The flag and the dreadful reflection of power
The images of the Israeli flags in different sizes and in every spot my eyes could grasp since yesterday made me think of how fragile this monstrous image of power truly is.
When you start seeing excessive flags in a place, I think it is a flag to how things in that country are waving towards uncertainty and instability.
Even though I come from a place that dreamed of a flag as a sign of liberation, independence, and freedom, the Palestinian flag was an aspiration that has continued to grow in me ever since I was a little girl. I recall coming back from a trip to Jordan with my dad. I might have been 8 or 9 when I bought a silver pendant with the Palestine map in a wine-red color. I was proudly wearing my Palestine map as I was crossing the checking by the Israeli militants all over the place.
Back then, things were horrible. Demeaning, dehumanizing, and insulting. It was like a police state combined with a military state, merging inside an intelligence system that subjugates every aspect of living. I remember women being taken to a separate hall with shoes already taken off in baskets that run like a channel. All would be taking out all clothes except the underwear with rough Israeli militants checking their bodies and searching every detail for hidden things. I don’t remember if I also had to go through this as a child. It must be one traumatic memory deeply engraved in a distant place inside my head. I came out of that room and took my shoes, and was ready to meet my father, who was coming from the men’s searching hall. We were about to leave when the Israeli military person stopped my father and asked him to go to the intelligence officer. Going to the intelligence officer meant trouble. Leaving the Allenby bridge was never over until we were finally in the taxi back then. Like custom officers hunting for prey, so was the intelligence preying for a Palestinian to assault.
I remember that it became late. The sunset found its way in the long Jericho summer days. The hall was emptying to a few militants and the little girl I was, waiting for my father behind the closed interrogating door. When the door opened, the first thing that happened was a slap to my face from my father, assuring the officer that he would make sure that he would take care of the situation. It was that pendant that caused all that trouble.
From that moment on, the map of Palestine and the flag became like a forbidden dream.
When PLO leader Arafat announced the “independence” in 1988, I felt victory getting closer. We are independent now. The Palestinian flag was rising high… in Algeria… somehow, I say a Palestinian flag is rising. That was all . that was enough.
After Oslo. The dream was unrealized except for the flag. As if we compensated all for this flag. It was enough that we saw a Palestinian flag rising in the skies of the dream of Palestine.
Slowly… the flag became a representation of everything but freedom, unity, liberation, and on top of all… land.
Today when I see how Israel is trying hard to prove its dominance through the flags march in Jerusalem, I smile a suppressed smile and tell myself: they are becoming like us.
Defeated… despite the power of military, politics, and every domain comprising a matrix of power and control.
From the other side, I look at us and call to raise Palestinian flags and mobilize Jerusalem to stand against the vicious settlers who insist on proclaiming power over an occupied city. All their control does not give them the recognition they pretend to have.
Israel behaves like a thief who, despite taking over a house, kicking out the owners and changing the furniture, and redecorating the structure, is afraid of the owners’ spirits, who appear like ghosts that threaten their pretended stability.
I see how we fall into their trap. We don’t have to raise Palestinian flags to prove sovereignty over what is ours.
I worry more when I think of the flag, which continues to have its effect, in the same manner, it had on the little girl I was. I worry when I see how Palestinian leadership continues to manipulate us under the name of this flag.
I worry when I think of another Palestinian who may end up being another victim of the manipulation of leadership that calls on our children to be sacrificed when their children are in havens of safety and luxury outside this place. Our children become victims and numbers for leadership compensations that use our human loss to increase their bank accounts. For their children and families to nourish, and our children perish… all under the name of a flag.