- Middle East/North Africa
Notice: If you have an opposing position, do not give attention to this text, as its writer does not care about your opinion, and so do not give any attention to his.
Why do we only speak about Palestine when catastrophe hits? Why is Palestine only beautiful when it is caked with blood? Do the major events that rock Palestine blur our view of Palestine’s daily struggle? And which Palestine are we speaking about? Is it Gaza, or the West Bank, or some other?
I will neither dig deeper for more bewildering daily questions, nor will I not attempt to answer them. I will brush the entire serious and tragic aspect to the story aside.
Even more selfishly, I will ignore the Palestinians themselves in my talk about Palestine. Sorry my brothers, the Palestine whose story I will tell is not yours and you are not part of it. Rather, it’s our Palestine, us, the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, the generation of the Arab Spring, revolution and all that exquisite television stuff.
Palestine is not a country or an idea. It is the first moment of awareness. It strikes you awake as you dreamily wander between your childhood days.
Suddenly, you realize that oppression has the name of Israel and bravery the name of Palestine.
We grew up to the images of the uprising. They were our age, those heroes who were equipped with stones, the weapons that our rulers were generous enough to arm them with. Palestine, Zorro, Superman, the Prince, they were all part of that fantasy, that bravery to stand up to oppression. A child was his own hero. Palestine was our first grasp of values — that is Palestine.
It is the Palestine of those who later came to be termed activists. Yes, it is our Palestine. It is our first moment of political awareness. The first moment we realized how crippled we were on our own land. It is the moment we realized the importance and power of popular mobility.
Palestine is the moment you rebel against the policeman who orders you to stop; the moment you defy his order, drawing on the power of the crowd joining you. Palestine is the first scream mingled with deep pain that you let out as hundreds or thousands others echo it, giving you the feeling that you are one body. It is the moment that you realize that the battle for Palestine starts from the neighborhood, university, cafe, bar and mosque. It is the moment that refines your political awareness whereby you realize that the venues have to differ because the visions differ.
How many Salafis saw Palestine as their road and destination? And how many communists saw Palestine as their road and destination? I can almost say that of this generation, all. Even for those who have different views now, Palestine was their moment of awareness.
Palestine is also the first moment of unity. It was an opportunity for us to publicly protest our oppressors, hoping that one moment everyone would take action.
In 2008 in Tunisia, the slogan was clear: Gaza and Ar-Rudayyif (a city in southeastern Tunisia). The road to Gaza crossed Ar-Rudayyif. And Gaza and Palestine allowed us, at the height of their crisis, to train in liberating ourselves.
Those were the moments at which knowledge and experiences accumulated giving way to social mobility to take on a revolutionary path. Palestine was and will remain our first revolutionary moment.
The readers might wonder about the feasibility of my words as Gaza, once again, wears its blood-red costume amid a stony silence. This is only a preliminary message of gratefulness and an apology for the delayed mobility. We will do what we're accustomed to doing — namely, solidarity and protest — even though their infeasibility is tragic. The most we can do now is work to liberate the road to Palestine.
Translated by Dina Zafer.
Azyz Amami is a Tunisian activist and blogger. This article is an edited version of his Facebook note, written in Arabic.