Week 69 – Happy Birthday Haifa

The fact that we managed to smuggle a Palestinian girl from Ramallah through an Israeli check-point proves an important point; the Wall that they have built around the West Bank is not for security, and never has been. It is purely a symbol of the system of apartheid that Israel is imposing on the Palestinians. The fact that she was pretending to be my sister, and “pushing” me in my wheelchair, may have also helped.

It was a first for both of us. Apart from some districts of Jerusalem, neither of us had ever ventured into Palestine ’48. I can’t say that I liked what I saw. From rooftops of certain villages in the West Bank, you can see the port of Haifa, but on rooftops in Haifa, the occupiers only stare out into the sea, choosing to ignore the suffering that their very presence here entails. They come in their droves from Russia and eastern Europe, without a thought for the refugee camps on the other side of the Wall. Ghettos, perhaps not dissimilar to the ones their grandparents used to live in.

So no wonder I saw tears in this Palestinian girl’s eyes when we arrived. She is a refugee from Fallujah; not the Iraqi town, but the Palestinian village… although both have suffered at the hands of imperialism.

We were staying with a Palestinian friend’s family, the only Arab family in the entire area. The neighbours have taken them to court to have them evicted, but through their steadfastness they have stayed. For once, racism hasn’t succeeded in the racist state.

It was the night of my twentieth birthday, so we walked down to the beach to swim in the warm, clear sea. One of the few places where all of life’s problems can be forgotten…

I’ll leave you hopeless like a /
Ethnic cleansing on the coast of Haifa /
My thought-stream flows in words so you know I’m a writer /
But not the type to… /
Spill ink I’d rather spill blood so I’m a fighter /
Not a scholar or a martyr /
Olive oil in my skin give me zeit or zartar /
Fight for equality, not for supremacy /
Dig a grave, bury our government’s legacy…

14 responses to “Week 69 – Happy Birthday Haifa

  1. Wow….beautiful. As always…you manage to bring those moments back to life and help us relive them.
    Keep it coming. Hugs.

  2. Shareef esoof

    Brilliant stuff. I pray that you Are given
    Te strength and courage to carry on with your honourable journey. Peace be with you brother.

  3. Ketty Papadima

    Jody,
    beautifully written words…I have heard you talk, in Ottawa…Your passion and power and gentleness are rare…
    Pls, keep inspiring us

  4. Excellent post.

    Hope you are going on to the Golan too. There is plenty there to inspire a poet.

  5. sarah connolly

    love the poetry Jody x Granny

  6. LOVE YOU JODY
    YOU ARE LIKE THIS FREE BIRD THAT FLIES EVERYWHERE WITHOUT FEAR
    MAJED AND SUZANNE

  7. Your writing is inspiring, hope you remain safe on your admirable journey. san’aa x

  8. Yeah I read about the court case to evict those Palestinians in an article in The Guardian. That family has been living there for 70 years. A house that they rightfully own and even have documents that prove it. Disgusting.

  9. Pingback: Israel razes Negev village, again

  10. Great reporting jody, sensitive, poignant and hopeful. lots of love to you, mum xxx

  11. Jody happy birthday. Hope you and your friend have a smooth return to the W Bank.

  12. Arash Sharifi

    Hi. Just wanted to say just watch life in wheels. What a great documentary. Keep doing your great work for Palestine. I have a lot of respect for what you do. Long live Palestine long live Gaza

  13. Congratulations on getting back there and on your latest report. Your readership is growing by the day. Continue to give us all something to think about. But be safe. Your readers need you.

  14. Summer Abdoh

    Wow! Going through the checkpoints are hard and always questionable! I use to travel between areas with my uncle and they never stopped me either. I think it has something to do with gender and who they perceive a “terrorist” to look like and where u are in Palestine. I have always given Israelis the benefit of a doubt and say that it began as security and spiraled into racism. I think you should look harder at Jewish society in Israel as well. Most Jews have never met a Palestinian- so it is easier to fear. Moreover looking closely at their society will show you that they do not trust themselves. There are so many issues with religion- it almost feels like they depend on the conflict so they don’t have to focus on what they are doing to my people.

    Until your next great post- Ramadan Mubarak people and stay safe!

    -summer

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