Pedagogy of Oslo

Something doesn’t want me to write this. It is probably shame, depression … whatever.

When you live as a Palestinian, it becomes an obligation to behave like one. Yes. Palestinians are particularly different. Yet, we believe that the world doesn’t turn around us. It simply turned away from us.

I entered into my undemocratic debates with my daughters yesterday, as I ended unfriending tens of my Facebook friends. In what would be considered the harshest unfriending campaign of all my Facebook life. Well. It could be also my irrationality in this period. Nothing is normal. Normal is not the word. Everything is so tensed, so condensed. It is suffocating.

While living under occupation, I should be really focusing on occupation. It is not that I want to focus and make the occupation look bad and to make me appear as a victim. Not only. It is very true that there is a lot to say. There is a lot unsaid. There is plenty, as well that one cannot even comprehend in writing.

It is a daily struggle without days like these. Nothing is normal when it comes to normality of matter how much you think you can lead a normal life, something always stops you to say loud and clear: wait where are you going, you are a Palestinian.

Going back to my undemocratic discussion with my daughters yesterday. I think I can be undemocratic. What is democracy for anyway? my daughter Yasmina was telling me that I was irrational and not being tolerant unfriending all those people. That I should be more patient and that I should give people their right to express what they think of as well. Yasmina, I have to say is the wise person in this family. She is 14. I admit she is too good to be mine. But this is life. She is mine.

Luckily Hiva my eldest was surprisingly all the way on my side. Well, yes, Hiva is more of my character. She is much more outspoken, really much more, but her last two years in the university abroad made her more of a rational being. Serena the youngest was with Yasmina calling for my giving others freedom of expression.

While the discussion was storming. Of course me dominating it, yelling most of the time. After all, I actually deleted more than a hundred people in an hour. Hiva stopped Yasmina and said; “well you know, mom is right. You are a Palestinian. It is not a choice. You have to live as one. There is no other way except to hold what you believe in high and live it just as you believe it is your right to do.”

I was like; oh… impressive Hiva.

I remember when Hiva was 12 she wrote an article that she called “why are we Palestinians “ and she was criticizing every single aspect of our social life as Muslims, Arabs in this culture. Hiva is now 21. As active as me …somehow worse.

The debate upon which I ended up unfriending people was about the tawjihi (high school diploma) celebrations in the streets upon announcing the results.

The tawjihi is kind of an intersection point in the future of every single Palestinian youth and family. It is the moment when 12 years of hard or not hard work is accumulated in a single grade that says how good or bad you are. And as everything in this place. It is not just a victory or a defeat for the boy or girl. It is a personal victory or defeat to the parents. It is the parent’s hard work making sure their kids get far this way. I personally have nightmares of the tawjihi each time I really get stressed out.

Yes, it is true that people need to celebrate, express their feelings. The tawjihi is like a bazar of exchange of grades. It is a public disgrace for those who don’t get high grades or worse don’t see their names on the list.

Any normal person, I ASSUME, will know that regardless to the importance of the occasion, we are living in an “occasion” that is disastrous literally. Gaza is bombarded every singly moment. The hospitals are packed with corpses and injured. As I am writing this number of death tolls has risen to over 200 and wounded people are in thousands. Hundreds of houses have been blazed to earth. Hundred thousand residents have been asked to evict their homes.

And to keep reminding myself… here in Jerusalem. Very close to me. The family of Mohammad abu Khdeir is still mourning. Among the martyrs of Gaza 37 of them are Tawjihi graduates. All those have families who cannot celebrate that moment anymore. Among them are youth who graduated and their families are not there anymore.

Didn’t the people of Gaza deserve our solidarity? The blood that is shed. The resistance of these people. Their resilience. We as their own people cannot feel enough.

What do we want? That each an every Palestinian family in Jerusalem and the west bank be bombarded. Do we need to see more martyrs inorder to feel?

But people won’t feel….

Something happened to these people … it is so sad. So frustrating … if Paulo Freire was still alive his pedagogy of the oppressed will definitely be changed into something new. He will decide it is outdated. Because what is happening to the people here is way beyond that pedagogy. It is le Miserable.

I always thought my image of the le Miserable would be in a refugee camp, in a place were continuous horrors of occupation take place. But not in cities where its people wear the suits of education and modernity.

Why would I turn in to just a cynical person who is against anything and everything?

Why couldn’t I just let it go? Why wouldn’t I just ride the current flow? Why do I see it differently?

Maybe they were right. What is the harm of celebrating for some hours?

What is the harm of using the same fireworks that were used as a means of resistance just a week ago?

Just a damn week ago as a sign of our happiness now … regardless that Gaza is bombarded.

Regardless to the families in Jerusalem and the west bank that have their kids jailed and are also tawjihi graduates.

Regardless to all subjugations all humiliation .. to all that takes away humility from us..

In times we are begging the world’s compassion to us , we are apathetic to ourselves.

We demand the world empathy and we don’t carry it to ourselves.

Something in food or drinks must have been inserted into peoples bodies to make them become like this …

I am even unable to criticize Abu Mazen anymore .. Of course he can do and say whatever he does with such people. He know what kind of people he bred.

Could this be all a consequence of Oslo Pedagogy ? that is the title Paulo Frere would have given to his book if he lived this day ….


  1. I don’t spend much time on Facebook. But my husband has defriended many people over political beliefs, and he’s an artist. I think this age of instant communication has made people forget the common courtesy of thinking before you speak – and sometimes recognizing that your opinion doesn’t really matter when people are truly suffering. It is good you have daughters who are strong enough to disagree with you. I know you treasure them.

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