Wednesday 24 September 2014

Black, red, white and green!

My first experience of a protest was exactly like I imagined it. Maybe not like you would expect in London but 100 odd people walking around flashing black, red, white and green, chanting the same words!

Israeli forces plan to move 30,000 Bedouin people in the northern Negev, to Palestinian land. In doing so they have knocked down structures and claimed it was Israeli right. Some 60,000 Bedouin people will be effected overall, contributing to lives forcibly being upturned and, disrupting Romanians lives further.

Near half of the Bedouin people live in 'unrecognised' villages. Israel considers the villages as illegal as they are not registered officially on any maps ect. However, Israel law deems that a village will be recognised if there are over 300 residents or 40 families. Most Bedouin villages meet this requirement! Not only that, they have resided in the area since before the foundation of the state in 1948. Now tell me how anyone can justify uprooting these families from their homes?!

We arrived at the site where Israeli forces plan to dump the inconvenient villagers, the sun was scorching and I had to squint to see. High on the hill, people used their banners to shield their bodies and scan the area. Within 15 minutes the sites was buzzing with a flurry of people or looking for the next move. Several men stepped up and began to lead the people. A quick motivation speech followed by a gradual chant which began to boom with all the people combined. We chanted with Palestinians and Italians, from Doctors to Media students, and even a small child to the old man. The sudden burst also came from the awareness of the military arriving. People did not retreat to went right up to the soldiers, who were barely from school age.

The aim was to stop the surveyors from assessing the land. The people swarmed blocking their view from scouting and ignored the military trying to inflict fear in their eyes. At one moment I saw the sight of tear gas, glaring at me from the grasp on the military. Reassuring me, my local companion told me they don't use them at close range and they don't want to cause too much conflict on site. Relaxing, I continued on, comfortable with the knowledge neither party wanted to be violent. There may not have been violence but the people persisted, hanging Palestinian flags of the armored cars, sticking together to demonstrate their unity. These people showed they had something they believed in and we were not backing down!

I completely lost all sense of time but suddenly I saw the military retreat, taking the surveyors with them. We won! I was later told that the forces had told the surveyors that they would return and that eventually the Palestinians would back down. A negative response to such an achievement. Even as the final speech motivated people to keep returning, a small shadow of doubt, sank in and I wondered how much the rally had really done and if these people really did have a chance against Israeli forces..........

No comments:

Post a Comment