Just behind Shuhada street
The other day my morning started with a beautiful sight. A fence outside our apartment was knocked down. The night before there were loud construction noises. I assumed it was the regular construction work taking place to fix the drains before the rains were due to come. But it was much more than this.
A construction worker in a bulldozer knocked down a fence. This fence didn’t seem to have much of a purpose. As it was a second fence, in front of a cement wall, blocking access to Shuhada Street (a street denied to Palestinians since 2000, with Palestinian front doors and shop fronts welded shut to disable them from any access). But this fence claimed space for Israel and denied it to Palestinians.
Whether he did so out of resistance or for other reasons, is unknown. But this was an exciting thing to wake up to. An ironically beautiful act. Especially when considering that bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes to occupy, build settlements and to simply expand the Zionist agenda.
After school patrol I received a message from a friend in Australia. A refugee indefinitely detained due to Australian immigration policies and secret security checks by ASIO (Australia Security Intelligence Organisation). He had finally received clearance, after 8 years in detention. This means he will be released soon… finally!
These two, small, moments of freedom seeped through the dark.
Later that day a colleague and I were walking home via a checkpoint. We stopped and waited as a Palestinian woman was having her ID checked and bag searched. An elderly man with a prosthetic leg, on crutches, proceeded to walk past the checkpoint. A young, female soldier called out to the man telling him to stop. She approached him saying he could not walk that way, informing him that he had to walk a different route, not through Israeli parts. The route he was forced to go was an extra 15-20 minutes, as opposed to a 5-minute walk. I took photos of this interaction to which this solider approached me and said “I see you taking photos. Stop. I am doing important things here, unlike you.”
To people not living under occupation these may come across as small incidents; holding a woman up for 10 minutes at a checkpoint and making a man walk an extra 20 minutes. But they are part of the makeup of continued control and oppression inflicted onto Palestinians. They are images of the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, on-going repression of Palestinians by an invading, occupying and violent force.
Just as these small acts of violence among the occupation aid a much larger violent goal, the small acts of freedom add up to something much greater; Hope.
And as stated by a Palestinian man in the South Hebron Hills, where the demolition of homes and villages is a constant threat, “without hope we would not survive”.