, followed a selling-out agenda and were willing to buy whatever crap that is fed to you, and prefer material benefit to your own cause is beyond me. Why is it so hard for you to see through the collaboration of your cheap authority?? Or hard for you to reject it?? Wake up and put Palestine before anything else.
Dear Mr. President,
Your days are numbered (ps. MASSIVE GRIN ON MY FACE). The only sane thing you have done so far is declaring you are not running for elections (as if you a chance of winning in the first place)! There is a piece of hope of upcoming betterment which I cannot explain crawling towards my heart…
Dear March 15 protesters,
So I bitterly I laugh, for we have finally achieved some kind of unity. Hamas and Fatah against the people haha… Although we could have done it better, and come up with more innovative and effective ways to approach this matter, but I am proud of every one of you and I am with you all along. Even if our protests merely expressed our dissatisfaction with disunity, I am all for it. Every wound, every bruise, and every insult is to remain a badge of honour for everyone who participated. I will not let them get to me and I will not cave in; they want to play it dirty? So be it, we are Palestinians after all. We have got nothing more to lose.
We do need to realize something though; sincere protest should come from those who support Hamas and Fatah AGAINST THEIR OWN FACTIONS! Awareness is very much desired at this stage.
Dear Rachel Corrie,
You are not forgotten and will never be. As a Palestinian and a human being, I appreciate how caring, devoted, and human you have always been, and I am deeply sorry I was consumed in my rage and angst that I did not realize it was your day on the 16th may your soul rest in peace.
I just can’t help but say this! >>>> You may rot in hell
Some more photos I took on March, 15th