4 June 2008

Is Ramallah turning Lebanese?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:57 am by lilithhope

As the sharp turn around of events in Lebanon in May showed, with the deaths of over 80 people being quickly forgotten and subsumed under the vibrant celebrations of a new president, the Lebanese ability to abstract the violence of their country from their minds and replace it with indulgence, frivolity and festivity has never ceased to amaze me.

According to the article below, it seems that those living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are learning lessons from their neighbours, and attempting to balance the desolation of living a tragedy with the willed forgetfullness that yields temporary relief therefrom:

“Occasionally still, the bubble does burst in this capital of Palestinian escapism [Ramallah].One weekday last year, at about three in the afternoon, Israeli armoured jeeps moved into the centre of Ramallah, pulling up outside the most popular hummus cafe.

In full view of passers-by, including children on their way back from school, the troops dragged a man in his early 20s out of the cafe. He was a wanted militant. They shot him – first in the legs, then stomach, then his head. […]

On a single day last month, in an angry Israeli reaction to the killing of three of its soldiers in earlier fighting, nearly 20 Palestinians were killed in military operations in Gaza, most of them civilians.

Arab TV channels had spent the day broadcasting the final footage of a cameraman killed by a tank shell, and pictures the bodies of five children blown apart in the shelling.

That same night, Ramallah, was having a street party. A stage was set up, with dancers, music and fireworks. It was an event to mark the centenary of Ramallah being accorded city status – death wasn’t going to get in the way. […]

Of course, when asked, people here will tell you of the injustice they feel about the wider conflict, and of their fears that it wouldn’t take much for worse times to return.

But they’ll also tell you they’ve simply had enough of the struggling. After so many years, the residents of Ramallah just seem to want to forget it and get on with living as best they can. “