My son just came back from London after two months away. I convinced him to stay for another month, trying to avoid him coming here and indulging in the current situation.
It is one of those times when having a boy in the family wouldn’t be the best thing that can happen to you. Constant fear of his loss. His best friend is already arrested. He knew Mohammad Abu Khdeir. Since the deterioration of the situation, many kids have been arrested and wounded, that wouldn’t be surprising that he knows many. My safety zone as a mother was feeling relaxed to the least that I didn’t have to worry about him each time he left the house during the last month. He is seventeen, and in my eyes, he is still a child with no real sense of awareness about the situation. Until a couple of months ago, his greatest aspiration would be buying a new fashionable outfit and flirting around impressing girls. The complete understanding of the Palestinian cause seemed like a strange blazing idea of something that belongs to a history that he and his generation are not interested in. Inside me, I was worried about a whole generation growing up sedated, with no sense of belonging to the identity.
The only assurances I had were from watching my eldest daughter. She grew up in a real sense of rebel to all current and cultural issues that living on the seam of Israel always made the Israeli version of life a closer way to a civilization that is more trendy to the needs of a newer generation. Fewer restrictions. Less traditional. More appealing … however, as I watched my daughter turning into an adult, I saw what it means to plant an identity inside a lifetime of upbringing. I am resting assured that my daughter signals the status I aspired as a Palestinian is well-nourished inside a generation that I am proud to say.
My son, however, grew up in a different atmosphere as a result of the divorce and being a boy inside a patriarchal structure. I always worried I could not affect his way of thinking enough.
Anyway, he was going back to the original story of this subject. My son came back today. And thankfully, again to occupation, he didn’t need any introduction for where he was heading. Israeli occupation mentality doesn’t start from Tel Aviv … his Swiss flight was powered by el-al, the fact that I saw acceptable only in this situation where most flights are not in the usual functioning routes. Stopping at Geneva for a connection with his hand luggage, he was arrested by interrogation and a treatment method that he wasn’t prepared to. When I warned him upon his departure two months ago, he said ironically: “ mom, I go through the checkpoint every day. How much worse could it be?” I decided not to elaborate much on it and thought that maybe he doesn’t need much lecturing on the experience, let him deal with it independently.
What happened to him on the way back was too much for any sense of sensibility for a young man who had just come back from an educational tour in two significant countries of Culture, France and England. Experiencing normality and living it for some time made his reaction a reaction of a free man as much as I was scared upon hearing what happened to him in Geneva, as much as I was proud of his sense of pride.
It was another welcoming of real life under occupation. “Luckily,” the current situation could have sabotaged what happened into some justifications of the reason behind the ill-treatment of my boy. However, his instinct made him react as a free man. A term we grow up to wipe away to survive. Of course, they interrogated him, insisted on taking his luggage, searched him and all. But nothing stopped him from speaking out loud and standing for his right as a free human being. He found himself defending Palestine. Them nay times he was screaming the word Palestinian in front of the Zionist interrogator must have only ignited a more confrontative situation. He was threatened not to be allowed on the plane. He made it look like an announcement in the airport to the discriminatory treatment of Israelis to Palestinians.
Thanks to the racism of apartheid Israel, my son didn’t need to arrive in Jerusalem to experience the negative mode of racism. He came with a stronger sense of understanding what it means to live under occupation. To see occupation with its natural ugly face. To see Israel as a state of an existing evil regime that tends only to bend down and break Palestinian resilience and transform us into obedient thankful slaves…