#occupy 2- No rest for the occupied: sheikh Jarrakh 1.06.2012

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At night they raid homes and harvest people.

on daytime, they demolish homes,

I wake up every morning counting numbers,

memorizing  names, tracing locations.

It seems like everyone I talk to was arrested

, or likely to be arrested in the future,

or has a family member detained

It seems that everyone I talk to was beaten by soldiers

, postponed at checkpoints.

It seems that on the internet we constitute a future Palestine that does not yet exis

t but the  people I talk to in the streets just ask to be treated as humans.

I wish I had ten minds, 10 eyes, 10 ears, 10 souls so I could capture every dimension of daily life that the occupation impacts

But what I miss more than anything is time of silence.

When there are no breaking news.

The occupation creates an intense fabric of time, condensed, heavily loaded with events that one person can not fully perceive

That is a method to keep people oppressed.

I understand that. Things didn't necessarily get worse-  just now

we can hear more about it.

I am tired. I can't afford to travel to the west bank every week. I don't think I should either. There is enough going on in East Jerusalem anyway. There are frequent raids, arrests, demolitions and evictions in  Sheikh Jarrah, Bet Hanina, Isawiya-where the parks reservation division attempts to seize houses for a new national park.  Al Haq reports:

The lesser of two evils: self-demolitions in East Jerusalem

I would like to add that East Jerusalem illegal settlements, unlike west bank settlements are unique in terms of how they impact the local community life- similar to Hebron, the settlers' houses , built on occupied land or simply confiscated  and handed to the settlers are located within the neighborhood itself,  the colonizers live side by side with the people whose property were stolen, creating a constant source of provocation and conflict as well as disturbing order (due to the "security" settings that are "necessary" for the colonizer's safety) .

I arrived Sheikh Jarrakh  two hours before the protest vigil (right now, sheikh Jarrah isn't exactly an all-out demonstration, it's a rather domesticated action that attracts less people and media coverage). I sat down to eat something at Nashashibi Humus. I was not left alone. One of the workers joined to keep me company. He told me that even though he has a blue ID, he can't get an apartment in Jerusalem because rent is too high, and few landlords are willing to rent their houses to Palestinians, so he is forced to cross two checkpoints a day to make it to work. He asked me if I think the protest vigils will have any affect. I told him how I hope the media coverage will draw international community attention to the condition of human rights in Palestine. Despite the suffering he's going through at the checkpoints and the mess his blue ID cause him as a Palestinian who lives at the west bank, the young man stated that he wishes harm to no one, and just want the racism to end. I wish I had this guy's peace of mind. I frequently rage.

Short while after that,  veteran solidarity activists arrived , telling the story of recent Tuqua arrests, recalling past demonstrations, discussing how effective each activism location & method is, & reaching a mutual agreement that the occupation has enough resources to last for another 45 years.

"we are hammering a solid rock" summed it Roee with a metaphor." "the rock seem so solid but we don't know what strike will break it to pieces".

We finished the Hummus  & joined the protest vigil,  the crowd was compiled by internationals, and a few local Palestinian residents. I saw the flagmen, holding Palestine's flags quietly as icons of steadfastness, I thought their quiet protest was formidable, so I took their pictures. A boy named Nasser held the megaphone as he does every week, and we chanted anti occupation slogans. Like most people, I get soft around kids, and some of the chanting became playful activity instead a cry of rage. We picked up placards saying "free sheikh Jarrah" Mabrouk Aleyk falastin" and , stood in line facing the road. I picked up a sign with pictures of prisoners serving administrative detention in Zionist jail. "That is the son of my brother Hassan Saber, who is serving 27 months without sentence" said the man next to me.

The passing cars honked in support. Some drivers cheered us. some signaled V for victory with their fingers,

their responses lifted my spirit a bit after the grave conversation we held before. After a while, we all dispersed back home,

and I was a bit sorry I wasn't " fighting the occupation" fiercely by  dodging tear gas canisters but merely attending a peaceful gathering ,

but who knows, this could be a knock-knock to crack the solid rock a tiny bit more.

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