Head Menu
Tuesday, 16 July. 2019
|
|
|
Top Menu
| Home | Programmes & Projects | Publications | Photo Gallery | Maps | Search |
Main Menu
Dot
 »—ŕ «Š¬š
Dot
MIFTAH - Main Menu
Dot
Biannual Newsletter - Fourth Edition
Fourth Edition
Dot
UN Resolution 1325
UN Resolution 1325
Dot
A Vision for Palestinian Womenís Rights Organizations based on the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325
(Ten strategies for tackling issues pertaining to Women, Peace and Security)
Dot
 
Date posted: February 06, 2013
By Mayse Jarbawi for MIFTAH

ďRamallah is different, itís not like the rest of Palestine,Ē I repeated to my American friendís mother, trying to persuade her to allow her daughter to visit me in Palestine.

ďOh really? So it happens to be that the city you specifically live in is simply not under Israeli occupation? What a fortunate coincidence!Ē she chimed.

Although she was trying to mock me, I did not follow up on her sarcasm, because to me the answer is yes, Ramallah is a city that has somewhat managed to escape the throes of the occupation, and so I found no reason for her to worry about her daughterís safety. She didnít believe me though, and my friend stayed in California for the summer.

My fatherís family is from Jenin, a city that will never attain Ramallahís life style. My father moved to Ramallah when he became a Birzeit University student, like many of the students coming from the northern West Bank, converting it into a city for students and newly-employed youths. Birzeit University and the Quaker Friendsí Schools along with plenty of other academic institutions definitely contributed to Ramallahís liberal way of living. The essence of Ramallah became unrelated to the rest of Palestine - where communities are run by family ties and kinship. In Ramallah, you are who you are and you are not defined by who your grandfather was and what your father does. People were leaving behind the strict cultural traditions, and moving to Ramallah where the culture seemed like it was solely to let go of strict traditions and become their own person.

A few days ago, my friends and I met an Italian woman volunteering in a village near Bethlehem. Her first question to one of my friends was: ďDo you remember you are under occupation when you live here? Iíve only been here two days now and I feel like Iím not even in the West Bank.Ē

My friend was very offended; ďOf course I remember, I live it everyday!Ē The Italian immediately smirked and said: ďIím sure you havenít been outside of Ramallah then, thatís where you really live it. Here in Ramallah you can leave the house, go out, have fun, where is the occupation?Ē.

My friend was unrelenting: ďPeople go out and have fun because Ramallah has a different culture that is more tolerant, not because people living here are less Palestinian. What about all the settlements you witness day by day, engulfing the city? Psagot, Beit El, Mali Michmash, Ofra, Halamish and Har Adar? The apartheid wall? What about the illegal arrests the Israeli army carries out at night? And Israelís restraint on Palestinian tax revenues causing all the government workers to go on strike and many to starve? Just because the town is filling up with restaurants and bars doesnít mean there is no resistance.Ē

Palestinians have mixed feelings about life in Ramallah. Many agree with my friend and believe that Palestinians have the right to enjoy their life, and that it shouldnít be one or the other. Others believe that Ramallah is a conspiracy, created and spurred on by an economic boom in order to indirectly compel its citizens to forget about the conflict and get busy with materialistic aspirations. The fact of the matter is that because Ramallah has become home to diplomatic delegations, foreign aid organizations, and high ranking Palestinian officials, it has embraced a certain type of elitist class which requires a certain type of entertainment. It is not even all about being wealthy, because rich people are everywhere, whether in Bethlehem, Nablus or Hebron. Still, these places do not all bear resemblance to the open and carefree life of Ramallah. People come to Ramallah because of its wealthy who just happen to love spending money and living the posh life.

Ramallah has become a cultural melting pot, where there seems to be no boundaries. People feel very comfortable taking out thousands of dollar loans, buying fancy cars and building mansions in the hopes that the financial situation will improve and they can eventually pay their debts. The guise of normalcy and the Ďposh lifeí is seemingly more important to some in Ramallah than the fact that the city is indeed, still under Israeli occupation. No matter how many macchiato machines pop up in Ramallahís Amman-like cafes or designer bags hang from the shoulders of snazzy-clothed young women, the fact is Israel constantly reminds us that it has not loosened its grip on Palestine, in Ramallah or elsewhere.

Mayse Jarbawi is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at mid@miftah.org.

Read More ...

By: Nejwa Ali for MIFTAH
Date: 17/04/2013
By: Nejwa Ali for MIFTAH
Date: 11/04/2013
By: Nejwa Ali for MIFTAH
Date: 03/04/2013

Send Article Printer Friendly
Copyright © 2013 MIFTAH
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED