In two days time I cross the Jordan into occupied Palestine. I will go there to bring in a new year. I find it so strange to say I am celebrating in Beir Zeit. It sounds so wrong, so problematic. I am going to my home, my land, my people and yet I feel such guilt at wanting to spend my new year there. I feel guilty about being in my country. I feel guilty for wanting to be with my family and friends, my people. I feel guilty for wanting to celebrate and laugh and be joyful as there are guns and tanks and a bloody apartheid wall. I feel guilty with so many people held in prisons, so many people separated from their families so many people suffering under occupation. It is just so wrong.

 

 

Yet, another part of me screams something entirely different. It screams of entitlement. I should not have to feel guilt nor should I apologize for being home, for wanting joy in my land nor should I apologize for celebrating where I justly should and could. The occupation may control and restrict my movement. The occupier may tell me I am “illegal” in my own country if I don’t have the right permit. The occupation may build a wall that separates me from my family and friends on its other side behind concrete, electric fences and check points. The occupation may imprison my cousins and uncles, torture and beat them. But the occupation will not quell my spirit. It will not so disenfranchise me that I have no joy or life. I resist by crossing the Jordan to what is rightfully mine. I resist by walking in my family olive grove. I resist by meeting my friends and sharing a moment of joy with them. I resist by living. And for that I will not apologize, and I will cross the river and I will go to occupied Palestine and celebrate there because I can and I will and the occupier (for now) can not stop me.

 

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