Sunset in Salfit as Maram lives in fear
In a previous article I compared my daughter and Maram who were born 17 days apart, one in Palestine, one in Chicago. Maram and I have become good Facebook friends and she is teaching me many things about life in Palestine. Recently, she shared with me her desire to be married but instead of seeking love as a reason to be married, I was perplexed to hear her say that all she wanted was safety from the marriage.
As a Palestinian, I should not be so puzzled at Maram’s desire to seek safety in a potential husband rather than the universal quest for a soul mate to love. But I am. Maybe I have become insulated living in America ever since I was 6 years old. Maybe I really do not understand the freedoms that I have and the freedoms that Maram and the 4.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza lack.
Maram tells me she cannot love if she does not feel safe.
I am trying to grasp the meaning of the word “safe”. Does she mean the yearning desire for the human spirit to be free? Does she want to live without fear?
In the United States we can drive to the next town through many different routes without having to go through any military checkpoint. In Palestinian towns a 25 foot apartheid wall or a electric barred wire fence surrounds the perimeter leaving only one exit controlled by apartheid soldiers. Ingress and egress to the town is controlled by an apartheid military checkpoint.
It must be exhausting on the human spirit that a simple trip to the next town has to take so much mental effort. Americans cannot comprehend this. We just get into our cars and drive and as long as we obey the laws and driving speed limit, we will not have any encounter with the police. In Palestine, confronting the apartheid soldiers is a daily event.
Americans do not have a fear of going to the grocery store and be subjected to a gun pointed at our face by an apartheid soldier. In Palestine that fear is ever present.
Americans do not have to fear that an apartheid soldier will come knocking on our door in the middle of the night and take our father or brother to jail. We do not have soldiers in the street. Except in emergency situations and only upon a probable cause that s crime is being committed, police officers cannot enter our homes without a proper search warrant executed by a Judge. In Palestine, apartheid soldiers come to Palestinian homes at all hours of the day, ransack the home and take away any member of the household to prison controlled by a military court system in Apartheid Israel that has a conviction rate of 99.7%.
In America, every person arrested is assumed innocent until the government proves him guilty. In Apartheid Israel, Palestinians are assumed guilty without a chance to prove their innocence. Political prisoners can be endlessly detained under administrative detention without a trial.
No one in Palestine is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Almost every Palestinian who enters the military court system in Apartheid Israel is guilty, guilty, guilty. I know a Palestinian attorney in Jerusalem who once bragged that he has a perfect 100% record—all his clients accused of wrong doing by Apartheid Israel have been found to be guilty.
To be subjected to being snatched out of your home with your children present and to being arrested on the street by apartheid soldiers has its fear built in to the Palestinian mindset. Apartheid Israel has a policy to instill fear in Palestinians. The more fear Palestinians feel, the more likely they would want to leave Palestine. The more Palestinians leave Palestine, the fewer remain on the land. The fewer the Palestinians, the longer the Israelis remain a majority. The more the Israelis are a majority the longer Israel can maintain their apartheid system. It is expected that the population of Palestinians in Israel, West Bank and Gaza will outnumber Israeli Jews by 2016. Apartheid Israel is trying to prolong that date by instilling fear in Palestinians so that they will leave Palestine.
Fear is a part of daily life in Palestine. I personally do not see it, do not feel it and do not live it. But that does not mean that I do not understand it. Thanks to Maram she is helping me understand what if feels like to live in Palestine. Our conversations are simple. I do not ask her direct questions about fear or any other subject. The subject of wanting to seek safety in a marriage, to live without fear, came out naturally.
Naturally, I want Maram and all young ladies in Palestine to one day soon to live without fear and seek the wonderful feeling of love that builds a husband and wife relationship into a life of happiness. Exposing the Apartheid State of Israel is my contribution to making that day come sooner.
((c) Fadi Zanayed. This article may be republished or sited as long as the author and site are included as the reference.)