Haggai Matar and other journalists activists wrote great pieces about Al Ma'asara, yet my feeling that the media coverage of Al Ma'asara demonstration is missing remains.
Ma'asara protests stress non-violence as a method of resistance, and the self restraint the protesters show is quite spectacular in face of the soldiers arbitrary violence
. But more than that, Ma'asara has been blessed with eloquent speakers such as Hassan Bourjia & Mahmoud A-Zawaur,
other thing I like about the protests- they are very much "to the point".
Protesters march to the entrance of the village & ask the soldiers who are blocking the road to "allow" them to go to their lands.
During week days, the villagers can get to their lands , but what happens in Ma'asara weekly demonstrations illustrates what I think is an important point: even the most peaceful, non violent form of resistance is banned within the lines of the west bank according to the martial law. This time the soldiers didn't even bother to present a closed military zone warrant, ignoring their own regulations, and absurdity: how come going on that road is safe during weekdays, but becomes dangerous for about half an hour when a group of un-armed villagers and internationals show up? People who join the weekly demonstrations of Al Ma'asara for the first time seem to complain the demonstration isn't effective but rather symbolic, that the scenario is already known before the demonstration started and it looks like a staged act for the internationals. But what I see is that this "staged act" highlights some of the reality of civil population living under martial law: the soldiers can arbitrarily decide wither a gathering is legal or not, as they see fit. Unlike protests within 48 borders, where police is instructed not to intervene small-medium protests, the villagers are met with ridiculous protester-soldiers rate , and are met with heavily armed forces.
"They have a wall within their mind" said one protester as another person offered the soldiers to drop his guns and come visit his home. Another villager asked the soldiers where is the promised peace. Dialogue with heavily armed soldiers produces a lot of unforgettable scenes , although this kind of dialogue is futile by nature & has certain theatrical quality.
It is important for me to keep in mind that a large portion of Al Ma'asara agricultural lands has already been confiscated & over 3000 dunums are at risk of being seized to build the annexation wall. Attending the weekly protest help me remember that.