Musings of a Palestinian Princess: February 2006

Musings of a Palestinian Princess

I'm just your average princess just under occupation...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cabby Gets Shot

So imagine... You are a cabby, you get a call at 5am to pick a customer up to take them to work. The customer lives by Balata camp, which you know is under curfew now, and soldiers are in the vicinity, 2 are already dead in Balata. So since your customer isn't IN Balata, you accept and drive over there... Its still dark out and you notice on the road that there is an Israeli hummer, so you KNOW the road is closed, so you don't bring too much attention to yourself, you turn the lights off and make a u-turn to go home. You're on the phone with the customer to tell them that you can't enter that part of the city because the soldiers have blocked the road and you are going back ho ---- As you feel a sudden pressure in the lower part of your head and hear more gun shots and another bullet enters you in the shoulder. Actually, I now know that exactly 40 more shots were fired.

((NEWS FLASH - I just got news that there was an explosion in Balata, and 4 peramedics have been shot and are injured, I will update as soon as I can))

Ok, back to the cabby, who happens to be a close friend of my families, and is like 60 years old!!

He is living though, my brother just got back from the hospital and he is gonna make it, they can't take the bullet out of his shoulder though, it could be to risky of an opperation for him. Oh, and after he was shot and the Israeli soldiers went to see what was up, they realized he was an innocent old man and called the ambulence straight away -- so sweet of them!


I mean the man was driving AWAY, not towards them, he wasn't a risk.... He just knew because this happens all the time, that when you get too close they get on their loud speaker and say "GET BACK GET BACK" so you gotta turn around anyway, I guess he looked "suspicious" when he turned his lights off...

NOTE TO SELF - Do not leave your house when soldiers are ANYWHERE in the city... because they could pop up anywhere and if you look suspicious you will be shot.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Why are you better than me?

Everyone on the planet is in exactly the same state of moral worth, because we are all doing the best we can with what we have. Poor upbringings cause many people to not have much to do their best with, but hey, that's life. Criminals, terrorists believe they are powerless, so breaking the social contract is the only way they think they can get what they need and manage to feel somewhat powerful. They think they are doing what is good for the better of what they know.

People without that hang-up can see that cooperation and respect are really how things get accomplished, but both of these types of people are simply trying to live a fulfilling life using the methods that they think have the best chance of working. So you see, people are basically good. They are all trying to do their best. They often just need some help overcoming inner demons and behavior patterns that aren't really working for them.

Obviously, we are all in the same boat. You are doing the best you can with what you have. You are already living the most moral and correct life you know how to live. There is no more that you can do at this moment to be a better person. You are already a good person. You do not have to strive every moment to be better than it is possible for you to be. Smile at yourself. You're OK.

This goes for everybody... For all of you so quick to point fingers and call this person or that person a terrorist, needs to live in their shoes. How can you be so quick to judge someone when you do not live there life?

They are just doing your best with what they have. What you can do is learn where your blind spots are. Watch others. People who at first glance are just plain old bad people are on further investigation suffering from horrendous misconceptions about how the world works. You also have misconceptions about the best way to get what you want. Find those misconceptions and wake up!

No one is perfect not even the wonderful, glorious west.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Around Town...

I decided to drive around town and hit up the "news" hot spots for you all... Here is a photo of the French Cultural Center that was closed down after the political cartoon scandel...

In Nablus, about 30 gunmen arrived at the French cultural center planning to vandalize the building, but agreed, after negotiating with Palestinian police guarding the building, only to write on the building. They scrawled in black on the door an "X," "This place is closed" and "God is great."

I Also passed by the house where the killing of al jihad islami leader, Ahmed Ridad, took place. I didn't want to be disrespectful so I only took this one, but it seems like by night fall, things are looking a bit more normal around the city.

I'm Scared...

Just read this for the first time and its quite scary... The Hazit party is just as radical as Hamas if not more.

'HAZIT' has determined that conquering the land is moral and that expelling the enemy is moral. The Torah of Israel is the primary source of human morality, and according to one of its mitzvahs, Israel must conquer and liberate the Land. There is nothing more moral than the conquest and liberation of the Land of Israel by the People of Israel. "HAZIT" declares that the expulsion of the enemy from the land will completely solve all of the state's most serious problems, as it will disconnect terror from its roots and will remove the chance of war. "

Uhhh, woah baby... After World War II, expulsion was a euphemism for ethnic cleansing of territories settled by Germans. Ethnic cleaning, WHAT?? I think I should be worried...

