Diary of Occupation: Lesson in Apartheid for a teenager

My son just came back from London after two months away. I was convincing 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. A 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 don’t have to worry about him each time he leaves the house during the last month. He is seventeen, and in my eyes, he is still a child with not a real sense of awareness about the situation. Until a couple of months ago, his greatest aspiration would be buying a new fashionable outfit and flirt around impressing girls. The whole 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 that is growing up sedated, with no sense of belonging to the identity.

The only assurances I had were from watching my eldest daughter, who 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 to 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, growing up in a different atmosphere, as a result of the divorce and being a boy inside a patriarchal structure. I always worried I cannot affect his was of thinking enough.

Anyway, 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 is heading. Israeli occupation mentality doesn’t start from Tel Aviv … his Swiss flight apparently 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 an interrogation and a method of treatment 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 of lecturing on the experience, let him deal with it on his own.

What happened to him on the way back, was too much for any sense of sensibility for a young man who has just come back from an educational tour in two major 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 natural 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 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 real ugly face. To see Israel as a state of an evil existing regime that tends only to bend down and break Palestinian resilience and transform us to obedient thankful slaves…


  1. As I was looking at some of the young men remembered on HUmanize Palestine, I thought of you and your children. I am thankful your son is strong and safe. And always keep you all in my prayers.

    1. i am thankful too.. somehow there is this numbness i nthe feeling of the possibility that anyone can get killed .. another group of young children were killed now while playing ..as if those killers intentionally target children…

      1. Yes, the Israelis can say what they want, but they know they are killing innocents, and it is genocide. Yet, I also understand the position of Hamas. To continue under the blockade is a slavery. And there were slaves who killed themselves and their children in the passage from Africa. I do believe there is a universal justice and balance and this travesty will end and the lives lost are not in vain.

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