Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day of Rage Renamed Day of Fail

Two weeks ago on Thursday, the day on which the world saw Libya erupt into a revolution, hundreds of people gathered around the Manara square calling for an end to the political (which follows into geographical and societal and familial) division and chanted their blessed little hearts out for a national unity. It was probably the first time in years since we've seen an abundance of just Palestinian flags being waved in the air, which is a good thing of course. The very next day, the United States vetoed the Security Council resolution draft to oppose settlements in the West Bank, being the only one out of 15 countries, as Susan Rice made a Gaddafi-like statement which was the epitome of looney contradictions:
"We reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region. Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace….While we agree with our fellow Council members—and indeed, with the wider world—about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution."
The world should just let Israel resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. More settlements, more rightful immigrant Jews, less fucking smoke.

Abbashole was this close to signing his death by decapitation warrant after that weak-kneed Obama and crazy cat woman Clinton called him up to drop the resolution and "settle for a non-binding statement condemning settlement expansion" inquire about his health and his serfs.

Of course this isn't a shock or surprise to anyone since Israel has the US snugly in its back pocket, but it got us thinking, something that would undoubtedly put our future marriages in peril. The Egyptian revolution is indescribable. It is awe-inspiring. And, best of all, it is democratic. So when the hell would the youth of the Uniiiiited States of America rise up and revolt in their own ground breaking way? Who would settle for their country to be played along another country's interests, whims, and desires? Those billions of dollars in aid annually and happily given to a foreign country could be made out to better use domestically-hello health care, over expensive tuition fees, ghettos and poverty! Did you know that you could all be alleviated had not the government decided to put you in the backseat? It's a hard knock life isn't it. And the youth of America, armed with their crabby little electronic devices and gadgets and gizmos and the mother of them all, the internet! Isn't there a better way to utilize all that than go giddy with happiness at the 14 notifications received on their bathroom pouting pictures? They have everything laid out for them. Could we witness another brave civil movement that the Blizters and Palins would denounce as a hippy AIDS-loaded hash party?

Back to Palestine. The next Friday after the veto day-a week later- was announced to be the Day of Rage. When we first read up about this, we snorted with laughter. Then we felt ashamed because we remembered that our causticness was supposed to be dead and buried. And so we hoped, and eagerly awaited that Friday, already thinking about writing up witty abrupt posters and such.

That week was uneventful, except for a mini demonstration, if it can be called that, in front of the student council building on campus in solidarity with the Libyans. It's perfectly legitimate to stage something like this only because Abbashole hasn't come out with anything official supporting Gaddafi, whereas in the case of Egypt, he threw his back behind Mubarak. Needless to say we didn't join in, not because we favor the Egyptian dialect over the Libyan (izayak ya mozz!) but because it didn't have a sense of genuine support coming from an ordinary people touched and infuriated by the massacres Gaddafi was committing against his people and the steadfast revolution. It was once again, a political party thing. Wave your hands in the air if you like Fateh-and Libya!

Then on Thursday, a suspension of classes on behalf of the student council was blasted through the loudspeakers. The aim was for the students to ditch their classes and congregate in front of the administration building and then go on towards Ramallah to once again voice their sentiments for national unity. This rarely works, if ever. Out of the 9000 students, only a few hundred heed the call. The other thousands do ditch their classes, but they use the time wisely by buying lunch and if the weather is sunny (as it was on that day) sit outside in their cliques, with their conversations becoming more mundane by the minute. Some teachers ignore  the "suspension of classes" and proceed to give their lectures, contending their claim that they are not forcing anyone to be present. We were in one such class, and about five minutes in a group of Palestine's very own liberators came into the room and told the teacher to let us go. They reminded us of immigration officers. Mr Nice Guy, Mr Belligerent, Mr Suave. The teacher replied that she is not holding anyone hostage and that we have the free will to join in their quest if we wanted to. No one did. The guys left. Ten minutes later they arrived again, this time accusing the teacher of being a lesser Palestinian by not giving up the class to join in the  demonstration. We laughed at them. They turned to us and the rest of the students, imploring us, nay asserting that it is a right upon ourselves, a duty, to join in. One girl piped, "We're not joining because it won't change anything." This may have reflected our bygone days of cynicism, but it still rang out to be true. We're all for protests, but we need masses of people. We don't want to be outnumbered by the foreign journalists and cameramen/women who get excited whenever a Palestinian flag is raised. The guys left again. Two minutes later, they interrupted for the final time. They addressed the teacher. "Miss, we're locking down the building. All the other students have left." That pissed us off. Shitty tactics. Last semester at the very beginning, there was also a lockdown because the dean of the Arts college was refusing to see students. The lockdown didn't change his mind.

After class was over, we went to Ramallah. It was our intention all along to witness this momentous pre-Day of Rage demonstration, if not for our hopes to be crushed then at least to witness anything of significance. We heard the crowd assembling way down Rukab Street, and then they marched to the Manara square armed with a lot of Palestinian flags. They numbered, to us, about three hundred but Ma'an reported that they were 1500. Still not impressive. We waited, hoping for a great big turn out, doing our best to ignore one kid's flag stick continually poking our armpits, because when we snap, boy do we snap. There was a pick-up truck with about ten loudspeakers blasting nationalistic songs, with the interludes filled in by a couple of guys chanting "Wi7de wi7de watania!" National Unity and "Asha3b yureed inha2 ilinqisam!" The People Demand and End to Division.

The whole thing lasted for about 30 minutes. The guys attempting to lead the chants were taking puffs from their cigarettes in one hand, with their other hand punching the sky. It was pretty quiet. No one was repeating after them after the first 10 or 15 minutes. The pick-up left, with one last proclamation from the loudspeakers-"Join us tomorrow for a historical day!"

We then went our separate ways, walking home with a look of incredulity mixed with disgust.

Alaa Tartir brings out valid points, such as the PA's quick reaction to the revolutions shaking the Arab region by injecting us with "painkillers" such as their call for legislative elections in September and the reshuffling of the PA cabinet and inviting Hamas to be part of a new unity government. The question of their legitimacy is masked by such endeavors, but who is there to shake things up? This is what Palestinians need to do, for the benefit of Palestine
We would like to revolt against the occupation, against the Palestinian National Authority and its leadership, against both Hamas and Fatah to end the intra Palestinian divide, against the international and regional intervention in the internal Palestinian affairs, against the US administration for its role as a ‘dishonest broker’ for the peace process and against its veto, against their dire socio-economic conditions, against the siege on Gaza, against the marginalization of youth, to name a few.

The next day, the Day of Rage, never materialized.

Unless you count this.
Better yet, this.

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