Goodbye 2011

To a year that was good beyond imagination, I say thank you. 2011 was not any normal year that passes by, it’s a year when history was re-written. A year that for anyone who lived the events and changes it brought to us will never forget, I never thought or imagined I would witness revolutions sweeping the Middle East not even in my wildest dreams, apparently 2011 stated it was time for the change everyone was waiting for so long.
On a personal level 2011 had its ups and downs, it’s the year that changed my life, I started my blog, and found myself in writing, it’s the year I became active on twitter, it’s the year I met many people who inspired me, changed me, I had hope restored to me.

Thank you 2011 for being that great year we all were waiting for, but more importantly I want to thank the people who took their destinies in their hands, demanding their stolen rights, demanding the better living they deserve, thank you Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain for showing us what the simple citizen can do. Thank you you brave humans who refused to keep living in the shadows of life, thank you for bringing back to me the hope that I had lost. Thank you for proving the world wrong, that we are not a dead nation, that we are alive just like anyone else, that we are free, thank you from the future generations who will look back and realize that the freedom, democracy, and decent living they have, were nothing but the result of the sacrifices made during this year.

In 2011 the first refugee came back to Palestine though for a short period of time, but it proved that the right of return is nonnegotiable, and is not some fairy-tale, it proved to the world that 63 years later and we haven’t forgotten, it proved that Ben-Gurion who said that in two generations we will forget was wrong, it proved that the right of return will seize to being a dream and become a reality.

I hope that 2012 goes on the same tracks like its predecessor 2011, and becomes the year of Democracy for the countries that revolted, and to help the Syrians win their country back and remove the dictatorship that was established on their bodies.

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Statement in solidarity with Razan Ghazzawi

(English follows Arabic)

نحن مجموعة من المدونين والناشطين الشباب الفلسطينيين نطلق صرختنا مرة أخرى تضامنًا مع كافة معتقلي الثورة السورية العظيمة جميعهم/ن من ناشطين/ات، فنانين/ات، مدونيين/ات وغيرهم الذين أطلقوا ولا زالوا يطلقون أصواتهم عاليًا في الشارع وعبر المنصات المختلفة مطالبين بالحريّة والعدالة ووقف الظلم والاستبداد وسياسة كم الأفواه الذي يتبعها النظام السوري منذ ما يزيد عن أربعة عقود سنوات.

نطلق بياننا هذا، تضامناً معهم ومع المدونة السورية رزان الغزاوي والتي لم يتوقف يومًا دعمها ومساندتها للقضية الفلسطينية، وكانت أول من تضامن مع المدونين الفلسطينيين الذين لم يحصلوا على تأشيرات دخول للمشاركة في مؤتمر المدونين العرب الأخير في تونس. وكانت رزان قد نشرت تدوينة لها في العام 2008 إبان الحرب على غزة بعنوان “حول فكرة “التضامن” مع غزة”، قائلة: أفهم أن يتضامن سكّان كوبا والبرازيل وباكستان مع غزّة، لكنّني لا أفهم حين يتضامن السوريون واللبنانيون والأردنيون لا بل الفلسطينيون في الشتات مع غّزة، فماذا يُقصد بالتضامن هنا؟”.

لا نتضامن مع رزان الغزاوي و150 معتقلة سورية وكلّ المعتقلين فقط، بل نعلن أن مصيرنا وهمّنا ونضالنا واحد، وأنه لا يمكن لفلسطين أن تتحرر لطالما بقيت شعوبنا العربية تعيش تحت الأنظمة الرجعية والظالمة، وأن فلسطين ستكون حرّة حين ستكون سوريا حرّة والشعب السوري يعيش بكرامة.

الحريّة لكلّ المعتقلين في سجون النظام السوري. وتحيا الثورة السورية، حرّة من الدكتاتورية، و ومن التدخّل الخارجي، ومن الطائفية.

الموقّعون:

اباء رزق

أبرار عقيل

أحمد فاهوم

أحمد نمر

ارين ناصر

أسامة شومر

أسامة غراب

أسماء الغول

أماني اغبارية

أمل مرتجى

أنس حمرا

بدور حسن

بشار لبد

ثمينة حصري

جلال أبو خاطر

حمزة البحيصي

خالد الشهابي

دالية عثمان

داليا غراب

دعاء علي

ديانا الزير

ديما السعافين

رشا حلوة

روان أبو شهلا

سائد كرزون

صالح دوابشة

عبير قبطي

علا عنان

علاء أبو دياب

علي أبونعمة

علي باري

علي المصري

عمرة عمرة

فداء أبو عاصي

لينة السعافين

مجد كيال

محمد جرادات

مريم البرغوتي

معاذ مصلح

مها رزق

ميرا البابا

ميرا النابلسي

ميساء عزايزة

نادر الخزندار

نادين درويش

نالان السراج

نسرين مزاوي

نهال العلمي

هلا الصفدي

هناء محاميد

هويدا عراف

يسرى جاموس

We, a group of Palestinian bloggers and activists raise our voices loud and clear in solidarity with all the prisoners of the Great Syrian Revolution. We stand with all the prisoners, activists, artists, bloggers and others, all who are shouting in the streets or on various platforms demanding freedom and justice, while decrying the huge amount on injustice and oppression practiced by the Syrian regime for more than four decades.

