“They Tried to Bury Us, They Didn’t Know We Were Seeds.”

Oppressors need to understand that they can't bury people thriving for life and freedom, because the oppressed will always plant their seeds, knowing there will be a season for blooming.
Gathered Palestinian children with an Israeli soldier in background

For seventy-two years the Israeli occupation has tried to bury Palestinians, literally and figuratively, attempting to extinguish their dreams in every possible way.

The horrors of the occupation have left no stone unturned. When you meet a Palestinian, you either meet a refugee, a mourning parent, a displaced family, a family of a prisoner, an amputee, the list goes on. However, although the occupation attempts to reduce Palestinians to numbers and labels, when you meet a Palestinian you will also meet an artist, a dancer, a poet, a doctor, and so much more.

By living under occupation and carrying the weight of this burden from one generation to another, Palestinians learned how to live, rise and achieve. People who live under constant oppression and long-lasting occupation always find their silver lining.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the restrictions on travel, CPT Palestine is now relying on local Palestinian volunteers to keep the project running. Of course, documenting Israeli human rights abuses as a Palestinian involves a much higher risk. But these CPTers, all in their twenties, believe they are part of the change that needs to happen in their community.  

Five local team members start their daily work around 6:30am, monitoring checkpoints to make sure students arrive safely to their schools. They manage to get up every day, regardless of the harassment they experience while passing the Israeli checkpoints in order to monitor and document.

They were asked what allows them to continue amidst this unjust situation, what makes them wake up every day to stand at a military checkpoint knowing that they won’t see an immediate result for their work?

Tarteel has hope that a new reality is possible. “I’m looking for peace within myself and the outside world. When I see myself laughing with my family, friends, mates and the kids at the checkpoints, I see that we Palestinians want to live in peace, we just need better conditions!”

Ahmad draws strength from the children with “smiley faces and their heads held high after they pass the checkpoints.”

Abdallah makes a point of “smiling to the children and wishing them a great day before they cross the checkpoint to go to school. This makes me believe that maybe this small act will help them to start a good day despite all the difficulties”

“Monitoring checkpoints also includes a humanitarian service,” says Ameera. “At first it was difficult to work at checkpoints because of the soldiers’ behaviour and the body searches, as well as watching children throw stones, but gradually the children became happy when they saw us and smiled at us, and missed us when we were not there”.

Resilience in Palestine is not a choice; it is a necessity. Palestinians endure from generation to generation by being born into different shapes of sumud, a steadfastness where “the individual has to be resilient to stay and not to leave their place, position or community”. [1]

Palestinians cross borders and generations, with a belief, like Tarteel, that “I’m working for a change and that is what keeps me going! The dream of a better future for myself and the coming generation”.

In the end, oppressors need to understand that they can’t bury people thriving for life and freedom, because the oppressed will always plant their seeds, knowing there will be a season for blooming.

[1] Social ecology of resilience and Sumud of Palestinians, Mohammad Marie An-Najah National University, Palestine Ben Hannigan and Aled Jones Cardiff University, UK, 2016

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