Let us hope that they never control the Israeli government.

And a statement from hamas's charter...

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."

This world sucks.

Infront of My Home

At 7am sharp I was awoken by the words "wake up, wake up," but this time it wasn't my mom it was the Israeli soldiers that came into the city. I looked out my window and saw about 4 hummers infront of my house. I ran into the kitchen where my mom was preparing safiyha (arabic pizza) for breakfast, she said that the Jews have entered the city since 4am this morning. We never know why they entered until later, but we can only guess they came to take down a radical Palestinian. Anyway, I took out my camera to get some shots for you guys, this was the first one, taken directly out my window.
The untold rule is when the soldiers enter, no one leaves there home. So ofcourse life didn't begin until they left about half an hour ago. I live on a main street and it was obviously far from where the person was killed but I heard too many sound bombs and shooting today. Its amazing the first couple minutes you see the soldiers infront of your home you feel scared and anxious and after a couple minutes you can't help but feel hate and anger, but that didn't stop me from drinking my mint tea and eatting my safiyha. And thats one point of the problem with occupation, it starts to feel normal... SCARY!

I'm not sure if this is common knowledge but when the soldiers enter the city with a mission to kill a militant they surround the place that they are hiding to force him to surrender. If he doesn't surrender they usually fire to kill him then destroy the resident or commercial building in which he was hiding. Here is one of the bull dozers I caught a photo of and a hummer in the background.

So today was "exciting" nonetheless, it was like watching a movie, I haven't seen this in a while, since they don't usually come to the part of the city I live in, they usually go downtown, but today, I was where all the action was at.

I still don't know the total news, but from gossip, since WE ALL PHONE EACHOTHER to see if one has any news, the rumor is that they came to kill an El-Islami Jihad leader and to destroy his home. In the process two Israeli soldiers were severly wounded.

And here is a photo of some of our intelligent youth throwing stones and watching the hummers do there thing. At one point, one hummer zoomed up the road and all the kids went running as fast as they can. After the hummer disappeared they came out again to watch them and annoy them with stones this is when I got the photo. My brother was kidding with me today that I am a photo journalist... Anyway, this whole scene with the kids and the hummer reminded me of Tom & Jerry, a cat and mouse chase.

For those of you who are not lucky enough to see what tear gas looks like, my brother ran into the street to grab this for your viewing pleasure. Yeah, my mom freaked out that he is going outside but this was in the name of photo journalism! Anyway, the streets were cloudy and sound bombs going off here and there and ofcourse there is the random shooting. And you ask how do I know the difference between sound bombs and real missiles? After years and years of experience living in Palestine, you just can tell the difference. Missiles are like 100x louder, although I have had a sound bomb thrown between my legs by soldier and I almost shit my pants because I didn't know it was only a sound bomb.

But which West Bank or Gaza Palestinian hasn't experienced that?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mother Earth & Nature

Wake up Palestine! We need to start taking care of our country and our environment. If we do not respect our country, who will? Environmental issues often touch on people's fundamental beliefs and shake up the values that they hold dear. For this reason, take a look around our country... Does it reflect good things about us?

I know we are all going through a tough time now, but we need to start taking care of ourselves, our community, and our land. I am not sure how I alone am going to do this, but atleast this blog is keeping track of my ideas, lol...

All I know is as educators, parents, and inhabitants of this earth we have to deepen our and our childrens environmental awareness. With everything that has been going on in the Middle East, sometimes things like this are taken lightly, but I am encouraging my Palestinian Family to try to live normally under occupation, one day someone will hear our voices.

Let us be peaceful with ourselves, our environment, let us concentrate on building a future for ourselves, do not worry, we will have our freedom one day, one day when our voices our finally heard. Be strong and make our children strong. Let's make a world for them that feels safe and lets start with a peaceful step, one at a time. Let us show the world that we are an intelligent community, because I know Palestinians are among the most educated societies in the Middle East.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Update: My Trip to Ramallah 01/31/06

Ok, so I wanted to post why my trip home took me 3 hours and why I saw the Israeli soldiers questioning Settelers...

