Originally published on Turkish Daily News, 23 February, 2007
A rose garden surrounded by barbed wire… A nation stuck in the middle of anger and patience…A country has been under occupation just for so long…
I was in the
When you are a foreigner, things are a little bit easier. As long as you are patient enough to wait at check points and be subjected to questioning by Israeli soldiers, it is quite safe to travel in the
All cities have an old city that has a souq and historical buildings, mainly from Ottoman period. All cities also have refugee camps from current
It is so usual to see volunteers from
Martyr or Murderer?
In Jenin Refugee camp, streets were full of posters of ‘al-Aksa Martyrs’ who kill themselves and many others in
Walking in the city with guns, having pictures with guns, even suicide bombing are considered normal if not honorable in Jenin. As they don’t have an army or any official force to resist the occupation, as they all have been to prison for involving in politics, as they don’t get paid for 11 months, as they are not allowed to leave their city, and as they are labeled as terrorists, they don’t seem to have many options. The youth either involve in politics and other organizations, or they go for the education and express resistance in more humanistic way, even though they are not treated humanistic most of the time.
Choosing the Hard Way
Another example is a 35 year old education professor from
Later on, other residents of Nablus Asqar Refugee Camp were also released and they founded
In order to keep the new generation away from guns, there needs to be more social/ educational activities for children. Current organizations welcome anybody from all nations to make a difference. Most of the case they provide food and accommodation, if not it is easy to find places in refugee camps and they welcome foreigners who share the hard times with them. The hospitality is indescribably sincere and welcoming. We may not change the ideologies or regimes, we may not remove the guns from the world, but we can easily ease people’s lives who don’t have the privileges we do. It seems more realistic to offer alternatives rather than becoming violent or waiting for peace.