We issue this statement in solidarity with all those Syrian activists, and with the blogger Razan Ghazzawi who was arrested on December 4th, on the Jordanian-Syrian crossing border. Razan was adamant in her support for the Palestinian cause. She was the first to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian bloggers who were not granted a visa to enter Tunisia in order to participate in the Arab Bloggers Conference. Razan posted a blog in 2008 during the massacre on Gaza titled, “The Idea of Solidarity with Gaza.” She wrote, “I understand when Cubans, Brazilians, and Pakistanies stand in solidarity with Gaza. But what I do not understand is when Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, and also Palestinians in exile stand in solidarity. What is the meaning of solidarity in this context?”

Not only do we stand in solidarity with Razan and the other prisoners, but we also affirm that our destiny is one, our concerns are one, and our struggle is one. Palestine can never be free while the Arab people live under repressive and reactionary regimes. The road to a free Palestine comes with a free Syria, in which Syrians live in dignity.

Freedom to all of the prisoners in the Syrian regime’s cells. Long live the Syrian Revolution, free from dictatorship, sectarianism, and foreign intervention.

Signatories:

Abir Kopty

Abrar Agil

Ahmed Fahoum

Ahmed Nimer

Alaa Abu Diab

Ali Abunimah

Ali AlMasri

Ali Bari

Amal Murtaja

Amani Ighbaria

Amra Amra

Anas Hamra

Asmaa AlGhoul

Bashar Lubbad

Budour Hasan

Dalia Ghorab

Dalia Othman

Deema AlSaafin

Diana Alzeer

Doa Ali

Fidaa Abu Assi

Hala AlSafadi

Hamza Elbuhaisi

Hanaa Mahameed

Huwaida Arraf

Ebaa Rezeq

Irene Nasser

Jalal AbuKhater

Khaled AlShihabi

Linah AlSaafin

Maath Musleh

Maha Rezeq

Maisaa Azayzeh

Majd Kayyal

Mariam Al-Barghouti

Meera AlBaba

Mira Nabulsi

Mohamed Jaradat

Nader Al-Khuzundar

Nadine Darwish

Nalan Al Sarraj

Nihal ElAlami

Nisreen Mazzawi

Ola Anan

Osama Ghorab

Osama Shomar

Rasha Hilwi

Rowan Abu-Shahla

Saed Karzoun

Saleh Dawabsheh

Thameena Husary

Yusra Jamous

24 years and a lot has changed

24 years ago, on the 8th of December 1987, the first intifada started and it spread like fire in dried wood. It was the first episode of what is known these days as the “Arab Spring”. The Palestinians have risen up as a whole body, unified, and from all aspects of life, to say no to oppression, and no to the occupation. It all started with the policies Israel adopted so as to deter the Palestinians from resisting against their occupiers, that included house demolitions, building settlements, and the confiscation of land. The intifada was very much like we see today in the Arab countries – civil movements without heads but with extreme force.

The PLO had already lost it’s glamor, due to their “tactic withdrawal” from Beirut in 1982, and subsequent residence in Tunis, and they were even more furious that such a powerful movement had developed and they had no hand in it. To the heads of the PLO that was unacceptable, and soon enough the PLO presented itself as the leader of this movement. The Intifada in its composition was formed from all parts of the Palestinian society – those in the front-line were the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. Nonetheless, ’48’ Palestinians had their share. They were direct supporters with money, food, and clothes. Palestinians from all corners of society participated and were all unified. Men and women, young and old, they stood up courageously against Israel with all its brutality, armed with their rights and the stones of this land.

Israel practiced what was later to be known as the “bone-breaking policy”, which consisted of extreme brutality towards the Palestinians and treating them as subhumans. Those arrested were tortured on the spot with no regard for age, sex, or religion, they were all treated “equally”. At the same time the Palestinians fought a brave battle for 4 years, starting with mass scale riots, to long term strikes. I myself was born during the Intifada and I remember all the stories I heard from my parents and my grandmother about that era, the longest strike was 6 months, during which not a store was opened.

24 years later and everything has changed

24 years later a martyr dies and no one cares, homes are still demolished and yet not a single voice is raised. The PLO managed to ride on the wave of the Intifada and crossed everything that was ever marked as a red line. Settlements have multiplied so much that there’s no word yet to describe it, and us? Well we cheer for less than 20% of historical Palestine, we don’t think the right of return is applicable so we’ll just drop it. We do think that Hamas-Fatah unity is going to change everything and make our lives a little bit better, we have decided to become very peaceful and take tips from our oppressors on how to become better people. We think that people like Abbas or Saeb Erekat are those who should represent us, why? Because they have been doing this so long that they have become good at it! A bid in the UN is the way to solve all our problems, we still believe Yaser Arafat is the best leader we have ever had and refuse to admit that our failure to progress is because of his arrogance, and because he was in fact nothing more than a demagogue.

Maybe we should wake up and try to follow the Arab Spring we’ve started, maybe we should start caring again, maybe it should not be ordinary or routine if a martyr falls, or a house is demolished, or a citizen arrested. Maybe we should start loving each other again, and just hate those who hate us and those who claim to represent us for their own benefits. I hope that we wake up before its too late, I also hope that we free our movement from those who hijacked it. I hope that we free ourselves from these false hopes and poisoned thoughts we filled ourselves with.

During the Intifada a Palestinian in Gaza