Palestine. How do I start? Gaza. Where do I stop? There are so many factors that tie into my identity as a Palestinian, and how the events affect my life and the lives of the loved ones around me.
Protesting in Palestine, especially in Gaza, where I am from, is not something new. Gaza is the hot topic of Palestine, it is the city that is most focused on because it is not Israeli territory. Gaza is always under Israeli fire. Israel puts in energy into Gaza because Gaza is the main city still resisting Zionist occupation. Gazans are fighters; we are brave. We fight bullets with rocks. We deal with what we have and we do not take any negativity from anyone. This piece is about the events oozing with the injustice that occurred in the week of May 14, 2018.
I can talk about the history of Palestine, but that is the lead up to the present, the reality of the West Bank of Occupied Palestine right now. Right now is what we need to focus on.
Yes, everything about Palestine matters to me; Palestine always matters the most. My sentiment for Palestine, as other Palestinians have, is important to know, so one can understand the bigger picture of the events happening as we speak.
Palestine to me is a home I’ve never breathed, a land I’ve been trying to love like a person with a home, since my first breath.
But, what are we going to do about the deaths and the injuries? Talk was never enough and it will never be.
I am always aware of what is happening in Palestine; not because of my family actually, but because of social media. My family is so numb to the fact that they live a war-stricken life that they tend to act like everything is fine. I need to find out on my own.
I will not be politically biased, but my opinion speaks for itself because it relates to humanity; especially to the humanity of my people who have seen death more than they have seen love and life.
It is a given that Israel follows a hypocritical agenda and we are the victims. Both Palestinians outside of Palestine, and inside of it, are victims. Israeli-Palestinians, pro-Palestine Israelis, North American Palestinians like myself, and others are all affected.
Why? The simplest reason is that we actually have hearts that we feel with. Israel continues to kill utilizing peace as an excuse. Do you not fight peaceful protesting with peaceful actions? That is not the route Israel takes, and the pure inhumane aspects of their agenda are starting to unravel day by day, from one unbiased news story to the other.
I told my friend on the day of the injuries and killings, that I have felt my ultimate pain as a Palestinian that day. Hope for me is hanging by a thread. I have been away for so long, and I feel helpless. People in Palestine are helpless too, but this is a different kind of helplessness. I have no three-dimensional visuals and no body of mine to be there for the eyes of my people. Sometimes, the heart can’t reach what the eyes can’t see, and it is the ultimate reality of the world we have created.
Continuing, I cried for a few hours. I usually do not. My dad asked me, “Zeina, why are you crying?” My tears were the final result of the buildup of pain I have been experiencing. My friends text me asking if I am okay, without me even telling them about anything.
Dear everyone, how can I be okay when my people are dying? When justice is not even close to prevailing? To have to worry about my family and our friends in Gaza? It is killer; worse than any heartbreak I have ever experienced.
Back to Gaza. I asked my father: “Why do they protest?” I argued that Palestine being free is a bigger sign of judgment day, and we technically cannot do something life-changing right now. He told me that Palestinians cannot stand for pain and injustice; we Palestinians have to do what we have to do to make our voices heard. Maybe we save a few more lives from the choking hands of occupation. The world knows about us, but they do not do anything. No one should be fully blamed; why would another country oppose Israel? Israel is a powerful state and its allies are even more powerful.
What many people are forgetting is that the root of many of our problems is the disbanding sense of Arab unity. The occupied state of Palestine is economically and politically helpless, and we cannot do anything for ourselves. Where are our Arab brothers and sisters?
On a more intricate note, what many people are forgetting is that the root of many of our problems is the disbanding sense of Arab unity. The occupied state of Palestine is economically and politically helpless, and we cannot do anything for ourselves. Where are our Arab brothers and sisters? Or is it all talk? Like I said, talk is cheap. All we get is the pity at the end of the day; we become soon forgotten until another bomb strikes or another massacre unfolds. When are we going to see change? Actually, when are we going to be the change?
The killing of 62 Palestinians and the injuries of thousands is concrete evidence of Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and is one of the worst attacks since Israel’s brutality in 2014.
Israel is supposedly built on democracy, but the killing of innocent protestors who are fighting for their right to land in “The Great March of Return” is not democratic and is extremely inhumane.
These Palestinians were kicked out of the comfort of their own homes, and now live a life with no clean water, barely any electricity, and nowhere to go. The world needs to call out Gaza’s name; it is not a crisis anymore, Gazans are not living anymore; they are merely breathing. Enough is enough.
In the grand scheme of things, Israel knows how to toy with us. The Israeli government is an extremely clever one. Why do you think they have “prospered” so quickly?
The viscous deaths that occurred happened around the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (the 1948 exodus). Israel has strategies to weaken our fighting back and determination.
To add on to the misery, the American embassy of Israel has just moved to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine for both Muslims and Christians alike.
Even before the occupation, Muslims, Christians, and Jews all co-existed peacefully in Palestine.
Jerusalem is for all, and we may never get home back, but we can fight for it, and that is what Gazans are trying to do — a cause they are losing their lives for.
Eighty percent of Palestinians in the West Bank are Muslim, and much of the bloodshed occurred during our holy month of Ramadan. Palestinians are not all Muslims but we should all have compassion.
I have seen and heard a lot, as a Palestinian not living in Palestine, from different people and I have heard different political points of view and all, but this boils down to a matter of humanity.
Innocents are dying, and religion is being oppressed. Relatively, as Arabs, we all failed ourselves and have failed each other; let us not forget about Syria, and Yemen, and everything else.
Jerusalem is not just for Palestinians, it is also a symbol of unity and peace and love, which we seem to lack. There is sympathy but there is no acting out.
I may never see a free Palestine, but all I want is humanity back. If this is our fate as Palestinians, we should work for the freedom of our land, and believe that God will never let our suffering go unnoticed in the afterlife. We should make the best out of it; sending messages of love and how we should act as humans. Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an: “So Allah gave them the reward of this world, as also an excellent reward of the next; and Allah loves those who do good” [Al Qur’an 3:149]. Ameen.