Promises came out that protesters are going to be rather protected. I heaved a long sigh when mother finally gave me a half-satisfied approval on going out. Three days before, she was extremely opposed me going out anywhere on March15. I did not speak of the matter in front of her. After hearing the promises all over the news, she somehow seemed helpless or maybe overwhelmed by how enthusiastic everyone was about the day. March 15 was the day, when we, People from Gaza and the West Bank, would raise our voices for an end of the five-year lasting division. I could not sleep properly that night. All I wanted was to join the young people who have already gathered the day before and planned to stay over for the next day.
I got up unusually early, unusually alive.
Eager to join the crowds which have already been gathering at the “Unknown Soldier” square, I could not sit still in the class, got downstairs as soon as possible to join friends who’ve been waiting for me to set off for the protest.
Before I start, I would like to say that this is not a post in which I would narrate events. As difficult or rather impossible as it is to rightfully convey the spirit that prevailed this day, all I want to document here is something I’d like to remember as a great day in my life as a Palestinian.
The day started very unpromising as to my surprise, and to everyone else’, there in the University Campus where the Students’ Council was planning to join in the protest were some unusual flags raised along with the Palestinian flag. A green flag tied to the Palestinian flag. This was not a real good sign or a good start for a day where we all have previously agreed to put behind all our factional flags and raise nothing but the Palestinian flag.
It was time to set off. We were a group of almost ten girls and we marched together from the University to the Jundi Square. On the way, I could hear the chanting for ending the division coming from a distance and all around.
Around us, people were all heading to the same destination. “The Unknown Square”, calling for the same things, “Ending the Division”
When we reached the square, the crowd was already huge. Thousands were standing; others were marching. People were watching. Some were even dancing. Signs calling for an end of the division were everywhere around. You could read it upon a wall, on a bus, on a peddler selling ice-cream, on cabs, on leaflets, on faces, and hands. Everywhere. Palestinian flags where held by little children, by men, women, old and young.
Overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene of a demonstration where along my sight I could see nothing but the Palestinian flag, hear nothing but Palestine’s name, I could not but be totally involved as everyone else who like me were chanting, walking proud, holding up their Palestinian flag, their voice at its highest, their hearts hopeful for a unity that this demonstration proved every Palestinian, regardless of his favourite colour, is eager to have back. For almost two hours, we walked amongst the crowd, marching along the bustling square. The feeling, I am afraid, I am not willing to convey through words.
Amidst the beauty of the scene rose that unusual green flag tied to the Palestinian. Confused, I still cannot figure out how I should interpret its immense presence. I still cannot understand why holding a Palestinian flag is not enough! And honestly, I think of it as an absurd attempt to prove the Hamas presence while none has denied them the right to. The demonstration was aimed at calling to end division. It aimed not at ending the presence of any party.
Apparently, I was not the only one who thought in the same way because all of a sudden the crowds raising high the Palestinian flag started yelling out, “The People want the Palestinian flag” every time they would see someone or some group holding any flag for any party. It was then I realized how people are fed up with any kind of fanaticism to one’s party. If we to be fanatic, then it’s for the sake of Palestine. If we to be angry, then for the sake of Palestine. If we to be united, it’s for the sake of Palestine.
With the crowds, we started to move to Katiba Square, leaving behind any crowd that is trying to factionalize the protest. There where a large Palestinian flag was dangling from a building, I could sense it back. The eagerness to unite under one flag. The eagerness to leave behind all differences and unite for Palestine. There, the spirit of youth prevailed. There, young people declared that they are staying and not leaving till the two governments at Gaza and the West Bank would practically end this shameful division. I left the square planning to come back at night to be later informed that they were forced to leave the square.
I am not going to speak of all the violations that Hamas forces have committed against the young hopeful Palestinians whose sole noble aim was to end the fragmentation of their country. The PA forces and thugs at the West Bank were by no means any better. The protesters in the West Bank too had their share of beating, arrest, and humiliation.
I will only speak of the youth determination that I saw that day and the next days. I will speak of the eagerness I sensed in people to end the current state of division. I will speak of hope arousing from such youth. I will speak of this and believe in the Palestinian will in the days to come.