In Gaza, young rebels with a cause

DAN-CHYI CHUA
Jan 08, 2011
*Special to asia!

They have released a manifesto. The language is crude and some may even be offended. But really, there are way more offensive things in Gaza.

The manifesto - GAZAN YOUTH’S MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE - began to spread on the internet, virally, as the techies would call it, from one person on the internet to his friends and cyber acquaintances.

Published by a group on the social networking site Facebook who call themselves "Gaza Youth Break Out", it is a long statement that starts off with a bang.

" Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom. "

The manifesto goes onto talk about "being caught in a political struggle" and difficulties of living under siege by the Israeli Army and control of the hardline Palestinian government under Hamas.

Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA!

It went on to speak about how a group called Sharek Youth Forum - which according to its website has been operating for 14 years as a forum and organisation for young Palestinians - was shut down by the Hamas authorities. Those who protested, they said, were jailed and beaten.

"It is difficult to find words for the pressure we are under. We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams," the Manifesto continued.

It is a heartbreaking read, (the manifesto in full at the end of this post) one that describes an abysmal life in Gaza. On the one hand, they have been imprisoned in a small, densely-populated area, forbidden to leave by Israeli checkpoints. On the other, life within is one of fear and control by Hamas.

Since Operation Cast Lead, the people have been subjugated to an oppressive system of Israeli controls and checkpoints, which clamp down on not just what comes out, but what goes in as well. Yet less than an hour's drive away, youths in Israel are able to enjoy the famed beaches and exciting parties of Tel Aviv and the enjoyments available to other young people in the developed world.

There has been a debate over whether this manifesto is truly representative of the young people in Gaza. Some say yes, others no. But that is not the point.

Just like the swearwords are not the point.

... they turned to Hamas for a change they could perhaps believe in, voted them in, and they have been paying the price ever since.

Yes, the language is almost offensive, but nowhere as much as the situation in Gaza.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, and in 2006, democratic elections were held. No one told the Gaza Palestinians democracy doesn't extend to voting for a party Israel, the US and Europe regard as a terrorist organisation.

With the alternative being a Palestinian Authority they see as corrupt and inept, they turned to Hamas for a change they could perhaps believe in, voted them in, and they have been paying the price ever since.

Gaza has been sealed off to the outside world by the Israeli army in retaliation for while the people are punished for exercising their vote by a society where hope is as scarce a commodity as jobs and goods.

This, more than any foul language, is what is offensive, not least also because of where it will lead.

The last thing a place like today's Gaza will produce is a peaceful neighbour alongside Israel.

And we all know where resentment and animosity between Israel and her Arab neighbours take us.

For the sake of all the youths in Gaza and their counterparts across the fence in Israel, let's hope at the start of this new year, that 2011 will be different from all the ones that came before.

The situation between Israel and the Palestinians hurts both sides. It robs the Palestinians blind of rights, freedom and human dignity, and it is turning the Jewish state into an aggressive, oppressive and increasingly unpleasant and unbearable society for peaceful, open-minded people to live in.

This is no way for young people, sons and daughters them all, to live.

In the manifesto, they ask for three things:

"We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace."

It would be such a shame if those with the power to change, let them down, again, and push them to a point where desperation pushes them to resort to more violent means than words.

 

The Full GAZAN YOUTH’S MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE: (Connect to their Facebook page here)

Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom.

... we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, homemade fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

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