Montag, 23. Mai 2011

Nakba - "People did not care if there was shooting"

Liebe Leserinnen und Leser,

in den letzten Tagen wurde sehr viel über die Geschehnisse am Nakba-Tag in Palästina, Israel und an den Grenzen geschrieben. Unsere Bekannte Hiba aus dem palästinensischen Flüchtlingslager Bourj al-Barajne in Beirut, hat die dramatischen Ereignisse an der israel-libanesischen Grenze selbst miterlebt.

This year, Nakba (“the catastrophe”) was supposed to have a different taste. It was supposed to tell the world that denies our existence: “Hey, here we are, this is our land, and this is our right. Our right to return will not die.” The way to the Maroun al-Ras was a mass movement of Palestinian people, the opposite way that the original displacement occurred. Everything was opposite from the lives that we have lived. On the way south we repeatedly noticed that it was the most beautiful scenery we have ever seen, the air was kinder, the morning sun was brighter, and even national and traditional revolutionary songs that we have been hearing since childhood took on a new meaning that day. We were going to Palestine, the air smelt of the soil of Palestine. That day there was hope that we would return. Our numbers and our determination put that dream closer to becoming a reality than ever before.

And when we arrived in Aitaroun, we were no longer able to drive because there were so many buses. Each bus held dozens of people all waving signs. A column of people started flowing out of the buses, they stretched across the valley, the hills and the fields to Bint Jbeil Maroun al-Ras. The first image that came to our minds, was the image of our ancestors as they as they walked towards their forced exile 63 years ago, but that day the line marched towards Palestine.

Elderly and young, men, women and children, five generations, marched side by side pulled from the determination of each other. Palestine was closer than ever.Young men and young women passed the limits at the top of the hill, and went down the slope, towards the border. We could no longer wait to see what the future held; we walked towards our destiny.

 We received news from the other protests intermittently. The Palestinians in the Golan Heights were able to cross the border and enter the village of Majd El Shams.

When we heard this story, what we have been waiting for, for generations, it made us quicken our steps. There was hope.

Upon arriving to Maroun al-Ras, thousands of Palestinians were moving towards a place of assembly, shouting, "We are coming to our soil of the homeland". The words were enough for us to shake off the fatigue brought on by two hours of walking through the valleys and hills, and proceed at a rapid pace towards the front line.

But from here it started to become a clearer picture of how the day would unfold. The first thing that struck me was the total absence of discipline elements by the organizers, I mean the elements that have used to control very large numbers in any political event or protest in the country.

At the assembly in the courtyard there was a giant screen broadcasting images live from all of the borders of Palestine. There were confrontations in Jordan, the people of Egypt were going to the Gaza Strip, and young people crossing into the Golan Heights. When we progressed towards the border, a megaphone announced that there had been a martyr at the fence, and he was probably the second or third martyr in a few minutes. Soon, his body was carried to the palms towards the top of the hill.

In terms of the military presence, there was a surprise. There were less than 150 army personnel, yet over 5000 young men and women were demonstrating on the slope, wanting to go towards the border. The protesters were trying to penetrate the crowd control, and the army was trying to prevent them.The army was divided into two groups, one near the fence and the other preventing more people from going to the fence.

People approached the army and told that they wanted to progress, that Palestine exists, that the fragrance of the soil of our homeland would drive us to continue our fight. People wanted to cut the fence, to enter Palestine. People didn’t care if there was shooting. They knew that by touching the fence, it was almost certain death by sniper fire, but people would rather die at the fence than live the lives we are living.

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