No yellow no green on March 15

Picture by Ahmad Mesleh

by Fidaa Abu Assi on March 18, 2011 | Mondoweiss

Yes, we have some issues with colors. Although I hate neither Yellow nor Green, the last thing I’d be needing these days is to be dressed in either color; or else, I’d be accused of being either pro-Fatah or pro-Hamas, for we, sometimes, seem to be categorized according to what color we use. Had it not been for these two colors, the March 15 demonstration could have achieved its aim of ending the four-year division between the two rival parties. Unfortunately, this peaceful End-The-Division demo seemed to have backfired on us. I wonder how the outcome would be if our call was for the End of the two parties; and in fact, their end has recently become the wish of the vast majority of the Palestinian people across the nation.

After being inspired by the two successful revolutions: “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia and “January 25 Revolution” in Egypt, a group of Palestinian youth took the initiative to launch nonviolent demonstrations, calling for a reconciliation between the opposing parties. The campaign has repeatedly demanded that only the Palestinian Flag should be raised on March 15, calling out only one slogan which is “The People Want to End the Division.” Fair enough.

I, like any other Palestinian whether in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or the territories of 1948, was impatiently waiting this day to come, counting every single minute, following Facebook updates, and thinking of the consequences of this campaign. So excited, I couldn’t sleep the night before March 15 as I didn’t know what to do and how I was going to spend my day tomorrow. The only thing I did before going to bed was that I drew The Palestinian flag on my hand and I slept in peace having only one dream that tomorrow would definitely be a heyday for us all.

The very next day, holding our Palestinian flags up high, my friends and I headed to The Unknown Soldier Square to join tens of thousands of people who were already there. At first glance I gasped at the wonderful scene of Palestinian flags fluttering everywhere, a scene that refreshed my patriotism, making me cry out loud like the rest of the people that we want to “end the division”.

Everyone was absolutely thrilled and the whole scene was utterly indescribable, but, bitterly, its beauty faded away the moment Hamas joined the demonstration with their green flags attached to the Palestinian flags, a scene which infuriated most of us, and before I came to a point where I could be misunderstood, Hamas did have the right of participating in the protest and no one had the right to claim otherwise, but they have got no right to dominate it or turn it into something looks like one of their festivals by delivering speeches and singing their remarkable songs. Immediately, we moved to Al-Kateebah Square leaving behind Hamas followers with their green flags.

At that very moment, I realized that this “End-the-Division” demo would bring about more division in the political arena. We were divided into two groups: Pro-Hamas demo and Anti-Division demo at two different places. How absurd? “What kind of division we wanted to end”, I thought to myself. Maybe we need first to heal the division we have within ourselves and to end the dichotomy that broke us into tiny pieces; then we can end this division. Hamas followers could have joined the protest without waving their green flags which triggered off some angry reactions from the masses and if they were asked why they’d done so, they would answer they didn’t want to be shown as if this protest was against them, so they held their flags to assert their presence.

Oh! How come could the protest be against them and the protesters have come together only for Palestine and Palestine only, leaving behind the whole political affiliations and obsessions and aiming only at “Ending the Division”. This would raise a question as how come Hamas wanted to end this bloody division and at the same time they went out in the name of “Hamas” not “Palestine”. Unwisely, they are deepening the division this way.

When we reach a point where we can speak in the name of our Palestine not any political party or faction, where we are united under one flag-the Palestinian flag, and where we can deal with colors normally without pointing an accusing finger at anyone who wears green T-shirt or yellow scarf as being Hams-affiliated or Fatah-affiliated respectively, only then can we end the division.

Not only did Hamas distort the once was wonderful scene with their green flags, but also they dispersed the nonviolent protesters violently. At night, as everyone hadn’t yet gone home, for there was supposed an open-ended sit-in, that is people shouldn’t be leaving their place till they got their demands fulfilled, waiting the political leadership to take serious actions to end the division, Hamas forces had attacked the protesters, beaten up everyone there even women weren’t spared the beatings and arrested a number of people and journalists. Sadly, they succeeded in making everyone go home, very disappointed.

Yet, they were wrong when they thought that they would break people’s will or silence their voice. The next day, a group of young people insisted on protesting at the campus of Al-Azhar University and, again, some people were beaten up with clubs and others were arrested. Who knows what comes next? All what I know is that some of those protesters won’t give up hope and they insist on going back and protesting. Can’t just Hams wise up to what’s going on and think twice before taking any serious action against its own people?

The whole experience left me with a simple yet unanswerable question as if our simple demand for the end of the Palestinian internal “Division” couldn’t be fulfilled, how could our demands for the end of the blockade, the end of the Israeli apartheid and the end of the Israeli violations of our rights, let alone the end of the Israeli occupation be fulfilled? I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, not to make our occupier gloat over our failure to reconcile; this division serves no one but the occupation which makes us busy with our internal conflict to complete its own business on our land by expropriating more lands, destroying homes and violating more rights. Let’s end the division and get united to be able to face our real enemy. “United we stand, divided we fall!”

Fidaa Abu Assi blogs at Gaza in Words.

No yellow no green on March 15.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: