By: Aisha Sidawi
Sometimes even a semblance of freedom can bring happiness. Aisha Sidawi reflects on the sight of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, whom the “enlightened” occupier “graciously” allowed to visit the beaches of the city of Jaffa, on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.
It was the first time in my life that I have seen so many Palestinians, from every village in the West Bank, coming to the beaches of Jaffa. The very town that is deep in Palestinian memories. There is not one Palestinian poet who has not written about Jaffa, its beaches and once-famous orange orchards (of which now, unfortunately, there is no trace).
For a single brief moment, in the confusion of Arabic dialects, I forgot the occupation, the roadblocks and the wall, and I experienced a moment of unity and closeness and freedom. For a moment I could believe, in my imagination, in a kind of apparent freedom of movement, and think that all that there is left to do at that moment is to fight over the queue for getting on the boat which would take us around the bay for half an hour, which was very worthwhile. For a moment, I felt the need to shout in happiness – this is freedom, this is the Palestine which reunites us!
This brief moment, which was quickly over, still leaves me with a feeling of happiness, and I asked myself, while smiling inwardly – maybe this is nevertheless possible? A semblance of freedom or real freedom – the happiness I saw was real.
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