The Affair with Palestine || An Op-ed Piece
It has been almost a month since Israel’s deadly siege on the Palestinian city of Gaza, and I find myself reflecting on our collective actions as we mobilize and hurl facts, figures and UN resolutions at the West, hoping for a change of heart. I try to make sense of it all as we rake through public opinion, in search of a few morsels of recognition that we parade amongst each other like trophies, all the while whispering to each other, ‘I feel the tide is turning’. There seems little time to question our behavior, and perhaps consider a long-term plan or paradigm shift.
This has always been the fault of the not-at-fault.. Always innocently believing that the truth will prevail. But it has, hasn’t it? Whether people have chosen to adopt that truth is another thing entirely. The world knows, but it doesn’t seem to be in their best interest to care enough.
So where does that leave us, two weeks from now when we are emotionally spent and need to go back to our ‘real lives’. When we exit this alternate universe that we live in today, the one where we only watch the news, scroll IG for hours, boycott our favorite brands and wear a hatta in solidarity.. When we leave, where do we file the Palestinian problem? Already some businesses have been forced to return to ‘business as usual’ and others need a breather from the death and destruction, hence the resurfacing of captured happy moments on social.
It is at times like these that I take a spectator seat. I am not so well-versed in politics, and am unable to retain historical events, years or figures, leaving me quite incapacitated… And maybe it is this weakness that has strengthened my other senses..I see things differently.
The way I see it, to many of us, our relationship with Palestine is a love affair. It is in the present, it is passionate, noisy and unfortunately short term. It has little to do with real life, it is built on ideals, beautiful notions of idealized love, and in our heart of hearts we know it is a phase, after which we will return to reality.
What if we changed that, and started seeing it as a marriage, with its ups and downs. Something that is part of us, and something we need to work on every day, to ensure its survival, till death do us part.
In marriage it is ‘us’, a single entity, in an affair it is me and you. When we address the Palestinian cause invariably it is, them, the Palestinians… But the cause is much greater than just a single nation of people, it is about truth and justice, an ideology.. I wish there was a word that we could subscribe to, that would make it ‘us’.
In our affair with Palestine, our attention is piqued at a certain level on the barometer of injustice. Although we as people of the Palestinian cause know that the injustice is ongoing but it’s almost a slow burn, and not enough to push us to act. October 7th is yet another example of the alarm going off on our barometer of injustice, and so we all rose, a reaction to a situation.. It is not a cause nor a strategy it is merely a reaction and this is why the aggressors have little to fear.. We are neither organized nor committed; they are fighting an infection, it will eventually die down, till it’s a low grade pain that can be lived with.
Our action is intense, furious, emotional, impassioned and unfortunately situational. Based on a set of injustices in the present, with little thought to the future.
For our aggressors, who faced systemic persecution and death in the Holocaust from 1941-1945, 4 years or 48 months, this event is woven into every fiber of their reality, #neveragain. Their actions are strategic, with a set goal for each person that subscribes to their ideology, Israeli, Jewish or otherwise. it is not reactionary, they don’t need disaster to act, and to me this is the difference.
They have intercepted important channels to ensure that their message is always front of mind. They have lobbied and manipulated ballot boxes from the US to Europe, creating a powerhouse of influence so attractive that our own people have now adopted it, one that clearly overrides any sense of moral responsibility. Which is a painful reminder that the truth is not as potent as we would like to believe.
Today, November 2 marks the 106th anniversary of the Balfour Agreement, little has improved for us in all this time. Could it be that raising our barometer of injustice is yet another tactic of the aggressor, fooling us into believing that we are affecting the long-term change of the Palestinian cause? Do our tears for the dead and injured merely blur our vision as the apartheid state plans its next few steps? Do we hoarse our voices with our screams of injustice, that we don’t have the energy or vocal chords to collectively agree to work towards a real chance at life; in peace and harmony for our children of Palestine? I personally hope that when the dust of destruction settles, the dead have been buried and the wailing mothers have been placated with stories of the birds of paradise, we can continue to speak of Palestine.