There is so little I know about Al Masara. There is little I know about the people who participate in the demonstrations, about how the majority of Al Masara people feel about us, Israeli activists who join the protests, about the village itself. Luckily enough, Mouhamad Al Zwahara, sent me this informative video.
There is so much I don't know about Al Masara.
About the region itself. I look at the map that shows in this short video, and I hope I understand a little bit better about how the village is being crippled and isolated by the nearby settlements. How the threat of land theft threatens the very daily living of the people, of their ability to provide for themselves.
I wish I could be Al Masara protests saleswoman, Al Masara protests ambassador, for a current theme repeats itself during Al Masara demonstrations: the protesters are crying out for the world to do something, to hold Israeli accountable for the violation of their rights, to intervene.Personally I suspect that the content of the speeches is a bit naive: so many atrocities are happening and the world does not care, but how many atrocities receive such direct assistance and aid from the US as the one that is done to the Palestinian people? Has the response of the UN to the latest settlement expansion by Israel not been impotent?
What is repeatedly being said by Al Masara protest leaders, that although being few in number and unarmed compared to the heavily armed soldiers, and despite the "failure" to cross the human blockade the soldiers form each and every week, is that the people who protest hold their strength by knowing that they are not alone- either it is because of the physical presence of international activists- or merely by the UN recognition of the Palestinian state. The protesters keep mentioning how resilient the nature of the protest is- the protests go on for six years, many of the soldiers who beat the protesters now were only high school students when the demonstrations started.
This week's demonstration , as the one from two weeks ago, was dedicated to support hunger striking prisoner Samer Al Issawi. One of the protesters had his hands cuffed and his eyes blindfolded, as a symbol to the way many prisoners are being held. For some unapparent reason, the soldiers seemed to be really excited or threatened by these actions. The soldiers were also rather violent this week, to the point of beating a protester with their plastic shield in the leg and hitting another one in the face. In addition, the soldiers kept trying to capture some of the protesters by camera – perhaps for future persecution.
One of the speakers pointed out a small child in the crowd and told the soldiers: You put his father in jail, but this boy is not afraid of you".
Than he turned to the soldiers and started a guessing game, trying to figure out what is the original birthplace of each and every one of them. "You should go back there" , he told the soldiers.
I thought that perhaps, if people immigrate to this land only to oppress other people , they better go back to where they came from. That the presence of the military among civil population does nothing but provoke more hatred thus providing no safety. The words of Mahmoud Al- Zawa'ara from the video about Al Masara echoed in my mind: The people of Al Masara were born in Al Masara. They never left.
"Our children want to go the sea" said the speaker, and than he turned to the soldiers, running across the shielded soldiers, banging his hands and back towards their shields, making a "circus" action out of the occupation, to the laughter of the kids. Maybe they don't get to see the sea, but they are educated to resist at a young age, because no proud human being would agree to live like this.