In an enigmatic lecture, Dr. Nadira Shalhoub presented her work under the title of ” the occupation of Senses.” The description was timely and sensual I would say. Thinking of how far occupation has reached in violating us, our senses are not of any exception … on the contrary, it is all systemized in a manner that occupying “senses” become just a sense.
Amid the flaw of sensations I was having, I thought of the lecturer, a graduate of the Hebrew University and a lecturer there. How reliable is she or how confused her senses were, I could not but think.
A week later comes the march of return… I go there with the hopeful sense of getting my blood pumped with national feelings of Return. Driving all the way to the destroyed village of Atrit in Haifa, swallowed in a valley surrounded by Israeli police and, as if, intended scenery, with Israelis celebrating their independence with bar-b-ques all along the way from Jerusalem to the site of the march.
I feel pride filling my sensations as we arrive the site. Palestinian flags in thousands in the heart what has become Israel.
I have to admit, all my senses of tolerance disappear on such occasions. I just cannot accept the fact that these people are celebrating independence on the remains of others. Those others are us, alive and in many ways trying to survive.
I find my way through with my daughter who feels amazed at the mobilization of such a crowd. ” Why don’t we have such marches in Jerusalem” she sighs. ” or even the west bank” she continues.
We enter a sterile discussion on who mobilizes better among the fragmented sides of the land. Somehow a forum where everyone firmly believes he is right and ends in the usual Palestinian way of me, the mother, oppressing my daughter, who insists that I am a stubborn fundamentalist sometimes!
I feel excited the moment I notice a Syrian flag. I was striving for a challenging moment, not a repetitive scene of each year. Syria for me is a challenge this year, amid the aggression against it from all sides. We reached a level of deterioration were speaking out for a cause becomes a crime.
In a typical day as such, the Syrian flag should be hanging along with the Palestinian one, after all, the Golan Heights are, as occupied. Syria is among the very few countries that treated Palestine refugees as human beings.
It was appalling to see the organizers asking the young woman holding the flag to put it down. “The flag represents the Syrian government.” somebody said. This was when people like me got mad. The flag has become a flag of a government, and we are still a nation calling for liberation from fragmentation before occupation?
We “amazingly” managed to get ourselves inside a loop of fragmented being, where we can no longer distinguish when do we have to position our standpoints.
They wanted to unify the Palestinian flag, no Fateh, no Hamas, no red, no yellow, no orange, no black… they forgot that the Syrian flag in such a situation of oppression, of degraded values, and deformation of senses, can be the flag that resembles our unity as people.. that despite our differences… our shamelessly bloody differences, a flag with two stars still unifies us as people who desperately try to defy colonolization . But somehow colonolization, as the occupation has long been internalized…