"AMONA OUTPOST, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli riot police clashed with stone-throwing settlers trying to block the demolition of part of an unauthorized Jewish outpost in the West Bank in violent scenes reminiscent of Israel's Gaza pullout. Black smoke from tires protesters set alight rose above the hilltop Amona outpost on Wednesday where thousands of Israeli ultranationalists barricaded themselves in houses vowing to fight the destruction of nine uninhabited buildings. Riot police on horseback, coming under a hail of rocks, used clubs to beat back the crowd made up mostlyof religious youngsters, some wearing the orange ribbons that had symbolized resistance to the Gaza withdrawal five months ago. About 40 protesters and several policemen were hurt. Amona was the latest battleground for settlers angry over the unilateral Gaza pullout and keen to prevent additional withdrawals in the occupied West Bank if interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party is elected in a March 28 election."

I Don't Think This Is Happy...

"The chief duty of governments, in so far as they are coercive, is to restrain those who would interfere with the inalienable rights of the individual, among which are the right to life, the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness and the right to worship God according to the dictates of one's conscience." -William Jennings Bryan quotes (American Politician and Orator. 1860-1925)

Settlements In the West Bank

I can't convince a world filled with hate & bias. Sometimes I am just so sad when some people do not want to acknowledge what happened to and what continues to happen to the Palestinians everyday. I feel like it is so obvious but because we are so desperate for help, the groups that make the most noise wins in attention, whether it be Israeli Public Relations or Palestinian Radical PR.

This post is to just clear up what my blog is about. My blog is simply a diary of what goes on in my life and in my head. Basically, it is a perspective of the situation of someone who lives it day by day. There are a lot of blogs out there that give you the perspective of an activist, a Palestinian organization, or an Israeli, or Israeli organization or a settler but I couldn't find any of just a plain old Palestinian living the life that is in question in a very conservative and assumingly radical part of the West Bank, so we are not talking about a Ramallah girl here we are talking about a Christian girl who lives in a VERY conservative Muslim city.

I always get asked the question if I, as a Christian, relate to the Muslim Palestinians, etc. First off I want to talk a bit about Palestine and how I feel about it. I love Palestine, it is my country and we have 5 generations of recorded history. My ancestors died on this land and I can visit their grave whenever I want, so I am definitely not an immigrant to this land. I am guessing after Jesus times, my ancestors along with many other Jews converted to Christianity. I know the Jews were exiled from the land by the Romans, who were Pagans at the time, in the year, 135 but I dont think Christians were and that doesn't explain the original Jews of this land, the Samaritans. So if someone knows, please clarify. Anyway, the Muslim Arabs conquered the land in 638 and people who were non-Muslims were taxed so many of the poorer Christians and Jews converted to Islam, as legend has it, I am going on hear say here people. Again the same thing in 1516-1917 when the Ottomans ruled, but under ottoman rule, more Jews returned to the land because Ottomans didn't persecute anyone for their religious beliefs, except I think they were still taxed as were the Christians.

So, I feel that this land is the land of many people as is the rest of the world. So, going back to the regular question, I relate to the following people; The Palestinian Muslims, the Palestinian Christians, and the Palestinian Samaritan Jews (which are in my opinion the original Jews or in other words Ancient Judiasm Sect). We have no problems living together, we like each other, we go to each others funerals and weddings, and we have no qualms about living together. The only difference between us is our religions, which we do not rub in each others face, ever, and that only the Samaritans get the rights as an Israeli would because they are Jewish, but it doesn't matter as they consider themselves Palestinians anyway, haha! Btw, my best friend is a Muslim and a good friend of my families is a Samaritan Jew, so go figure for yourselves how we feel about each other. We are neighbours and we are friends.

So anyway, the only thing that I roll my eyes at is the people who have original nationality as French, Russian, American etc. But have Jewish as their religion, coming to this land and building where they please, what they please, and moving about freely.

I mean, really does it make sense? The root problem of all this is racism and its evil counterpart, nationalism. Israeli law claims that any Jew, anywhere in the world, has a right to full Israeli citizenship, while Arabic-speaking Palestinians have no such right even if they were born and have lived all their lives on the territory now comprising Israel. Don't you think this is an inherently racist policy? Please comment.

Honestly, in these days, I think all the people in the camps should get over getting their land back, because IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN and I think instead they should work on bettering themselves, as they are with the aid of a the NGO etc. I think instead of focusing on making a whole country we should focus on making two separate countries, which is going to bust Palestine's economy but we can work on that. That is why settlers need to move there homes to the Israeli part and leave the West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinians to form officially, be free, and live like normal humans would. Guard the Israeli borders all you want just leave the West Bank and Gaza so we no longer feel your control and feel better about being who we are, Palestinians.

Is this so much to ask for? Apparently!