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.

Dear Palestine,

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!!!!!”

Dear Hamas,

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.

Dear Mubarak,

I just can’t help but say this! >>>> You may rot in hell 🙂

Some more photos I took on March, 15th

20 responses

  1. The device of the “State” is used to deny victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity legal standing (locus standi) to file criminal complaints with international courts or to prevent victims from benefiting from the protections contained in the UN Charter. Those prohibit any threat or use of force against the independence or territorial integrity of – let’s read it- “any state”.

    So, states are indispensable, but perfect unity is not, e.g. the capital of West Virginia was never reconstituted in Richmond. Two semi-autonomous municipal authorities governing in a loose “Confederation of Palestine” would be perfectly acceptable if they would agree to stop killing and persecuting one another.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm

  2. The new Palestine can only take shape when Israel collapses. And that process is coming along nicely.
    Lots of work to do before that but there is no space for Palestine under Zionism.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm

  3. karma shahin

    power to all of u in palestine! i really wish i was ther at this momenet :(:(

    be sure ur always thought of and remembered, and thank u 4 ur wonderful words

    its just a matter of time, and things will be so much better im positive

    keep strong !

    March 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  4. Jehan….words can not express the impact of your letters….may those addressed: read, understand and act on them for the good of Palestine.
    You are a truly gifted young woman…continue to write, take photographs, have courage and work for unity and freedom of your country.
    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Palestine is in my daily thoughts; beginning today, those thoughts and prayers include Jehan Al-Farra….the two cannot be separated.

    March 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    • Thanks alot, Susan. Your words mean so much to me 🙂


      March 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

  5. RE: “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…” – by Jehan Al-Farra

    AN EARLY SPRING AFTERNOON’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE (brought to you by the über-caring folks in the community outreach division at the makers of new, reformulated Ziocaine™):

    [Jonny 5]
    …They see sharks in the estuary,
    They claim the ark is Bartholemew’s;
    They say “War is necessary,”
    But we say, “War is child abuse!” …
    [Jonny 5]
    …They shell dwellings to quell the shellings,
    They lift taboos to seduce the cowards;
    They say we’re too yellow-bellied,
    But we say “we’re the new superpower!”
    [Tim McIlrath/Jonny 5]
    We’d rather make our children [We request to negotiate]
    martyrs than murderers! [We come to you unarmed]
    We’d rather make our children [We desire to communicate]
    White Flag Warriors!…
    [Tim McIlrath]
    …This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love…

    Flobots, White Flag Warrior featuring Tim McIlrath (03:41) –
    P.S. Så Som I Himmelen / As It Is in Heaven (2005) –

    March 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  6. Je Je,
    This is a moving, thoughtful, emotional writing about the events you have experienced this past week. And more. While bitterly disappointed, you still find a way to not hate, but keep a hand out there to engage those who seem so opposed to what you are trying to do. Build unity in a non-violent manner.
    Thank you for putting this to words, at a time that is heart-wrenching, no easy task. I will share it with others in hopes more of us come to understand, and ultimately help in whatever ways we all can..

    March 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

  7. UNITY is the magic word. It’s not “End the division”; it’s “Let’s Unite”. It’s not a command; it’s a suggestion. A command to end the division suggests disunity, suggests another order, but a suggestion to UNITE implies an extended hand, open arms, brotherhood, sisterhood and brothers and sisters united against one common enemy, ISRAEL, which holds as it’s primary goal to sow weakness among Palestinians by encouraging mistrust and thus DIVISION.

    So, disregard the insecurities of Hamas, bitter memories are slow to overcome, and ignore the stupidity of Fatah selling out a Palestinian legacy for pieces of U.S. gold and empty promises of power, and instead of shouting “End the division!”; chant “Let’s UNITE”; We are Palestine; We are ONE.

    Unity is the magic word. Unity is the glue that will piece together the dispersed Territories and build a bridge from Gaza to the West Bank. Chant UNITY from the rooftops and reach out at rejection, insist, persist and reach out no matter if there’s one flag atop another – FOR NOW. Eventually, the mistrust will fade, the insecurity will dissipate, the disloyalty will shame itself and everyone will cling to what really stirs their heart – FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSION AND OCCUPATION.

    Know your enemy, Israel, revels in alienating you from your COMMON goal and dream by tearing you apart. UNITY is your greatest weapon and your only hope.

    March 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    • yes, unity is the key


      a people united can never be defeated

      March 20, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      • A people united can never be defeated? Er, weren’t the Imperial Japanese people fanatical about e pluribis unum? And, of course, there were others who were united yet defeated in the end. I guess you mean, a people united against oppression can never be defeated, rather than a people united for oppression? That’s still a problem, historically speaking.

        March 21, 2011 at 7:07 am

      • “a people united can never be defeated”

        That is just claptrap . The Byzantines were united in 1453.

        March 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    • I agree with you, kalithea, yet the shouts of “End the division” indicate the anger of the people and how much they are fed up.
      We did chant “let’s unite” and produced tens of songs for “national unity”. We held pics of Yassir Arafat kissing the forehead of Ahmed Yassin and the like. We shouted for the end of occupation as our ultimate goal.

      thanks for your words 🙂


      March 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

  8. Thanks Jehan Al-Farra, wonderful to see photos & read your thoughts on the day and beyond.

    Hamas should be ashamed of themselves, as should Fateh, for their opposition to the Unity rallies. They are without original ideas and they will be swept away by the youth, if they aren’t wise enough to learn from them. Especially, the old factions must listen to the demands of the youth, and work with the creativity and energy they have – not against it. Palestine has a formidable enough enemies in the US and Israel, without wasting any further energy on internal divisions.

    The BDS Movement is growing rapidly in the world outside Israel and Palestine, and a political movement inside Palestine is required that can operate in tandem and synergy with the non-violent strategy of BDS. The way Egyptians handled their uprising is an excellent case study, because the movement was strictly non-violent (as opposed to Mubarak’s response) the world sided strongly with the Egyptian people, and despite the US wanting the regime to remain in power it became trapped in it’s own rhetoric. Obama came to Cairo, spoke about democracy and Egyptians people forced his hand.

    When the time comes in Palestine, the uprising must be youth driven and non-violent, though you can be sure Israel will unleash extreme violence in an attempt to provoke armed resistance from the Palestinian factions. Steel yourself now: Israel will kill by the thousands because it knows that the third intifadah will be the last.

    PS What’s next? Work on your networks and strengthening ties between activists in Gaza & the West Bank. You’ll have to check but I’m pretty sure skype voice is strongly encrypted.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm

  9. I’d like to see the real respective flags of the Democrats and Republicans in the USA because surely neither represents Old Glory. However, in one respect they do honestly carry the same flag, unfortunately it’s a foreign one, a blue and white one copied from a holy costume.

    March 21, 2011 at 7:18 am

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  12. That was the best thing I read so far about Mrach 15. So sincere in your words, so honest in your feeling! Thank You, Jehan

    March 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

  13. Joe Assem

    How profound. I dream of a united and free Palestine every minute of my life.

    Keep the struggle alive

    March 30, 2011 at 2:46 am

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